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Author Topic:   Sea trial procedure for sellers?
Sheila posted 01-12-2007 11:22 PM ET (US)   Profile for Sheila   Send Email to Sheila  
Any advice, please, for handling sea trials so as to thin out the guys who just want a boat ride? As I mentioned, the new man in my life is selling his boat, and he's shown her to a few people who seem genuinely interested.

He asked me to ask your advice on offering sea trials. Thanks.

A2J15Sport posted 01-12-2007 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for A2J15Sport  Send Email to A2J15Sport     
A comensurate deposit to be deducted from the price of the boat at the close of the sale. No sale, no deposit return.

andygere posted 01-13-2007 12:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Offer a sea trial only after the boat is under contract with a deposit. The contract is written to say that the deal will close at XX price contingent upon a successful sea trial. Define what is a successful sea trial (e.g. boat runs on plane up to xx rpm, engine starts and runs smoothly, etc.). You can agree (in writing) with the buyer under what terms you are willing to cancel the contract based on findings in the sea trial, and whether the deposit will be refunded and under what conditions. I think it is reasonable to start and run engines at idle, either in the slip or on the trailer as part of the "looking" process. Also, be careful about taking boat rides with unknown persons. Have someone capable with you to deter theft of the boat or worse.
JustinAndersen posted 01-13-2007 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for JustinAndersen  Send Email to JustinAndersen     
I, er, like going for boat rides. That's why I own one.

A sea trial offers a great opportunity to show off the boat. A buyer is imagining the wind in his hair, the scenery, the whole boating experience - not the boat taking up all the space in his/her garage. The sea trial changes the deal from being cold and businesslike to smiles and passion.

HAPPYJIM posted 01-15-2007 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
I required a sea trial of my 19 footer before any money exchange. If the seller required a deposit, I would not have bought the boat. It can't cost much more than $20 and an hour to sea trial a boat. If the boat is in the water, It's just a matter of cranking it up and going. If it's on a trailer, it offers a chance to check out the trailer to make sure it's worthy. It's not like you are asking for an offshore fishing trip to make sure the boat is capable.
rtk posted 01-15-2007 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
What kind of boat?

I agree with Andy in general. Buyer may sea trial and have an expert(s) look at the boat only after a contract to purchase is executed, with terms as to the conditions of sale and delivery, and require a deposit at the signing of the contract.

Verbal contracts are nightmares, a written contract eliminates the he said/she said nonsense, especially after the sale, with respect to conditions sold.

A minimal deposit with a written contract to purchase (terms) is not unreasonable. I wouldn't be liberal with an amount of time alloted for the buyer to do their inspections. All costs of the sea trial is a customary expense of the buyer.

If the boat is a large one and big dollars, the greater the need for the transaction to be well spelled out in writing.

The less desirable the boat, the more accomodating you may have to be in your presentation and terms. Just protect yourself adequately, to your benefit, in any representations or terms you agree to in the transaction.


PeteB88 posted 01-15-2007 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Are you launching where the Revenge is kept?

I would tell the prospective buyer(s) that
1) It is obvious that you are committed to purchasing our boat right? So the next step is a sea trial which we would be happy to arrange . . . and you know, these days everyone understands that everyone is busy . . .
2) However, please respect the fact that we will be taking time off work etc to take you out, pay a launching fee, hitch up, gas up etc which works out to several hours or 1/2 day.
3) At that point you might tell potential buyer(s) that "we will be at such and such marina or ramp, Saturday, 11 am, to show the boat and take buyers on sea trials -

Of course, if in slip it makes it easier - but if you have to go through no wake zone to open ocean for WOT like we did with you guys that will take a whole lot of time.

Glad to see things are rolling.


george nagy posted 01-16-2007 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
What harm could it do taking a few people for a test ride? Think of it as an opportunity to keep the boat moving and in working order. I know that I wouldn't waste my time going to look at somone's boat just for the sake of going on a free boat ride. Boats are all different and the rides are all different so there is much more to it than (did the engine perform well?).Maybe you could first show the boat then if the buyer seems interested then offer the test run for a different day. If they are willing to come back than it looks like they are seriously interested in eventually purchasing a boat like the one you are selling-which is?

Good luck!

RichL posted 01-16-2007 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for RichL  Send Email to RichL     
Thanks to all for your responses and perspectives. It's my boat that she was inquiring about, the 21-foot 1998 Campion Victoria mentioned in my introduction thread and shown in my profile.

This is my first time actually selling a boat. I traded my last one into a dealer (no doubt at a loss from what I would have received had I sold it as a private party) to avoid just this kind of hassle. I just swapped pink slips for the one prior to that.

I like the idea of a written contract with a down payment prior to sea trial best. Although it's rare for me to skip ANY chance to hit the water, life has been extraordinarily busy lately so finding time to 'just go' has been pretty tough.

So what constitutes a "reasonable" down payment prior to sea trial? 1%, 5%, 10%?

PeteB88 posted 01-16-2007 10:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Nagy - one thing - as much as I love Southern Cali and LA (I'd live there for sure - prefer SD way over FL) it is busy, traffic, long runs to open water where Sheila's awesome Revenge stays - and they live in Southern California?

AND now I feel compelled to quote the modern day philosopher and satirist


who captured a certain segment which is prevalent in many places esp LA. The namne of the poem is: Flakes!


They don't do no good
They never be workin'
When they oughta should
They waste your time
They're wastin' mine
California's got the most of them
Boy, they got a host of them
Swear t'God they got the most
At every business on the coast
Swear t'God they got the most
At every business on the coast
They got the Flakes

Flakes! Flakes!

