Buying a Used Boat

This special booklet from the California Division of Boating and Waterways and the California Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA) will help you.  Read it before you buy, then refer to it for help as you go through the buying process.

Topics include:

  1. Deciding what boat to buy
  2. Finding the boat you want to buy
  3. Getting a boat loan and marine insurance
  4. Getting a sea trial and survey
  5. Sales agreements and contracts
  6. Know what it costs to own a boat
  7. Be safe
  8. What to do once you own a boat

Buy a used boat through a licensed yacht and ship broker

They’re experienced. Plus, they’re bonded and state-licensed professionals who specialize in this business. They also have instant access to statewide, national and even international networks of boat owners and brokers with boats to sell.


Know how to boat safely. The Division of Boating and Waterways provides free boating safety information and a Safe Boating Course booklet. The Department and CYBA also recommend that boaters take safety classes from the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Power Squadrons. They’re open to boaters throughout the state, with small fees for books and materials. You can usually reduce your insurance premiums if you take boating safety classes.

To find out about classes near you, call 1-800 869-SAIL or 1 -800 336-BOAT.

You should also consider taking private lessons aboard your boat.

What kinds of boating safety classes are available?

You can take courses in:

Skills and seamanship for powerboats
Sailing and seamanship for sailors
Basic coastal navigation
Advanced coastal piloting
Advanced coastal navigation
Basic piloting and seamanship
Navigation rules
Safe boat handling
Rules of the road
Navigation aids, compass and chart use
And more

Request a Copy of this Brochure