Buying A Boat In QLD

Is it your first time buying a boat in QLD? You will need to do a number of things before you take your boat onto the water.  You can follow along the step-by-step process below. As a result, you will find out  exactly what you’ll need to do.

Step 1: Find The Boat

You will likely spend countless hours scrolling through listings online on websites such as Boat Sales, Boats Online and Facebook. You could also organise to visit various marine brokerages and marinas to see what boats they have available as well.

If you get stuck along the way, you can download our Service History Essentials to figure out what a good service history should look like!

Step 2: Organise to View the Boat

Make an enquiry with the broker or seller and organise to view the boat in-person. By doing this you will get a feel for the boat, its true condition, and whether it’s the style or size you are after. Therefore, we advise you see the boat in-person to narrow down the exact vessel you want.

Step 3: Put Down a Deposit

First, putting down a deposit is highly suggested to secure the sale of the boat. Without a deposit and no agreement made, the boat can be sold. So, while you spend time organising the relevant inspections and gather the remainder of funds, put down a deposit.

When drafting the receipt, be sure to include;

  • The date
  • Seller’s full name and address
  • Purchaser’s full name and address
  • The boat and trailer details (HIN, VIN, engine serial numbers)
  • Deposit amount
  • Final purchase amount
  • Location
  • Signatures
  • Agreed terms (for example: subject to satisfactory survey/inspection)
  • Ensure a safety certificate is supplied by the seller for any trailer over 750kg ATM

It’s important to consider what might happen if the inspection does not come back satisfactory or you cannot agree on a price or repairs. You must have everything covered in writing to ensure that your deposit is refundable.


Step 4: Organise a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Get in contact with a suitably qualified marine professional (ahem, that would be us) to do a thorough inspection of the boat.

A certified surveyor is required to inspect the hull and provide a survey for the purpose of insurance.  Similarly, a marine mechanic or engineer is needed for the engine inspection. However daunting it seems to organise multiple parties to complete the necessary checks, at BoatBuy we are dual-certified marine engineers and surveyors and can provide a comprehensive report covering all components of the boat.  Additionally, all of our Pre-Purchase reports cover the mechanical, structural and insurance aspects to help you have the most thorough understanding of the boat you’re looking at purchasing.

Step 5: Ensure you have a Safety Certificate & Complete PPSR

Review the survey, and negotiate suitable repairs or the sale price with the seller or broker. If the purchase also includes a trailer, ensure the seller provides a Safety Certificate. This is required for any trailer that has an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 750kg or more. We recommend using a reputable company for this, such as ASAP Roadworthys who provide a mobile onsite service.

If an agreement cannot be made, the deposit should be refunded and you’ll need to return to Step 1. Don’t be disheartened if this happens!

Finally before completing a PPSR inspection, check all digits of the HIN (hull identification number), VIN (vehicle identification number), boat and trailer registration numbers and the engine serial numbers. Compare these numbers between the receipt, the registration papers and your survey report. They should all be the same. This will ensure there are no outstanding funds/finance owing on the boat. We suggest completing the PPSR inspection as near as possible to the handover of total agreed purchase price.

Step 6: Insure the Boat

Now its time to insure your new boat. If requested by your insurance provider, you can submit the Pre-Purchase Survey from BoatBuy to fulfil their risk assessment requirements. It’s a good idea to have a cover note in place before you transfer funds and take delivery of the boat, just incase anything unexpected happens.

Step 7: Complete the Transaction

Once completed and everything checks out, finalise the payment for the boat and fill out the relevant transfer forms.

If you’re purchasing a boat and trailer you will need:

a) A completed registration transfer form for the boat.

b) A completed registration transfer form for the trailer.

c) A current safety certificate.

d) A purchase receipt for the boat and trailer.

Step 8: Transfer the Registration

You need to transfer the registration details into your name for both the trailer and the boat. You have 14 days to complete this.

There are two options here:

1. You can attend a Department of Transport & Main Roads customer service centre in-person with the following supporting documents:

a) A completed transfer form for the boat.

b) A completed transfer form for the trailer and the current safety certificate.

c) A purchase receipt for the boat and trailer.

d) A QLD Driver Licence (or Photo ID and proof of address).

2. You can transfer online if the following circumstances have been met:

a) The seller has completed a registration transfer online or,

b) The seller has attended a Department of Transport & Main Roads customer service centre and competed the relevant transfer forms.

NOTE: If the boat is over 15m (49ft) length the transfer cannot be completed online.

Now you’re ready to enjoy your new boat in magnificent QLD waterways!

About the Author – Brendan Sutton

Brendan is a dual-certified Marine Surveyor & Engineer, who completed his trade at well respected marine engineering company based on the Hawkesbury River. After relocating his family to the Gold Coast, he joined the BoatBuy team in QLD. Liked this article? We would love to hear from you. Feel free to email Brendan with any boating related questions you might have here.

What do you need to transfer a boat registration in QLD?

You will need the following: Registration transfer form for the boat, registration transfer form for the trailer, a current safety certificate and a purchase receipt for the boat and trailer.

Is a safety certificate required when buying a boat?

A safety certificate is required for the boat trailer if it has a ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) of over 750kg. You can get a safety certificate from an approved provider listed on the transport QLD website.

How do I check if a boat has finance owing?

The easiest way is to check is on the PPSR register,

Explore More

articles | August 16, 2023

Boat Inspection Checklist

Are you buying a used boat, and need a boat inspection checklist to ensure you inspect all the critical components? You've found the right place! There are six key points to buying and inspecting a boat successfully: Engine Electrics Hull Trailer Seating, Covers and Upholstery Paperwork Our free boat inspection...

articles | June 5, 2023

A brief overview of Marine Transmission and Propeller Ratios

Marine engines are powerful, constant load engines. However, they need more than just power to get your boat moving. Unlike car engines, they do not have a number of gears to cycle through. Additionally, boats require a marine transmission, shaft, and propeller. These critical parts transfer power from the engine....

articles | February 28, 2023

Everything You Need To Know About Boat Anodes

In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about boat anodes, including: Boat anodes explained Where you’ll find boat anodes Different types of anode material The do's and don’ts of boat anodes Galvanic corrosion Let’s get into it, shall we? Boat anodes explained An anode...