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Old 15-08-2009, 11:19   #16
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Get an Admiralty Attorney - one that has handled boat conveyances before

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Old 16-08-2009, 15:02   #17
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To specifically answer your questions, it is necessary to know several things. One is the purchase price significant - over $10K? Assuming USA, is the boat State registered or USCG Documented? And the biggy, are you taking out a loan to buy the boat and using the boat as collateral for the loan?
-- If the last question is yes, you are taking out a loan to buy the boat, then you had best go through a "reputable broker". He will do all the leg work and earn his money. Lawyers are necessary for houses but not for boats. A reputable broker will arrange everything from title transfer to USCG Documentation to making sure all liens and claims on the boat are satisfied. He is "your man".
- - If the boat is under $10K and/or there are no bank loans involved, then you can do everything yourself. State registered boats are simple as the State title has a transfer of ownership on the backside. USCG Documentation is also simple and the forms are available online - the cost for my 50 foot boat was $94 plus notary services for a Bill of Sale I wrote myself.
- - All the suggestions above are based on your exposing lots of money and wanting some "assurances" as to the value and serviceability of the boat. The "man" to do that for you is the broker - a "good" broker. If he is good he will help you lower the purchase price to cover his "percentage." Only "Maritime Lawyers" can handle ships and boats, it it out of the scope of normal lawyers. And they are not necessary as virtually all boat sales agreements contain a version of "as is, where is" with no warranties implied or offered on used boats. There is just too many variables in construction, past history, and upkeep to be covered. That is why it is suggested and required by bank loans and insurance companies to have an out of the water thorough licensed survey done. They want to know what condition this boat is really in and what are its hidden problems, if any.
So, Yes, you can do-it-yourself gathering data, hiring surveys, and inspections but for big money purchases by the time you finished you will be educated and qualified to be a broker or if not, extremely likely to lose your money.

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