Not sure what the difference between a recall and advisory is?

You’re not alone.  A big thanks to BoatUS for helping to explain the difference and why they are important!

Some highlights:

A “safety recall” involves a safety problem that relates to a boat or associated equipment that is less than 10 years old. The recall must pertain to a violation of federal safety regulations or “a defect that creates a substantial risk of personal injury to the public.”

A “Product Correction Bulletin” and “Service Advisory” generally involve the same thing: an issue that doesn’t pose an imminent threat to life and limb but can be dangerous.  Repairs are generally at no cost to the boat owner.

To read more, and learn about other types of notices, see the complete article by BoatUS here:  BoatUS: Recalls, Bulletins and Advisories Explained


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Judging a Boat by Its Gelcoat

batPicture yourself enjoying a Saturday on the water when suddenly your boat bursts into flames or starts taking on water. Sound terrible? Without knowing the history of a boat before you buy, this nightmare could become a reality quicker than you think. Boats are frequently involved in accidents that cause lasting consequences for owners down the line. The mission of Boat History Report is to find, document, and disclose as much information as possible about every individual boat in and out of the water today. In doing so, they empower consumers to make educated purchases and protect themselves from costly mistakes.

Many consumers will look at a boat that appears to be shipshape and dismiss any possibility of it having been involved in a collision, stolen, run aground, damaged in a hurricane, sunk, swamped, or any other serious incident. In reality, however, there are many instances where vessels have sustained multiple collisions and are being sold to unsuspecting buyers without disclosure.  This jet ski for instance, has been involved in SIX individual accidents! JetSki Report

fiber fiber2

In the photos above, the boat’s fiberglass and gelcoat are repaired so well that one would never suspect it having been in an accident. What you can’t see though, are the repairs done to the electrical wiring strewn across the opening. If the wiring was repaired using subpar connections, corrosion can occur causing sporadic electrical failures and a fire hazard at sea. There is also a likelihood of water intrusion, which could cause mold, rotting of wooden stringers or bulkheads, and a host of other expensive repairs. Knowing if a vessel has been involved in an incident such as this can prevent hidden consequences that are often catastrophic.

Boat History Report has aligned themselves with many big players in the marine industry including an exclusive strategic partnership with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the world’s leading provider of insurance fraud intel. They also collect records from DMV/DNR and maritime law enforcement from all 50 states, the US Coast Guard, insurance companies, and hundreds of other public and private sources. These relationships, coupled with partnerships with over 200 independent NAMS and SAMS Certified Marine Surveyors has led to reports that are accurate and reliable.

As part of a continued effort to provide a first class customer experience, Boat History Report is very excited to announce the arrival of their new website! This advanced customer interface is mobile friendly, faster, easier to use, and features more detailed reports. With the addition of new features for dealers and brokers, they now have the ability to easily run their entire inventory and provide reports within their listings to the information driven boat shoppers. As the leading provider of watercraft history reports, Boat History Report helps boat buyers make better used watercraft purchase decisions by putting all available information at their fingertips.

Jake Attaway

Staff Reporter

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Updated Site Design with Dealer/Broker Focus

Boat History Report is very excited to announce the release of our updated site design which includes an enhanced features for the dealer and broker community!  Read more below.


Orlando, FL – (June 24, 2015) – Boat History Report, the leading provider of boat and yacht history reports, today, announced the launch of its new website, with emphasis placed on significant advances for the dealer and broker community.

“In an age where consumer purchases are information driven, being able to provide a boat’s history to the buyer is a must,” said Founder and CEO Grant Brooks when making the announcement.  “Our Elite Partner Program, designed for dealers and brokers, is based on building the trust of their customers through the use of unbiased third-party history reports.”

By offering volume based pricing, an integrated API, and the ability to instantly run and publish reports on their entire inventory, the program is more accessible than ever for dealers and brokers. It also includes the ability for custom report branding that allows dealers/brokers to display their company’s branding directly on the report.  Additionally, dealers can use the service to run reports on all potential trade-ins, and brokers can research potential yachts they are considering representing, ensuring that they are making wise investments.

Boat History Report was formed to help its customers make informed used boat and yacht purchase decisions by putting all available information at their fingertips.  Reports include information such as whether the boat has been damaged in a hurricane, involved in an accident, run aground, sunk or had a recall.  This information helps buyers guard themselves against buying a boat with hidden damage that could negatively impact safety on the water.

