If you’re looking for a boat for sale in London or Hertfordshire on the Grand Union or River Lea then there are a number of technical questions you may like to ask when viewing a boat. Whether you are looking for a narrowboat, barge or wide beam for sale your broker will be happy to advise you on any queries you may have.

1. If, like me, you know nothing about engines, ask how often the engine has been serviced. Does it look clean and well maintained? Are there any obvious leaks? Some boat owners keep a full service history, not only of marine engineer receipts, but of receipts of any work done to the boat, and a collection of manuals relating to any important items purchased, (for example the fridge or invertor.) Ask the broker to start the engine; it should start easily from cold.

2. Are there any suspicious patches of water? A certain amount of condensation can be normal on a boat, but you will need to know if any windows, doors or hatches are leaking. Viewing a boat on a rainy day can be excellent for revealing such things! If you discover any leaks your broker may be able to help you ascertain whether they are easily fixable.

3. Are there any inspection hatches in the floor? There may be places where you can access below the floorboards and view the bilges. If there is rust or water this could be a sign of a previous or current plumbing leak. This is not uncommon and may not be a problem. Your broker or surveyor will be able to clarify if there is an issue.

4. When was the hull last blacked? Every two or three years a boat with a steel hull should be taken out of the water at a boatyard and painted with a tar like bitumen. This protects the steel from corrosion and may be done either by the owner, or by the boatyard staff. At this time the sacrificial anodes should also be checked and replaced if necessary.

5. Is there a previous survey you can look at? If a previous survey is available for viewing it can seem like a frighteningly long list of faults. However, bear in mind the surveyor is paid to report all possible problems, some of which may not be serious. The important ‘strongly recommended’ issues will be highlighted in the report. Check with the broker or boat owner whether these issues have been corrected since the last survey.

Happy? Make an offer subject to your own survey. A surveyor will check the thickness and condition of the hull. We can provide you with a list of local surveyors, but we are not affiliated with any one surveyor and our list does not imply recommendation of any particular surveyor.

Ready to take a look? Browse boats in your price range now and arrange a viewing this week!


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