Buying your boat through

buy used power boat for saleBoatmatch charges the lowest brokerage fees in the industry on the fairest terms. Buyers and sellers using boatmatch are able to agree the best deals because our brokerage fees are so low. Our experienced brokers will closely monitor sales, provide qualified advice to buyer and seller, manage contracts and see every transaction through to a safe, secure and successful conclusion.

Buying your new boat with should be an enjoyable experience, we want to ensure the transaction takes place smoothly and safely with the minimum of fuss. In order to safeguard both buyers and sellers boatmatch closely monitors the sales process providing expert advice when necessary. If you require help or information at any time please contact boatmatch for assistance.

If you have purchased a boat before you will appreciate that certain criteria must be met before you proceed with the purchase; you must have proof of ownership, knowledge of any charges against the boat and we recommend you commission a full survey. has linked up with the leading marine finance and insurance companies to provide the best terms for clients wishing to finance their new boat. Please talk to us in the first instance.

Why I should use a British Marine accredited broker

Proof of ownership

Sellers are required to provide with proof of ownership as part of the registration process. As part of the contractual process, the buyer or his representative will need to establish who has title and to establish whether there are any charges against the boat, such as a marine mortgage.

selling yachts and boats for saleSurvey recommend that all boat buyers instruct a professional surveyor to provide a written report on the boat and its condition. Please ensure that your surveyor is a member of a recognised professional body and has appropriate insurance.


English law applies to all transactions. uses a sale contract based on the International recognised British Marine Federation contract for the sale or purchase of a second hand vessel.

Recreational Craft Directive 94/25/EC, European Economic Area

A boat does not need to comply with the RCD if:

  • It is one of the exclusions - principally craft intended solely for racing plus other minor categories.
  • It was built in the EEA prior to 16th June 1998.
  • It was in use in the EEA prior to 16th June 1998.
  • It is only visiting the EEA for reasons of tourism or in transit.

A boat does need to comply with the RCD if it is not one of the above and if:

  • It was first placed on the EEA market after 16th June 1998.
  • It was put into service in the EEA after 16th June 1998.
  • It is a home built boat placed on the market within five years of completion.
  • It is an experimental or racing boat being redesigned for compliance with the RCD.

The EEA includes all EU States, their overseas territories and dependencies and Iceland and Norway.

brokerage buying boats help advice

Value Added Tax - guidance notes - a summary

This is the latest VAT advice available from British Marine.

Please understand this is a possible scenario and the situation will most likely change depending on the outcome of the trade negotiations between the EU and the UK when the UK leaves the EU on December 31st 2021.

As further information becomes available, we will make every effort to update this information promptly.


If the UK leaves the EU VAT area, it will become a third country and supplies of goods crossing international borders will become imports and exports; attracting import VAT and customs/excise duties.

The payment of VAT at the border will have potential cash flow consequences. EU member states will require VAT to be paid on importation unless they introduce a deferral mechanism. UK businesses exporting to the EU may need to engage VAT representatives in different countries to comply with EU VAT obligations.

Businesses wishing to claim a refund of overseas VAT will no longer have access to the EU VAT Refund Portal, and are likely to face longer waiting periods to be refunded.

Businesses can use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers made before 1 January 2021.

If you wish to continue to use MOSS from 1 January 2021, you will need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.

For boat owners, builders, brokers and distributors there remains doubt and confusion as to where they stand, particularly regarding VAT Paid Status (VPS). Guidance issued by the EU Commission last year was framed (as always) in highly technical legal speak and appeared to be more focused on goods being supplied and/or imported/exported on or around the time of Brexit.

There was and remains little to no clear guidance as to ‘means of transport’ (for our purposes yachts, boats, pleasure craft) or circumstances where those goods were already in free circulation and effectively possessions. The UK HMRC and Treasury policy teams have been engaged to seek further clarification and assurance, but the responses have primarily been limited to references to returning goods and have fallen well short of addressing our member’s concerns.

So where does that leave us?

