Boat finance made simple.

Buying a boat

Read our comprehensive, step-by-step guide to buying a new or pre-owned boat to gain some valuable insight and advice into this process.

Step 1 – Budget

Step 2 – Find the perfect boat

There are lots of things to consider when choosing the perfect boat. Do you buy a new boat that you can optimise to suit your needs and benefit from a warranty? Or do you buy a used boat, potentially getting more boat for your money? What size of the boat is big enough but not too big? Think about where it will be berthed – will it fit? Be sure to use all the resources available to help you decide and consider chartering several boats prior to buying your own. Boat shows are a great place to see what is available and to talk with experts in the industry. Follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) to keep up to date with all upcoming events and shows.

Step 3 – Negotiate a good price

Next you need to agree on how much you are willing to pay for your dream boat. Make good use of websites such as and to get an understanding of the asking price for similar boats. Is a warranty available? What after-sales support can you expect? What safety equipment or toys are included for the price? Basically, ask lots of questions to tailor the deal that you want.

Once you are happy you will most likely need to sign a Sales Agreement and pay a holding deposit. It is important to review the terms of this agreement to understand your rights and any protection you may have. You may wish to have a specialist marine lawyer review the Sales Agreement and protect your interests during the purchase, just as you would when buying a house. Salt can help introduce you to trusted partners.

Step 4 – Arranging Finance

Salt makes this part of the journey a breeze. Simply complete the application on your phone and get a fast credit decision. We use clever Open Banking technology that allows us to approve 90% of applications without the need for you to provide any supporting financial documents. Where documents are needed, they can be uploaded easily via the App.

Salt keeps things simple by offering just one option. Our loans are based on a variable rate that tracks the Bank of England base rate. Your payments remain fixed even if interest rates rise, and instead your term will increase to cover any additional interest owed. You can spread the cost over a maximum of 15 years* and there are no early repayment charges if you decide to settle early. We also charge no arrangement fee!

Salt will then guide you through the next steps, from credit approval to completion, all easily accessible 24/7 from the palm of your hand.

Step 5 – Arranging a Survey and/or Sea Trial

When purchasing a used boat, it is important to commission a full out of water, pre-purchase Survey & Valuation. This gives you confidence that you are fully aware of the condition of the boat before accepting it. You can arrange this yourself or ask our expert team to help. Either way it is important this is completed prior to completion. You may also wish to arrange a Sea Trial, just like you would a test drive when buying a car.

There are several professional bodies associated with boat surveying including the Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association ( and the International Institute of Marine Surveying ( Salt works exclusively with members of these organisations who have the necessary professional indemnity insurance and qualifications.

Sea Trials are also customary when buying a new boat.

Step 6 – Protecting your dream boat

Before taking ownership of your new boat, you will want to know it is well protected in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Specialist boat insurance is essential and SALT’s interests should be noted on the policy. A copy of the insurance can be easily uploaded through the SALT App which means our expert team can review this prior to completion. Should you need help arranging insurance, please contact the team who will be very happy to help.

Step 7 – Finding your new boat a home

A perfect boat requires a perfect home unless of course she’s coming back to your garage. Will you be keeping her local or is she destined for sunnier climes? When choosing a marina, it is important to consider a variety of factors. What is accessibility like? What services can the marina offer to help you look after your boat? Is there space and what is the cost for a berth? The Salt team know many of the largest marina operators and would happily help you find the perfect home for your boat.

Step 8 – Confirming all the title documents are correct

It is vital that you receive all the correct Title Documents for your new boat. This allows you to register the boat and this is important in proving ownership. Generally speaking, you should expect to receive an original Builder’s Certificate, an original VAT invoice from when the boat was first sold, plus original Bills of Sale between all previous owners, including the one from the owner prior to you. Title documentation can be notoriously confusing, especially if the boat has been in foreign ownership, so our experts review this for you as part of the funding application. This way you have full peace of mind. We will obtain copies of all documentation for you, validate it, and place it in the App for easy access when you need it.

Step 9 – Boat Registration

If you plan to take your boat abroad, or if you are borrowing over £150,000 from Salt, then your boat will need to be Fully Part 1 Registered with the MCA. Registration helps further enforce ownership and involves choosing a name and port of registration. Salt will arrange this for you through the App. Registration will most likely take place after completion as it can take up to a few months, but we sort out all the details before you take ownership. Our trusted partners are marine expert lawyers, so you know you are in good hands.

Step 10 – Completion

Now that all the above steps have been completed, you are ready to complete your purchase and take ownership of your new dream boat! The Salt App lets you and the boat broker agree on a date for completion and you have full control for pushing the final button in return for the keys.

Copies of all your documents can be downloaded from the App when you need them. You can view up to date statements, get early settlement figures and keep your details up to date all through the App.

And remember, our friendly team of experts are always on hand to answer any questions you may have via our Webchat service.

* Maximum loan terms are dependent on the size of your loan and the age and specifications of your boat.

Security may be required. Applicants must be 18 years and over. Retail customers only.