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A boat is a large investment and the last thing you want is to be taken advantage of on such an important purchase! The below tips can help you avoid scams when buying a boat.

Too Good to Be True?

If you’ve seen an incredibly great deal on a boat online, your reaction may be to jump on it quickly! However, be aware this could be a “bait-and-switch” scam. This type of scam means once you reach out to the seller, they’ll tell you it’s already been purchased and then offer you a much higher-priced boat as an alternative. As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true— then it probably is!

Buy Locally

Avoid scams by keeping your boat purchase local. Buying a boat online can be risky business, especially if you are agreeing to buy a boat you haven’t seen in person. You can reduce your risk of being scammed exponentially by buying from a local boat dealer who has a reputation to maintain around town.

Look Out for Payment Red Flags

How is the seller looking to be paid? Wire transfers, gift card payments, and other payment types that don’t come with fraud protection measures should generally be avoided. Keep your payment methods to the conventional methods and if something feels off about the way you’ll be paying, listen to your gut. Request a more secure way to make the purchase.

Buy from Reliable Sellers

Pay attention to who you are buying your boat from. The chances of getting scammed by Joe Blow on Facebook Marketplace are much higher than the risk you take by purchasing from a reliable and trusted boat dealer in your community. Vet the seller before you buy and make sure they are the real deal!

Use a Yacht Broker

Yacht Brokers can give you advice to find the perfect style of boat, escrow the purchase funds, and help throughout the whole buying process. They will also ensure that the correct paperwork and documentation is filed for the vessel. In Florida (CHAPTER 326, FLORIDA STATUTES YACHT AND SHIP BROKERS’ ACT) used yacht sales of 32 feet and over to be licensed, undergo a criminal background check, and hold a $25,000 surety bond. You can verify that your seller is a certified Yacht & Ship salesperson using the Department of Business Licensee search. A quick note: personal resellers are not required to obtain a license prior to selling their personal vessel. You can find plenty of certified Yacht Brokers on our team at Fish Tale Boats, so please don’t hesitate contact us if you are in need of any expertise.

Get a Marine Survey

If you’re unsure a vessel is in the condition advertised, get a marine survey on the boat. A surveyor is an expert that will look into the interior and exterior of the boat and look for any damage or issues. They will list what repairs are needed to help you make an informed decision. Additionally, you can have them perform a separate engine survey where they will look at the engine’s condition.

Make the Seller Earn Your Trust

Trust should be earned. Buy your boat from a seller who takes the time to earn your trust! Fish Tale Boats has been ranked among the top dealerships in the country but that doesn’t mean Fish Tale’s takes a customer’s trust for granted. Each sale is treated individually with the concerns and desires of the customer taken seriously. Drop by the Fish Tale showroom to learn more about how we can provide you with the safest and most reliable boat-buying experience!