BEWARE THE DISHONEST SELLER

BEWARE THE DISHONEST SELLER

This is a cautionary tale I want to send along to fellow voyagers and boat buyers. Last month a broker friend put together a deal on an Island Packet here in SW Florida. Boat looked very nice to the casual observer and the buyers took it to survey. The buyers were extremely fortunate to have a very conscientious, hard-working, and highly qualified surveyor. She is one of the few female surveyors in the area and she went above and beyond what most of her colleagues do. She noticed that the electronics were new but most other devices and appliances were original. She went up the mast and found large very dark areas at the masthead showing clear indications of a direct lightning strike. Not many surveyors go up the stick but she did. She found the aluminum of the mast was compromised and also noticed the standing rigging was shot in a manner consistent with a lightning strike.

She tactfully pointed out her findings to the broker, buyer, and seller and tried to get the seller to confess what she already knew, namely, the boat had received a direct lightning strike. The owner finally confessed to it after she presented even more evidence. He had filed an insurance claim, done what he had to do to make the boat presentable, and pocketed the rest of the insurance money. This happens a LOT in Florida but especially in southwest Florida.

The highly conscientious broker was very solicitous of the buyer's best interest and advised him to contact an ABYC marine electrician for input. That is how I got involved. After a brief conversation about the realities of lightning damage the buyer walked away.

This novice couple was extremely fortunate. They had an honest, highly qualified surveyor and and equally ethical broker who looked after the buyer's best interest first. As a result of working with ethical professionals, they avoided buying a boat that needed tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.