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Old 10-31-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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Storm Damaged Vessels

If I was interested in an east coast or gulf coast boat is there any way to determine, upfront, if the boat has suffered storm damage? I would imagine a survey would point out concerns but surveys come after an offer is made and accepted.

Are brokers obligated to tell a buyer "yeah, she ended up ten miles inland and lying on her side after Katrina"?

So the question is....how do I "qualify" a boat before jumping on a plane and flying 3000 miles to view it?
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:05 AM   #2
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So the question is....how do I "qualify" a boat before jumping on a plane and flying 3000 miles to view it?
Ask them if they have the "BoatFax" for the boat. (Seriously, If the broker or owner won't tell you, I don't know any other way.)
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:02 PM   #3
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There is no legal obligation for a broker to disclose prior damage on a boat like there is on a car. There also are no "BoatFax" places like you have with a car.

The best thing to do is to hire a surveyor. Tell him you want a cursory examination done on the boat, not a full survey at that point, for the purpose of identifying things that would be a deal breaker. That way you're not getting a full blown ("expensive") survey done and it might save you the airfare and other costs.

Tell the surveyor if the boat looks good after his cursory survey then you'll fly out and do a full blown survey and sea trial, and you'd like him to go along on the sea trial.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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Agree.
. . And tell him up front, you don't want a storm damaged boat. If he's any good at all, he will know what to look for!!

If you're concerned about the boat, ask the broker for a signed disclosure statement from the seller.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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disclosure

my boat just went up for sale in new jersey,and I had to sign a disclosure doc with the broker,for any major repairs,not just sandy.Guess it varies by state,but ask the broker if that is required where you are looking
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:56 PM   #6
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A broker is required to disclose such an issue if he is aware of it from the seller, at least in the two states that license marine salesman and brokers (CA and FL)
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:14 PM   #7
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It may become more prevalent by brokers whether a legal requirement or not...for so long they were protected under the law...but a huge lawsuit in the last few years put their heads on the chopping for knowing and even "should know" about vessel deficiencies.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:31 PM   #8
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It's a bit of a long shot but it has worked for me several times over the years .... Google the HIN, Most of the liquidators like National Liquidators and Certified Yacht Sales put the HIN numbers on their sales listings. I have had some patched up salvage boats show up in their in archives years after the boats were sold.

If its a documented boat, get the documentation number and google that, they sometimes show up on the same sites.

An even longer shot but it has paid off a couple of times. You can also search USCG documentation site for "Coast Guard Contacts" using the documentation number. If the CG was involved with the boat in any type of incident it would show up here.

If you have access or know someone who has access to soldboats.com
you can also try to track them through old sales data. I found a Hunter 320 last week this way. I knew it had come into Ontario between 2005 and 2006 (by the license number) so I searched that model sales for those years, clicked on the lowest price one in the bunch and up she came as a Katrina salvaged sinker sold by Certified Yacht Sales. My client wisely walked.

There is actually such a thing as Boatfax (boatfax.com) but its just a money grab. BoatUS did an article on them explaining why it was all BS.
I've got it somewhere but can't find it right now.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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Good advice all, thanks. I think finding a surveyor who is isn't friends with either the owner or the listing broker and have him do a preliminary visit to the boat is the best approach to qualifying a boat from the opposite side of the country.
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Old 11-01-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steppen View Post
Good advice all, thanks. I think finding a surveyor who is isn't friends with either the owner or the listing broker and have him do a preliminary visit to the boat is the best approach to qualifying a boat from the opposite side of the country.
That's what I did for Seaweed... In 2008 I paid $75 for a local surveyor to take a look-see. I wanted to know if the pictures were accurate and if there was a reason to further pursue the boat. It took him less than an hour and I believe I received good value -- probably just 15 or 20 minutes.

Just providing my costs then (and Seaweed is 23') as a price point. Good luck.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:07 PM   #11
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+1 for the surveyor to do a pre-survey. In regards to storm damaged boats- THE place you really need to look out for them, is inland on the river systems all the way up into Ontario. Local buyers in Hurricane area's know to ask the right questions. Those buyers up in Pittsburgh, or on the Great Lakes never even think to ask about Hurricane damaged boats.
After the big storms- these damaged boats bought as salvage go up north by the truck loads then are "re-born" as "fresh water since new" boats. I've caught SO many sellers lying it's amazing. It's like they have no idea of the Coast Guard registry where I can see your "freshwater since new" boat used to live in Galveston! Etc. That's before I even step on the boat I see all the corrosion on the exterior aluminum, or the green bronze thru-hulls. Buyer beware. Provenance, provenance, provenance PLUS receipts is the order of the day.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pilothouse king View Post
+1 for the surveyor to do a pre-survey. In regards to storm damaged boats- THE place you really need to look out for them, is inland on the river systems all the way up into Ontario. Local buyers in Hurricane area's know to ask the right questions. Those buyers up in Pittsburgh, or on the Great Lakes never even think to ask about Hurricane damaged boats.
After the big storms- these damaged boats bought as salvage go up north by the truck loads then are "re-born" as "fresh water since new" boats. I've caught SO many sellers lying it's amazing. It's like they have no idea of the Coast Guard registry where I can see your "freshwater since new" boat used to live in Galveston! Etc. That's before I even step on the boat I see all the corrosion on the exterior aluminum, or the green bronze thru-hulls. Buyer beware. Provenance, provenance, provenance PLUS receipts is the order of the day.
I have been warning buyers in Ontario about this for years. Katrina boats are still hitting the market here in Ontario and Sandy boats landed here within 2 weeks of the storm. There are some seriously dangerous pigs out there with fresh lipstick. I posted this article on "Buying A Hurricane Boat"
on my site several years ago and updated it after Sandy.
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