Shipping Your Boat Overseas

Once your new boat is paid for you will want to get her home as quickly as possible. Chances are that you have never shipped anything of this value and size from the United States to another country. The logistics of accomplishing this task safely and efficiently with no legal or export/import problems can be daunting. This article will tell you what to expect and who you need to ask for help.

Yacht Transport Companies

The easiest way to get your yacht shipped home is by contacting one of the companies that specialize in yacht transport. The agent you are assigned can help you acquire the documentation and information necessary. The better known and experienced companies include Dockwise Express, Sevenstar Yacht Transport, and Yachtpath International.

Freight Forwarders

Some freight forwarders specialize in yacht transport and generally work with shipping companies who carry general cargo such as containers. The agent at these companies will also assist you in getting your documents together.

Methods of Transport

Dockwise Express uses the Float On/Float Off method of loading and unloading using semi-submersible ships. Dockwise is capable of handling smaller vessels all the way up to Megayacht size. Crew are allowed to stay onboard larger yachts and Dockwise provides creature comforts such as recreational and entertainment facilities.

Yachtpath and Sevenstar are Lift On/Lift Carriers where boats are loaded using cranes and straps to lower the vessel onto a cradle. These carriers usually restrict size to between 45 – 55 meters.

Companies such as Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Heogh Autoliners, Mitsui and K-Line use the Roll On/Roll Off method of loading. These carriers have height restrictions and typically anything over 14′ must be removed. You have to provide the cradle or trailer.

The least favored but most cost effective method of shipping yachts is using a Flat Rack Carrier. These carriers have the capability to ship your yacht loaded onto flat racks and then onto the deck of their cargo ships. Some of these companies include APL, Evergreen, Maersk, OOCL, CMA-CGM and MSC.

The final option is hiring a captain and crew who will sail your yacht from the point of origin to a destination anywhere in the world. This naturally allows greater flexibility in scheduling but is restricted to boats that can make transoceanic voyages. You must also consider cost of fuel and wear and tear on the boat.

Documentation Required

Specific Requirements can vary by destination and mode of transport. Generally you will need a commercial invoice, an export packing list, the yacht registry, a Shipper’s Export Declaration, a Bill of Lading, and an Insurance Certificate.

Other documents that may be required are a Certificate of Origin (or Manufacturers Statement of Origin), a Builder’s Certificate, Temporary Import Certificate (ATA CARNET), a Consular Invoice, and an Inspection Certification.

Some countries require you to give at least 10 days advance notice and provide the authorities in that country with an original Certificate of Origin and an original commercial invoice. Some of these documents can be acquired for you by the yacht broker who assisted you in the purchase of the boat.

There are often fees associated with consular or embassy certification. It is imperative that you get necessary documents certified and/or notarized well in advance of loading your yacht on the ship. Take into consideration the time necessary for bureaucratic red tape and sending documents by courier. One missing document will likely prevent you from having your boat loaded on the ship the day before she sails.

Information Required

Depending on the method of transport you choose you will need the following: Port of Departure, Port of Destination, Beam, and Length Overall from the tip of the bow pulpit to the back edge of the swim platform, height from the keel or bottom of the shipping cradle or trailer to the highest point on the ship (depending on the method of shipping you may not have to step your mast on a sailing yacht), weight, make & model, Hull Identification Number, and the yacht’s name.

Questions? Call me at (954) 614-1663 or email me at While you’re at it subscribe to my feed using the link in the upper right. And don’t forget to share this article with a friend!

Calm seas,


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Boat Sale Closings

Or how not to get sued after taking possession of your new boat.

Too often some of the details get passed over in the excitement of finally taking possession of your new yacht. You have done your due diligence and had the boat surveyed and taken her for a sea trial. You know that any issues that were raised have been addressed to your satisfaction either through repair or a negotiated price reduction. You take delivery and your family enjoys the boat for a year.

Then you get sued for $50,000 by a creditor for work performed on the boat for which they were never paid. But the work was done over two years ago! This was a year before you had even heard of this boat let alone taken ownership of it. Your attorney gives you the bad news that you are indeed liable for the outstanding bill.

The unpaid vendor applied a lien on the boat for the amount of the outstanding debt. No one bothered to let you know about this lien nor did anyone tell you that the lien goes with the boat and not the previous owner. That debt will follow the boat anywhere in the world. That is maritime law. This even applies to you if you are not a citizen of the United States of America and have the boat exported to your home country.

This scenario could have been prevented by following the many steps necessary to close the sale of a boat. Following these well established procedures should prevent this type of unnecessary surprise after you take possession.

Reputable yacht brokers usually have a person on staff that will take you through all the steps. If they do not have anyone onboard who can perform all the necessary documentation they must refer you to a documentation company who will handle these matters for you for a minimal fee. If you are financing the purchase using a bank that specializes in boat loans this service may be provided to you in house again for a fee.

