Part 3 – Store and Register Your Boat – Due diligence is vital to handling the financial transaction and registration on the purchase of your dream yacht, advises the Informative Broker.  After all, we are talking about the transfer of a considerable amount of funds and it is a plain rule of thumb that, whatever financial liabilities the boat has, stay with the boat! Heed the warning!

Generally, to a lesser extent, it will be the broker's concern that you insure your vessel and, moreover, that you receive a clean transference of title paperwork. He or she will be more concerned that the boat has no liens against it in any shape or form.  The last thing anyone wants is a bank trying to repossess your seemingly shiny or not so shiny (but still your) new asset.  Good brokers will conduct a lien search, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. For many registrations brokers have access to details of all previous owners and exactly when any liens against it where paid off in full.  If the boat has been sold several times over there are likely to be finite details of any registered, outstanding debts or bills against the boat being cleared.  Mistakes can happen and marine lawyers have a great network too; with all the registration and monitoring systems you might think you are out sailing free, but your boat is not very hard to track down at all. In the States this checking system is termed as an abstract title and there are companies who specialize in the full process; look for them as documentation specialists.  They will be nice; none of this is cloak and dagger stuff!!

Your broker wants the boat sold and the less drama the better! If there is a lien on your baby a good broker will arrange that the transaction is completed at the same time as the funds are transferred through escrow so appropriate payments can be made.  Once free and clear it is the broker’s onus to ensure that the new owner receives the original documents of sale and you can set about a clean, safe registration.  On the assumption that there is a change of nationality with the change of ownership, a deletion of the seller’s registration is arranged and the boat is now yours to be registered.

It’s not necessary to assume that just because your boat was found in the BVI that it needs registering here.  In fact registration of your vessel is usually determined by your citizenship. The benefits of having a boat in the BVI, an offshore territory, is fodder for another article–one far too technical and beyond the skills of this writer's pen.  In essence you can have a boat here in the islands but it must be registered by the owner–everything squeaky clean remember? Start as you mean to go on.    The problems of the boat will be waiting at a port for you if they aren’t cleared up; our BVI flag, Vigilate, is a friendly warning to be careful, watchful…and good luck