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The Captain's Journal, what others won't tell you!

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Enjoy the boat show!

There are many boat shows in Florida during this time of year. Often, I am asked, “Are you going to the boat show?” When I say, “No, not this year”, the next question asked is, “Why don’t I go to the boat shows?” I love boat shows. I am too busy doing surveys. I survey on the weekends as well as weekdays. My reputation is what I rely on for advertising, not sitting in a booth for several days passing out business cards. For those of you that attend the boat shows this year, please, feel free to email me photos or questions about any of the vessels you are interested in and want to know more. I’d like to hear about the boats you are considering and will be happy to answer the questions you have. Enjoy the show.

Later Gator,
Captain Trip Vawter

8:25 am est

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Grandfatherly Type

It is summer in the southern hemisphere! Australia is a huge importer of vessels from America. Last winter, we surveyed and helped ship 112 vessels to Australia and 35 to New Zealand. As the USD continues to stay low and goes lower, this buying trend should be taken advantage of. International buyers, the major thing to look out for is our old friend, the broker.

In Florida, this is snowbird season, where visitors come and stay for months and when most of Florida counts on the increased income in their businesses. Brokers, being one of them, that make the majority of their income during this season of the year.

I warned in an earlier blog about the "character" of most of these guys. Although there are quite a few who are honest and decent people, many are downright dishonest scammers.

An example:
Last week, we performed a survey on a vessel bound for AU. The broker assured the buyer, whom was overseas at the time; he did not need a survey because he had sold this boat originally 18 years ago. Oddly enough, the broker would have been age12 at that time. The boat was owned by a dear old couple described by the broker. When we set up the survey, I was told, “I don't know why he is wasting your time to survey this Bristol vessel." I was told of the kindly old angelic man whom owned, loved, and cared for the boat as his own child.

Reality: In 10,000 vessels, this one won hands down as the boat with the most deficiencies, 112 in all! Some were minor, but many were costly and damaging. The kindly old owner was at the helm, he was just as the broker described a “grandfatherly type.” That is, if your Grandpa was a rough old salt who drank scotch for breakfast, chain smoked Marlboros, and had a mouth that would cause even the most hardened criminal to be offended and blush. During the sea trial, we lost the port engine because it ran out of fuel. I guess a weeks' notice wasn't enough to prepare for survey. We had a hard grounding and were stuck for six hours awaiting a break in the weather and Sea Tow to rescue us. The broker offered $250 to omit this "minor" detail from the survey and also to overlook that it was "raining" in the cabin! The broker justified, "It's going to Australia. We can blame all of the deficiencies on the shipper." Needless to say, there was no sale and yet another broker has brought shame to his profession. No one at AFMS will sacrifice their integrity to help make a sale for anyone. We, in fact, have been known to not charge for a survey if at first glance the vessel is a garbage scowl.

I hope everyone has a great season and international boat buyers will take full advantage of low purchase prices. Remember never trust anyone selling you something, especially if that something is a boat. Be skeptical and always ask questions. Get a marine survey from a well respected competent marine surveyor. If you choose not to use All Florida Marine Survey as your marine surveyor, call someone else, but definitely get a survey.

Later Gator,
Captain Trip Vawter

7:07 am est

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wow! What a lie!

Boat broker says to client, “For this boat, you don’t even need a survey!” Wow! This is the biggest lie! This statement has been relayed to me by several of my clients this year. First, if you hear this statement, find a buyer’s broker. Second, if it is your own buyer’s broker who said this statement, fire him immediately!

Later Gator,
Captain Trip Vawter

11:29 pm est

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The season is upon us!

Of the 300 plus surveys AFMS performs, 65% of them are done in the last and first quarters of each year. Many people have asked why?

Well, we in Florida know, we have a time span, season, in each year where visitors come down from the northern states and Canada to enjoy the warmth of the Florida sunshine. We call these wonderful visitors snowbirds. October is here and it is again time to welcome the majestic great northern snowbirds. Good to see you. Welcome back!

Many of you own a boat. Make sure your boat insurance is up to date. Also, you may want a survey done for your boat to give you an accurate report of its condition before your boat is stored for you to return to the North again.

Those of you that are purchasing a boat this season, beware the boat broker. Shop several before you settle for one. Make sure you use a buyer’s broker. It won’t cost you more to purchase the boat of your choice, however, it can cost you more if you don’t use one.

Later Gator,
Captain Trip Vawter


10:01 am est

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