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So let's get right to the point. Why deal with a yacht broker? Because most people looking for a used boat are not fortunate enough to have a buddy, two docks over, who just happens to be trading up and has a pristine beauty that has been well maintained and fits the bill to perfection. You might be as likely to win a lottery. It takes a lot of hunting to distil down the available boats that meet your criteria, that are in Bristol condition and that fit in your price range. One thing is for sure... the buyer believes that the boat is overpriced, the seller has put way more money into the boat than the buyer can appreciate and the seller wants his/her perceived value back.

Boats are not investments and do not appreciate in value. The only exception to this rule is if you were to buy a fully depreciated yacht at the bottom of the market, just prior to the beginning of an uptake in the inflation cycle. There may have been such a cycle between September 2009 and March 2010. However, the bigger boats tend to have owners that don't have to give them away and the Canadian large boat market is very small, so selection is limited and the laws of supply and demand kicks in. There are some bargains to be sure right now, compared to what you might see in five years time when inflation may be up at 6-8%, but there are no giveaways and the upside down financed boats that went for a song were actually sold during a brief window, and mainly applicable to defined areas of the USA (in particular Florida, Detroit and Chicago).

Now most Canadians don't want a salt water boat from Florida, so the choices become really limited. You can spend your whole life touring yachts at great expense and travel time and be no further ahead. That's why you need a yacht broker. Think of a yacht broker as a filter between sellers and prospective buyers. The criteria or screen that you set up for your broker in terms of price, manufacturer, model, condition, equipment etc., will determine the used boats you view. Most often, your broker will deal with other brokers to find the right boat for you. You personally will never get the whole story on a boat like a broker to broker discussion would. Brokers are unlikely to fool or burn each other. The seller pays the brokerage fees so there's no reason not to find a good broker that you are comfortable with.

Here are a few tips that might help.
  • Get broker referral from fellow boaters and make sure the broker is qualified

  • Don't limit your search to the area you want to boat in - even large yachts can be moved great distances efficiently and expediently.

  • Be patient, don't panic and jump at the first boat that gets close to what you want. Find the right match.

  • Ask questions until you can't ask anymore, even the dumbest questions shed some light on the boat prospects you are reviewing.

  • Consider the equipment on the boat carefully as updating electronics or adding basic safety equipment can really add up.

  • The Canadian dollar has power again and makes freshwater US boats a real opportunity, with better selection and more competition to sell in the US market.

  • Use a reference recommended marine surveyor once you are ready to make a conditional offer.

  • Ask your surveyor to do an oil analysis on the engines.

  • Your surveyor should establish true market value, so don't get too enamored with the boat and pay more than it is worth.

  • Have your broker keep a hold back until the 'sea trial' is complete and all the electronics/mechanical systems are confirmed.

  • Better yet, don't close sale the boat until the 'sea trial' is complete to your satisfaction.

  • If you are buying a US boat, you will need a broker on the US side as well to act on your behalf as a legal agent. Boats in the US can be mortgaged. Beyond the title search, there is the discharge and Coast Guard transfer of title. Registration back in Canada will go a lot smoother if the abundant paperwork is generated by a broker, either working with you or through your Canadian broker.

  • Get your insurance for the boat as soon as you become owner. You don't want to wait until the boat is moved to your marina.

  • Check all safety equipment and make sure you are in compliance before you move the boat by water.

  • If you are changing the name of the boat (which you must do if it is coming from the US) and if you are registering the boat federally, you do not need a professional to measure the boat for tonnage. Those calculations are simple and are now part of the registration form work.

  • If you are landing a boat from the US to Canada, you must declare the boat to Canadian customs at first landfall (before you leave the boat) and you will have to pay GST and PST (HST) by Visa (no cheques, bank drafts etc.), before you move on. Failure to do so will result in the boat being impounded and a government lien being placed on the boat. If you are provisioning the boat from Canada, make sure that you declare those items and have them notarized before you cross to the US with them. Those supplies that you buy in the US will be taxed along with the boat purchase when you land in Canada. Note: Boats built outside of North America will be subject to additional duties. Your US broker will provide you with proof of construction for US built boats, so you will probably want to avoid buying boats that were not manufactured in North America from a US vendor.

