AZIMUT 42 EVOLUTION 2006

"CATCH 22"

To Buy Or Not To Buy?

It may seem obvious, but the first crucial step in buying a boat is to think it through thoroghly first. And that includes having open and honest discussions with your nearest and dearest.

There's quite a lot to consider before moving ahead. The following list is by no means exhaustive but includes most of the key issues to address;

  • Where will you keep it?

  • What, realistically, will be the journey time??

  • How often and when will you be able to use it?

  • Will it need sufficient accomodation and creature comnforts to sleep on for a couple of days at a time?

  • Mindful of where you plan to keep it, what type of boat is best suited to the conditions and facilities on offer?

  • What is the budget - and is this figure comfortably affordable?

  • Have you established the realistic running costs? This includes the cost of mooring the vessel, insurance, maintenance and perhaps factoring in expected depreciation over time.

  • Are you confident in your ability to handle the boat - and are you willing to learn new skills?

It may be that upon reflection you feel the time is not quite right or that the overall cost of both buying and owning the boat is more than you had initially imagined.

But if you are still keen to go ahead, you will now be ready to do so with your eyes wide open.

Taking The Plunge

State Of The Market

During and since the pandemic the demand for decent, well made and maintained pre -owned boats within the UK has increased (as well as in many parts of Europe).

Over this same period, the supply - or availability - has decreased.

Consequently, the prices of well maintained pre-owned boats - as well as new ones - has increased.

While there is plenty of speculation as to if and when this rare phenomenon will come to an end, the fact is that, at the time of writing, there is scant evidence that prices are on their way down.

In fact , with input costs for new build boats still escalating and supply side blockages and delays presenting challenges for moast yards, the chasm between a brand new respected brand boat and a pre-owned one is getting wider. Nevertheless, this still appears to be dragging used boat values higher, presumably because the price of a fully loaded new craft is now way beyond most people's pay grade.

Just as with cars, certain brands and specific models are markedly more popular - and therefore command a higher price - than others.

Crunching The Numbers

But while it would be irresponsible to compare boats with properties, if you draw some comparisons between the two and in turn compare things to say twenty years ago, the attraction to owning the right boat rather than a second home becomes more compelling.

Used boat in excellent condition. 2010 year. Sleeps 4 comfortably (plus 2). Purchase price £230,000. Annual running and mooring costs £10,000 to 15,000. Depreciation over 5 years 0 - -£30,000. Interest over 5 years @ 4% = £45,000. So - £145,000.

Two bedroom cottage (plus 1) with sea views in Sout of England. Purchase price £1,300,000. Tamp duty secondhome £70,000. Annual running costs with council tax £8,000 (40,000 5 years) . Initial furnishing £15,000. Interest @ 4% over 5 years + -£260,000. So - £385,000.

If the property loses 10% over 5 years then add £130,000 to that amount. If it increases by 10% then reduce the overall cost by "130,000.

The Buying Process - General

But while it would be irresponsible to compare boats with properties, if you draw some comparisons between the two and in turn compare things to say twenty years ago, the attraction to owning the right boat rather than a second home becomes more compelling.

  • Ask questions and make a note of the naswers to reflect on at your leasure

  • Insist upon a sea trial (or river trial!). This should be at least 20 minutes and up to it's maximum revs.

  • Get copies of service and repairs history as far back as possible. Cross reference by calling the engineer/s.

  • Arrange a survey out of the water with a qualified surveyor.

  • Pay for an experienced engineer to take a look at the engines and give you an opinion.

  • Check with a third party the actual engine service costs, as well as the costs of lifting the boat, changing anodes and antifouling.

  • Do some due diligence on the broke as well as checking their company accounts (Companies House) as you will need to pay money to the broker account if you decide to complete the purchase.

The Buying Process - What To Look Out For

  • Find out a bit more about the brand of the boat. You can find a trove of information online often just be typing in the most detailed search engine phrase in Google. Another good source is nautical forums, such as xyz. Here you will often discover unbiased honest comments and views from boat owners from Scotland to Florida!

  • Find out online if the you can still buy replacement and spare parts for both the boat and the engines, and a sense of prices.

  • Search out if there are any peculiar problems - or advantages - commonly associated with the boat you are considering. Boat owners are usually very happy to share their first hand knowledge with you for free. So make the most of this - it could well save you a lot of headaches later on as well as a lot of money.

  • Cars have mileage - boats have engine hours. With boats, the issue of engine hours is a bit more nuanced. For example, a motor boat with powerful engines used at sea will typically rack up fewer hours than a boat used mainly on inland waterways. Engine hours are important but by no means should they be the key factor in your buying process. What is of greater importance (although difficult to establish) is how the engines have been handled and maintained. All that said, boat buyers DO place relavance on engine hours, especially if they are on the high side in relation to the age of the boat. On coastal waters in the UK, low hours would be in the order of 50 to 60 per annum on average. A ten year old boat with 800 hours or more is typically conidered moderately high. Of course, diesel engines in particular can run trouble free for over 10,000 hours without major work, but only if they are regularly serviced. Conversely a boat with very low engine hours may indicate that it has not been used very often - which in the case of boats is actually not a good thing. Boats are like dogs in this regard - they relish exercise and have considerable stamina.

  • Pay for an experienced engineer to take a look at the engines and give you an opinion.

  • Check with a third party the actual engine service costs, as well as the costs of lifting the boat, changing anodes and antifouling.

  • Do some due diligence on the broke as well as checking their company accounts (Companies House) as you will need to pay money to the broker account if you decide to complete the purchase.