So you’ve found the perfect boat… Now what?

Now is the time to write up an offer! A written offer holds much more weight than a verbal offer… in fact, most Seller’s agents won’t even present an offer to their clients unless it’s in written form. All you need to begin the offer process is your driver’s license(s). No deposit is required until your offer has been accepted.

Understanding “The Offer”

An offer is a legally binding document, so there’s going to be a whole bunch of important stuff in there
to read through. However, there are a few key pieces of information you need to pay attention to:

The offer is then typed up and sent out via email for you to review and electronically sign. Once your signature is received, it is sent to the seller’s broker to be presented. Depending on what price and contingencies you put in your initial offer, there may be some verbal negotiations before a final version is accepted by both buyer and seller. Once everyone comes to an agreement, a new offer is typed up and sent out to all parties to sign. At this point a 10% deposit is required from the buyers which will be held in escrow. The deal is not official until money changes hands, so it is important to get your deposit in ASAP once an offer is accepted. When the deposit is received, the buyer’s broker will sign the agreement acknowledging receipt of funds and a fully executed agreement will be sent out to all parties for their records.

Survey/Sea Trial

You typically have three weeks from time of Accepted Offer to survey and sea trial the boat. During the survey, you will get a snapshot of the condition of the boat and the surveyor will issue a report with his findings. It is the Sellers job to prepare the boat for the survey – including the cost of commissioning systems – and they are expected to provide an operator for the vessel. As a Buyer, you are responsible for the cost of the surveyor, haul out, fluid samples and production of the report. Buyers are encouraged to attend the survey so they can learn directly from the surveyor the condition of the boat they intend to purchase.

During the survey they surveyor will go through the boat from one end to the other, looking at all systems, structures, and mechanics of the boat, including putting the engine through its paces and pulling out the sails during the sea trial if that applies. A report will be issued with survey findings which will include a list of suggested essential and non-essential repairs. A second round of negotiations may occur to address any essential repairs discovered at survey prior to Acceptance of Vessel.

After the survey, you need to decide the following:

Once the Acceptance is signed in any form – either a Conditional or Non-Conditional Acceptance – the Buyers deposit becomes non-refundable, so it’s the Buyers responsibility to satisfy all financing and insurance requirements prior to Acceptance. If the Buyer chooses to Reject the Vessel, the deposit is refunded and the deal is canceled.


After Acceptance is signed, the closing paperwork can begin. Expect a closing coordinator to reach out to you to introduce themselves and explain what is needed from you as the Buyer. Typically, closing documents are prepared and a package is emailed to you to print, sign notarize if needed and FedEx back to us. Your closing package will include wire instructions for the balance due, as cashier’s checks and personal checks are usually not acceptable forms of payment since they require additional time to clear. The sellers will also receive their own closing package to execute. Once all paperwork is returned and funds have been distributed, the deal is considered to be closed and congratulations are in order! You may now go and enjoy your new boat.

Other Costs to Think About

Once the purchase is complete, there are still extra fees that are associated with your purchase:

  • Surveyor’s Fee (Approx. $25-$30/linear foot length of the boat)
  • Launch and/or Haul for the survey (Approx. $6-$10/linear foot length of the boat)
  • Purchase Price of Boat (Final price of the boat)
  • Sales/Use Tax depends on which state the boat will be registered (MD 5%, max $15,300/VA 2% max $2k)
  • $75 for an Abstract of Title if the boat is USCG documented/USCG documentation fee
  • If the lender requires it or you wish this to happen (Approx. $450-$550)
  • Temporary Storage (If the boat is moved immediately upon closing)
  • Permanent Storage (The cost of your new slip if needed)
  • Insurance (We can help with recommendations)
  • Transportation (If being moved by truck or captain or shipped to a foreign port)

Ready to buy?

Check out our listings and give us a call to find your dream boat!

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Contact Us

Port Annapolis Marina
7080 Bembe Beach Rd #211, Annapolis, MD 21403

(410) 206-2755

[email protected]

Providing excellent yacht brokerage service to Annapolis as well as Kent Island, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and the surrounding areas.