The documentation required should include but is not limited to the following; a signed sale agreement, a signed acceptance of vessel, an original copy of the title or boat registration, identification for the buyer and seller, an Abstract of Title, a signed Bill of Sale, a loan approval, bank and wire information, a Removal Affidavit if you will not be paying sales taxes, insurance, possible removal from a foreign registry and more. This must be replicated if there is a tender, dinghy and other toys involved in the sale. Many of these documents will have to be notarized.

When exporting the boat from the United States to another country you will need a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, a Builder’s Certificate and several other documents which I will talk about in another article.

Call me at (954) 614-1663 if you need some guidance or have any questions. You can also reach me by email by addressing it to If you found this article to be helpful I encourage you to subscribe to this site. Use the subscribe button in the upper right hand column of this page for more informative articles on buying a yacht.

Selecting a Surveyor

Surveying a yacht before making your final purchase decision will ensure that you take delivery of a boat in good condition with all systems working. Surveys are meant to protect you from unpleasant surprises.

Once you and the seller have settled on price and you are in possession of a Purchase and Sale Agreement signed by you and the seller the yacht is then taken off the market until you make your final decision to purchase. Your deposit money is safely tucked away in your broker’s escrow account. The purchase agreement allows a window of usually two to four weeks for you to have the vessel inspected.

Every boat should be surveyed before you lay out your hard earned cash and take possession. This includes new boats that have just been delivered from the builder. I have not met a new boat yet that arrived in perfect condition with all systems working and all flaws corrected. Float switches are not working, engine mounts are not secure, nicks in the Gelcoat have not been fixed, screws are missing and the list goes on. I have seen five page lists of items that need to be fixed on a brand new boat that need approval by the builder. Getting a survey done will save you a lot of money and oftentimes months of aggravation in warranty claims.

An engine survey and general hull survey are recommended. This requires two surveyors. The engine survey should be done by a qualified mechanic for the type of engines on the yacht. Have the engine survey inspect the generator as well. Find the local dealer for those engines and tell them you need a survey done. They will have someone on staff that specializes in yacht surveys.

The general or hull surveyor inspects all of the other systems on the vessel. This will include the condition of the hull and deck, running gear, appliances, furnishings, bilge pumps, sanitation and every other component that makes up the yacht. If you do not know a surveyor personally have your broker refer you to someone. I always recommend three or four surveyors to choose from to ensure that there is no perceived conflict of interest. When the boat is located in a part of the world that I am not familiar with I will call a broker colleague who works in that location for recommendations.

You can also do your own search for a surveyor by going to the Websites for the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS). You can search for surveyors in your area or close to the location of the vessel you wish to purchase. Find someone close to the boat if you can as surveyors will charge by the hour for travel.

Survey day is Judgment Day! Survey day typically has you meeting with your surveyors, the seller or his representative, someone to operate the yacht during the day, and your broker if you are using one. Surveys on small to medium size yachts can usually be accomplished in less than a day. Larger vessels can take up to a week to inspect all systems.

Arrange with a boat yard to have the yacht hauled out on the day of the survey so that everything below the waterline can be inspected. You will need to tell the yard manager when you want the boat hauled and the size and make of the vessel.

The survey day schedule will have everyone meeting at the boat first thing in the morning to start the survey. Surveyors like to do engine room work when the engines are cold. When that work is completed the boat is run to the haul out facility that you have selected. The boat is hauled to facilitate the inspection of everything below the waterline. This includes the hull, struts, shafts and bearings, props, through hull fittings and anything else that lurks down there.

The yacht is placed back in the water for a sea trial and the completion of the survey. Be prepared to pay all surveyors before they leave the yacht at the end of the day. You will also be required to pay for the haul out before the vessel is put back in the water.

Most surveyors will give you a report of their findings during the course of the day with a verbal summary before leaving the yacht. That will be followed by a written report by email and a hard copy by snail mail generally within a couple of days depending on the size of the boat and length of the survey.  Click here to download a marine-survey-example.

When you receive the survey results you will have the information necessary to make a decision to accept the vessel as is, ask to have certain issues corrected before accepting the yacht or reject the boat and get your deposit back.

If you need recommendations on how to find a surveyor or who to choose please contact me by email or my cellphone at (954) 614-1663.

Enjoy your day!

David Tomen CPYB

Instructions for Buying a Yacht

Buying a yacht begins with an offer to purchase. The offer is presented to the seller of the yacht on a legal document called a Purchase and Sale Agreement. Print out a copy and familiarize yourself with the wording. The Purchase and Sale Agreement used by professional yacht brokers in Florida was developed by the Florida Yacht Brokers Association for their members. This agreement has been re-written several times over the years under the guidance of maritime attorneys as a service to the association members.

Your broker will complete the Agreement following your instructions. When working directly with the selling broker he or she will guide you through the process. The document will include your name or your company name, the name of the seller, the offer price, the required ten percent deposit and relevant dates. The offer may include contingencies such as surveys, sea trials, and financing.

