Yachts and Recreational Vehicles
The law surrounding yachts and recreational vessels is complex and fragmented. Whether you're buying, building or chartering ... BLG is experienced in all aspects of the process.
Buying a yacht can be an exciting but complex process, as it involves significant financial investment and various considerations. Here is a general overview of the steps involved in buying a yacht:
1. Define Your Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on purchasing a yacht. Your budget will influence the type, size, and condition of the yacht you can afford.
2. Research Yacht Types: Research the different types of yachts available, such as sailing yachts, motor yachts, catamarans, or superyachts. Consider your preferences, intended use, and desired features.
3. Choose a Yacht Broker: Hiring a reputable yacht broker can simplify the buying process. A yacht broker can help you find suitable yachts, negotiate deals, and navigate legal and administrative aspects.
4. Yacht Selection: Work closely with your yacht broker to identify yachts that meet your criteria. Arrange viewings and sea trials to inspect the yacht's condition and performance.
5. Financing: If you are not purchasing the yacht outright, explore financing options. This may involve securing a yacht loan, securing financing through a bank or yacht lender, or exploring lease or charter options.
6. Make an Offer: Work with your broker to make an offer on the yacht. The offer should take into account the survey results and any necessary repairs or improvements.
7. Negotiate the Deal: Negotiate the purchase price and terms of the agreement with the seller. Your broker can assist in this process to ensure a fair deal.
8. Complete the Purchase Agreement: Once both parties agree on the terms, a purchase agreement or contract is drafted. This document should include all the details of the sale, including price, contingencies, and deadlines. It is crucial you engage legal counsel at this step of the process to ensure you are protected and are advised of critical due diligence prior to accomplishing the purchase of the vessel.
9. Survey and Inspection: Once you've identified a yacht you like, hire a marine surveyor to conduct a thorough inspection. The surveyor will assess the yacht's structural integrity, mechanical systems, and overall condition. Use the survey report to negotiate repairs or adjustments with the seller if necessary.
10. Closing the Deal: Arrange for necessary legal and financial processes, such as the transfer of ownership, payment, and documentation. Ensure that all necessary paperwork, including the bill of sale and title transfer, is completed accurately. Understanding your jursidiction's sales tax requirements is a critical component of this process.
11. Insurance: Purchase yacht insurance to protect your investment. Yacht insurance can cover various aspects, including liability, hull damage, and personal property.
12. Mooring and Maintenance: Plan for where you will moor your yacht and consider the ongoing maintenance and operating costs. This includes crew salaries, marina fees, fuel, and regular maintenance.
13. Registration and Documentation: Register the yacht in your name with the appropriate authorities, which may vary depending on your location and the size of the yacht.
14. Enjoy Your Yacht: Once the purchase is complete and all the necessary paperwork is in order, it's time to enjoy your new yacht! Be sure to familiarize yourself with its systems and safety protocols before setting sail.
Keep in mind that the process may vary depending on your location, the type of yacht, and whether you are buying a new or used vessel. It's essential to work with experienced professionals, such as a yacht broker, surveyor, and legal advisors, to ensure a smooth and successful yacht purchase. BLG's Managing Partner, Amanda Butler Schley, is a former cruiser herself and has first hand knowledge of the legal and practical steps that should be taken before getting underway on your boating adventure. Here's a Super Lawyer's article summarizing her adventure.