Guide to buying your first boat in Norfolk

Posted on by Beyond Bespoke

Your first boat, whether it’s a luxury yacht or a fishing boat, should inspire a real passion, and the Norfolk Broads are the ideal place to become familiar with the waterways.  Due to Norfolk’s famously flat landscape, the Broads offer lock-free waterways, making navigation simple, which is great for first time buyers and those looking to enjoy an unencumbered cruise.

Buying a pre-owned boat can also be great benefit for first-time boat buyers because it can help keep costs as low as possible while you become familiar with handling your boat on the waterways. But there is a lot to do before getting to that point. From choosing which type of boat you want and deciding on a budget to checking the boat’s history, here are six useful tips to help you buy your first pre-owned boat.

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(Photo credit: Broom Boats)

Tip 1: Be aware of what type of boat you’re buying.
With so many types of boat available, it is important to know what you will require. Options can range between cruising and travel, fishing boats, boats for sports and more, so when picking which types to view, make sure that they will suit your needs.
Knowing which type of boat you want and how you will use it can make the process of finding your perfect boat much smoother, because even similar types can vary greatly. For instance, if you’re planning to spend a short time on the river, perhaps for quick get-away trips, a single engine boat would be ideal. Whilst these are suitable for cruising on large rivers on shorter journeys, larger motor yachts feature more of an open area and luxury living accommodations (such as two decks, larger open areas, etc.) ideal for long-term adventuring.
No matter what type of boat you’re looking for, viewings and test drives are essential before buying. Arrive early to ensure the seller doesn’t warm up the engine, so there are no hidden surprises next time you try to start up the boat.

Tip 2: Decide on a budget.
When buying a boat, it is important to consider annual and upfront costs alongside the value of the boat itself. If issues occur such as a leaking hull, cabin leaks, rot, issues with electrical systems or engine failure, it is advisable to keep some money spare to cover any emergency repairs.
As a guide, first-time buyers should also keep in mind that mooring, maintenance, and insurance may cost around 10% of the value of their boat. This is unlikely to be a small amount, which is why it can be a good idea to take this into consideration when deciding on your overall budget.
In addition to this, your boat will need protecting during the winter months and may require extra maintenance to avoid the risk of mould, freezing and engine failure.

Tip 3: Environmental/National Park awareness.
The Norfolk Broads has been a National Park since 1988 and is committed to sustainable tourism. For buyers who are conscious of their “footprint”, a good way to reduce noise pollution and benefit other waterway users is by looking for vessels that can use alternative types of fuel, or by buying an electric-powered boat. Although, it is wise to note that whilst new green and hybrid tech is being developed, boats are a long way behind cars and converting a boat to be more eco-friendly can be expensive.
The Norfolk Broads are known for fresh water, so maintenance for your boat of choice might be as simple as a fresh water wash down after each use. Environmentally friendly cleaning products are available choosing phosphate-free detergents and washing up liquids can help maintain water quality and reduce pollution.
Boats need a great deal of upkeep and maintenance which is why you should check your local marina for more information when disposing of engine fluids and components. Used oil, batteries and other chemicals that are deemed hazardous can be recycled or contained at boatyard waste facilities.

Tip 4: Keep it simple.
As it is your first boat it is important to keep things simple. While the prospect of restoring a boat might sound like an exciting and romantic idea, it can be very daunting and expensive, especially for a beginner. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make the odd modification, but don’t take it too far or you may spend more time working on your boat than enjoying it!
To make the purchase as simple as possible, be sure to do your research and make sure you choose the right dealer. After all, having a good relationship can make it easier for you to get support when you need help with maintenance, adjustments, or improvements.

Tip 5: Check your boats previous record.
A boats record will need to be examined once every four years. Most boats require BSS (Boat Safety Scheme) which is a public safety initiative owned by Canal and River Trust and the Environment Agency. Its purpose is to help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions or pollution which harms wildlife.
All vessels must be registered with the Environment Agency waterways. The seller of the boat cannot recommend a surveyor as all surveyors are independently qualified and this may affect the results. The details will record the boats current condition and can be useful when arranging boat insurance.
Once you’ve done your research, considered extra costs, sought advice from professionals and had your vessel surveyed, you’ll soon be cruising along the Norfolk Broads in a boat that suits your needs and inspires a passion within you.

Happy Boating!

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