How to buy a Narrow Boat – Angel Number 2 – Zebra Finance

In our last post we talked about Charlie’s (James & Kirsty’s) Angel number 1 Whilton Marina. So as Destiny’s Child would melody you’ve had our run down on Lucy Lui (more commonly known as Jon at Whilton) now it’s time for a bit of Drew.


Our Drew Barrymore is Brenda at Zebra Finance. Let’s start at the beginning, once we had mentioned to Whilton that we were looking to partly finance our boat purchase through boat finance, they provided us with a handy document with several companies listed on there who do exactly that (Woohoo Google take a break).

DISCLAIMER: Much like the purchase of a house, you will need to have your finance agreed in principle before you can enter the offering process on a boat. 

In our previous posts you have seen how we are absolutely mature and sensible adults, below are the ways we have proved this to you:

  • We had a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the Canal world before entering this journey … The tiny 20ft boat we hired on New Years day was absolutely not the first time James’ had been aboard one.
  • We didn’t buy the first boat we got on … No no no we brought like the 4th, like a truly wise owl.
  • We carried out a deep and thorough search on the Brokerage before we purchased from them … Everything you read in Facebook reviews is true right?

We further proved our wise and mature nature when presented with the list of finance companies “What did you do, oh wise ones” we hear you call? We phoned the first number on the list of course (Ok maybe there was a tiny bit of googling beforehand)!

So there I was on the 3rd of January at 0800am dialing and re-dialing the number to Zebra, in a desperate bid to get hold of Brenda before any other Boat Buyer could fall for our beloved Fantine.

You know how often on a Friday night you can have one to many Gins, and think to yourself no problem it’s Saturday tomorrow I’ll have a cheeky lie in and a greasy breakfast and all will be right with the world, until when rudely awoken at 0500am by a fluffy paw, you remember you have a furry child of satan who does not understand the concept of weekends and demands to be walked immediately? Banging head or no banging head? Yeah well that was me on the first day back after the Christmas Break, prodding Zebra with my constant phone calls begging for attention, and more importantly monies to buy a boat with.


Brenda was great! From that first phone call through to the balance transfer. So enough of the digressing, lets focus on the finance process.

  • After a quick phone call chat (huge amount of bumbling on my part as I tried to explain what we were trying to do), Brenda sent over loan application paperwork.
  • Anyone who has any kind of credit, be it a Mobile Phone Contract or Car Finance will probably be familiar with this type of form. We were required to provide our full histories, along with proof of identity, proof of address and proof of employment. One additional step here is providing evidence of the deposit and the details of the vessel you intend to purchase. NOTE: Zebra Finance ask for a minimum 15% deposit to be funded by yourself.
  • Brenda then takes all of this information and runs your credit and eligibility checks, which result in a loan offer being made or refused.
  • If you’re happy with the loan offer you sign to accept it and return this to Zebra.
  • Brenda then swoops in, full Drew mode, and suppliers Whilton with the confirmation they need and you can go ahead and offer away.
  • Once your offer is accepted and your survey complete you supply a copy of this to Zebra, Brenda will then confirm whether or not they are still happy to provide the finance.

Now the next step, we wanted to write a little more in depth on this, because it was an area that terrified me. In order to hand over the monies, Zebra want to see copies of all previous Bills of Sale, to prove the boat is not under any outstanding finance, however we had a little bit of an issue here, which you can read more on in our previous blog Marine Finance – The minefield that is!

  • So you are all clear and ready to go. Brenda requests final documentation from Whilton Marina, and you get sent your full loan agreement paperwork to sign and return.
  • Tah-Dah Brenda will phone you and confirm when the payment is scheduled to be made and then you have your beloved boat!

Easy right? Yes actually. We cannot get across enough how amazing Brenda was. A lot of people have asked why we didn’t just fund this with a personal loan, when we looked at personal loans the rate of borrowing was extortionate, the loan from Zebra has worked out at 5% below what we were offered by our banks. And at just under 10% APR it may still sound like a lot, but in honesty, the amount of help Brenda has been, highlighting things we would never have even thought of (Being the mature boating experts we are), and then dealing with them as though there was never a problem there, was simple incredible.

We didn’t try any of the other companies, we were happy with the deal we were offered and with Zebra on the whole, and more importantly with Brenda. So if you crazy cats want to follow in our Living Narrow dream and are considering Marine Finance we could not recommend Zebra more highly. Did we mention Brenda is a full on super hero?

James & Kirsty




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