Maybe you’ve only just decided you’d like to own a boat. Perhaps boat ownership has been a lifetime’s dream, and now you’re ready to make it happen. Either way, choosing boat share rather than buying a craft outright might bring your dream a whole lot closer, and do it in a much more sensible, considered way. Here’s how it works.
Boat sharing vs boat buying
How much is the boat you want to buy? A yacht can cost anything from £25,000 for a really small second hand model to multiple millions. In fact the world’s most expensive yacht actually cost more like a billion and a half, namely the Eclipse, owned by Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich. That’s expensive even in luxury yacht terms, a sum of money very few people have hidden under their mattress!
The alternative, perfect for boat lovers who don’t have a few cool million or hundreds of millions salted away, is boat share. In our experience it’s a really good, sensible way to identify whether you might want to eventually buy a yacht of your own, and to enjoy the water without having to take sole responsibility for the craft. It means you can own a boat for a fraction of the cost of buying one. You save money by sharing the upkeep and maintenance of the boat. And you meet all sorts of interesting new people to sail with.
Things to think about – Boat buying basics
As a first time boat owner, it’s vital to make the best choice of boat, which means it makes sense to know what you’re looking for before you start looking. In that respect boat share is just like boat purchase. The first thing we recommend is that you think good and hard about what you want, and why, and make a list of ideal features.
There are literally hundreds of types of power boats, everything from rigid inflatable boats, also called RIBs, to the ultimate in luxury cruising. As a rule power boats are faster than sailboats, but also cost a lot more in maintenance and fuel. There are also all sorts of sailing boats to choose from. Do you want to go far and fast or not so far at a more leisurely pace?
Do you want to use the boat to explore inland waters, popular with young families because it’s generally safer? Or do you see yourself out on the ocean wave, with the tides and other navigation challenges to overcome? Will you take children with you, or will it be adults-only? How many people do you want to sleep? Do you love cooking on the ocean waves, so need a really well-equipped galley?
Coastal sailing is more demanding than inland. But do you want to go on day trips or will you be out on the ocean for days or even weeks? The bigger and better equipped the cabin boat, the more comfortable your voyages will be. Modern boats provide a real home from home, and some offer the ultimate in luxurious accommodation.
Steps to buying a boat outright
Buying a boat outright is a big responsibility, involving a great many steps. Think of it as similar to buying a house and you get the picture. The process involves:
- Deciding what you want your boat for before you start looking
- Decide on a budget including additional costs like mooring fees, marina fees, fuel, slipping fees, winter storage fees and more
- Talk to experts – a good boat broker will be happy to go over the details with you
- Create a shortlist of suitable makes and models
- Arrange viewings, taking an experienced boat buyer with you if you possibly can
- If you’re buying via a broker they’ll provide the contract, a Sale & Purchase Agreement to be signed by the seller and buyer and a legally binding document
- If you need yacht finance, you’ll need to set aside a few weeks for them to get their act together. The money must be available at the completion stage
- You’ll need to pay a deposit of at least 10%
- You must arrange a survey with a registered yacht surveyor, who will confirm the boat’s condition and give you the information you need to insure your new craft
- Read the survey carefully and if there’s something you don’t like, withdraw under the terms of the contract, ask for a drop in the price, or get the vendor to make any necessary repairs and replacements
- Let your broker know early on if you want to actually test the boat on the water – you’ll have to pay any slipway lifting or skipper’s fees
- Check the inventory is complete and the broker has received the title documents, including the VAT paperwork
- Let the money transfer and clear before completion, after which the broker gives you all the documentation, including the Bill of Sale that transfers the boat’s title from the seller to you
- Don’t forget to insure the craft before you take possession
How does boat share work?
Boat share tends to be simpler to arrange. In a boat sharing contract the vessel is owned by the people in the syndicate, and each owner owns an equal fraction of the boat. If there are three of you, you can arrange to own a third of the vessel each. Or, if some of you have more funds than the rest, you might choose unequal ownership.
You can choose to have an organisation like us handle the boat’s management, or manage it yourself if you and the other owners are so inclined, taking full responsibility for organising maintenance and managing the accounts. If you prefer the ‘walk on walk off’ approach, with minimal responsibility, the former will probably suit you best.
The boat you share will have a booking calendar associated with it, so you and the other owners can schedule in your usage in advance. Every boat share business has its own terms and conditions – you can find ours here.