What to Consider Before Buying a Boat or Selecting a Broker

What should I look for when selecting a Yacht broker?
Always make sure a yacht broker is licensed with DBW. To find a reputable licensed yacht broker, consult the division’s website at http://www.dbw.ca.gov/YnSbrokers_dir.aspx.

What is a sea trial and how important is it?
A sea trial or survey of the vessel is recommended to ensure the buyer is satisfied with the condition of the vessel before the sale is finalized. Brokers cannot guarantee the condition of a boat which is why a sea trial and survey are important components of a sale.

How do I get a sea trial and survey? Who pays for the survey?
The seller usually provides the sea trial, although it is the responsibility of the buyer to pay for the survey and hauling the boat out of the water. Use a reputable marine surveyor. Although marine surveyors are not licensed by the State of California, often the lender will provide a list of marine surveyors approved by lenders and marine insurance companies.

How can I check the license and complaint history of a Yacht broker?
Although DBW cannot refer customers or provide recommendations, you may call DBW's Yacht and Ship Unit at (916) 327-1847 to get a complaint history on specific yacht brokers.

Who pays the broker at the conclusion of the transaction?
The seller pays the commissions earned by the licensed yacht and ship broker - not the buyer.

How do I complain if I suspect the transaction was not conducted lawfully?
Consult DBW's website at http://www.dbw.ca.gov/YnSBComplaint.aspx. DBW's Yacht and Ship Unit will begin an investigation upon receipt of an official complaint form. Please attach all relevant documentation to your complaint. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

Are there any specific steps to follow before buying a boat?
The How to Buy A Used Boat publication will help you go through the buying process. Publication may be viewed online or ordered through DBW’s publication ordering system.