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A message from the Fishermens Mission always there to help

Tips on How to sell your boat or buy a boat on FAFB

by FAFB 9th July 2016
<a id="top" style="position:absolute;left:0;top:-160px;"></a><a href="#buy">Go to buying tips</a>

The most important thing to get right from the start is the price. Everyone tells us the same story of how much they have spent on the boat, get over it! Money spent on maintenance is money well spent but don't expect to be able to add this onto the price when you are selling. Do your research, ask around, don't just ask good friends, they will all tell you your boat is worth a fortune. The fact is your boat is worth whatever someone will pay for it and asking for a realistic price from day one is probably the most important factor in selling your boat quickly. One way to reduce the asking price of your boat is to remove expensive items, e.g. net hauler or unusual electronics that a buyer may not need but could be used on your next boat. Make sure you state clearly what is and is not included in the sale.


Present your boat at its best. Clean it thoroughly and remove all the items that you are not using, no one wants to see the old wellies, oilskins, bits of rope, broken fenders, half full tins of paint etc that you are keeping as spare just in case. Do all the basic essential hull and engine maintenance. Buyers like to know that you have looked after your boat.


When you fill in the online form make sure you describe your boat accurately. Be specific. The make or construction box should state the maker if possible, not just wood or steel or GRP. This tells all the search engines on the internet that you are selling this type of boat and will make your advert work better for you.

State the model if possible e.g. Orkney fastliner commercial, and the breadth and draft as well as the length. Buyers want to think that you know details of the boat you are selling.


Take good pictures of your boat, if you are useless with a camera get a friend or relative to do it - everyone knows someone with a decent digital camera. Show as many pictures as you can on your advert and choose the best aspects of your boat, show at least one decent picture of the whole boat on its own. Don't show pictures of the other boats tied up alongside you, they might look better than yours and are just a distraction. Don't crop 3 feet off the bow or stern, you are selling the whole boat, so show the whole boat in your picture. Choose recent pictures - the buyer is only going to be disappointed if he comes and you then tell him the pictures were taken when you last did a paint job 5 years ago.

Remember - having good pictures will keep potential buyers looking at your boat advert rather than moving on to look at another boat, the longer a person spends on your advert, the more likely they are to make a follow-up phone call.

Video links are now available on all FAFB adverts, at no extra cost - they are easy to add and work very well, giving an overall impression of your boat.


Answer your phone! We have often tried to contact a seller soon after they have placed an advert and had no reply or been put through to voice mail or answer machine. There are many more boats for sale, if you are not going to speak to potential buyers then someone else will.


Don't say "no time wasters" on your advert - that means nothing, nobody wants time wasters. In fact it suggests that you have already had a potential buyer who has let you down and that sends a negative message to other buyers. Recognising genuine buyers is something you might have to work at. You might get many enquiries but remember only one person can buy your boat. That doesn't mean that the other people who phoned were all time wasters. Make an effort on your own behalf to get a sale - be prepared to put some effort into finding a buyer, and don't get stroppy if a sale falls through - these things can happen.


Understand what a scam is. Keep yourself informed about latest scams. There are scammers around and there always have been. Unfortunately, just as the internet helps you reach thousands of buyers, it also lets scammers get in touch with you. Read all the warning notices on FAFB about scammers and delete any email that sounds strange.


When you have found a genuine buyer, that person will most likely have been to see your boat and discussed things in person. They will often have had an independent survey done and when they are ready to buy your boat arrange for the funds to be transferred to your account. Have a copy of the MCA bill of sale filled in and witnessed, arrange for the transfer of any licences etc. Make sure you are certain that you have all the funds in your possession before you sign any documents and hand over your boat.


Bump up option-allows you to bring your advert back to the top of the home page and the category list at anytime, very useful if you have changed any of the details, e.g. price, new images etc.

Add bump ups option. Allows you to put your boat back to the top of the lists at various time intervals.

Second category - this option is for people who think that their boat may appeal equally to two different types of buyer - for example, the charter angling and recreational or commercial fishing sections might all be relevant for your boat - this duplicates your advert in another category.

This advice is offered in good faith. The seller is responsible for the sale of his or her own boat.

Go to selling tips


Before proceeding, get your funds in place. If possible, work out how much you can spend after taking into account insurance, mooring fees, boat delivery etc.


Understand exactly what your boat will be required to do for you and only consider suitable types of boat.

When you have seen a boat that fits your requirements, start making enquires about the boat and find out as much as you can from the seller about engine hours, condition of the boat, equipment being included in the sale etc. If you have friends in the port where the boat is, call them to ask if they know anything about the boat or the seller. Consider calling the harbour master or fishery officer for more info about the boat. If you are buying a commercial fishing boat, is the licence suitable for what you want to do in your local area?


If possible, travel in person to view the boat and allow plenty of time. Don't make a rushed decision. Have a list of questions for the seller, e.g. Any previous repairs? Is anything on hire purchase and if so will that be your responsibility etc?

If you are buying a commercial boat you need to have full details in writing about the licence and quota etc. If these are being included it is important that you have full details in writing. If the fishing licence is being transfered, form AFL7 must be completed by the seller's fishery officer.

If possible sleep on it and decide the next day. Once you decide that this boat is for you, organise to get a survey done. You can make an offer subject to obtaining a good survey. A survey will include inspecting the boat out of the water and you might want to be there at that time. It is often possible to use the tide to check the bottom or do an out-of-water survey. If not you will need to organise a crane/boat hoist or a dry dock. Remember that most boats are open to offers and if a fault is found you might still decide to go ahead but will want to renegotiate the price to allow for rectifying the fault. All of these things give you time to make the right decision. Remember the saying "Buy in haste, repent at leisure". Always be prepared to walk away.


When you have made your mind up, it is time to make an offer on the boat. For a small boat you might conclude the purchase at this point but for a larger boat the seller will probably want a deposit to secure the deal. Any deposit paid should be recorded in writing and witnessed. Remember you will need to have your own insurance in place as soon as the boat belongs to you so you should have this organised by now.


You will need a copy of the Bill of Sale from the local fishery office, signed by the seller stating that there are no loans or mortgages outstanding on the boat. For a commercial fishing boat, form AFL7 will have to be filled in, transferring title of the licence to the buyer. The registration will also have to transfer to the new owner, so make sure you have all the relevant documents before you do the transaction and remember to get a separate receipt for payment as well as a Bill of Sale. If there is VAT involved, make sure the VAT element is clearly stated and the seller's VAT number is on the receipt. Sometimes the local fishery officer is willing to help with all of this. If not, you might want to consider having everything witnessed by a JP or by a solicitor.

Please note this informal advice is offered in good faith and should not be regarded as professional or legal advice. Findafishingboat.com will not be liable for the consequences of following this advice. Best practice would be to employ the services of a surveyor and/or a solicitor when purchasing a large-value item such as a boat.

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