There is no doubt that the last few years have seen a change in the Australian boating market, with the high Australian dollar proving a strong lure – grabbing the attention of buyers looking for a cheap imports from the USA and similar locations like the Caribbean.
Of course, many discerning boat buyers are now becoming aware of the pitfalls of these grey imports, such as converting the electrical systems from 110 volt to 240 volt, refrigeration issues, plumbing, particularly blackwater holding issues and meeting Australian standards so they are covered by insurance. Other concerns include not having warranty or service support for many components in Australia, and the blue water insurance costs and risk with delivering a boat back across the Pacific Ocean, not to mention the wear and tear.
Despite these risks and the concerning stories that have started to filter back within the trade, there has been a number of these imports occurring and the influx of these grey imports has lowered the bar for the overall perceived market value of many used boats in Australia. Combine this with shaky consumer confidence and the result is a market dipped in the buyer’s favour. In real terms, this means there has never been a better time to be buying as prices have had an adjustment.
Tips for Buying…
If you are in the market and have been browsing the websites in anticipation of getting on the water, then here are a few helpful hints to ensure you land on your feet.
1. Making an Offer – despite what the price is, at the end of the day you as a buyer, form your little part of the buying market. This means that any broker worth talking to will at least listen to your offer and pass it with your feedback to the seller. You might be surprised what the seller might consider. Equally, “lowballing” or making a ridiculously low offer may be counterproductive. It may simply turn the seller off from you as a buyer. If you make a reasonable offer first up, then the likelihood of a successful outcome is enhanced.
2. Marine Survey – regardless of what type of boat you buy, we always recommend getting an independent survey. This brings to light any unforeseen technical issues that the boat might or might not have. Though this often has no effect on the final negotiation, its worth knowing exactly what you are getting so there are no nasty surprises later. Often the survey is required for insurance purposes, so you may as well get it when deciding on the boat.
3. Importing – if you are lured into a grey import, than be sure you add 5% duty onto the price if the vessel was not built in a country with which Australia has a free trade agreement, and then add 10% GST onto the price. If you don’t want to risk your delivery skipper having to dodge cyclones on the way home, then factor in a good $40,000-$50,000 for shipping. If you do want the boat delivered, factor in about $25,000 worth of skipper fees plus fuel, airfares and crew costs – and perhaps a little more for the running repairs on the way on the assumption nothing major happens half way across the pacific. Also, before committing to this strategy make sure you can get insurance and factor that cost in. Of course on arrival there will be Customs and Quarantine issues and costs, do your homework first and engage the services of a competent customs agent . After arrival, be sure to connect with a trusted range of trades people experienced with transforming an international boat into one that is accepted by Australian standard. Mutlihull Central has a marina base with a service team in Sydney, plus a new service team in Brisbane that can assist. Finally don’t be tempted to do some trade modifications yourself, for example, working on 240 or 110 volt systems is illegal unless you are a licensed electrician.
4. Going Local – Don’t forget how easy buying a local boat is. Not only has the boat already passed Australian standards, but often warranties and servicing for electronics, motors, watermakers, washing machines, inverters, generators etc etc are covered locally. If you buy a quality local brand like Seawind the factory structural warranties will carry over to you as well. Plus you don’t have the worry and risk of brining the boat back over the oceans. You can jump onboard and go sailing tomorrow.
Whatever approach you choose to take, do your research undertake an emotionless cost analysis and enter the market with all the information at your disposal. However you get sailing, being out there is the important end result of your deliberations.
For any further information, be sure to call your local Multihull Central representative on 1300 852 620.