How To Buy A Boat

The Isle of Man is blessed with an abundance of naturally stunning coastline as well as some great sea life. As well as being a world renowned location for watching the second biggest fish in the sea, the Basking Shark, Manx waters are also frequently visited by many species of marine mammal. Perhaps most excitingly there has been an increase in Killer Whale sightings in recent years. It’s no surprise then that a lot of people would like to own a boat on the island. Buying a boat should be a very simple task, well you’d hope so anyway, however there are a couple of things to look out for.

1. Make sure you get a receipt from the person selling the boat. Of course this sounds like common sense but how many people when buying a second hand car think of getting a receipt? It’s really important when buying a boat because it seems there can be some delay in getting the paperwork dealt with at the government and having this (as well as the “keep this” part of the logbook) clears up any ownership issues. As the new owner it is your responsibility to let the Harbours division know of any change of ownership (There is actually a form for this that you can get from any of the harbour masters offices)

2. Service history. It’s a small island with only a few marine dealers. If somebody selling a boat claims an engine has had a recent service it takes no time at all to check on it, how, when, what. Boats are generally not cheap and whilst this may feel a little like snooping it also has the added bonus of allowing you to introduce yourself to the people who will likely by servicing your engine.

3. Isle of Man Marina berths. You can not sell a marina berth on the Isle of Man. If somebody claims to be selling their pontoon berth with their boat then they can’t do it. Once the change of ownership details have been submitted by both the person selling and the person buying the boat the government know, trust me, they know! The Isle of Man operates a first come first serve basis for marina pontoon berths and when you buy the boat you’ll have to apply to go on the waiting list, right at the back of the queue. This means you’ll need to find a new home for the boat. Generally speaking harbour masters will want your boat moved ASAP (month end anyway) so that the next person on the waiting list can have “your” berth. So if somebody offers to be selling their pontoon berth beware. It may also be worth checking for any outstanding berth fees that may be passed onto you. This does bring up the not so small issue where a boat owner may pay for their berth for 12 months, sell their boat 2 months later and the government then re-sell that berth. That doesn’t seem right to me – I’d want a refund for the 10 months.

So the process is relatively simple. Look at boat, agree a price, arrange payment, submit log book to be updated, submit a change of ownership form, if it’s currently on a marina pontoon berth then move it.

Just one final note, a lot of the boats left in Manx harbours look like they have seen better days, abandoned might be a fair word? If you are going to spend good money on a nice boat then you should really think about getting comprehensive insurance. It’s a small price to pay should the worst happen.

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