It is fall and many of you are now looking at buying a boat ready for the next season. Many boat shows are approaching along with many news and boats that could fit your needs and wants.
This post is about making the boat purchase without making the same mistakes I did.
I think the first thing you should do is to have at least two alternatives you really like. Then make sure that you let the sales people know that you will select the boat that gives you the most of what you want/need at the best cost to you. Having a real alternative makes it much easier for you to be tough on the terms as well.
Have a firm last delivery date. Most shipyards cannot promise you a final date, but a last delivery date must be in the contract. Also make sure you use the term substantial breach of contract if delivery is happening after this date. Most countries consumer law gives you automatic many rights if a seller is in substantial breach of a contract. I did not have this and it cost me an additional $8000 in lawyers and other directly related expenses. At the time of signing they mentioned deliveries in January, then March, April, May and in the end first week of June.
Have included in your contract that the Seller shall make any effort to inform you about any delays in the delivery. The Seller shall inform you of a detailed delivery date no later than 30 days before the delivery date.
Make sure you put in detail what shall be tested on the sea trial before delivery. This must at minimum include testing and calibration of all instruments, programming of the AIS and VHF units and testing AIS/EPRIB alarms on the chart plotters. The radar must be aligned and calibrated if you have one, the compass(s) calibrated, the ships log calibrated, depth measure calibrated to water under the keel etc. When you have done this you are not only sure that the instruments are working, but that they are also working correctly. Other equipment to test are the watermaker, hydraulic garage door and other hydraulic equipment, electric winches, anchor winch any remotes and so on.
In the end, you should insist on writing in the contract that delivery is not considered completed until all instruments, electronics, sails etc are working as intended and are calibrated.
In the beginning of owning your new boat, you will experience a load of problems. It is very important that you have agreed on how your service and warranty requests shall be handled. Especially important is it that you get swift service and repairs to avoid sitting still in a marina while you rather be out in a nice bay someplace enjoying summer. What you need to have specifically in the contract is 1, in the event of any breakdown, the Seller shall reply within 24 hours of receiving your email or phone call with a plan on how to fix your problem. Alternatively a mechanic shall be inboard your boat troubleshooting the issue within 24 hours. Replies to information requests shall be given within 2 working days. In the event service or a reply is not made within the given time limits, an email including why the delay, what the plan is and who is involved shall be given by the Seller to the Buyer.
Payment terms must be clear and very detailed. If you need a loan to finance part of the boats cost, you are likely to have to register your boat in a national registry and a form of security registered to your bank. This must be completed before your bank pays the Seller. This fact MUST be in the contract: The payment is due at the latter date of the completion of your boat and the time the bank’s security is registered and the bank pays out the loan to the Seller. Next is who is taking the currency exchange risk if the boat is to be paid in a currency other than your national currency. I spent most of my lawyer fees on settling this matte.
Investigate the options you can order to your boat and check them carefully. I found that the packages the Seller set up included 3 electrical toilets in a boat with 2 heads just to name one.
Good luck with your boat purchase and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.