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Buying a boat during the winter in the NE?

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Buying a boat during the winter in the NE?

Old 11-25-2020, 07:06 PM
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Default Buying a boat during the winter in the NE?

Admittedly I'm bored and kind of thinking out loud here but in all my boat purchases none have been done in the winter time/offseason. Found a boat I am interested in which is about a 5.5hr car ride away north of me. Boat is already out of the water, winterized and shrink-wrapped but with a zipper to access the interior. My guess is you negotiate a price, sign a contract, etc and it's all contingent upon a seatrial and survey in the warmer months?

Purchase would be possibly be from a private seller who plans on using the boat next season if the boat does not sell so it will be going in the water next season and maintained. Obviously I'd like to get to boat to me asap after the seatrial but I'm not interested in a trip from MA to MD in early March during a 3 day weather opportunity (for argument sake).

Patience is key here of which i have little. Instant gratification isn't fast enough!

Anyway, thanks for the comments and it feels good to be back on here after a several year hiatus.
Old 11-25-2020, 07:18 PM
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We trialed and surveyed our last boat in December a few years back. We split cost with seller to have it hauled and winterized again. Gotta pay to play. If a seller is willing to wait for you to decide if it’s everything you expected months later then thats ok. But consider it lost time and opportunity if you sea trial it in April/May and you didn’t like it or something goes awry.
Old 11-25-2020, 07:20 PM
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Cheap boat makes this no problem. Expensive boat makes this sketch.
Old 11-25-2020, 07:55 PM
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It's a 1999 SeaRay 40 SunDancer with 3116 Cats and Westerbeke generator. Not impossible to launch and then rewinteize but again it's a lot of hassle, especially if already shrinkwrapped. Say we do this, and all is well then it gets put back on the hard in MA? If the oil is changed at the end of the season and it has fresh oil, the oil analysis is useless. Running the boat from MA to MD in summer is one thing, but doing it in January with no other boats out there would be an odd feeling for me.

I know the owner would like to begin to shop for their next boat so maybe we can work something out. Gotta plan the road trip first to lay eyes on the boat before going all in. The reality is any boat I find right now will be winterized and on land so it's not like this MA boat is unique.
Old 11-25-2020, 10:59 PM
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Smart sellers ask the yards not to bury their boats if they are for sale

No reason you cant complete a purchase now including sea trial. You will have to pay for the yard to launch and re-winterize, as is customary.

Many yards in the north east have no issue with year round operations or operations upon request. Some get iced in, depending where they are located it might only be one month they won't do it.

You can hire a captain to bring the boat to MD. Or leave it in MA for winter and get it in spring so long as there are no tax implications?

If you want the boat then get the boat!

Who knows what spring will bring, this past spring some yards shut down for a while and it ruined many boat owner's season.

As a seller, I wouldnt enter into a binding contract that would allow the buyer to back out months later and potentially lose other buyers.

Last edited by mystery; 11-25-2020 at 11:05 PM.
Old 11-26-2020, 02:53 AM
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I sold my boat last winter while it was on land. (Twin diesel express) Then the corona virus hit and marinas were closed and everyone was locked down. He wanted to close on the boat so he could start doing stuff to it and get it to him as soon as the marinas and lock down opened. He asked me if I would close on the boat without a sea trial for a discount. I said done ! Closed on the boat without a sea trial. Easiest closing I did for a boat. When there’s a will there’s a way
Old 11-26-2020, 03:04 AM
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Go make a deal now and take the boat . Make your offer based on the fact now not later . There is a lot of unknown s of the near future ? Have the boat hauled to your area .
Old 11-26-2020, 03:41 AM
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I sold a twin Diesel express over the winter a number of years back. It was slightly easier because my boat was stored inside a large shed and not shrink-wrapped, though the boat had been fully winterized. The buyer, who as it happens lived in Pennsylvania, drove up and inspected the boat in the shed in December. We agreed on a price and he signed a contract and put up a 10% deposit subject to survey and sea trial. Then he sent his surveyor to inspect in January, who confirmed the excellent condition of the boat. I put the boatyard on notice that I would want to launch the boat if we had a few days of decent weather. We had a nice clear relatively calm ice-free stretch in February and the buyer drove up with his very excited family and met me to do the sea trial. Fortunately, my boat had a very good bus heater for the helm area that drew heat from one of the engines and with the curtains zipped up, we cruised around without our coats. The air and water were both about 34 degrees. The boat was hauled back out and put in the shed and the engines re-winterized (all done at buyer's expense). We settled the next week and he came up in mid-March and ran the boat home to where he kept her in Ocean City, MD.

I don't see why you can't do something similar if the boat is what you are looking to buy and well-priced.

One thing to bear in mind is that I was quite impressed on the winter sea trial with my boat's performance. She ran about a knot faster at WOT and the fuel economy was the best I had ever seen. The very cold water allowed the aftercoolers to compress the air to greater density and probably increased the actual horsepower output above the rated horsepower, which is measured at 70 degrees air temperature usually. Diesels like cold air and and water.
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Old 11-26-2020, 04:08 AM
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We purchased our 2019 23 Regulator last winter ( Feb ) and got a great deal from a motivated seller . The sea trial was rather cold , but other than that it was a very relaxed process
Old 11-26-2020, 04:20 AM
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Granted, these were both trailer boats. My last 2 boats I bought in the off season. One in Connecticut, it was November and the boat was already winterized, did a sea trial and took it home. The other I bought in Feb. Sea trialed the boat and took it home.
Old 11-26-2020, 06:32 AM
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A lot of the systems you can check/ test run in the yard if it is blocked in. For a diesel sea trial is key.

you could do as much as you can now with a hold back in escrow which would be released at the satisfactory sea trial. Aside from making sure it floats and the engine load test you should be able to feel good about everything else.