  • Boats bought in Canada are not currently subject to both taxes, but will be with the introduction of the HST.

  • Plan to spend some extra money on any boat purchase regardless of pedigree, hours, year. Even on a boat that passes the survey with flying colours, expect to put in another 15% minimum.

  • Not all boats are made alike, so to be blunt, a Bayliner is not a Hatteras. Just make sure you are buying what you want and that the price you are paying represents fair value for the boat manufacturer, model condition and hours.

  • If you come across a boat deal that seems too good to be true... it probably is.

  • Trust your broker, but also hold them accountable and expect them to answer your questions and do thorough research on the boats that you are interested in.

  • Especially for larger boats, don't go it alone. Remember, as the buyer, the expertise of a good broker doesn't cost you money... other than maybe a small administration fee when you finalize your purchase.

Yacht Brokers
Able YachtProToronto419-884-0639
Anchor Yacht SalesMississauga905-891-0191
Bay Harbour YachtsMidland705-526-2222
Beaches Marine BrokerageToronto416-691-0312
Bluewater Yacht Sales, IncOakville905-827-5854
Bridge Yachts Ltd.Port Dover519-583-3199
BridgeView Yachts Inc.Point Edward519-339-0024
Bronte Shore Yacht SalesOakville905-630-0543
Crate Marine SalesKeswick905-476-4552
Crate Marine SalesPort Credit416-802-9251
Crate's Lake Country BoatsOrillia705-327-9741
Dufour Yachts Canada Inc.Mississauga905-274-8488
FreshWaterBoats Inc.Mississauga416-318-1215
Georgian Bay Yacht SalesGeorgian Bay613-985-3600
Harris & Ellis YachtsOakville416-562-4856
Hurst Marina Ltd.Manotick613-692-1234
Jack Pady Marine Inc.Collingwood 705-529-1828
Navy Point MarineMississauga905-271-2222
Niagara-On-The-Lake Yacht SaleNiagara-on-the-Lake519-265-1030
North 44 Marine Sales Inc.Hamilton905-522-7386
North South Nautical GroupPort Credit 905-891-6764
Northern Yacht Sales & BrokerageMidland416-550-5200
Pat Sturgeon Yacht Ltd.Mississauga905-278-5100
Pride Marine Group LtdBracebridge800-991-3006
Rene Blanchet Yacht Sales LtdMississauga416-347-5881
Rocco BarcaOrillia705-487-7452
Scruton Marine ServicesPort Dover519-583-1636
ShipShape Ltd. &
Blew Coal Custom Yachts Ltd.
St. Catharines905-935-1234
South Shore YachtsNiagara-on-the-Lake905-468-4340
Southwinds MarineCollingwood705-444-1251
Swans Yacht SalesPickering905-420-2141
Swans Yacht SalesMississauga905-274-8488
Swans Yacht SalesWhitby905-430-3390
Tiamo Marine Holdings Ltd.Mississauga416-883-3011
True North Yachts Inc.Mississauga905-274-8001
Upper Deck Yacht SalesToronto416-644-0500
Weather Eye Yacht SalesToronto305-432-2819
Westwind Yachts CanadaVictoria Harbour705-528-9979
Yachts With ExperienceMidland705-527-0442

Sometimes there is a disconnect between the yacht broker and the sellers expectations. Many sellers expect very unrealistic time requirements and performance from their broker and they may be looking to sell their yacht (and have the broker put a lot of effort into it) when it is not priced according to the market and is therefore unsellable. In any business dealing, all parties need to feel that they have something to gain. No broker wants to work for free and no broker wants to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to market a boat that is not priced or maintained to sell based on current market conditions. Be realistic about the boats value based on other sales of the same boat, in the same relative condition.

