We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Finance and paperwork

The normal way to buy a new boat is to put down an initial deposit, then make 'staged' payments when each section of the boat is complete.

You might pay a deposit, a 'stage one payment' when the hull is complete, a 'stage two payment' when the engine is installed, and a final payment on completion. You should make sure that these payments are clearly documented and agreed within your contract.

To pay for your boat, you can arrange a personal loan from a bank or building society, or a marine mortgage from a specialist broker. Several finance companies offer deals for boat buyers. Check out the advertisements in the waterway press.

The British Marine Federation (BMF) form of contract is an industry standard designed to protect both the customer and boat builder. It documents the stages which the purchaser has paid for and owns. We strongly recommend that you insist on this contract.

Boat safety scheme

The boat will be built to the standards of the EU's Recreational Craft Directive (RCD), which sets out minimum standards for safety and quality, and is compatible with the UK's Boat Safety Scheme. This immediately qualifies it for a waterway licence. You should check that your builder is aware of RCD regulations.

If you buy a narrowboat shell to complete yourself, the shell builder must provide an RCD Annex 3 Certificate, but you do not need to comply with Recreational Craft Directive requirements unless you resell the boat within five years. Your boat will still have to obtain a Boat Safety Certificate.

Last date edited: 7 July 2015