Used Boat Buyers Beware of Hurricane Damaged Vessels…

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Used Boat Buyers Beware of Hurricane Damaged Vessels…

The second owner boat market is full of used boats and while buying a one is never easy, recent hurricanes could lead to an increase in vessels for sale that may have sustained severe damage from recent storms. Quite often damaged boats are properly repaired and sold, but sometimes sellers don’t always tell the truth and finding out whether a boat has been hurricane damaged can be difficult. That difficulty is especially relative if cosmetic repairs have been made.

Here are some tips that could help protect you from inadvertently buying a hurricane damaged vessel.

Get a Survey: The boat looks brand new, but did you know that 12% of all boat damage is a result of a lack of proper maintenance? Do you know how to look ‘under the covers’ so to speak and know if the boat has been properly maintained? The surveyor “you” hire (not the seller or boat dealer) to inspect the boat has the knowledge and expertise to know what is proper and what is not. Therefore having a survey done by a professional and reputable independent surveyor is paramount, especially if you’re looking to invest thousands of hard earned dollars.

Selling Across State Lines: Buyer beware is an old time but true saying and boat seller’s wishing to obscure the boats history only needs to cross state lines to avoid detection. Unlike automobiles some states do not have laws requiring the titles of junked or salvaged boats be recognized as such. And only 36 states even have a requirement that powerboats be titled. Often the absence of a salvage title allows an unscrupulous seller to simply trailer the boat to another state and list it for sale with a dealer. Use caution if the seller unwilling to document where a boat has been berthed or registered for the past few years.

Erroneous Reporting: Although some internet websites allege to provide comprehensive background information on used boats, consumers should be dubious since there is no single clearinghouse for boat information. You could check the records of each boat by calling the boat registration agencies in every state but you must still be aware that, state boat registration records do not include information about accidents or insurance claims.

“As Is Condition” Could Equal Expensive Repairs: Protections afforded consumers by federal warranty laws and state implied warranties are limited when products are sold “as is”. Without a thorough inspection and pre-purchase survey, you may not find any storm-related damages until something major happens and repair efforts reveal the true extent of damage. Most insurance policies don’t cover preexisting conditions and won’t cover the repairs. If you do buy “as is”, consider adding a statement in the sales contract that says the seller has revealed everything they know about the boat’s preexisting and existing condition and all repaired damages.

Knowing Before You Purchase: For certain buyers purchasing a hurricane damaged vessel may be appealing, provided they have the time, budget, and sweat equity needed to facilitate repairs, However, knowing it’s a hurricane damaged boat is a must.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com