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The Much Asked Question Answered! Buy New Or Used?

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Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 4:02pm

A Brand New Narrow boat Or A Used Narrow boat?

Buying a narrow boat is a big investment and careful consideration should be given to what type of boat will be right for you. Just like when you buy a house you have the choice of a new build or a home that has already been lived in.

It’s down to personal choice which road you choose, some people like the idea of having a bespoke brand new home whilst others like character and are happy to make any alternations necessary to make it home.

The cost for either option will vary depending on the length, specification, condition, boat builder, age and other factors. So the best thing to do is once you know the length and style of boat you are interested in is to obtain quotes from the boat builders for the new builds and then compare online prices for the used boats, this will then give you some figures to work on.

There are basically too many variations of boats for sale to give you a guide figure for every option.

However in general terms this may help;

New Build; A simple 20 foot cruiser may start at under £25,000, a 70 foot narrow boat fully equipped to a high standard would cost well over £130,000.

Used Boat; Can be purchased from as little as £10,000 and depending on the specification can be as much as £90,000.

In this article we will look at the benefits of each and hopefully give you an idea which road to go down!

New Narrow boats

There are many boat builders in the UK offering their services to build you a new boat. You need to do some serious research if you decide you want to employee a boat builder to build the boat of your dreams.

Narrow Boat

Start by looking for a company that is well established, knowledgeable, experienced and also has a catalogue of clients. Ask them for references, do they provide after sales support and don’t be shy ask any other questions that will help you decide if you want to work with them on your project.

Our advice is to visit as many boat builders as possible this way you can see some of the projects they are already working on and meet some of their current clients. This way you will get a true picture about the company and the workmanship from someone who has already used the company.

Narrow Boat

It is important to have a good relationship with the boat builder as you will be working together with them for period of time and you will need to be able to express your design ideas and specification plans. For a boat builder to meet your expectations and demands this will require good communication from both parties.

There are 3 different levels of build you can buy:


• Complete Build
• Shell Only
• Sailaway

Get as many quotes as you can and remember that a quality build may cost you more initially, but in the long run you will have a boat that has been built to the highest standard and will not depreciate as quickly as the poorer built ones. Look at as many websites as possible to gain as much information about the boat builders as possible before you make a decision on which builder to use.

Used Narrow Boats

So onto the used boat option, there is plenty of choice out there so don’t buy the first one you see make sure you see as many different boats as possible. You will be able to buy a used boat from a private seller or through a brokerage company.

Narrow Boat

If you use a brokerage company you will be able to view and compare many boats all in one location. This is a great way of seeing a lot of different boats all available at the same time; it also helps cut down travel time which you will have if you are viewing a lot of privately sold boats which may not all be near to you. Use the broker’s website to make a list of the boats you want to view before visiting and write a list of questions to take with you.

Any good brokerage company will be willing to answer any questions you may have and help you when making a purchase. At the end of the day that is what they are there for; to buy and sell narrow boats!

Again when choosing a brokerage company check their history, how long have they been trading, how many boats do they have at the marina, can they supply testimonials from clients?

Narrow Boat Interior

If the brokerage company doesn’t currently have the type of boat you are looking for, you can ask to join a mailing list if they have one so you can be notified by email if a boat matching your requirements comes into the marina to be sold.

Another good point about buying a used narrow boat from a brokerage company is they will be able to help and advise you when it comes to having the boat surveyed, getting insurance, quoting for any additional work that may be needed and help with mooring advice.

Which Road Will You Take?

Which ever road you take,, be prepared for a few bumps along the way, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, just like when you buy a house. However if you do your homework, and work with experienced knowledgeable companies they will make the journey as bump free as possible!

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