Power Boat Buyer’s Guide

If you are looking to buy a power boat, a bit of background knowledge is essential, especially if it is the first time you have bought a boat. Doing your homework will help you make the right decision and ensure that you get the perfect boat for you. There are a number of practical considerations you need to make to get your started, such as what you will use the boat for, how large you need the vessel to be, your budget, and whether you will be buying new or used.

When it comes to buying your power boat it is worth trying to visiting one of the boat shows in order to speak to experts and shop around: there are many held each year with the largest being London in January and Southampton in September. If you are unable to attend you should do as much research as possible by searching online and reading boating publications.

Power boat hulls

One of the most important considerations is what you are planning to use the vessel for, as this will help you to choose the right boat to suit your lifestyle. To narrow down your search it is worth looking at the basic principles of hull design.

There are three main types of hull:


When considering purchasing a power boat it is important that you take into account the annual running costs of running a boat such as marina fees, engine servicing, maintenance, fuel, harbour dues and power boat insurance.

New Power Boat Pros New Power Boat Cons Used Power Boat Pros Used Power Boat Cons
Good financing options Rapid depreciation early on Purchase cost is less than new Financing options may not be as good
Warranty protection Purchase cost Usually much better equipped Warranty may not be included
Choose the specification to suit your needs Equipement will be extra Less depreciation Specification as seen

Buying a new power boat

Boat In Marina

If you are buying a new boat you have the option of buying direct from a manufacturer or via an authorised dealer or agent. If the manufacturer is not based in the UK then it is likely that they will have a UK agent you can contact.

You should always ensure that you receive a builder's certificate, and that the boat is built and equipped to Boat Safety Scheme standards. You should always make sure that sea trials are included as part of any contract you sign as it is important that you try the boat before you buy it.

Buying a used power boat

When buying a used boat you can either do so using a broker or through a private sale. Whichever option you choose it is important that you go for a number of viewings and look out for things such as:

  • Indentations in the hull

  • Oil leaks

  • Damage to the propellers and rudder

  • Sign of corrosion on metal hulls

  • Signs of damp

Find out as much as you can about the boat before you make an offer, such as the history of the boat, outstanding mortgages, how long the boat has been for sale, and whether it has been in any accidents. Once you have done your visual inspection and background checks it is vital that you partake in a sea trial to see how the boat actually runs and handles.

sold sign on power boat


Making the purchase

Once you have narrowed down your search and found a number of power boats you are interested in you should arrange viewings and get a surveyor to inspect each vessel, including the hull. If any works are required on a boat you can either insist the work is done and paid for by the vendor or have the price reduced accordingly. If the vendor does not agree to these options you can withdraw from the sale and have your deposit returned.

Registering your power boat

When purchasing a power boat it is important that you declare it on the appropriate registers which record the details and ownership history of the vessel.

  • The British Register of Shipping - Private yachts and power boats bought with a marine mortgage are required to be registered by most finance companies.

  • The Small Ships Register - It is advisable but not mandatory to register a pleasure boat up to 24 metres long with the Small Ships Register. This is important if you plan to take the boat abroad as it proves the boat's nationality.

  • Safety Identification Scheme - By registering your boat with the UK coastguard your details will be available to Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres throughout the UK.

Purchase the right power boat insurance

Once you have bought your boat it is important that you get it insured as soon as possible so that you are covered should anything happen.

At Towergate we offer four different levels of power boat insurance so you can choose a cover to suit you. If you would like more information on the different policy types we offer, call us on 0344 892 1987 to speak to a specialist power boat insurance adviser.

About the author

Adam Summersby is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.