They can't fix yer brakes
You ask 'em, "Where's my motor?"
"Well it was eaten by snakes . . ."
You can stab 'n' shoot 'n' spit
But they won't be fixin' it
They're lyin' an' lazy
They be drivin' you crazy
Swear t'God they got the most
At every business on the coast
Swear t'God they got the most
At every business on the coast
[Take it away, Bob. . .]

I asked as nice as I could
If my job would
Somehow be finished by Friday
Well, the whole damn weekend
Came 'n' went, Frankie
[Wanna buy some mandies, Bob?]
'N'they didn't do nothin'
But they charged me double for Sunday

You know, no matter what you do
They gonna cheat 'n' rob you
Then they'll send you a bill
That'll get your senses reelin'
And if you do not pay
They got computer collectors
That'll get you so crazy
Til your head'll go through th' ceilin'
Yes it will!

the poem goes on to discuss plumbers etc but you get the idea.


ddcIII posted 01-16-2007 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for ddcIII    
There are a few basic questions that you can gently weave into your conversation at the dock during the initial look-around that may give you a sense of the seriousness of a potential buyer.

Here are just a few examples:
1. Have you owned a boat before, what type?
2. When do you plan to buy a boat?
3. Why are you looking at this particular boat?
4. Are you going to trailer it or keep it dry-stored?
5. If you like this boat, are you prepared to make an offer today?
6. Do you need to sell your boat before buying another boat?

A potential buyer’s answers your questions will likely give you a sense of her seriousness and credibility.

Other indications of a serious buyer may include:
1.Over the phone, she asks what the trailer ball size is or if your trailer is road-worthy
2.He shows up with a tow-vehicle, ready to tow.

There is likely no need to brow-beat a buyer with a lengthy or condition-laden sea-trail contract. Further, potential buyers may prefer not to be reprimanded as to the value of your time or the cost of gas, etc. If a deal is made, get a reasonable deposit. Whether it is non-refundable is up to you.

This process can be fun.

Good luck,

ddcIII posted 01-16-2007 11:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for ddcIII    

One more thing...

If you feel uncomfortable during this process and you desire more seller protection, you can always look into the services of a reputable boat broker.

Good luck,

rtk posted 01-16-2007 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Welcome to the forum Rich, and best of luck to you and Sheila.

Boat US website has a section on buying and selling boats. This may be helpful.

I don't think a 5% to 10% deposit is unreasonable. A deposit and a contract will help to expedite the sale.


RichL posted 01-16-2007 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for RichL  Send Email to RichL     
Excellent - Thanks for that link Rich.
Sheila posted 01-16-2007 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Pete, the run to open water at Oceanside, where the Revenge lives, is about 12 minutes. That's SHORT for SoCal. Next time you and Ellen are out, we'll have to show you Newport.....
RocketMan posted 01-16-2007 07:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
I flipped by a show on TV last week about a case on the west coast of someone posing as a boat buyer, requesting a sea trial, and then doing away with the owners out at sea. So if you take them out, take precautions. Take help. File a flight plan at the dock with law enforcement while the person is present. Because its getting hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys.
Livingwater posted 01-16-2007 08:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Livingwater  Send Email to Livingwater     
Get a deposit and tell the potential buyer that if the boat fails to perform as described then you will return the deposit
PeteB88 posted 01-17-2007 12:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Sheila, I remember now, for some reason I thought it was longer probably 'cause we were having such a great time. We would be thrilled to go out with you guys anytime and my bet is that next time "conditions" will be perfect!!!!!!!

Reminiscing reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Binkie posted 01-17-2007 07:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
I sold my 25` Bertram through a broker,and the broker did exactly as Livingwater suggested. If I were to sell my 13 footer, I would do as I have done in the past, with a previous 13 footer, run the outboard on the hose, No sea trials. They are usually at your door at 7am, so be kind to the neighbors and talk to the guy until at least 8am, before starting the outboard. By then the line will be long enough, that some other prospective buyer will say, "Hey buddy, does that motor run"? Then you reply, "Sure, pretty good actually." His next comment is OK, "I`ll take, it here`s the cash. You can lose out if you insist that you hear it run.
That`s why I love 13 foot Whalers. Of course if you want to buy one you have to be fast on your feet.
george nagy posted 01-17-2007 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
I've stayed at that hotel at the end of the point in oceanside-what a place! It looks as if there is an area where you can get up to speed before you are out the inlet. Is that photo coming in the harbor?
RichL posted 01-17-2007 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for RichL  Send Email to RichL     
That's correct George. Once you clear the slips and are heading out the main channel, just as you are in front of the hotel, you can run wide open if you like.

I wouldn't recommend it simply because someone else may be coming around the bend under full throttle, but you can.

That open area just to the west of the hotel is a ski basin.

RichL posted 01-17-2007 09:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for RichL  Send Email to RichL     
If you are referring to the photo of my boat with the wave chasing it (the link in my profile), I was coming into Mission Bay on one particularly nasty January day a couple of years ago.
Livingwater posted 01-17-2007 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Livingwater  Send Email to Livingwater     
I sold my 24 ft Stingray last January. I listed it on and got a call from the buyer in less then one Hour. He came down the next day to look at my boat and to talk with me.

Without even starting the motor he bought my boat õ¿õ

That was the best advertisement I ever paid for!!!

How I spell stress relief W.H.A.L.E.R

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