Ensure that the listing or description of the vessel is included as an attachment to the Agreement. This will prevent any misunderstandings regarding the inventory included in the sale when you take delivery. The importance of this step will become evident to you when you collect your new boat after closing only to discover that the dock lines that you thought were part of the deal are not yours to take and you have no way of tying up when you get her home.

Every page of the Purchase and Sale Agreement provides for the signatures or initials of both parties. This includes the attachment with the inventory of the vessel.

The Agreement will clearly state that the seller must respond to your offer by a date determined by you. You will likely receive a counter to your offer price from the seller. If the seller does not respond by that date the offer is considered void.

When you and the seller are able to agree on a price for the yacht the Purchase and Sale Agreement is signed by both you and the seller. Deposit funds are wired into your broker’s escrow account and the Agreement becomes a legally binding document. The seller must take the boat off the market until you either accept or reject the vessel. Most sellers will insist that the requirements of the Agreement be completed within three to four weeks of an accepted offer.

In my next article you will learn what is expected of you after your offer price has been accepted. Feel free to call me at (954) 614-1663 if you have any questions. Or send me an email. I typically respond to my messages and email within one to two days.

See you on the dock!


Boat Show Secrets Revealed

Most people who are shopping for a boat go to a boat show with high expectations. The majority of boat show attendees however leave the show at the end of the day with nothing to show for their efforts but sore feet and a sunburn. The disappointment is as obvious as is the frustration. Boat shows are after all one of the least expensive ways to shop for a boat with the largest selection and the best deals. So what goes wrong?

Let us take the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show as an example. This is the largest boat show in the world. This year the show will feature more than 3 billion dollars worth of boats, yachts, superyachts, electronics, engines and thousands of accessories from every major marine manufacturer and builder worldwide. The Boat Show encompasses more than 3 million square feet of space, both on land and in water, at six sites. Surely with this kind of selection available you should be able to find exactly what you are looking for.

This is a short video of the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show last year.

The boat show that you attend is likely to be on a smaller scale than the one in Ft. Lauderdale. But the challenge is the same. No one has ever taught you how to shop for a boat at a boat show. Attending a boat show without a well thought out plan is likely not going to lead to satisfactory results by the end of the day. Here are some tips to guide you through the day and find the boat you want.

Go to the boat show website several days in advance. This is the link for the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show here. Most well organized boat shows should have a list of exhibitors somewhere on their site. Search that list for the boats that you want to take a look at and write down where that boat will be at the show. If the location is not listed there should be the name of the dealer with a contact number. Call the dealer and ask how to find them at the show. Get a cellphone number to call in case you get to the show and get lost in the maze of boats that are there.

Arrive at the show when the gates open as the crowds will be thinner than at mid-day. Get the show guide when you enter and locate the boat show map. Find a place to sit for a few minutes and mark the locations on the map where your boats are supposed to be displayed. Make a “You Are Here” mark on the map and plan your day. Failing to do this simple step will certainly lead to the day ending in frustration and disappointment.

Now this is likely to be the most valuable advice I can give you and that is to attend the show with your broker. If you do not have a yacht broker in your employ like you do an accountant and an attorney – get one. Unlike your accountant and your attorney who charge by the hour, yacht brokers do not get paid until a boat is sold. Furthermore, the yacht broker’s commission is paid by the seller. Most boat dealers will accommodate you if you insist on having your broker act as your agent in your purchase.

If the salesperson that meets you on the dock or at the booth in the convention center tells you that they don’t work with outside brokers you need to ask for the sales manager in that exhibit. The sales manager will likely be the owner of that dealership. The dealer is extremely unlikely to lose out on a sale just because you wish to use your broker as your agent in the deal. This will be especially true for every boat show in the United States this season.

Your yacht broker is also the best person to have in tow if you are considering the purchase of a brokerage or previously owned boat. It is a fallacy to think that you will get a better price if you deal directly with the listing broker. The seller is paying a commission whether there is one broker involved in the sale or two. The commission is simply split between two people rather than earned by one. With large numbers involved that are directly associated with your hard earned money this is the time you need to have a professional on your team whom you have grown to trust.

After the purchase of your home, buying a boat will likely be the largest buying decision you have to make. Most people are not born nor are they trained in how to search for or negotiate to buy a boat. Having your yacht broker meet you at the boat show will likely mean that not only do you not have to go through the effort of having to locate the boats you wish to see. You will not likely have to pay for the boat show tickets either or for lunch.

If you need a broker to show you around the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show please call me (954) 614-1663). If you don’t plan to attend but could use some help at a boat show in your home town and need a yacht broker to help I can refer you to someone locally. Call me (954) 614-1663 or send me an email ( And I would appreciate it if you left a comment on your experience at a recent boat show in the box below.

Have a great show!


(954) 614-1663

Professional Advice on Buying or Selling a Boat