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

Now is the time to write up an offer! This easy to follow perfect offer guide will help you with your next dream boat purchase. 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:


Perhaps the most important piece of any offer is the price. Many items factor into the initial offer price including recently sold comps, boats currently on the market, and the actual condition of the boat. We will scour the market to find you the most respectable price to offer.


There is a section of the offer for contingencies or additional terms contingent to the purchase of the vessel. These usually include provisions for a vessel survey and sea trial, buyer financing, inclusion of a specific piece of inventory not included in the sale (tender / art, etc).


There are two key dates in the offer – the Acceptance of Vessel date – the date where the Buyer needs to let the Seller know if he intends to move forward with the purchase of the boat (aka Accept), or if he plans to terminate the agreement (aka Reject) – and the Closing date.

This is the first thing buyers will notice, as price and size are the most common parameters used to search for boats. Because of the Internet, buyers are very educated and have most likely done their research on price and know what a fair target is. Overpricing your boat not only makes a bad first impression to potential buyers – it actually costs more in the end when you add up the months of holding costs such as your mortgage, storage fees, and insurance. It’s much better to price it right and turn down offers than to have it sit with no interest. Also, it’s important to be realistic about the value of the upgrades you’ve done to your boat. Overvaluing these sunk costs – costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered – is the most critical mistake sellers make when putting a value on their boat.

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:


Non-Conditional Acceptance

Where you accept the boat as is with no further negotiations.

Conditional Acceptance

Accept the boat with a Survey Allowance for essential repairs or accept the boat pending repairs by the owner.

Reject the Vessel

Time to keep looking for that perfect boat.

Closing the Deal

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-$35/linear foot length of the boat)

Launch and/or Haul for the survey (Approx. $6-$12/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 $15,800/VA 2% max $2k)

Processing fee: In State $795/Out of State $750

$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. $800-$1000)

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)

For any help with these resources do not hesitate to give our team a call

Ready to buy?

Give us a call today to get your boat on the market!

Contact Us

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

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