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Tips on Buying a used boat in Hong Kong

Are you thinking of buying a used boat recently? 

Here are some tips that may help you make a decision.

1) Do online research of the boats available for sale, You can also send your requirements to brokers to help you find a yacht. Let them know your approximate budjet and what you are looking for. Eg. A boat less than 5 years old, size of the boat, maybe with 3 cabins, with or without flybridge. A particular model that you are interested in etc.

2) Avoid going to many different brokers for same boats. Since Hong Kong is a small place, its likely most brokers have most of the boats listed. However, a point to note is that when more than one broker contacts the same owner, it may look to the owner as there are more offers on his boat, which will make him unlikely to negotiate. In which case, you and the owner will not be able to make a deal.

3) Inspect the boat yourself initially. No body knows what you like exactly except yourself, so go to the boat, check for superficial damages, check window seals and wood around it for water leakage. Check the engine room for rust, water in bilges, oil in bilges and dirt. See if all toilets can be flushed, Lights can be opened and navigation equipment turns on. Ask the owner to turn on the engines and generator to ensure they work.

4) Negotiate the price : Negotiating the price realistically is important, also one point to understand while negotiating is that, your price stands if you are satisfied with a survey done by a professional independent surveyor. Ofcourse a sensible wear and tear is acceptable but incase you find a problem that requires more than a few thousand dollars to repair, then it should be either cut off from the price or re-negotiated. You also have a choice to get out of the deal if you think its a lot of headache to attend to fix many problems.

5) Hire a independent surveyor. Hiring a surveyor will save you from making a bad deal. A good surveyor will sea-trail the boat, check for all the interior and mechanical damages and give you a full report. A good surveyor will also do a water hose test to ensure no water leaks are there.

6) Hire a independent engine surveyor. A marine surveyor cannot tell you much about the engines, but a professional dealer will come and hook up his computers to the engine and do a special engine test to see it is in good condition. Engine is one of the most important parts of the boats. If it has a damage that is above normal wear and tear, then it should be a no deal.

7) Ensure no loans are on the boat. Try to see the original license, also ask your broker to make a proper agreement and a Bill of sale mentioning that the boat is free from all loans and liens. If the boat is mortgaged, then make sure it is paid off before you do the purchase. Some times the owner will require you to make a payment and give you relevant documents from finance company to ensure that the money is used to pay off the mortgage and you may have to wait for a few days until the mortgage is cleared. If you are happy with this arrangement then ask your broker to assist and ensure you are getting the right papers signed to protect your interests.

8) Take delivery . When taking delivery make sure all items that belong to the boat are on the boat. Make this arrangement clear with your broker or ask the surveyor to make list of the items that are onboard which will go with the boat. Discuss these things to avoid last minute conflicts.

9) Pick a shipyard. Pick a good shipyard if you want to do some renovation or change interiors according to your liking, normally compare prices and also let the shipyard know that you are looking for a long term relationship with them for yearly maintenance and therefore to give you a good price.

10) Follow all safety rules in the sea, have enough life jackets and test your fire extinguishers. Ask a shipyard mechanic to recommend what spare parts and tools you should keep handy for emergencies. Make sure your VHF is working and if you are long range cruiser, get a satellite phone. And Enjoy boating.


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