The buying process of a boat and an RV are similar, but yet very different. Buying an RV is closer to the process of buying a vehicle, whereas a boat (at least a cruising style boat) is closer to a house.
We created a short 20m video recapping the experience, and below you’ll find a time line going over the major milestones:
April 2016 – Making the Decision
We decided the Great Loop was our next adventure, and we set a goal of being aboard our boat within a year. We already had our summer plans of heading to New England set, and would transition to active boat shopping mode come autumn.
Side Note: In our guide to Dealing with the Overwhelm of preparing for a nomadic lifestyle, our top tip is: Setting a Date. This very act makes it real, and sets in motion all of the milestones you have to achieve to get there. Leaving a dream as ‘something you’ll do someday’ allows the adventure to stay but a dream.
May 2016 – Become a Lurker
We joined the AGLCA – America’s Great Loop Cruiser’ Association. They’re an organization focused on providing resources, education and community for those who have selected the Great Loop as their next adventure (they’re kinda like the Escapee’s RV Club in that respect).
Summer 2016 – Research
While heading north via RV, we kept an eye on the forums and Facebook group for the AGLCA. We paid attention to the type of boats Loopers were choosing and following content shared. We focused however still on our current life – enjoying our RVing adventures while also visiting many spots we would along the Loop. This kept the vision ever present, and kept our minds active on the goal as it approached time to transition.
September 2016 – Actively Start Shopping
With our amazing summer in the Northeast winding down, we took some time together to revisit our conversation back in Spring. We were both still 100% on board with making it real.
Coincidentally, boat show season was getting into full swing in the northeast, and the AGLCA was presenting a Great Loop lifestyle seminar in Rhode Island at the end of the month. Rhode Island would officially mark our 50th state, so the timing seemed perfect to start our active transition to adding in cruising to our nomadic repertoire.
We looked at a couple of boats on our own during the show and after, and quickly decided that we definitely wanted to be working with a buyer’s broker.
We ‘outted’ ourselves on the AGLCA forums, and brokers started contacting us out of the woodwork.
Curtis Stokes and Associates however stood out to us. Not only was Curtis extremely patient with all our newbie questions, he was responsive and actively involved with the AGLCA community. Everyone we spoke to held him in high regards, and after our experience with his brokerage – we do too. (If you decide to be in touch with them for listing or buying, let them know Technomadia sent you.)
With brokers located in many major boating destinations, his firm was also adept to handle a nomad shopping for their next nomadic vessel.
Unlike other brokers we spoke with, he didn’t even blink when we mentioned we’d be conducting our boat hunt by RV as we headed south to Florida. He immediately started lining up his associates to show us boats to help refine our search parameters, and put us in touch with Michael Martin to be our go-to broker (also a Looper working remotely from his own boat). We had both Curtis and Michael on call to assist us.
We spent many evenings on YouTube watching boat-porn, had YachtWorld.com pretty much always loaded and made a point to attend trawler and Looper events as we could. Meeting up with other cruisers was invaluable in our learning.
In October, we made our Great Loop plans public.
Late 2016 – Narrowing down the Choices
We arrived to Florida in late November. In huge thanks to our broker lining up several showings for us as we made our way south, we had been able to narrow our search down to three specific models of boat. The Bayliner 4788 however was far in the lead for us.
Curtis personally previewed a few in the south for us in his various travels – sending us albums of photos and notes. Of the options on the market, two remained of interest to us – and of course, on opposite sides of Florida. We managed to get aboard both by the end of the year.
January 2017 – Making an Offer
Both of the Florida options were in a bit rougher condition than we’d ideally like, but were serious contenders for us. We made the decision that we were both ok with not buying either, and delaying our boat hunt until later in the year when contenders still under snow up north might become viable options. This released us from our targeted goal and took the pressure off.
We then scheduled second viewings of the two Florida options.
After spending several hours aboard Y-Not, we said ‘Y-Not? Let’s make an offer’.
We quickly came to terms with the seller for a price… but now there was lots that had to happen to make it real!
February 2017 – Surveys & Paperwork
Unless you’re super boat-savvy, getting a hull and engine inspection is pretty much recommended by everyone we encountered. We had no doubt we would do this, and since we were financing – it was a requirement.
A marine survey however is no cheap endeavor (pretty much applies to anything with the word ‘marine’ in it) – and all at our expense. The going rate for each surveyor is $20/foot, plus you have to pay to be hauled out of the water. For us, this was just about $2400 – all non-refundable if anything is found that would cause us to walk away.
We had two weeks to arrange both inspectors, have the inspections done, read their survey results and decide if we were accepting the results or asking for fixes.
It’s a bit crazy to get the ball rolling in a town you’ve really never been to – so we used the SAMS accredited list of surveyors to locate professionals. But the real struggle was trying to find two different inspectors available on the same dates we, the seller and both our brokers were too – and when the tides would align to get the boat hauled out at the only shop in town.
Somehow it all came together, and we had a great day out at on our sea-trial.
The survey results came in, and there was nothing show-stopping – but of course, some items that we’d want addressed. We presented our list to the seller, and he immediately got to work. In fact, he was already fixing things before we sent our list over, and ended up fixing more than we requested.
On our side, we were also working through the paperwork of financing (we’ll discuss later why we decided to finance) and shopping for insurance (not many options for complete boat newbies buying a 47′ vessel!)
March 7, 2017 – Closing
Somehow, it all came together. On the morning of March 7, all our documents arrived in e-mail. We took them to a local shop to be printed, had them notarized and overnighted back. All and all, it was a relatively painless process – made much easier by having the guidance of our brokers working on our behalf.
Other expenses incurred in closing was $425 for Coast Guard documentation, $450 in document stamp fees, $190 for our first year Florida registration and Florida sales tax at 6% (since we’re domiciled in Florida and will be keeping the boat in Florida for at least the next few months – there was no getting around that.)
With everything that can go wrong in a boat purchase, ours went pretty darn smoothly. About the only thing we wish we had done differently is requesting a check list of items that would need to be completed to close. There were several points where we just weren’t clear on what the next step was, or who was responsible for handling what piece of paperwork.
- Why we selected the Bayliner 4788 and specifically Y-Not
- Starting the Great Loop (I’m typing this from our very first stop!)
Other Relevant Posts:
- Our Great Loop Plans
- Great Loop Boat Specifications
- Tour of our Bayliner 4788 – Y-Not
- What about the Bus?
Our next live video chat:
Join us at anchor for sunset as we share some of our initial impressions on the differences between the cruising and RVing lifestyles.
We’ll touch on topics like living space, systems & maintenance and options for parking your home.