Essential Questions To Ask When Buying and New or Used Boat
It is a good idea to decide before viewing any boat that you will not buy the first boat you see, or even on the same day you see it. The initial viewing should be part one of a sequence of events to ensure the boat you fancy is really the one for you.
The first view. If it is a new boat, your first visit will probably be to look over the boat and others in the same range. You will want to find out about optional extras, colours, delivery lead times, warranty, part exchange (if applicable) and payment terms, as well as price.
A used boat should be checked out for condition; identify any rectification, repairs or improvement work that might need to be done, confirm the asking price and payment terms, and decide if, having examined the boat, you want a sea trial.
The sea trial. If you can take the boat out the first day you see it, so much the better. If not, arrange another time for a sea trial. You have to know how the boat handles on the water.
If it is a power boat, it is good if the engine is cold and not already warmed up when you are taking it out. It could be that it is difficult to start or it may smoke a lot from cold, and with an already-warm engine it is impossible to tell.
Check the boat's steering and handling capabilities at slow speeds, in confined situations. If it is a sea-going boat, see how much it rolls and pitches, taking waves of different sizes at alternative angles; and if it is a planing boat, check how quickly and easily it gets on the plane. Make a mental note of the sea conditions a boat's performance is relative to the sea condition in which it is operating.
If it is a sailing boat, try different points of sail, sailing into and away from the wind and check the boat's manoeuvrability, stability and performance of the sails and rigging under load. Also check how the boat performs on the engine. At the end of the sea trial, re-examine the bilges, engine compartment and the boat generally for any evidence of oil or water leaks.
Remember also to check used boats for title, charges and theft. "The single most important thing you need, if your boat is a post-1985 model, is proof of payment of VAT," says Donal McClement. "If VAT is paid in one member state, it is considered paid in all member states." Proof of VAT payment can take the form of the original invoice or VAT receipt: "It's unlikely that people would have the VAT receipt, though, as it would come from the original dealer," says Donal. "However, liability rests with the buyer if no proof of payment is provided."
With a used boat there are some checks and information gathering that you should carry out. These checks concern EU RCD compliance, validation of Hull Indentification Number (HIN) number, Declaration of Conformity, the aforementioned evidence of VAT compliance and searches for finance outstanding.
Again, according to Donal at Crosshaven, the CE plate/stamp on the boat is vitally important, so make sure it's there.
When you've seen evidence of build and VAT compliance, and have all of the information that you need to carry out your basic security checks, you should take some time to 'think about it' and get these checks done.
Assuming the boat passes your essential security checks, and that this boat is definitely the one for you, arrange for a professional surveyor to examine the boat. Use a reputable surveyor.