We bought a boat in Croatia
this summer -- in some ways very happy, and in others it was nearly a catastrophe.
A couple things you need to know about buying
a boat in Croatia
1) it has a very byzantine chattel-mortgage system and the mortgages are not always on the books
. Our big problem was that while the title search came up clean, there was in fact a lien on the Kapitain's book (every port-captain keeps a separate one) For us this took nearly 3 months to finally clear (most of which was the time the company needed to get the bank to give up the charge) So you need to know which port the boat is from and physically go look at the Port Captain's book, and then make sure nothing is registered in the time between when you make the offer and you get the boat. Here is the actual list of things that needed to be done to successfully export the boat:
i) Clearance from Customs
from Min of Finance (they got a VAT holiday and need to prove the boat was in Charter or they owe 20% tax)
ii) Copy of clearance above sent to Kapitane
iii) Cancellation of any liens from banks
iv) Notorial deed from the banks lawyers
v) translation of that deed into Croatian
vi) Kapitain decides to remove the boat from the register and issues a certificate of cancellation
vii) then you sail the boat to the port, customs comes and verifies it's the same boat, and then a port-police person comes and checks your interim documentation
viii) you go to the Kapitain and they issue an exit permit
-- you must leave the country for 24 hours
ix) if you decide to remain in Croatia you then re-enter and must purchase
a vingnetta ($500), go through customs, and the normal rig-a-mar-ole.
2) If I did it over again I would have paid a minimal deposit -- like $1 or $2000 with the remainder coming at export. There is so much to do in order to export the boat and it takes forever. Good luck -- they'll ask for 100% up-front.
3) The surveys in Croatia are, in my opinion, cursory at best. I spent something like 1800 Euros (800 for the surveyor, 1000 for the haulout) to get a survey
done. In Canada
where I am from that would have been 5 or 6 hours of a guy crawling through all the systems, tapping out the hull
, using a moisture meter, etc. The surveyor from Croatia took about 100 pictures in 45 minutes, said it's a good boat and I should buy it. I was crawling around, checking bilges, making sure the radar
worked, etc. etc. My broker told me that very few people survey
boats in Croatia -- now I know why. If I were to do it over again, i would have taken my friend the surveyor on a free trip to Croatia -- about the same 800 Euros for airfare, and would have gotten more piece of mind.
4) There are lots of boats for sale
in Croatia -- lots of boats in Charter and the prices tend to be all over the place. I looked at a number of boats before I chose the one we took and basically it's a lot like houses. Good product, well priced sells, crappy product at any price
doesn't and you have some guys that want a price
that is unrealistic ... so you just have to go look at a lot of boats.
5) Having cruised through Croatia, Montenegro, Greece
, and now Turkey, I would suggest the condition of the Croatian boats is a fair step up from those in Greece. I think it's primarily because it's way less windy and wavy in Croatia (Istria notwithstanding). Boats from Greece will have seen a lot of wind
-- plus lots of med-mooring. Croatia is 90% mooring
buoys and laid moorings -- and that's a lot easier on equipment
I wasn't too fussed about buying
an ex-charter boat for two basic reasons: the first is that price wise they're roughly 30% lower than a private yacht (though my son has made us promise never to charter our boat out after seeing what people do to them) -- and the second is that in all the years I've owned boats, I have rarely ever worn anything out ... it's all corroded or siezed or stopped working because of lack-of-use. Charter boats have to 'show up' every week for 30 weeks and then they're pulled out of the water
. That level of use means that stuff generally works and things like the engine
get serviced 15 times a year.
So -- if the cosmetics are good then you're probably going to be OK with the majority of the other systems.
In the end we're delighted with our boat and the price we paid for it -- probably saved 30% over the next best priced and equivalent age / equipped boat, plus not being from Europe
the VAT paid status doesn't matter to us. So ... in the end we were happy, our broker was helpful, though I would have liked to have known more (like what I put above) about the process before we started.
Marina's husband Matt wrote this entry.