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The Gathering Storm

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By Jason Y. Wood

The search for your next boat may not have received your undivided attention lately. You no doubt remember: September is hurricane season. Thinking about your next boat is something rarely done when the mind is occupied with active worry about your current boat as the wind picks up and the storm surge threatens.

   Still…people do it. During preparations for last month’s Hurricane Irene, Chris Hall, Jr., marketing manager at Bluewater Yacht Sales with locations in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland [(757), saw it firsthand as the company hauled more than 250 boats at its three yards. “You have a guy with a 45-foot Viking, just as an example, and there’s a Viking 52 hauled out right next to him,” he says. “He starts looking at that other boat and saying Hmm… that might be my next move.”

    Since hurricane season coincides with the end of summer and the de facto peak boating season for much of the country, it only stands to reason that boats aren’t changing hands so much in the couple of months leading up to it. “This time of year, there’s still an awful lot of boats that are in the Northeast,” says Tucker Fallon, a broker with Bradford Marine Yacht Sales [(954) 801-3645;]. “There are a lot of boats that are owner-operated or are in the size range from 45 to 80 feet. The owners of those boats are much more sensitive to costs and they don’t want to bring their boats to Florida because their insurance will charge extra.”

    The storm season can complicate matters for those who try to complete transactions. “I just wrote a purchase agreement for a client,” says Fallon. “I put a line into the agreement that says ‘If the buyer has a delay in binding insurance due to a named storm, the date of closing could be extended by as much as two weeks.’”

    All of these factors have an effect on the market. The smart thing to do? Have plenty of fun on the water. Enjoy your current boat with your loved ones, and watch the weather reports closely for developing storms (and they’re kind of hard to miss in the news cycle these days). And then, when you go to buy or sell, everyone will be on the same page.

    “As the storm is approaching and we’re hauling boats out of the water, the sales office may as well be closed,” says Hall. “As soon as the storm’s over, all of a sudden the phone starts ringing.” And with all that pent-up demand, it’s no coincidence that boat show season is just getting underway.