Buying a new boat is similar to buying a new car – thrilling but expensive. The moment you strip the showroom plastic off the seats and turn the key, the slippery slope of depreciation begins to kick in. Now plainly, that’s not a problem if you have the money, because your investment enables you to specify a boat that exactly matches your requirements.
However, if budgets are tight, you’ll be happy to know that the scale and variety of the used powerboat market means you don’t have to feel shortchanged. As these five boats illustrate, buying secondhand can often uncover much more than you think (if they are a bit above your budget, take a look at 5 powerboats under £5k).
Just one quick word of caution. The budget might only be £10,000 but you should still set aside some money for a pre-purchase survey from an experienced (and officially accredited) marine specialist. Not only will it help unearth any major faults with the boats you should leave alone, but it will also buy you some valuable peace of mind when you find a good one. More to the point, it will generate a list of jobs that will need doing, enabling you to negotiate the price downwards – and don’t forget that a positive survey report can sometimes be used to generate a more affordable insurance premium.
In short, if you’re not an experienced marine professional, you would be unwise to buy a used boat on the basis of a casual viewing alone. Instead, visit the YDSA and pick a surveyor from the listings.
(1) Trophy 25 Walkaround
Those on a tight budget tend to want a boat to do a bit of everything and this 25-foot Trophy sport fisher fits the bill very nicely.
It uses a walkaround layout with an enclosed helm and a cuddy, which means you get a broad range of abilities – not just big, clutter-free external space, but also shelter at the helm and a cabin to store your gear, get your head down or use the heads in private. It comes equipped with the original 1995 Mercury 175 two-stroke outboard, plus an auxiliary Yamaha F4 engine and a comprehensive GPS, fish finder and radar suite, so you can head off on some more extended cruising or fishing trips. With just 292 hours on the main engine, plus a set of rod holders and a serviceable seamanship inventory, it looks like a lot of boat for the money.
Location: NYB, Conwy
Contact: 01492 580001
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(2) Draco 25 Flybridge
How about a four-berth flybridge cruiser for less than £10,000? Here on this 1976 Draco 25, in addition to a small forward V-berth, you get a pair of convertible settees in the saloon, plus a separate heads compartment with marine loo, a galley to port and a compact flybridge with full secondary helm. It’s quite an old boat but a major overhaul in 2002 equipped it with a 180hp GMC diesel engine, a Cobra DSC VHF radio, a Raymarine A70 chartplotter/fishfinder and a shed load of safety equipment.
The galley is equally well equipped, with a small gas hob, a fridge and a stainless steel sink with pressurised hot and cold water and you also get the option of an auxiliary Honda BF6 outboard. Okay, so it’s not the most mainstream looking family boating solution but if you want a bit of mixed coastal cruising, this ingenious little Draco might be just the ticket.
Location: Clarke and Carter, Suffolk, 01473 65968.
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(3) Maxum 1800MX
Maxum sports boats are not built any more and that’s a shame, because they made a lot of boaters very happy.
Using the industrial know-how of the vast Brunswick Group, they offered all the ergonomic simplicity you could want alongside some extra luxury and attention to detail that elevated them beyond the level of their more basic Bayliner cousins. Here, the 1800Mx comes with the standard 135hp MerCruiser inboard, plus a full set of canvases, clip-in carpets and a new Indespension roller trailer.
The layout is quite formulaic as bow riders go but (having driven one on very lively seas in the Bay of Biscay) I can affirm that these things acquit themselves with commendable dynamic self-assurance. There are plenty of these boats on the market, so it’s worth shopping around but as a well-loved 2005 model with lots of extras, this one looks particularly good.
Location: Northern Powerboats, Sheffield, 01142 611222.
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(4) Chris-Craft 216
Fancy a Chris-Craft for £10K? Then take a look at this 216 sports fisher.
Built in 1990, it comes with a Mercury Optimax 150hp DI two-stroke outboard that was bought new in 2007 and has been regularly serviced throughout its 200 operating hours.
Also new are the Vetus hydraulic steering system, the twin batteries with shore power, the new Weathermax breathable cover and the twin flip up bolster seats at the helm. In addition to the kudos of the big name badge, you also get plenty of non-standard extras – from LED cockpit and underwater lighting to a pair of anchors, lots of rod holders and fender baskets, a Fusion Marine iPod stereo with remote control and subwoofer and a searchlight. As classy little do-it-all budget cuddies go, this is a serious tempter.
Location: Sea Ventures, Hamble, 02380 455333.
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(5) Regal 2150 Lsc
Built in 1999, this compact cruiser from Regal manages to squeeze in a double berth, which is convertible to two singles, plus a small galley in the cockpit with cold-water sink.
Power comes from a 105hp Volvo Penta TAMD22 turbo diesel hooked up to an SP leg with a three-blade stainless prop. It certainly won’t be especially rapid with a set-up like that but Regal’s famous stepped FasTrac hull should help bring a useful range out of the 170-litre tank, despite the acute angles of its soft-riding entry.
The features list also looks strong, with a depth sounder, a twin-axle galvanised road trailer, a cockpit table, a handheld Garmin GPS, a first aid kit, lots of deck gear and a full set of canvases. Yes, the cockpit cover needs repairing and the engine needs a service, but given that you’d be paying four times as much for the modern equivalent, this is well worth a closer look.
Location: Highway Marine, Kent, 01304 613925.
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More used powerboat ideas
For more amazing powerboat value check out these other features: 5 Powerboats Under £5k, Five brilliant ‘boy-racer’ boats, and 5 of the best used powerboats for £20,000 or 5 of the best new powerboats for £20K.