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Turning the purchase of a Pre-owned Boat into a good experience

The New Face of Honda Marine in Mauritius and Reunion There are not many things that Alain Talbot, the managing director of Talbot Engineering and now also the official Honda Marine dealer representative in both Mauritius and Reunion, hasn’t achieved in the marine industry.

A used boat will obviously cost less than a new boat and therefore if you choose the right boat first time around you can find yourself getting a lot of value for your money, making it a wise investment. If you follow a basic set of guidelines, study all the pros and cons, and rather purchase from a reputable dealer than privately or online, there is every chance that you’ll make your purchase a good experience, giving you and your family endless hours of pleasure on the water.

For example, when purchasing a pre-owned boat from a reputable dealer, said dealer will ensure that the boat is registered in your name, free of any encumbrances, supplied with a current seaworthiness certificate (COF) in your name, and that all the documentation pertaining to the vessel’s flotation and seaworthiness as well as trailer registration, are present and correct. The other positive to consider when purchasing from a dealer is that you, as the consumer are protected under the consumer protection act, against material defects and there is an implied six month warranty, which you do not have when purchasing privately – or for example on Gumtree.

It is a common misconception that dealerships are more expensive when considering a pre-owned boat. The overall market, which is way more powerful than all the dealers put together, will ultimately determine at what price boats will change hands. It often happens that someone purchases a “bargain” on Gumtree (or other online mediums) only to discover, sadly and more often than not too late in the day, that they could have bought a later model, an overall better boat package, free of defects for much less from a dealership. Often when a vessel is purchased privately, it transpires that the boat does not have a flotation certificate, or indeed any form of flotation which essentially renders the boat useless in its current condition. So what was supposed to be the start of a fun process turns into an expensive exercise, leaving you stranded with an inferior boat package option when compared to the same-priced ‘ready to go’ unit that you could have bought from a reputable dealer.

The main guidelines to purchasing a used boat privately are as follows:

• First appearances of a used boat are crucial, if it’s dirty or looks a little shoddy, then that’s just a precursor of what’s under the skin, so rather just walk away, it’s not worth the risk.

• Is there a current manufacturer’s flotation certificate for the boat?

• Is the trailer registered in the name of the seller?

• Does the chassis number reflected on the registration certificate of the trailer match the number stamped on the trailer?

• Are there any outstanding hire purchases on the vessel?

• Does the boat have a current Seaworthiness Certificate (COF), and if not, when was the last survey done as this is an ongoing annual requirement?

• It’s a used boat, so it’s had a previous owner. Try and get hold of him or her, find out why they’re selling, ask them how the boat performs and handles, and most importantly how was the boat looked after…


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