Buying a second-hand boat has its pitfalls in the same way as buying anything else and there are certain things you should do to satisfy yourself that the boat is suitable for your needs, is sound and seaworthy and that the eBay seller actually owns the equipment
Wondering what boat to buy?
Decide what type of boating to you intend doing, and then visit a suitable nearby club and speak to other boat owners there. An active fleet of one type or class will mean that the boat is more suited to the local conditions, plus there will be plenty of other like-minded owners to give advice and generally share your thoughts.
Has the Boat been stolen?
Unlike a car, there isn't a legal registration document tracking the ownership, in fact unless you want to take your boat abroad, you are not required to register your boat at all and many people don't, so checking that the person selling the boat actually owns the boat and that there are no outstanding loans secured on the boat can be difficult.
Before you consider buying a boat you should visit StolenBoats.org.uk to see if the boat, or a similar one, has been reported stolen. If a boat is not listed on the site it doesn't mean that it is not stolen.
Before bidding, you should also satisfy yourself that the vendor is knowledgeable about the boat and has a legitimate reason for the sale. Ask one or two technical questions about the boat or its history. If the answers are vague or just wrong, do some further investigation. Ask whether you could arrange to view the boat at the seller's home address and never in a car park or other public location.
Is the boat sound and seaworthy?
Buying a used boat is essentially a case of 'Buyer Beware'. The onus is on you to make sure the craft is sound, it's a good idea to get an qualified marine surveyor or boat builder to give the craft a thorough inspection.
It is important to check whether the boat has been involved in any accidents or has any large repairs carried out. Most repairs will be guaranteed for 12 months so it is worth finding out the date of the repair and the repairers details in case of any future problems.