Canal Boats
Marinablu International Ltd
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Canal Boats - Sailaway

canal boats Now we get to the interesting part of choosing, specifying and paying for canal boats. As we have already discussed you can either buy a new boat from a reputable boat builder, or alternatively look for a second-hand used boat, of which there are many available both on the internet and elsewhere, and if you buy at the right time, you should be able to pick up a bargain. One of the important issues when buying a used boat is naturally having a survey, and we will look at this issue next. This will certainly be an important aspect of the buying process and should always be done for your own peace of mind, and if you are financing the boat with a marine mortgage, then this will certainly be insisted upon by the lender. 

So what are the other options - well you can ofcourse have your new boat built for you to a standard specification ( off the shelf if you like) or you can design your own and ask the yard to build it for you, both of which are fine. The other option is to buy a sailaway which in essence is a floating shell, completed with engines and ready to "sail away", which you then finish yourself internally to your own specification. This is not for the feint-hearted but is becoming increasingly popular, not only for the cost saving it offers, but also the opportunity to personalise your boat and the sense of achievement of building and completing your own boat yourself.

Canal Boats - Sailaway Boats

It is hard to explain the intense feeling of satisfaction when you complete a project of this size. Just imagine cruising the canal system in a boat that you have built yourself having taken on the role of boat builder, designer and fitter. So what are the options available and where do you start? Let's look at the options. First of all, find a reputable boat builder and ask for references ( and take them up!) Asking around the forums and specialist sites will provide a wealth of information. Visit the yard and look at the quality of workmanship and speak to some of the previous clients and customers. Hulls come in a variety of materials, but I would suggest steel as your preferred choice - you will find cheaper mass produced shells, but for quality and durability I would always recommend steel.

Once you have found your builder and agreed on the size of boat, you will probably  then be offered a choice of designs ( traditional or cruiser ) and optional extras to include in the basic design. You should check that your boat builder works to the latest Recreational Craft Directive design standards and ensure that boats are CE marked. The boat should include all the following in the basic version:

The above forms the basic standard, to which various options can be added such as fitted bulkheads, interior lining, internal wiring, ventilation and upgraded engines etc. Naturally the final choice will depend on the budget you have available and the size and design of the boat. At this stage the boat is ready to be sailed away and fitted out by YOU!

It is difficult to give precise costs as there are so many variables in terms of construction type, materials, size of canal boats, design style, quality of workmanship etc, so please take these as very rough guidelines only, but typical prices for a basic 50ft sailaway would be around £25,000 - £28,000, rising to £30,000 to £35,000 for part lined boat. Naturally as you upgrade options then the prices will rise accordingly. Alternatively you can work on a very rough rule of thumb of £500 per foot length of boat. Again this will vary according to your final specification and finishes.

Before signing on the dotted line make sure you have read the contract in detail, and remember to ensure that you are happy with the staged payment process as the build progresses. Boat builders can be notoriously unreliable at achieving deadlines so make sure you monitor the build closely and visit frequently to keep the pressure on - if the builder thinks he can drop your boat down the list of his priorities, because he or she is under pressure on another build, then they will! Manage your builder closely ( but not intrusively ) and it will pay dividends! One thing you might consider if your build is a long way from home is to employ the services of a local marine surveyor who will monitor and manage the build for you, and ensure that the build meets all the requirements and is to your complete satisfaction.

Now let's look at buying a canal boat second-hand and the issue of surveys. Like everything else canal boats deteriorate with age and particularly if not well maintained.  A survey is essential when buying used canal boats.

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Marinablu International Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of  Pantaenius UK Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA)  - canal boats sailaway