Thinking About Buying A Boat?
Use an Ontario yacht broker to help you find the right boat and always survey before final transaction!

Now is the right time to buy. Our Canadian dollar is high. Inflation and interest rates are low. There are mounting tensions in Korea and Iran, shifting money to the U.S. dollar. China's economy is overheated and either interest rates will rise or their dollar must float. All of this points to a stronger U.S. dollar coming down the track which will weaken the purchasing power of Canadian dollar.

Yacht prices will strengthen as the U.S. economy grows. Auto sales and manufacturing profits are already showing the way. The Canadian dollar will eventually weaken against the U.S. dollar due to the above factors. 2009, 2010 and perhaps the first half of 2011 will go down in history as one of the best windows ever to purchase a boat. Inflation and higher interest rates loom down the road, and because yacht manufacturers essentially had shut their assembly lines down for almost two years, there could easily be a seller’s market in the next number of years, as manufacturers struggle to ramp up production again. It is time to act if you want an optimum value deal on a yacht.

We understand that there are still plenty of mixed signals, with relatively high unemployment in the U.S., but the recession is over and the green shoots are turning into plants. The yacht give away days are already over and even the good quality brokerage boats that are priced right are moving. It's not too late for a fair deal though. A year from now, it will likely be business as usual and the laws of supply and demand will have their way.

If you are serious about owning a boat, this is one of the best windows of opportunity you may see in a long time, so our advice is to get on the web and check out some of the Ontario yacht broker listings.

Thinking About Selling A Boat?
Selling your much loved boat can be an emotional experience.... unless you're buying a bigger boat in the process. Many good times and family memories can be attached to your boat. If you don't have to sell or if you're not ready emotionally to move away from an old friend, then don't just list it above its real market value and watch it sit. That will just frustrate you and your broker.

Most owners see their boat as the best example and perhaps the best maintained boat on the market. In reality, there are hundreds of owners that feel the same way about their boat. Aesthetic upgrades, unfortunately don't directly translate into a return on your investment. New carpet and electronics may help maintain the boat's value – but you won't get your money back on the expense as a direct increase to the bottom line. The fact is over-priced yachts do not sell on reasonable timelines.

Once an average selling price has been determined from other boat sales, then your boat should be priced within 10% of either side of that average, with the upside being for bristol boats and the downside for the well used boats. That means it is unlikely that you will see a spread of more than 20% for comparable boats, if your boat has been priced properly.

Keep in mind, if your boat is priced too high and it sits, the listing will get stale and many may assume that there is something wrong with the boat. Having your boat sit costs money – cleaning, dockage, storage, mechanical maintenance, insurance, etc.... and, as it gets older, it deprecates further.

To sell your boat, use a broker. Keep the boat clean and get rid of your clutter and collected mementos. Mechanical issues and things that don't work will come up in a marine survey, kyboshing a deal, so save yourself the aggravation and fix what needs to be fixed before you list the boat.

In today's market your boat should be competitive, dollar for dollar, in comparison to other Canadian boats and U.S. boats, after adjusting for exchange, tax and duty (if applicable).

Put your trust in your Ontario yacht broker ( They get paid to sell your boat and they want to sell it and make the best possible commission in the process. It is not in their best interest to overprice or under price your boat. Good, well maintained yachts that are priced right will sell, and usually fairly quickly.

