Is It Right For You?
s my flight takes off from Baltimore
on a beautiful, sunny July afternoon, I look down and
see thousands of boats docked in marinas throughout
the Chesapeake region and along the entire route to
Ft. Lauderdale, my destination. There are rows upon
rows of boat slips full of yachts wishing they were out
enjoying the warm ocean breeze, the sun, and the smells
and sounds of summer. This scene is repeated all over
the world at thousands of marinas with hundreds of
thousands of boats. I see this and wonder why people
are not out enjoying their boats. Many of these vessels
hardly ever leave their slips.
The reasons are many, but as owners of vacation
homes, jets, and small planes have discovered, they just
don’t use these things as much as they originally thought
they would. These beautiful yachts often go unused for
months, or even years, until they are finally, joyfully sold.
Who hasn’t heard the expression, “The happiest day in a
person’s life is when they buy their boat and the second
happiest day is when they sell their boat”? My goal is to
help you eliminate the second happiest day by making
yacht ownership more affordable and less burdensome by
dividing the cost and work associated with owning a boat.
The average trawler owner keeps his boat for only
about three years. This occurs for a number of reasons,
but mainly due to lack of use, cost, or justification for
the expense and the work involved in keeping the boat
maintained. So why not share the cost and work, giving
you a more lasting and pleasurable experience?
Co-ownership has worked fine for me. I was a partner
in two co-ownerships, and I’m now working on my third
use agreement, in which I do not co-own, but get to use
a boat in exchange for contributing to annual expenses
and maintenance. The owner uses the boat for about two
Story And Photography By Rich Piasecki
months of the year, and when it is free, I get to cruise a
luxurious 60-foot trawler. This is another great way for
an owner to save money.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
The Wall Street Journal contains many ads selling
condo and jet time-shares. Small airplane owners have
appreciated the advantages of this arrangement for years
and have realized something else as a result: Machines
run better and last longer if they are used more often,
rather than being allowed to sit for long periods. As an
attendee of multiple PMM Trawler Fest events and a
lifetime boater, I have looked for boating co-ownership
ads or businesses, but have found very few. Yet, at
almost every boat show I have attended, I have talked
with people who would be interested in just such an
arrangement, but don’t know where to begin finding a
boating partner and/or how to structure the deal.
I found one of my past co-owners through a broker.
After showing interest in a boat, I told the broker that
it was out of my price range, but I could afford half the
purchase price. A few months later the broker found
another interested party, introduced us, and—voilà—we
hit it off and the broker made a sale. My other co-owner
was a friend. Both of these experiences were great, mainly
because we had a solid written agreement and were both
flexible in our interests and scheduling. Remember, this
is not an arm or a leg, it’s just a boat.
The primary advantage of co-ownership is financial,
especially in this economy. Many people cannot afford
their dream trawler, but when you consider dividing
not only the initial expense, but also the costs associated
with insurance, dockage, maintenance, and upkeep, it
becomes more doable. Have you ever heard the axiom,