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Which Boat Do I Buy: Part 3

6 minutes read
18 Nov, 2020
Boat Buying , Boat Financing , Boating
By Adam Cox

Which Boat should I Buy?

In one of our previous blogs, we looked at the similarities between boating and cycling, in that as a result of the pandemic people’s participation and ownership in both have increased tremendously throughout the UK and Europe. There is another hidden similarity not mentioned in that blog, this being the additional costs that you will incur over and above the initial outlay. It is important to be aware of these to ensure that you budget correctly which in turn will ensure a long-term happy boating experience.

If you take the plunge and decide to buy yourself a reasonably decent bicycle, i.e. one that you will be able to sell a few months or years later, such as even an entry level triathlon road bike then you have a few initial surprises in store. And this is a big reason behind the message we are providing in this blog since when it comes to buying a boat, we at Burton Waters don’t want there to be any surprises. Let’s clarify that point. By that we mean no unpleasant surprises, we are confident that there will be some surprises for you but only pleasant ones.

Boating: What Costs are Involved?  

Back to our bike purchase, and what you will discover is that the price tag for the bike is not the full picture, that is pretty much the price of the frame. You now need to add to this the cost of a saddle (sometimes), cleats/pedals, the cage to hold your water bottle, and if you’re doing triathlons then you’ll need two of these, two water bottles, a repair kit bag, a multitool, a spare tube or two, a pump, a bracket to hold your pump, or if you are going the ‘bombs’ route then possibly a more fancy bracket to hold bombs and water bottles, bombs (small high pressure air canisters), bomb connector, a home foot pump, lights for the front and back of your bike, gloves, helmet, cycling shoes, cleats, cycling clothing, and to round things off a cool pair of cycling sun glasses.

The difference in buying a boat is that there is no similar list of upfront items and costs that are needed in order to be able to saddle up and get going, but the similarity lies in the after purchase, additional, and annual running costs. It is important that when compiling your budget for your boat purchase, that you don’t only take into consideration the upfront capital expenditure, but the annual costs of owning a boat as well.

Let’s break this down into the different categories. Here is a list of these items with some brief comments:


This is probably one of your main ongoing costs and these fees vary according to where you moor the boat, be that local marinas, or further afield. Most moorings include water as standard and electricity is charged dependent upon usage, but you will need to check this with the marina concerned.

Discover Burton Waters Moorings


This will vary depending on the length of your boat and the company you decide to use. There are also different levels of cover available to choose from. Another detail to be taken into account is that before using your boat, you must register your vessel, particularly if you want to use it on inland waterways, rivers and canals. But in order to do so, you’ll need to insure your boat and it must have a Boat Safety Certificate which lasts for four years.
But even though we are saying that you must insure your boat, there’s not actually a legal requirement for boats in the UK to be insured. However, navigation authorities for the waterways and marina and harbour operators usually insist upon at least third-party insurance, which protects others from damage your boat may cause. Without third-party insurance you’ll be unable to use your boat on the waterways and unable to obtain a mooring agreement for it.


What Costs are Involved: Maintenance

Like a car, a boat purchase also carries yearly maintenance costs, and these can vary based on the type of boat, how often it's used, whether it’s used in fresh or saltwater, and whether it begins its life with you as new or used. With a boat, you have all the same engine maintenance costs and cleaning as a car, but add hull maintenance, storage, winterizing (when you don’t use the boat year-round), and haul-out (if not keeping in the water year-round). Using the boat in freshwater will keep maintenance and cleaning costs down considerably compared to using it in saltwater.

As a boat owner, you may want to carry out the more simpler maintenance jobs on your boat such as cleaning and lubricating, for which there will be the cost of buying the necessary cleaning products. It’s obviously cheaper to do your own maintenance, but if you’ve decided to leave maintenance work to the pros, then that’s our game here at Burton Waters and we’re only too happy to help and do this for you.

Boating: What Costs are Involved?  

Relevant Licences (e.g. River Licence)

Not all waterways necessitate a river licence so it’s best to confirm with the marina you will use as well as the waterways you are likely to navigate. As a guideline, river licences for the waterways around Lincolnshire cost in the region of £350 per annum. The river licence is the same for all Canal and River trust navigations and is charged by the lengh of your boat and area of use, i.e River only or River and Canals. As a guide, a river only licence for a 30ft boat is £390.00 roughly.

Engine and Outdrive Service

Boatyards will vary, depending on the type of boat length and number of engines. However, as a rough guide, if you have a boat with one engine, you should look to allocate approximatively £2,000 for two years for your engine and outdrive service and this should then cover the basics of each.

What Costs are Involved: Replacing Anodes

Anodes will require replacing approximately every two years but this will vary dependent upon usage and the waters where your boat is moored.


It is advisable to consider antifouling your boat every two years to protect its hull from the elements as much as possible. Antifoul products can be purchased from various places and as a guideline, typically here at Burton Waters we charge in the region of £300-£350 to antifoul a boat of around 25 ft, excluding the lifts.


If you need a trailer to transport and store your boat this will add to the purchase price, or it can be included as part of the package deal. This is common practice at dealerships, boat shows and especially seasonal dealer sales events, as including the trailer may mean making the sale for the dealer. Not forgetting as well that in terms of maintenance a trailer will also need basic upkeep.

What Costs are Involved: Extra Equipment (e.g. Skiing, Fishing, Safety...)

Safety gear (such as life jackets, paddles, horn, signal flares, etc.) are essential during any boat purchase. For additional accessories, no need to buy everything you can think of all at once; a good plan is to "treat your boat" every spring and fall to a new accessory or upgrade with accessories like stereos, lighting, water sports towing equipment and more.

Storage and Winter Storage

You may want a cover, a top, or maybe even consider renting inside storage if you can’t keep the boat at your home or on your property. Summer and winter storage are two very different necessities in parts of the country where the climate is colder. Winter storage in colder climes typically involves winterization prep for engine and boat, as well as durable coverage where snow, rain and winter winds have potential for damage.


When it comes to buying a second-hand boat, it's a good idea to know where you stand with regards to VAT, especially now with Brexit, otherwise you could find yourself out of pocket. All privately owned vessels used by EU residents within the EU are required to be VAT paid.

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