Buying a boat can be a fairly daunting prospect, even for those who have done so several times.  There are numerous aspects which must be completed accurately to protect the purchaser from various potential pitfalls:-
  • Is the paperwork in order to transfer title securely and legally?
  • Is there outstanding finance, which needs to be settled in order to be able to transfer ownership?
  • Does the boat comply with the regulations in the area of its intended use?
  • What is the VAT status of the boat?

An accredited broker can not only give you confidence in the critical aspects above, but can also offer advice on marine finance, insurance, berthing and much more.

As the sums of money involved are often considerable, it is important that the broker has a ring-fenced client account available to hold the funds, whilst the transaction progresses.

If you are looking to buy a boat and would like to chat through the process, please call one of our team.  Yacht broking is our passion and we are very happy to help, even if the boat you have your eye on is not one of our listings.


When a boat changes hands, the transfer of ownership is processed through a bill of sale, supported by the vessel’s title documentation.  This can vary from country to country but ultimately it is the responsibility of the broker to ensure that sufficient paperwork is available in order to successfully and legally transfer ownership from seller to buyer.

Upon listing a boat for sale the broker should request to see the title documentation in order to be confident that title can legally be transferred, prior to offering it on the open market.

Aside from certain circumstances, the title paperwork will incorporate a Builders Certificate, which is produced by the builder at the point of build completion and is made in favour of the initial purchaser or supplying dealership.

A bill of sale, or in the case of multiple ownerships bills of sale(s) will document the history of ownership and subsequent transfers.  A boat is made up of 64 shares and it is important that all shares can be transferred on completion of the sale.

The VAT status of the boat should be ascertained as this can have an impact on the value of the boat to the tune of the VAT level in the country it is being sold. The physical location that a boat is being sold can also impact the VAT status, which is something a professional broker can offer an insight to.

The boat’s compliance to various standards is also a key aspect as it can only be legally sold if it adheres to the standards required in the area it is intended to be used.  In Europe, this is the CE/RCD and a boat must have proof of compliance and therefore the CE/RCD certificate is a key part of the title documentation.