Buying a Boat: A Complete Guide To Buying a Boat

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Boating is an exciting and enjoyable hobby for many people. Whether you have always dreamed of owning a boat or are considering purchasing one for the first time, there are several important factors to consider before buying. 

This guide will provide all the information you need to know about buying a boat.

Identifying Your Boating Needs

Determining precisely what kind of boat will best suit your needs and the needs of the people you intend to bring along for the voyage is the first and most crucial stage in the boat-buying process. What kinds of activities you desire to engage in on the water usually dictate those demands and wants.

After considering your motivation to be on the water, focus on your options. Additionally, you may be curious to find out upfront how much owning a boat would cost. Your decision to purchase a yacht is the first significant step. You deserve congratulations! Here are some pointers and advice to assist in guiding your thoughts.

Use our boat viewing scorecard to help you narrow down your ideal boat selection, and make use of our helpful checklist and purchase tips:

  1. Choose your boat type and budget.
  2. Choose if you want to purchase new or secondhand.
  3. Look through hundreds of listings on websites such as Ignition Marine, consult a broker, or visit a yacht show.
  4. Reduce your options and make a shortlist of your favorites (you may use the checklist we’ve provided below to assist you).
  5. Make plans to see your selections.
  6. Do a survey and a sea trial before making a purchase.
  7. Negotiate and close the deal.

Dos and Don’ts for First-time Boat Buyers

Here are some dos and don’ts as well as advice from us, as there are a lot of things we would do differently if we could go back in time:

1.Focus on your needs.

Boats are personal. One owner’s priorities could not be another’s. Therefore, focus on your own needs and try not to let other people’s opinions get in the way of your own. When buying a boat, you must put your wants and preferences first, especially in a thriving nautical center like Vancouver.

Finding the ideal boat for your boating excursions requires thorough research and consideration of the possibilities accessible among boats for sale in Vancouver.

2.Consider the type of sailing you intend to perform both now and in the future. 

Are you going to sail the boat farther? Will you be racing, living on board, cruising the coast, or traveling across oceans?

3.Consider the starting point of your quest.

There’s a large world out there, so can you search further, or do you need to restrict yourself to a specific area? For instance, it’s said that you may pick up a reliable blue-water cruiser through the Panama Canal from someone who has chosen not to do the Pacific crossing!

4.As many boats as you can, board them.

That will assist you in forming an understanding of what matters most to you, whether that is to sail them or just observe.

5.Is there a boat you can sail easily with two crew members or even by yourself?

We must determine this variable early on because it impacts many things, such as the size, rig configuration, equipment, number of bunks required, self-steering and tacking gear, etc. Stick to your guns; many more boats are available than customers. Don’t stray too far from your essentials.

6.Avoid overextending yourself.

Boats DRINK cash. You can definitely increase your contingency by two or three times if you want to handle things pleasantly (and with rum)!

7.Examine all of the internal components 

Inspect the engine, rig, sails, electrics, keel, rudder, safety equipment, and renewable energy sources. Try your best to complete your survey. Never leave a locker unlocked! Take pictures of everything and ask questions.


I once heard from a former yacht broker that the best bargains happen when both the seller and the buyer think they could have made a little bit more money.

A boat loses value over time. It will devour your time and drink your money. There are no two ways about it, so set reasonable expectations for the “investment” (which is actually a depreciating asset and ongoing costs associated with doing what you love, not an investment).

What to Look for When Buying a Boat

It’s critical to start by limiting the number of essentials you have. Knowing the non-negotiables up front will make it much easier to balance “nice to have” items, while there may still be some concessions along the way, particularly if money is tight.

It was crucial to us that the boat wouldn’t be a barrier. We desired a strong female! Medium/heavy displacement, dependable engine, well-thought-out sail plan, renewable energy sources, and cozy living quarters (as full-time liveaboards) characterize this robust bluewater cruiser.

Not being constrained by the boat also applied to spending and technology. We knew choosing a boat with all the extra bells and whistles would raise the risk of malfunctions and ultimately result in higher operating and maintenance costs.

So here are a few things to think about when narrowing down your essential items:

  • Bluewater cruiser or coastal cruiser? 
  • A racer or a cruiser or a racer/cruiser or a cruiser/racer? 
  • Older or newer? 
  • How many cabins?
  • Which would you prefer—more time at anchor or in a marina? Considering ground tackle, water tanks, batteries, and renewable energy sources will be crucial.
  • Aft cockpit or center cockpit? 
  • Skeg-hung rudder?  
  • Deck saloon or coach saloon? 
  • Sloop, cutter, or ketch rig?
  • Fully battened slab reef mainsail or in-mast furling? 
  • Fin keel, wing keel or bilge keel? 
  • 32 feet, 45 feet, or 50 feet?  What size of boat is right for you?

Questions to Ask the Seller/Broker When Buying a Boat

Before buying a boat, it’s essential to ask the seller or broker some key questions to ensure you’re making a smart purchase. Here’s a list of important questions to guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision.


  • How long has the seller owned the boat, and what is the reason for the sale?
  • How and when was the boat last used on a regular basis?
  • What is the duration since the photos were taken?
  • When was the last survey? Are any available from the last ten years?
  • Is the boat ashore or afloat?
  • If the broker obtained the boat through a broker, when did they last see it?
  • Is the seller debt-free and the only owner of the boat?
  • Ask for an equipment list with dates, makes, and models (if available) if at all possible.
  • Do details regarding the maintenance history? You could inquire about opinions regarding the overall state.
  • How many hours has the engine been used for?
  • What is the annual cost of ownership?
  • Has osmosis ever presented any problems?
  • What documentation is available to support ownership and the status of having paid taxes or VAT?
  • What would be the next improvements made to the yacht if the owner decided to keep it?
  • Would the owner be prepared to do a sea trial with you?
  • What about the yacht appeals to you the most? Least?
  • Has the gasoline or water tank been replaced recently?
  • Has there ever been an accident or grounding of the boat?
  • Which boat equipment is now out of commission?

Ready to Buy Your Dream Boat?

Now is the perfect moment to savor your acquisition. Enjoy yourself while you’re out on the water now and in the coming months and years. Regular maintenance, such as scheduled maintenance or routine washing and waxing, is essential to maintaining your boat’s optimal performance and enjoyment.

Increasing your boating expertise is another, which you can do online or by researching on Google and asking questions to an expert like Ignition Marine. Kindle an enthusiasm for boating that will endure a lifetime and create lasting memories.

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Amara Elvita
Amara Elvita
Amara Elvita is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her boundless imagination and passion for storytelling make her a gifted writer.