How is it that a boat has the ability to create the most powerful memories?
I have two friends (yes, surprising, I know) who are both my age and who also happen to be buying and selling boats at the same time. The similarities between the friends are uncanny and coincidental. Both are police officers; both have growing families; both were born into boating and are passionate about passing on the water gene to their children.
Each also loves the boat he’s currently selling—one a Monterey and the other an Albemarle. To my friends, those boats—in many ways—represent a bygone slice of life and powerful memories. They represent simpler, blissful days as newlyweds. They represent adventures when a young pup was the extent of their responsibilities. They represent those first precious, precarious outings with their newborns.
These are two of the toughest guys I know-—guys who risk their lives for their communities on a daily basis—and both nearly shed tears when they spoke about listing their first real boats. I don’t know another pastime that evokes such powerful emotions, well besides being a Jets fan perhaps, but I digress.
I can relate to those feelings, and I have a feeling you can too. A first love is a powerful force. I sold the sailboat my wife and I owned and cruised aboard for seven years at the onset of the pandemic. There were a million reasons to move on from that boat: At nearly 60 years old it needed a new caregiver, Karen was pregnant, which would make sailing an insurmountable obstacle. There were Covid concerns and the fact that even old boats were selling like hotcakes. Still, I had to fight not to wipe away my tears with the fresh-cut check.
I faced then the same realization that my friends now face. I needed a boat better suited to my growing family and our goals. I would go on to purchase a Bertram 28 that feels like the perfect fit for my family and this particular slice of life. When a new boat is the right fit, man, that’s a great feeling.
The boat buying process has changed so much in recent years, especially with the proliferation of social media platforms. A few years ago, more and more sellers listed their boats on Craigslist and today many sellers are turning to Facebook Marketplace. You can get lucky with those platforms—full disclosure, in the end it worked for me—but wow, can those platforms be painful. Scammers, bots, tire kickers and non-boaters alike will fill your messenger faster than you can type, “no, I will not trade my boat for your riding mower and beer can collection!”
Today more than ever, it’s important to work with a trusted broker and gather your research from a trusted source. That second point, about gaining independent information is also not as easy as it once was either. There are a number of websites, social media pages and yes, even some magazines that only serve to repeat marketing material from a builder. At Power & Motoryachtwe pride ourselves on producing fully independent reviews based on first-person sea trials, actual research and time aboard each model. We’re thankful to have earned your trust.
It’s oft said that the best day in a boater’s life are the days they buy and sell their boat. I’ll go on the record here: Selling sucks and I know a couple guys who would agree with me.
See you on the water,
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This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.