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Old 28 July 2009, 19:03   #1
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Buying My First Rib

Have been reading the site for days now picking up tips on what to look for in my first boat - Great Site!!
Probably looking at a 5.5m - 6m with around 90hp, I plan to use her mainly on the sea so this outfit seems to fit my needs and my budget, also being my first boat makes trailering it around not an issue.
The main concern when buying a boat is about ownership.
I've been looking around a few boat dealers and realise that it's not like a car with a VIN plate etc.
1. I know the Engine & trailer have identifying numbers but is there any central database kept of stolen units?
2. What about the Boat itself? What way do I have of identiying it?

I understand that buying from a dealer should give me assurance that all is in order, But what if I'm buying in a private sale.
For example I looked at a great boat two weeks ago - It was a 1996 Tornado 5.5m and came very well spec'd and was extremely well looked after. The guy had it for 10yrs but had no real way to prove he owned it - he had a typed receipt from when he bought it, but nothing else (Except for piles of receipts for all the equipment on the boat). The engine numbers all looked in order but how do I know??
The trailer had been powder coated so all the identifying plates had been removed.
I walked away as although the seller looked as genuine as they come, I just thought I may have hassle selling it on in the future. Since then I've been looking around further and realise that this is pretty common on older boats.

What about hire purchase being owed on it? On a car you can perform a HPI check - Is there anything like this for boats?
OR Am I just being paranoid?
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Old 28 July 2009, 22:47   #2
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Well some poor people who bought a brand new boat from a dealer ended up in the water when the console and seats came off!!!
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Old 29 July 2009, 01:43   #3
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Yep, some people have also put deposits down on boats at dealers only for the dealers to go bust and not get anything back.

If you are happy with the seller then I would get it. To put your mind at rest you could ask where he launches from and ask who he uses to service the engine who he's insured with.

If he has documents or can tell you more or less straight away I wouldn't have though it was dodgy?
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Old 29 July 2009, 02:46   #4
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Fishy,

There is no official central database of stolen boats - but anything nicked recently may be listed at www.stolenboats.org.uk . A boat nicked 10 yrs ago is unlikely to be listed there - but also in reality is very unlikely to be recovered.

If the manufacturer/distributor is still going then it might be worth contacting the with the hull number, likewise with the engine serial number (I am sure I "registerred" mine with Yamaha when I bought it). They "may" have been told if it was stolen.

If someone has 10 yrs worth of receipts that would strike me as fairly credible.

You could also contact the person/company who sold it to them 10 yrs ago, to ensure the receipt is credible.

In terms of securities against the boat, my understanding is that this would require the boat to be registerred on the small ships register (there will be paperwork, and should be an SSR no somewhere on the boat). Proving a boat is not SSR registered is not as easy as proving it is! There are two different types of registrations so SSR does not necessarily mean there is or was a loan against it.

The RYA website (www.rya.org) has more information and a "Bill of Sale" which you can use for transaction.
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Old 03 August 2009, 09:41   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

The rib market seems quite buoyant as the boats I've seen over the past couple of weeks are either now sold or deposits taken - So my fears must be unsubstantiated about ownership as other people have bought them with no queries.

I Just think it's a very poor system that there's no way of really proving ownership by way of some national registration scheme that provides some sort of VIN plate or something.
Is there any way I can get each component tagged? I was thinking of buying a Datatag kit for a motorcycle (this kit allows you to acid etch every part of the boat with a unique code that is registered to me, obviously not the tubes though!!)


Maybe I'm being paranoid??
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Old 03 August 2009, 09:53   #6
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Originally Posted by FishyFinger View Post
I Just think it's a very poor system that there's no way of really proving ownership by way of some national registration scheme that provides some sort of VIN plate or something.
the dodgy gits would just fake any documentation etc. The feeling here seems to be that most nicked boats either go overseas or are broken down to components and sold that way - you would need to be able to tag everything...