The generally held basic understanding further to the EU’s missive is that a boat’s VPS will be determined by its physical location at ‘B-Time’; therefore (assuming the boat has pre-existing VPS):

  • If the boat is within EU waters at B-Time, it will have deemed EU27 VPS
  • If the boat is within UK waters at B-Time, it will lose any pre-existing EU27 VPS and will subsequently be subject to the same conditions as any other non-VPS boat when entering and operating within EU27 waters and ports irrespective of the country of registration or nationality of ownership.

But this is not necessarily wholly correct nor does it provide the full picture; a whole range of scenarios are emerging where there remains a lack of any sort of clarity, or indeed where the perceived understanding simply does not make sense; some of the more commonly mentioned being:

1. EU resident, with VAT paid within the EU27 and boat within the EU27 at B-Time:
Relatively simple – has EU27 VPS and would operate under TA if visiting the UK, but would require formal importation and VAT payable if being acquired to remain substantively in the UK.

2. UK resident, with UK VAT paid and boat within UK at B-Time:
According to the understanding, the boat would retain its UK VPS but lose its EU27 VPS; the owner would be allowed to and visit sail within the EU27 territories, subject to the TA conditions, but any purchase by an EU resident wishing to use the boat with the EU27 would require EU27 VAT to be paid – effectively devaluing the boat in the EU market.

3. UK resident, with UK VAT paid and boat within EU27 at B-Time:
Based on the current understanding, the best position (or least worst...); the boat will have deemed EU27 VPS AND eligible for UK RGR, although HMRC acknowledge that need not necessarily be formally operated as the boat will not have been ‘exported’ and will have demonstrably UK VAT paid.

4. UK resident, with EU VAT paid and boat within the EU27 at B-Time:
The boat will have deemed EU27 VPS, meaning free movement – and importantly the ability to sell with no further VAT – within the EU; however, as currently stands (and HMRC have not been able to clarify), the vessel would NOT have UK VPS, therefore returning to the UK would present a problem. The vessel could, if likely to be substantively used and moored within the UK, be subject to relocated possessions relief, but there are quite restrictive conditions and the probability that this would result in the loss of the EU27 VPS.

5. EU resident owner, with EU27 or UK VAT paid, with the boat in UK at B-Time:
The boat would have deemed/explicit UK VPS but would lose its EU27VPS; the difference for the owner from 2 above, is that owner would have to pay VAT (again) to be able to use and/or sell the boat within the EU27.

6. EU/UK residents with EU27 or UK VPS, with the boat in international waters or ex-UE28 port:
This is not apparently covered by the guidance, which explicitly refers to ‘goods’ being in either the UK or the EU27 at B-Time, or in transit between two specified points.

What about businesses?

For those involved in selling pre-owned boats, either as brokers or principals, the probability is that current VAT boats that will no longer have EU27 VPS will be devalued and become less attractive within the EU market.

Sales of new boats should be relatively unaffected as VAT would have been due and chargeable/payable for UK and EU residents irrespective. There is also potential, possibly, to become more attractive to UK buyers wishing to substantively use their boat in the EU27, with the flexibility to take delivery off-shore or ex-EU28 and use under TA within the EU27 (subject to conditions).

What should I do?

As a boat owner, you need to consider:

  • What and where is the current VPS of the boat
  • Where you are most likely to use, moor and sail the boat
  • When you are considering selling the boat and what is the preferred market

If following the above examples this leads you to the conclusion that EU27 VPS is materially important in the immediate post-(hard) Brexit world, then you should consider making arrangements for the boat to be within (and documented as such) the EU27 at B-Time, BUT it is important to take into account ALL the factors and take advice before committing.

For businesses, the position is difficult to anticipate, but we would recommend taking advice on and considering UK import/Customs procedures (IPR, Customs warehouse etc.) and also exploring the potential for EU27 subsidiaries, branches, Customs representatives and VAT registrations, to help facilitate ease of movement and address potential place of supply rules.