It is a great time to buy a boat or yacht right now. Unlike the real estate market, it is currently a boat buyers market, conversely sellers are crying foul right now. Traditionally when our dollar was lower rich Americans would come to Canada and scoop up the deals. The tide has turned. The US economy is in the tank. Our Canadian peso is now a powerful currency, our economy is vibrant. Now affluent Canadians are scouring for deals throughout the lower states.
Computers have been the great equalizer providing would be buyers with access to all listings through such sites as www.yachtworld.com and www.thunderbirdmarine.com This has had the effect of evening out pricing. Gone are the days of finding out you have paid way too much or too little for your boat, if you do your research diligently.
When the decision is reached to purchase a boat/yacht there are many choices available and answering a few questions will help narrow down the search. Patience will help in the long run, impulsive purchases can be very painful to the pocketbook as well as the level of satisfaction and enjoyment.
What do you want vessel for? This is one of the most important questions. The more closely you can define this, the better your choice will turn out. Do you want sail or power? Either way, how big should the boat be? How many people will you usually take out, how long will you be going out for? Will you be doing mainly day trips or overnighters? Will you be anchoring a lot or mainly tying up at docks? How far will you go on the wide open ocean and/or lakes and rivers? Will you fish prawn and crab? What about watersports: do you want to ski, swim, tube or wakeboard or wakeskate?
Will you be trailering or do you require moorage? Moorage can be very hard to obtain. Some boats may have transferrable moorage. If this is not the case, my advice - get on the waiting list at your local marina immediately. Some places charge a fee to be on the list, most do not. Do you prefer diesel or gas motors? Are you new to boating, how much experience do you have? With a little planning, potential new boaters will be able to define their particular usage to help determine the best boat to buy.
Budget may dictate what sort of boat you end up with. Consider how new, how big, how fancy? The rule of thumb for upkeep: budget for 15% of the boat value to go to upkeep per year.
Moorage generally should run about $12 per foot per month locally, subject to availability. Yacht brokers generally have connections when you purchase with them. Brokers can be good bad or ugly just like other professionals. Ensure they are licensed and governed by the BCYBA, BC yacht brokers association. We have a strict code of ethics to adhere to. Our job is to find the right boat for our customers, then to determine its condition, through surveys, mechanical inspections, title and lien searches and of course sea trials.
You would not think of purchasing a car without first driving it or to buy a house without a survey or title/lien search. Treat the purchase of a boat the same way, try it out and check it out!
Insurance is also critical. Some companies are great, some can be a nightmare to deal with! Most brokers can inform you which to avoid. Another rule of thumb: do not get your insurance through the guy who does your house or car. Stick with a marine specialist, they know boats. If something goes wrong it can make a huge difference.
New regulations now apply to boating. You must have a Pleasure Craft Operators Card to operate a motor vessel in Canada. www.boaterexam.com provides you with all the information you need. You can now study and write this test from the comfort of your own home. A great idea for the novice boater is to sign up and attend a power squadron course. These courses provide you with a wealth of valuable knowledge. I even recommend these courses for experienced boaters.
You can hire professional skippers to give you boat lessons, most brokers will help you out with basic orientation We introduce many novice people to the world of boating, opening up a whole new dimension to living on the west coast. Once you get started boating, it’s hard to imagine living here and not getting out on the water!
So in a perfect world, Congratulations! You have now picked out your new prize, sea trialled and have had your mechanical inspection and hull surveys. (most brokers have lists of surveyors and mechanics) You have moorage in place. (all marinas require current insurance with 2 million in liability, or a trailer for the boat) You are familiar with the various systems: batteries, electrical, mechanical and electronics such as GPS, VHF radio and radar. Never forget the safety gear, flares, fire extinguishers, PFDs or life jackets, running lights, bilge pumps, bilge blowers etc. You have all of the tie up lines and fenders you need: you are good to go. It is a good idea during or after your purchase to get the vendor to run through the boat and all systems with you.
Now all we need is some great summer weather to enjoy! It is said that the happiest day of your life is when you purchase a boat, the saddest is when you sell. Very few people ever regret becoming a mariner, good luck.
Cormac O'Kiely is a Yacht Broker at Thunderbird Yacht Sales. Call anytime at: m 604-921-7457 or c 604-209-9929
Please mark Sunday May 26th on your calendars now. More updates can be obtained here or through the Art Council website: Link to Lions Bay Art Council website