Buying a boat is one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life, and it can be a life-enhancing purchase too. But just like any big purchase, there are a lot of things to consider before you make your final decision. Here are some of the top things to consider when buying a commercial boat to help you make the right choice. 

What to consider when buying a commercial boat

Think about the type of boat you need

The first decision to make is what type of boat best meets your specific requirements. Boats come in all different sizes, from sailboats and powered boats to larger commercial ships, and the process of buying a boat differs considerably depending on the option you choose. Consider what your goals are for your boat business and where you will be keeping it, as this will also play into the type of boat you’ll need. 

Assess the costs involved in running a boat business

When you’re purchasing a new boat, it’s important to think about the costs of running your business, not just the initial purchase. You’ll need to factor in costs such as moorage, fuel and insurance, as well as the general operations that come with owning a boat. Running a boat business can wind up being expensive, so it’s important to choose a boat that is within your budget, both immediately and long-term. 

Consider the ongoing maintenance costs

Consistent boat maintenance is the key to ensuring that your boat is safe and reliable for many years to come, as well as making sure it maintains its resale value. You don’t want to add to your costs by having to find the money for unexpected repair bills. It’s important to check each area of the boat on a regular basis, from the engine and internal systems to checking for propeller damage and ensuring there are no leaks in the hub. The sooner issues are identified, the quicker they can be resolved.

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Conduct a survey

Often, making a boat purchase is contingent on a survey. Every boat comes with a worklist, but it’s the job of a surveyor to determine what’s on that list. As a buyer, a survey is important as you’ll be able to identify upcoming costs you might encounter, as well as inform your insurance costs. A full condition survey, often called a pre-purchase survey, is necessary whether the boat is new or used, and it provides you with an objective opinion as to the integrity and durability of the structure. 

Determine how your business will make money

It’s important to assess how your business is going to make money. Not only will this ensure the success of your business but it could also affect your insurance premiums. If you’re going to be taking paying passengers onto your boat or you will be working in certain industries, you may need specific permits or insurance policies to make your business legal. You’ll also need to ensure that all equipment on board is up to date and regularly checked, as this could also impact your insurance policy. 

Get advice before making a purchase

It can be difficult making sure you’ve covered every base when you’re making a big purchase like buying a commercial boat, especially if this is the first time you’ve bought one. But speaking to the experts can help you make the best choice, whether that’s a professional dealership or someone you know who owns boats. Consult with them at each stage of the process and make sure that someone else views the boat with you before you make the investment. It’s good to have an objective perspective, as it can be easy for your heart to overrule your head, but this isn’t a good position to be in. 

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Research finance options

Once you know what you want to buy, you’ll need to discuss commercial vessel financing with a lender who specialises in this industry. Down payments for commercial boat loans are usually between 10% and 20%, but the exact amount depends on the type of vessel you’re buying and the purchase price. Boat loans usually come with longer terms and lower monthly payments than car loans as commercial lenders will understand that a well-cared-for vessel has the potential to outlast a car. 


Embarking on a maritime business by purchasing a boat is a great opportunity and an exciting process, but it’s important to do your research. There’s a lot to consider, as with any large investment, but these tips can help you make the right decision. Ensure that you’ve assessed all the options available to you before taking the leap and get professional advice if you’re unsure. 

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