So you’ve bought your boat but now you’ve got to get her berthed. Nick Burn­ham ex­plores the costs in­volved

Motorboat & Yachting - - CONTENTS -

Nick Burn­ham dis­cov­ers the hid­den costs to con­sider when buy­ing a boat

The last fea­ture I wrote in this se­ries con­cerned it­self with what it costs to run a boat like mine an­nu­ally. Ob­vi­ously fees for things like ma­rina berthing will al­ter de­pend­ing on lo­ca­tion, but at least it of­fered one man’s fig­ures on the money re­quired to run a boat for a year.

Af­ter­wards, it struck me that there’s an­other cost which is sel­dom talked about but worth ex­plor­ing, and that is, what does it ac­tu­ally cost to buy a boat? And by that I don’t mean how much boats cost. I mean, aside from the price of the ac­tual boat, what are the costs in­volved in go­ing from ‘I’d like to buy a boat’ to hav­ing one bob­bing up and down in your berth?

Ob­vi­ously th­ese fig­ures will vary de­pend­ing on a whole host of fac­tors, from how big the boat you’re buy­ing is to the level of risk you’re com­fort­able with and the lo­ca­tion of your new pur­chase rel­a­tive to where you wish to keep it. But this was the cost break­down for me, and if you’re think­ing of tak­ing the plunge at least this will give you some idea of num­bers, and maybe high­light a few you hadn’t con­sid­ered.

The very first thing you’ll be­gin spend­ing money on is look­ing at boats. Be­yond hours spent on the In­ter­net and brows­ing the bro­ker­age and clas­si­fied ads in MBY, I phys­i­cally trav­elled to look at prob­a­bly a dozen boats in to­tal, none of which were lo­cal to me in South Devon. Trips to Poole and Southamp­ton were a day’s drive away so maybe £50-£100 in mileage each time de­pend­ing on whether you’re al­low­ing for just costs of fuel or to­tal car run­ning costs. Boats fur­ther away in­cluded a trip to Ire­land and a jour­ney to Nor­folk, the lat­ter be­ing the boat I bought (in fact I looked at two on the same trip). It’s hard to put an ex­act to­tal on travel costs, but £500 in to­tal is a fair es­ti­mate.


Hav­ing cho­sen the boat and agreed a fig­ure with the owner via the bro­ker, it was time to get the boat in­spected. I am par­tic­u­larly risk averse, so al­though I felt pretty con­fi­dent about the boat, I chose not only to have a sur­vey, but also com­mis­sion a sep­a­rate en­gine and out­drive in­spec­tion by a Volvo Penta dealer, in­clud­ing a com­pres­sion test and oil anal­y­sis. In fact, de­spite a hull sur­vey be­ing more com­mon, I’d ar­gue that the me­chan­i­cal in­spec­tion is ev­ery bit as im­por­tant – se­ri­ous en­gine is­sues can prove even more costly than se­ri­ous hull is­sues. Nat­u­rally, as the buyer th­ese costs are down to me, as is the cost of the crane lift in or­der for the surveyor to check be­neath the wa­ter­line and the engi­neers the out­drive. The sur­vey cost was £405, the en­gine in­spec­tion £367 and the crane lift £146


With a few is­sues found and a slight rene­go­ti­a­tion of the price tak­ing place, the pur­chase was com­pleted leav­ing me with the cost of get­ting the boat home.

Had it been on the South Coast I could have mo­tored it home, but since it was on the East Coast, whilst still tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble, it was time pro­hib­i­tive so I opted to road trans­port the boat back.

My last boat was able to be trail­ered and it cost £280 to have it moved from Poole to Torquay. In this in­stance not only was the dis­tance far greater, the boat was too big to trailer, mean­ing a spe­cialised truck had to be used. To­tal cost (in­clud­ing an­other crane lift onto the truck) was a more se­ri­ous £1,500.

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