That all said, dont cut corners, an expensive survey and possibly a couple months of patience is way cheaper than a pair of motors.
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:43 AM
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I am in CT and purchased my present boat during the winter from a private seller in Halifax, NS. It was an Ebay deal. I made a deal online with the owner based on the photos and age of the boat. I sent him a deposit through PayPal escrow pending a survey and sea trial and we penned a sales contract. The boat sat shrink wrapped buried in snow up there for a couple of months before the surveyor could get into it. After the survey came up clean, we picked a weekend and my wife and I drove up to do a hands-on and sea trial. After the trial we wired the balance to the owner and towed her home. It was a smooth transaction.
Old 11-26-2020, 06:46 AM
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I’m going through this right now. Boat is in NY, I’m in NH. Buyer has been good to deal with, but it’s a pia.

Biggest challenge has been finding a surveyor and someone to look at the 6v92’s. Surveyors are up to their eyeballs in work, and flat out are not taking any more work. Finding a Detroit guy on LongIsland has been impossible. I think I found people but getting them to confirm has been a huge pia.

I made the decision just to keep the boat in NY until spring. Running north in Dec in a new to me boat just sounds like asking for a problem.
Old 11-26-2020, 10:20 AM
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I'm not proud to admit to you guys but in all the boats I've owned I only had a survey done on one and the boat literally had zero issues. It was s 312 Rinker with twin 5.0s, I/Os and a generator. Granted the SunDecks I've owned are simple boats but the most recent 340 SunDancer I just spent a few hours going over everything and then went for a brief seatrial with WOT, etc. Definitely a gamble but the boat was near perfect and when I sold it a few months later the survey was pretty much perfect.

Why am I telling you guys this? Because my feeling is boat has been maintained well and the owner will provide me with all the records and also the phone numbers of the people who worked on the boat, etc. So am I dead set on waiting till April for a sea trail, survey and engine analysis? Absolutely not. Am I willing to roll the dice with no survey. Not sure yet. If i can verify all systems work (AC/heat, refrigerators, hot water, windlass) and the generator provides power I'm feeling pretty good. If the oil was just changed during the fall an oil analysis won't be accurate. I would absolutely want a sea trail and have a CAT guy go over the engines making sure the numbers are OK and WOT is obtained and all that fun diesel stuff.

This is not an impossible situation and I am sure it's been done countless times but obviously I'd like to check out the boat and buy it asap. I'm not willing bring it to MD during the winter so I will lose out of being able to tinker on the boat during the winter time.
Old 11-26-2020, 10:39 AM
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Survey is very overrated , I agree . 3116 cats are ok . the fear of self destruction gives a good discount . They are unlikely to fail . I like those motors , jwac and will continue to run with disrupted fuel supply . I have 1 in a loader with 10,000 hrs . On the boat you need to look at the riser situation with that motor , turbo contamination is common . I had that happen on my downeast . You can get that boat hauled home with a bit of shopping around . Spring weather is no bargain . Where is the boat now ?
Old 11-26-2020, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by t4000 View Post
Survey is very overrated , I agree . 3116 cats are ok . the fear of self destruction gives a good discount . They are unlikely to fail . I like those motors , jwac and will continue to run with disrupted fuel supply . I have 1 in a loader with 10,000 hrs . On the boat you need to look at the riser situation with that motor , turbo contamination is common . I had that happen on my downeast . You can get that boat hauled home with a bit of shopping around . Spring weather is no bargain . Where is the boat now ?
Providence RI area and would be coming to the Upper Chesapeake. Would be a fun and memorable ride home in the summer but not something I'd consider in the winter months. Way too lonely out there this time of year!
Old 11-26-2020, 12:24 PM
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Bought a boat this time last year out of CT. Survey, quick closing, and a expedited run down to NC and we were good. We were able to get the deal moving before winter started to really set in though so no winterizing was done. It was also a dealer trade that they did not want to carry through the winter. Likely the easiest deal we have had.

With that said, our insurance required a survey which we would have done anyways even with warranty remaining.
Old 11-26-2020, 12:42 PM
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Default Just a couple thoughts

If buying now, the seller saves on storage costs over the winter. Could a deal be made with the seller, after a sea trial, to pitch in on the costs of a move by boat hauler? They're not that busy this time of year in the NE and a deal could be made to move it to where you are. There are probably more than a few boat haulers who'd like some Christmas money.
Old 11-26-2020, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Zolczer View Post
If buying now, the seller saves on storage costs over the winter. Could a deal be made with the seller, after a sea trial, to pitch in on the costs of a move by boat hauler? They're not that busy this time of year in the NE and a deal could be made to move it to where you are. There are probably more than a few boat haulers who'd like some Christmas money.
Thought of that having the boat trucked to me. Just requested a quote on uship for an idea of cost.
LOA: 44 ft 4 in
Beam: 13 ft 10 in
Length on Deck: 40 ft 0 in
Maximum Draft: 3 ft 4 in
weight about 22k


Old 11-26-2020, 02:43 PM
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I'm in the same situation but reversed. I'm in New England and the boat is in MD. 5+ hour drive havent seen it yet. Would like to close on it sooner than later (later being spring) and bring it home. I would still do a survey and probably engines too as they are diesels. I was also thinking about having it trucked, but think the costs will be much higher than hiring a captain.

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