Obtaining a survey before purchasing a vessel is always advised. Any offer to purchase a boat should always be made contingent on a satisfactory survey and in some cases a sea trial. Courts have recognized the critical role of marine surveyors in maintaining safe sea travels.

Hull Survey vs. Full Survey

The type of survey required will depend on the boat age, condition, value, and date of last survey. It may be that a hull survey is required, or a full survey to include the rig, sails and engine and the equipment on board. If the engines form a substantial part of the value of the boat, you may want to consider having a separate detailed engineer’s report. Or if there are particular technical aspects which you require verification on, make sure to instruct the surveyor on these aspects.

Seaworthiness


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Recreational boat owners in Florida are required to either register their vessels with the state of Florida or document their vessels with the U.S. Coast Guard. There are many factors to consider when choosing between state registration and U.S. documentation.

Registration

Chapter 328, Florida Statutes, designates that DHSMV is responsible for issuing vessel registrations and titles. Applications for titles and registrations must be filed at a county tax collector or license plate agent office. The certificate of registration must be carried on board the vessel whenever it is in operation and the decal must be displayed near the registration number on the port (left) side of the vessel. You can find more information on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

Documentation


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In order to better protect yourself and your property, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your insurance agent and/or your maritime lawyer about your vessel, its intended use and operation, the potential for claims and the marine insurance coverage that may be available to you.

Hidden Exclusions

Many people with significant claims after an accident, that could and/or should have been insured against and covered from, are not covered because of an exclusion or limitation that was buried in the insurance policy. These denials often could have been avoided had the person purchased a more favorable insurance policy from a different carrier. The insurance policy need not cover just the vessel, but also needs to cover you, and your passengers, in the event of an accident. If there is a serious accident, any good personal injury attorney will want to go beyond the policy limits and try to hold you personally liable.

Who, What, Where


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