How to buy a new boat: Everything you need to know about brokers, dealers and yards

In most cases buying a new boat involves a boat dealer who is a distributor for a certain brand or brands. However, with lower volume yards or brands who build bespoke boats you may deal directly with the manufacturer.

If the boat is already in stock the process is similar to buying a new car from a dealership. You usually put down a deposit to reserve the boat, an invoice is raised and the final balance is paid on handover.

If the boat isn’t in stock and has to be built to order you enter into a sale and purchase agreement which lays out a build schedule and what happens if the purchaser can’t make payment or if there is an issue during the build process.

On larger boats, payments tend to be taken in stages, most commonly three but it can be more.

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This usually starts with a deposit, stage payments becoming due either on agreed dates or at certain points during the build process, for example when the deck is joined to the hull or before a high-cost part of the build such as installing the engines or other expensive components.

The final balance is paid before delivery. You may want to consider employing a marine solicitor to help you through the legal process of this on a bigger boat and make sure your payments are properly accounted for.

How to buy a new boat on finance

You don’t have to buy a new boat outright, you can use finance and the most popular way of doing this is with a boat mortgage.

Since the 2008 financial crash there are fewer players in this sector than there used to be and most are only interested in lending to businesses or towards the purchase of larger, more expensive boats.

There are some companies out there that will lend smaller amounts of money, though, even sub-£25,000. A boat loan works in much the same way as a property mortgage with fixed and variable rate loans available, but the APR rates tend to be a little higher and the repayment terms usually have a 10-15 year maximum.

First published in the May 2021 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting. Our How to start boating series is brought to you in association with Pantaenius.

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