Preparing To Sell Your Boat

  • carefully invest in maintenance and upgrades that will leave potential buyers with a best first impression
  • it is the first impression that will be the lasting impression
  • know the features that make your yacht unique and highlight them in promotional materials
  • depersonalize your boat so that buyers will imagine it as theirs - not yours
  • de-clutter and remove everything that does not need to be on the boat and put everything else in it's place
  • clean out all lockers and replace things like wire hangers with decorative hangers
  • vacuum out drawers
  • clean any stains on vinyl, woodwork or counters
  • remove excess dry goods in galley
  • make sure all door knobs and latches work
  • replace burnt out light bulbs
  • clean all bright work using BGB Seriously Great Boat Cleaner
  • replace dated or worn bunk covers and throw pillows
  • steam clean carpet and think about carpet runners with matching blanket throws
  • use air fresheners & Fabreeze
  • update tube TV's with flat screen TV's
  • replace video tape or DVD players with Blue Ray
  • consider staging services for larger yachts
  • clean any rust in engine compartment and paint
  • clean thru hulls
  • clean bilges and remove any standing water
  • remove stored items from interior bilge storage areas
  • degrease engines and touch up with manufacturers spray paint as needed
  • make sure filter maintenance and impeller maintenance is up to date and tag with service tags or black magic marker
  • compound, wax & buff hull and topsides
  • bottom paint if required
  • replace frayed dock lines
  • clean bumpers using Magic Eraser and BGB Seriously Great Boat Cleaner
  • clean your isinglass windows on bridge
  • wipe the inside of canvas bridge enclosures to remove mildew
  • if it's a 50' plus boat consider having the boat professionally photographed and supply these pics to your broker

Sounds like a lot of work but these things will help sell your boat and are relatively inexpensive to do. It could make the difference between your boating sitting unsold for a long time and it most certainly will help to retain your asking price spread from offers to a minimum.

Current State Of Affairs - Yacht Brokerage Activity
Boating Georgian Bay attends most of the North American boat shows and we talk to a lot of yacht brokers both in Canada and USA. It is clear that we are past the days when both new and used boats were being given away significantly below real market value. All the foreclosure deals with new boats coming back from bankrupt marina retailers and upside down used boat emergency sales and bank sales are long gone. Most of the really low priced deals that are out there now are boats that have been passed over and are hard to sell for various reasons. Quality well kept boats acing surveys are getting bought at respectable prices ... not high prices or above average, but fair prices based on the age, hours and condition of the boat.

Some manufacturers have new boat sales backed up on the production line. In many cases buyers are opting for recent used brokerage boats because they can't get the boat they want new on the timeline they need. Many of the bigger boats with popular brand names are still built for allotment to dealers and are not being built on spec. Manufacturers are still gun shy of over production and are being very careful they don’t repeat the mistakes of a few years ago.

New yachts over 50' are selling well - a testimonial to the fact that for the most part, the wealthy are still wealthy in relative terms, post recession. Smaller boats less than 36’ are selling well – because they are affordable in that size range for middle class buyers. New boats in the 36’ to 50’ range are still not selling well due the fact that these are in the upper range for middle class purchasers and the middle class boomers more than any other demographic group got whacked during the recession ... and they are cautious moving back into the boat market.

Used boat buyers are following a very similar pattern. Used boats are being bought and sold with few being given away. But buyers are still optimistically cautious and the overall market still favors buyers over sellers. Interest rates remain low, but debt is relatively high ... and many families are over leveraged with loans and mortgages. So is this the right time to buy a brokerage boat? Probably the right window to buy a used boat was a couple of years ago if you wanted the best possible deal. However now is likely to be a better time to buy a brokerage boat than two years from now.

Interest rates, inflation and material cost have only one way to go - UP! That will mean higher boat prices as the laws of supply and demand take hold. In North America, economies ... including components of markets, jobs and real-estate are improving or at the very least stabilizing. Maybe it's safer to wait a year or two to buy your boat and pay more. Or maybe it's safe enough now to buy your boat before prices go up and available inventory of good used boats dries up. That is a personal decision. I guess it might come down to this. If you have the cash ... and you want a boat ... go for now and enjoy it. If your uncertain about your job or your own financial situation maybe you should wait until you feel confident that you are on solid ground - and yes you may have to pay more. I guess in the end it depends how badly you really want that boat. Life is full of decisions isn’t it?

Want to do some research and come to your own conclusions? This is a SITE with links to plenty of boat sales stats although some is dated and of course the market is very fluid

boat sales
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