x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

A list of maritime considerations

Planning for, buying and maintaining a boat is not without its hurdles. The National has compiled a list of the top ten things to consider if you want to become a captain.

Prospective boat owners shouldlocate a suitable and affordable berth for their vessel before actually purchasing it.
Prospective boat owners shouldlocate a suitable and affordable berth for their vessel before actually purchasing it.

There is a saying about a boat owner that their two happiest days are the day they purchase their boat and the day they sell it - the implication being that actually owning and maintaining a boat can be a nightmare. First-time owners often must clear dozens of hurdles before the enjoyment begins, such as mooring the vessel, outfitting it with required accessories and planning for repairs, tasks that can quickly dent - or crash - any budget.

To make sure the experience of buying and owning a boat is mostly smooth sailing, Erwin Bamps, the chief operating officer of Gulf Craft, has these suggestions: Understand the purpose. When selecting a new boat, consider your reasons for buying it and assess your priorities. For instance, a huge yacht is an expensive luxury when all you really want to do is go fishing. Talk to people. Speaking with existing boat owners will give you some insight on design, features and technical requirements for new boats. Owners can also share their extensive experience on a wide variety of potential boat issues. Get a good warranty. This may be the single most important factor to consider when buying a boat. A boat is made to live in the hostile environment of the sea, which can create hazardous conditions. Customers need to diligently research the guarantees offered by prospective boat builders, especially where and for how long your coverage will run. Depending on the size of the craft, a warranty period of three to five years is considered adequate. Consider all potential features. Yachts today can have a ridiculous variety of bells and whistles on-board, almost always optional and often expensive, but sometimes that luxury is worth the cash. If you plan to boat during the sweltering summer months, for example, air conditioning is an imperative to ensure comfortable overnight trips. Find a place to park. Prospective boat owners tend to overlook this crucial factor. Securing a convenient mooring facility is often an expensive and challenging affair. You should investigate how feasible it is to find affordable parking before buying your dream boat. Think "sell" before you buy. Select a vendor that can guarantee a better resale value, which is an important factor, because it essentially determines the quality of the boat as well as the reliability of the builder. Look into spare parts. Make sure you will be able to purchase replacements easily when and where they are needed. Constant wear and tear means that spares will be needed regularly, and many boat owners also like to personalise their yacht as they go. If you are keen to add a personal touch, it would be wise to select a builder that offers on-the-ground support in terms of enhancement, upgrading, overhauling and servicing. Ask about standards. The boating industry is not internationally monitored by any single institution. Independent certification agencies do exist, however. These standards are not mandatory for registration purposes, so customers should ensure they buy boats only from builders who manufacture according to recognised standards. Well-regarded institutions that certify boat builders include Bureau Veritas in France, Registro Italiano Navale in Italy, the American Bureau of Shipping in the US and Det Norske Veritas in Norway. Look at financing. Determine which boats and builders get the best financing, since it varies across the board. This is another good way for a potential customer to assess a builder's reliability. Ask for a trade-in policy. Boating enthusiasts throughout the Middle East are renowned for their desire to own the latest high-end yachts, so trade-in policies have evolved with select boat builders. Choose a manufacturer that has an active trade-in policy offering fair value for an old boat in exchange for a higher-end or new model. igale@thenational.ae