Rigiflex Boat


How do you go about buying a boat?

So you are thinking about buying a boat! But how do you go about buying a boat? Where do you start?

You need to ask yourself several questions.

  • What do I want to do with the boat?
  • What is my budget?
  • New or Used?
  • Where can I store the boat?
  • Do I need any qualifications to drive a boat?
  • What safety equipment do I need
  • What will I need to buy when I have a boat?

What do i want to do with that boat?

Are you looking for a leisure boat, speed boat, racing boat etc? Do you need something for a beginner or are you an experienced sailor? Are you planning on using the boat for inland or offshore journeys? If offshore, will this be sailing around the coast or going further afield such as day trips to France? Do you need overnight accommodation on board, or will you be using the boat purely for day trips?

All these above questions are essential to think about when choosing a boat. Write down your plans and what you will need from a boat. For example, if you plan to sail across to France etc you will need a large fuel tank than if you are going to be pottering around the coast. Your storage requirements will be different if you purchase a small dinghy, compared to a 30ft yacht.

Recreational Craft Directive (Read the overview)

In June 1998 the European Union (EU) initiated a Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) which introduced minimum standards that new boats built within the EU or imported into it have to meet. This directive applies to all pleasure boats with a hull length of more than 2.50 metres but less than 24.00 metres, and it divides the boats into four categories of sea going suitability. This can only be used as a guide as they give minimum standards only. Note that January 2005 saw an amendment to this directive come into effect. For more detailed information about this directive please go to www.dti.gov.uk/strd/recreat.html.

The Categories as laid down by the 1998 Directive are as follows:

A OCEAN: Designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed wind force 8 (Beaufort scale) and significant wave heights of 4 m and above, and vessels largely self-sufficient.

B OFFSHORE: Designed for offshore voyages where conditions up to, and including, wind force 8 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 4 m may be experienced.

C INSHORE: Designed for voyages in coastal waters, large bays, estuaries, lakes and rivers where conditions up to, and including, wind force 6 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 2 m may be experienced.

D SHELTERED WATERS: Designed for voyages on small lakes, rivers, and canals where conditions up to, and including, wind force 4 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 0.5 m may be experienced.

What is my budget for buying a boat?

It could cost you just £300 for a second-hand dinghy, and a few thousand for a good second-hand yacht. If you are willing to spend some time and money refurbishing a boat you could get a cheap wooden boat for little money. They are cheaper than fibreglass boats but the latter take less maintenance. Classified advertisements in sailing magazines or on the web are a good source of information and will give you an idea of prices you will be expected to pay.

Contacting your local (or local to where you are going to sail) sailing club would provide a great source of information and can often provide mooring services, boat maintenance facilities and parts at much reduced prices.

At the end of the day, you can have as much fun in a boat costing £200 as you can in one costing £200,000

Buy a new boat or a used boat?

Buying a new boat is not a simple matter – it’s not like going down the garage and buying a new car, it is more like buying a new house – there are always a few niggles after you move in that need to be sorted. Expect the same sort of niggles when buying a new boat. There is a lot of human involvement in the building of a boat, whether it is a speed boat or large yacht. This can possibly arise in small problems occurring during the build. However, if you want to buy a new boat, you can of course specify exactly what you want on the boat and its name.

If you are first-timer at buying a boat make sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to buy if you are buying a new boat. You will possibly be buying something that is yet to be built and boat salesmen can try to get away with confusing you will what you think you are getting, and what he wishes to sell you.

Make sure you know whether the company you are dealing is the boat builder, the builder’s dealer or an agent representing either of these two companies. It is important to know this as the company with whom you have the contract is the company responsible for any warranty claims. This may cause problems if they are not situated close to where you plan to store the boat.

You can pick up some excellent used boats at good prices. Search the web or boat brokerage companies to see what is available. Again, make sure that you know exactly what you are purchasing, including any extras. BE ADVISED IF BUYING A USED BOAT TAKE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS ABOUT BOATS AND ENGINES WITH YOU. Advisably have a survey done on the boat; bubbles in the gel coat could mean osmosis (WALK AWAY!!!)

Always ask why a boat has been antifouled. Sometimes it is because they are trying to hide a repair, likewise if the whole boat has been painted.

Always ask if the boat has had any repairs. You will find you can pick up some real bargains second hand, only if the have been looked after.

If the boat comes with a trailer make sure it is legal to use it. Boats of a certain weight must have a braked trailer. Check the bearings. Always ask for any history / documentation and a receipt, (the history on second had boats is very rare, but great to have)

Agree a delivery date and when you are responsible for the boat. Check out the website www.stolenboats.org.uk – this is an online database of stolen boats and marine equipment. All the information on the website is provided by the marine Insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer.

Where do I store the boat?

Obviously the larger the boat the more problems and expense there can be with storage. Small dinghies can be towed behind a standard car on a trailer, and then stored in a garage. Larger dinghies, or RIBs, or yachts will need storage elsewhere, e.g. boat storage yard, or marina.

Do I need qualifications to drive a boat?

There are no legal requirements for anyone to have training or any qualifications. However it is strongly advised to go on a RYA (Link) training course. This not only helps you become a competent helmsman but you will receive a qualification that is recognised and can bring your insurance down. Prices start from £99 for a days powerboat training.

What safety equipment do i need for my boat?

As with any new undertaking safety should be number one. We recommend the following items as essential safety equipment.

A paddle
An anchor and rope
First aid kit
Fire extinguisher
Life jacket 150n (not a buoyancy aid 50n)

What will I need to buy when I have a boat?

You will need to consider what type of boating you are going to do. The main starting equipment would be as follows.

Rope (warps)
Appropriated clothing (the weather can change very quickly)
Tide times
A chart of your area
Spare fuel