Security Checklist

Before buying a used boat there are some checks that you should carry out to ensure that the boat is legally a boat that you would like to buy.
Use this 'Security Checklist' to help you with the process. (Not all check points will apply to all boats.)
While you are reading the points on this list, feel free to add your own notes before printing and taking to your viewing.
  • Does the boat comply with RCD regulations?
If the boat has been built after 16/6/98, look on board for the Builders' CE plate that shows that the boat complies with the EU Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) regulations. This will also identify the boat's safety design category (for smaller boats, typically 'C' – the top rating is 'A') and maximum carrying capacities.
  • Find out the Boats HIN number
Look for and make a note of the Hull or Craft Identification Number (HIN or CIN), it should be somewhere towards the back or stern of the boat. It will show a 14 number reference like this – GB-XYZ A3456 G4 04 and it tells you the following:
  1. GB – country where the boat was built
  2. XYZ – the manufacturer's identification
  3. A3456 – the boat's serial number
  4. G – the month of manufacture (A = January)
  5. 4 – the year of manufacture
  6. 04 – the model year
  • Ask to see the 'Declaration of Conformity'
Ask to see the 'Declaration of Conformity', a document signed by the boat builder confirming that the boat complies with all requirements.
  • Ask to see the Boat Manual
Ask to see the boat's instruction manual. All new boats are required to have one and with used boats, Brokers or Dealers are required (under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005) to ensure that there are adequate instructions and information essential to the safe use and maintenance of a boat.
  • Ensure VAT has been paid on the boat
Ask to see the original Sales Invoice that shows that VAT has been paid on the boat. If you can, make a note of the original seller and buyer's details. You can contact these people at a later time to obtain useful information about the boat and its performance.
  • Ensure there are no outstanding charges left
Check the boat isn't registered as stolen, it has a valid Hull or Craft Identification Number or doesn't have any outstanding mortgages on it. There are companies that provide these services for you.
  • Make a note of the Ships Registration Number
Look on the hull to see if the boat has a Registration number that will be a Small Ships Registration (SSR) or that of the Official Number register (known as Ships Register Part One registration) and make a note of it.
  • Ask to see the Safety Certificate
If you are considering buying a canal boat, ask to see the boat's current Safety Certificate – all canal boats are required to have one, renewable every 4 years.
  • Confirm any Inland Waterway Marina berths with the marina
Sometimes private sellers will sell their canal boat with an 'assured berth at the marina', where their boat is currently berthed. This is a significant advantage since marina berths beside a canal or river can be rarer than a penny black stamp that's in fact blue! However the only person that can 'assure' you of a berth is the owner or manager of the marina itself, so check with them before you commit.
  • Carry out the security checks
Once you seen the evidence of build compliance and VAT compliance, and have all of the information that you need to carry out your basic security checks, you should leave 'to think about it' and get those checks done.
Whether you're looking at Cabin Cruisers, Classic boats and Jet skis, or classic boats and fishing boats for sale, always consider your 'security checklist' to ensure a safe sale.