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Legal Advice When Considering Buying a Yacht

If you are considering buying a yacht in Rhode Island – particularly a used  vessel from a brokerage – there are several legal issues you should  carefully consider before signing the Purchase and Sales Agreement. Brokerage boats have histories that may not be readily apparent from the listing information. Here are a few tips to help you recognize and avoid these pitfalls and protect yourself throughout the transaction.

Clean Title

Ensure the vessel has a clear title. When buying a used or brokerage yacht it is critical to make sure there are no liens or encumbrances associated with the vessel. Documented vessel title histories may be reviewed through the National Vessel Documentation Center.

Include a Survey in the Purchase Contract

If you decide to go ahead with buying the yacht, now you must sign a purchase and sale agreement. This contract should identify the vessel, stating the price, terms, closing date, and whether the deal is contingent on a satisfactory survey. This contract gives you, the buyer, time to arrange for a survey and sea trial. If you are satisfied with the results you can then commit to closing the sale. If you are not satisfied you may decide against the purchase.

Sea Trial or Trial Run.
An independent marine survey and underway test of the vessel and its systems should always be part of the buying process  and must be conducted prior to accepting the vessel.

Conduct an Inspection and request maintenance records

Ask the owner if the boat has ever flooded or sank, or ever been in a collision, if it ever fell, or if it ever had a fire on board. If the seller says no but you later learn that there was an incident, you could have grounds for a fraud or misrepresentation case.

Obtain a Warranty

You may be buying the boat “as is,” with no warranty, or you may agree to buy it with some kind of warranty attached. It’s typical for a used boat to be sold “as is.”  Your attorney at Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP  can assist with drafting the appropriate warranty language for your transaction.

Contact Sayer, Regan and Thayer Before Buying a Yacht

Even when taking precautionary steps, buying a used vessel comes with some risks. If you have any questions about the legalities of the boat buying process, how you can protect yourself or simply desire to have experienced legal counsel overseeing your purchase, please contact Sayer, Regan&  Thayer, LLP at  866-378-5836 for a free consultation.


These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

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