The Buying Process

Boat Sold SignThe Buying Process – from Offer to Completion

The most difficult part for most people is actually finding the boat they wish to buy! Once you have done this and have got an “Under Offer” agreement, the rest should be “plain sailing”. The procedure moves quickly and before you know it, you are the proud owner of your narrowboat.

The process which in reality is simpler than it looks when you see it all written down, will go something like this:


We will agree the purchase price with you, on behalf of our seller. You will need to satisfy us that you will have

access to funds to complete the purchase within two weeks. For example, if you are buying with proceeds from

the sale of your house then you must have formally exchanged contracts with an imminent completion date agreed.

For your own protection, we recommend you make your offer “subject to survey” and “subject to current BSS

compliance”. Once your offer to purchase has been accepted we will be happy to arrange a test drive if required.


We will ask you to countersign a letter setting out the terms of the deal, to form the sale agreement between us.


We do not normally require an initial purchase deposit. What we do ask for, as a “gesture of good faith”, is the

standard cost of the dry docking and pre-purchase survey. We hold this on your behalf and use it for discharging

the accounts. A 10% deposit will be required after your survey has been carried out and before any works/repairs are

commenced. The same level of deposit will be required on the day your offer is accepted if you are buying without a

survey and we expect you to complete the purchase within 1 week of your offer being accepted.


Second-hand boats are sold without warranty. It is our strong recommendation you have a full pre-purchase “out of

the water” survey. This will be a must if your purchase is subject to marine finance.

You are free to instruct any surveyor of your choosing; alternatively, we can suggest suitable surveyors with whom

we have no financial relationship and who will act purely in your own interests. Always make sure your surveyor is

suitably qualified and has adequate liability insurance cover. All the surveyors on our list are so qualified and insured.


We aim to have arranged the survey within 7 – 10 days and would normally expect you to complete your purchase

within 1 week after you receive your surveyors report.


If you require a new BSS Certificate, we can arrange this on your behalf and there will be an additional charge.


Very few companies now offer finance for inland boat purchases but those that do may be found in waterways

newspapers and magazines.


You also need to immediately set about arranging insurance. A good comprehensive policy needs to cover third

party liability and other risks such as own damage, fire & theft and boat contents, and this needs to be in place by

purchase completion.


Once you have bought your boat and before you can go cruising you will need a licence from Canal and River Trust.

The cost of this depends on the length of your boat.  Boat licenses are not transferable and on purchase of your

narrowboat you will need to apply for a new one. You will need a Licence if you keep your boat anywhere

on the canal system, including a Marina.


In his report your surveyor will note items requiring attention. In any used boat more than a couple of years old

there are bound to be some of these, and most will be minor or purely cosmetic. Generally, you are “buying as seen”

and you have to accept these. However, should a serious defect be discovered that affects the Boat Safety or Insurance,

he will separately identify these, the cost of which we will endeavour to negotiate with the owner.


To effect completion, you will need to pay by bank electronic transfer to our Brokerage Client Account. Details of this

Account will be provided on our purchase Invoice.

As soon as we have received the money the boat is legally yours and we will issue you with a receipted invoice. It may

take a little while for the formal Bill of Sale to be completed by our seller; this will be your only legal proof of ownership

(There is no central registry of ownership like there is for housing or cars) so look after it!


If we have agreed a mooring for you in the marina, your boat will be moved to its berth. If you are mooring elsewhere

then we are happy to offer a few days’(up to a maximum of 7 days) grace for you to collect and take her away.

After this our temporary mooring charge will be applied. Should you wish to have a blacking, the engine serviced,

or some repairs or modifications/improvements carried out before you move off, then we will be pleased to quote.