Boat Shopping '101' 


When you're ready for some serious boat shopping, the best place to begin is online at Yachtworld.com, which offers the largest selection of listed boats in the world. You can search by length, boat type or model name and you can also customize your search by location. You can compare models, prices, and even take virtual tours all without getting out of your chair.



            Choosing a Broker     


Start with a brokerage firm with a waterfront office and their own docks. This will allow you to leisurely go through many boats at the same stop to determine exactly what you are looking for. Choose a Broker with a thorough knowledge of boats and one who is capable of advising you on everything from construction materials to the management and operation of the boat.

Since the American dollar is currently much stronger than the Canadian dollar, many American boat buyers are looking north at Canadian listings and the Broker you choose should also have experience in selling and transporting boats to and from Canadian waters. Even more important, your Broker should have a clear understanding of the international tax and duty liabilities for each purchase. While a comprehensive knowledge of boats is necessary, a Broker should also have two other attributes as well. They should be a skilled negotiator to get the best deal possible for you and have a solid business background to deal with the intricacies of both domestic and international transactions.

Another very important benefit of working with a Broker is to have an intermediary between you and the sellers. This minimizes your anxieties and neutralizes any negative effects personalities may have on the transaction.

After the sale, your Yacht Broker can also provide you invaluable services like advice on future maintenance, demonstrating your new boat’s equipment and comprehensive on-water training.

Working with your local Yacht Broker also locks in their local sales tax rate for any boat purchase elsewhere. For example: when you purchase a boat in Seattle or Tacoma you pay the 9.7% sales tax unless you enlist the services of a Gig Harbor brokerage to represent you in the purchase of the same boat. Then the sales tax will be based on the local Gig Harbor sales tax rate of 8.5%, which saves you $1200 per every $100,000 of purchase price.

Also, choose a Yacht Broker with membership in one of the two regional marine associations, Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) or Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA).



    The Brokerage Process 


Once you decide on a boat, it is customary to offer a 10% earnest money with your offer which is held in the Broker’s “Client Trust Account”. This initiates the “offer and counteroffer” process with the Broker negotiating an acceptable price while maintaining attention on your financial interests, purchasing  requirements and all written conditions. But before the deal is completed, there are several important steps. Without exception, every purchase contract has clauses requiring that the boat must pass a satisfactory marine survey as well as a sea trial. Most insurance companies will also require a recent survey and nearly all marinas will require proof of insurance to secure moorage at their facility. The sea trial reassures you of a satisfactory boat and provides a chance to experience the boat underway. At sea trial all mechanical equipment and auxiliary systems are tested and the boat’s cruising and top end speeds are demonstrated and noted.

A marine survey is a little like having a pre-sale inspection on a home, but much more thorough. The surveyor examines the boat from stem to stern (usually when hauled out) and provides a comprehensive written report of the condition. The written survey report can run anywhere from a few pages on smaller boats to a dozen or more pages on larger yachts and notes the findings by the surveyor at time of survey. Since surveyors are not licensed, ask your Broker for a list of reliable and reputable local surveyors, including their fees. If any major findings are discovered at survey, you can negotiate further to either have the owner correct any problems or to reduce the price accordingly. If the findings are extensive and significantly affect the value or seaworthiness of the boat, the offer can be rescinded and your earnest monies returned.

If you are getting a marine loan expect to put at least 20% down and mortgages range from five years to twenty years depending on your specific needs and financial situation. Your Broker can direct you to the lowest marine lending rates and the best marine financing.



           The Closing Process  


Assuming a satisfactory survey and sea trial, the Broker then handles the title paperwork and financial transactions to transfer the boat. When there is a new loan involved, the closing duties are turned over to a local marine title company such as Pacific Maritime Title and VanNess Vessel Title in Seattle or Marine Documentation Services in Anacortes. 

In the final analysis, buying a boat should be an enjoyable purchase. For many new owners, there is the joy of the hunt, followed by the challenge of negotiations to make the deal, consummating with the satisfactory outcome of owning a nice boat that can bring years of pleasure and enjoyment. Using an experienced Yacht Broker is the best way to assure that enjoyment.


(253) 857-6060 or (360) 479-4100