fellow walked into our office last week (no, this is
not a joke) and asked about taking one of our live
aboard power boating courses. When I asked what size
trawlers or motor yachts he had handled in the past
he said, “I’ve never even been on a large boat, but
I’m in the process of buying a 50-footer!” Then
“Bob” the boat buyer (not his real name) continued,
“I was planning on taking your course next year, but
since I’m buying the boat I need to take your class
Interestingly enough, this scenario is not uncommon.
We have talked to hundreds of “Bobs” over the years.
After all, boat ownership is often a “dream” that
casts a spell on prospective buyers! Sometimes the
allure of buying a boat can be so strong that a
person decides to buy a boat before they have any
practical experience on board.
Just pick up a boating magazine and take a look at
all the beautiful yachts. The boaters are attractive
and they look like they are having fun. The weather
is beautiful and the seas are calm. Rarely do you
see a boater covered in oil and laying on his back
in the bilge trying to change a fuel filter that is
barely accessible. That’s what we call, “the real
world of boat ownership.”
In last month’s column I outlined a dozen questions
that we often ask potential boat buyers. In the
real-life case above, this gentleman would not be
able to answer any of those questions prior to
purchase. So, how could he know what type and size
boat is right for him? That’s the million-dollar
question! That’s where an experienced, honest Yacht
Broker can help.
Whether you plan to buy or sell a boat in the near
future, we encourage you to consider working with a
licensed Yacht Broker. Over the years we have we
have seen the good things that take place with the
help of a broker and – unfortunately – the not so
good things that have happened without a broker
looking out for your best interests. And that
applies to both vessel purchases and sales.
If your plans for the year include a vessel
purchase, here are some important considerations
Brokers are licensed and bonded in Florida. This
helps to assure they will be professional and
ethical in their dealings with you.
Brokers know the market. They know what’s
currently available, prices of sold boats, the
“story” behind the yacht, financing sources and
sources of insurance.
Brokers coordinate all of the paperwork involved
in a yacht transaction. They know the best way to
make an offer on your behalf, how to handle sales
or use taxes, how to smooth out the closing
process and how to make the U.S. Coast Guard
documentation run smoothly.
Brokers can be a great help in the Survey. They
know the local market and can make meaningful
recommendations, obtain quotes, interpret findings
and lead the negotiations that may results from
the Survey findings.
Brokers are with you after the sale. They
coordinate any work on the yacht that is needed,
assist in finding a slip and even help in
coordinating delivery of the yacht to your chosen
If you’re planning to sell your boat, here are some
key considerations for having a Yacht Broker
Brokers’ knowledge of the market is an important
resource. They can help price your yacht while
matching your hoped for transaction timetable.
Brokers have access to a multitude of marketing
tools to let the market know your yacht is for
sale. They carefully assemble the specifications,
photos and history of your yacht.
Brokers represent you and your yacht in the
marketplace. They show your boat to prospective
buyers and keep you informed along the way.
Brokers have their fingers on the pulse of the
marketplace and continually keep you apprised of
those conditions and how they impact your sale.
Brokers can help you determine the best way to
make your yacht more presentable to the market.
We highly recommend a broker for sales and purchases
of boats 30-feet or larger. Whether you are buying
or selling a vessel, a good broker can be a life
saver and can actually save you both money and
Even the most experience Yacht Broker, however, is
not substitute for personal knowledge and
experience. Don’t be like “Bob the boat buyer” (or
“boat seller” for that matter.) Whether you take a
class or charter a few times, you will want to do
your own homework regarding various types of vessels
that may be of interest to you and their values.
We will wrap up our series next month as we walk you
through the actual buying or selling process,
including how to make the “paper shuffle” go
Proper planning will help you avoid problems “along
the waterway” of boat ownership. Don’t let your
boating plans turn into a nightmare. Sweet dreams!