...I guess the industry is also reluctant to do anything which might make it easier for government to introduce mandatory qualifactions, license fees etc.
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Is there any way I can get each component tagged? I was thinking of buying a Datatag kit for a motorcycle (this kit allows you to acid etch every part of the boat with a unique code that is registered to me, obviously not the tubes though!!)
Yes - I think Nos4r2 mentioned some "Invisible" data tags which would encode everything on your boat with a unique serial number that was traceable to you. The reality though - is that even with that sort of tagging you'll probably never see anything that gets nicked again.

Might be worth looking at the GPS trackers thread though - as you might stand a chance of finding it if it is nicked.
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Old 04 August 2009, 23:51   #7
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On this subject I have a question.

My friend has been rebuilding a speedboat over the past year or so. It's now ready for a motor - I got talking to a colleague who's father was selling the outboard from his Shetland cruiser (1991 Honda 60HP) as he was buying a new unit.
Anyway, when I went to look at it, it was in outstanding condition and worked great, but when I looked for it's identity plate it was missing. I couldn't find anything to identify it. He'd had it for 5yrs and never noticed, he phoned the previous owner who was a very good friend of his who had it for over 6yrs himself, he wasn't sure and had never noticed - he got a hand written receipt from the guy he bought it from, but with no real detail on it - They both had bought the engine without checking whether it was stolen or not.
I told the guy that I'd think about it - but on telling my friend he said he wasn't bothered as it was a good motor at a good price and had been owned for nearly 11yrs by two totally genuine people, he thought I was worrying about nothing

1. Am I correct in assuming that all engines have a ID plate - what about engine numbers like a car stamped on the block?
2. Is this usual for people to buy things like this without checking their origin? especially older boats/ engines
3. What way could you check it's history (the receipt from 11yrs ago has no phone no or address) ?

What do you think??
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Old 05 August 2009, 04:18   #8
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I've owned outboards where the serial number was just on a stuck on plate and would easily come off when washed/covered in grime and oil.

If it seems sound and the deal feels right then get it. You can usually tell if the seller is genuine.
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Old 05 August 2009, 06:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
In terms of securities against the boat, my understanding is that this would require the boat to be registerred on the small ships register (there will be paperwork, and should be an SSR no somewhere on the boat). Proving a boat is not SSR registered is not as easy as proving it is! There are two different types of registrations so SSR does not necessarily mean there is or was a loan against it.
Not quite right. If a lender requires security on a boat loan he will usually require a marine mortgage to be granted by the borrower. This can be (does not have to be) registered on Part I of the UK Shipping Register so anyone who buys the boat subsequently is deemed to have notice of the security and takes title subject to it. A lender who requires a marine mortgage will almost certainly also require Part ! registration so he can register the mortgage and protect his security.

A marine mortgage cannot be registered on the Small Ships Register. However, it is still possible for a lender (or any other creditor) to have security over a SSR registered boat. It is also possible (but unlikely) for a boat to be financed by hire purchase, where the lender retains title until all payments have been made. HP agreements are not used by the major marine lenders so this is not likely to be an issue.

In the OP's case, I agree that the receipts are persuasive circumstantial evidence that the seller does own the boat concerned. If everything else seems okay, I would regard this paperwork as adequate (without obligation obviously) for a relatively low value purchase (I'm guessing this is <20k).
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Old 05 August 2009, 06:37   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve.N View Post
1. Am I correct in assuming that all engines have a ID plate - what about engine numbers like a car stamped on the block?
yes - but as Chewy says - not normally as "permanent" as on cars.
Quote:
2. Is this usual for people to buy things like this without checking their origin? especially older boats/ engines
not surprising at all - especially if you know/trust the previous owner.
Quote:
3. What way could you check it's history (the receipt from 11yrs ago has no phone no or address) ?
you probably can't unless there is another number somewhere that you haven't found and check with the manufacturer its not listed as stolen. Realistically no one is going to come looking for an engine that would need to have been missing for >11 yrs - so financially your risk is minimal, you know its recent history so I don't think you would really be at risk from any "handling stolen goods" charge - and unless you think it is actually nicked then morally its probably fine too. Possibly your biggest headache is that the insurance company will probably want a serial number for it...
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