Founder and Owner
Capt. Gary R. Wright - SAMS® AMS® #753
Accredited Marine Surveyor®
Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors®
|Common Mistakes (MANY) Boat Buyers Make.|
Not obtaining a pre-purchase survey is the number one mistake.
Even a seasoned boater often overlooks serious issues with a boat once bitten by the "gotta have it" bug. Every boating season we get calls for "insurance" or "financing" surveys on vessels that have just been purchased; without a survey. The frantic caller usually begins the conversation with, "I just bought this 19?? or 20?? boat, and now I can't get insurance without a survey." How much is that going to cost me - can you do it before the weekend? Or,the boat just had a survey three years ago, but the insurance company won't accept it. Can you just update the old survey with my name on it? In the first scenario, the buyer has paid $XXXXX for this great boat. Cruising plans are made, then BAM, he/she has a boat with no insurance. What a bummer, boating plans have to be postponed because a survey can't be arranged in time. Or worse, the survey gets performed, and reveals there are serious and/or costly issues which may have to be addressed before the boat can leave the dock. Or oops, we paid too much!
Another scenario - the buyer agrees on a purchase price based on his/her own research, or a great sales pitch by the seller or broker. Papers are signed without the survey, and the bank won't approve the loan without a fresh survey. Best case. The buyer is lucky, the closing is delayed a few days, the survey (and agreed purchase price) are satisfactory. Worst case. The survey reveals there are costly condition issues, and/or, the survey reveals a "Fair Market Value" well below what the lender requires to make the loan, and the deal falls through.
Tragic scenario. No survey is performed. For whatever reason, boat is bought, cruising begins, something breaks, there is a terrible tragedy on board and someone gets hurt - or worse...
Common mistake number two.
The buyer spends months (even years) of diligent research in a quest for that "perfect" boat. The perfect vessel is found and a purchase agreement signed. Suddenly, all bets are off, but a surveyor IS called. Buyer; "I've just made a deal on my dream boat - how much is a survey, and how soon can you do it?" "Oh, I need it by (X) day because we have a contract deadline." Now it's a matter of urgency! The most important part of the process is about to be thrown out the window because the eye is on the prize and adequate time for doing the same due diligence to research surveyor credentials before the impending deadline is not an option.
In this scenario the frantic buyer chooses the surveyor who can get there first. Or the one who is the cheapest (or both.) Best case - an acceptable survey is obtained, no serious condition or valuation issues found, and all is well with his/her "perfect" boat. Worst case - poor survey, serious issues overlooked and that "perfect" boat turns out to be a very costly and disappointing expenditure. Tragic case - serious issues overlooked, there is a terrible tragedy on board and someone gets hurt; or worse...
Common mistake number three.
My friend(s) have boats, we just love going out with them, but they often take trips without us - let's just buy our own boat. A seemingly practical budget is established, the boat is purchased, the fun begins, and all is well with the world - for a little while.
The pleasure of boating is one part financial, one part emotional, and a whole lot of "hard work." Oh sure, you can afford the payments - the slip rent - the insurance - and the fuel; but what about the time and expense of the upkeep? The cost of cleaning and cleaning supplies - electricity - engine maintenance (like oil and filter changes) - miscellaneous marina expenses like pest control, regular boat-side waste pump out, and WiFi - annual winterizing expenses - miscellaneous routine maintenance costs - Etc.. Ever hear the expression "BOAT - break out another thousand?"
When boating ceases to be fun, because of the ongoing responsibilities and the continuing expense of ownership, many disgruntled boaters begin to neglect their once prized possession, and the boat quickly becomes a very sad sight. Worse, her value and appeal diminishes exponentially. In my dozens of years of boating and surveying, I've see case after case where boats of all types and values sit idle in a marina, covered with layers of dirt and spider poop. This not only affects the condition and value of the vessel, it makes the neighbors mad, and in some cases, a marina owner will force the boat owner to leave the marina.
BEFORE YOU BUY A BOAT - Consider ALL the costs and responsibilities of boat ownership. Please feel free to give us a call for advice, or with questions about the process; or, a particular make or model boat.
** BEFORE YOU SELECT YOUR SURVEYOR, ask for a copy of a recent survey report, so you can compare everyone's work product.