About Boat History Report

Boat History Report is the leading provider of boat and yacht history reports, serving used boat buyers, sellers, dealers/brokers, marine surveyors, law enforcement, and finance and insurance companies. Boat History Report helps these clients make better lending and used boat and yacht purchase decisions. A Boat History Report is the most trusted resource for boat history information and is an essential step in the used boat buying process. Founded in 2005 and based out of Florida, Boat History Report has customers all over the world. For more information, please visit or email us at

Boat History Report is proud to be a member of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA), National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) and Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC).

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BHR excited to announce our new Strategic Partner, NICB

With hundreds of thousands of potential buyers attending boat shows in the upcoming months, Boat History Report’s (BHR) strategic partnership with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) could not have come at a better time.  This new partnership will help to further prevent boat buyers from unknowingly purchasing stolen and salvaged boats being sold without proper disclosure.  The addition of NICB’s boat data further solidifies BHR as the leading provider of watercraft history reports. By partnering with leading marine organizations, including,, and NadaGuides, BHR continues to provide the tools necessary for consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing used boats.

Interesting Facts and Statistics:

  • 75,000 recreational boats were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina -Insurance Journal (January 2, 2006).
  • Over 65,000 recreational boats were damaged or lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy. -estimate by Boat Owner’s Association of The United States.
  • As of April, 2014- 60% of stolen watercraft from 2013 had not been recovered.  Sources: NICB, US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI), National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
  • Fort Lauderdale Boat Show annually attracts an audience of more than 100,000. (Oct 30 – Nov 3rd, 2014).

You can read the full news release here:


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Make the Most of the Show!

Boat Shows are increasing in size exponentially- in 2013, Palm Beach increase its land display area 22% and its boat display in water by 33%!  If you don’t know how to walk a show, you won’t survive the crowds and excitement a 200’ Mega Yacht can generate.  Here are some tips in making the most of your day without pushing anyone over the edge…

  1. First and foremost, find out the shows hours and locations.  Going to a show right when it opens is typically the least crowded time.  As the day progresses and more people begin stirring, you will see a lot more congestion and have a much harder time getting face time with any brokers/dealers or reps.  Also, by going early, you avoid long entrance lines and have a better shot at choice parking, as it is usually limited to begin with.
  2. Find out who the guest speakers are and what the most advertised events are.  At the Miami International Boat Show in 2013, the guest speaker and wildly advertised big event was Bear Grylls.  However, he spoke at 10 am, right when the show opened on the very first day.  You had to be in line, waiting to get in so that you could even have a chance to see him.  Often times the larger shows will host other boating and marine celebrities.  For example, Guy Harvey or Carey Chen may be doing autographs and pictures at specified times.  You may have marine legends and stars who speak on behalf of their shows or charities.  Also, usually the shows manager will point out a few of the must see items, and progress/history of the show itself.
  3. BRING CASH!  Almost every boat show I have gone to has required you to pay for everything in cash.  You can use the ATM’s they install but you’ll pay at least $5 in fees per transaction.  If you don’t have cash, you won’t get in, nor will you eat or drink.  You can usually save a few dollars by buying your ticket online before the show also so make sure to check into that.
  4. Bring food and drinks with you.  Most shows allow you to bring in outside bags.  Food at the shows is expensive.  You will easily spend $4 for a water and $10 or more for a measly portion of cafeteria quality food (I should note that not ALL show food is bad.  Just all show food I’ve had!).  Bring in some sandwiches or chips and a couple of drinks.  This way you can stay hydrated and save a few bucks.   You’re going to need every penny for that new boat anyway!
  5. Try to go to the show during weekdays.  Most shows are at least 3 days so go on Friday.  The weekends are when EVERYONE goes.  That means docks are crowded, you can’t get on boats, lines are long, and there are typically people that are just looking around and aren’t seriously considering buying a boat.  If you want to be able to talk to vendors or brokers, you need to be there as early in the show as possible.  Usually the first day in a show is considered the industry day.  It can be more expensive depending on which show you go to, and is typically less crowded.  It’s a good day to talk to people if it’s information you seek.  Plus, if you are going to the show to purchase a boat, by getting their early you have a better chance your dream boat doesn’t sell before you buy it!
  6. If you are seriously buying a boat, know which brokers you want to talk to.  Who is local?  Who has what inventory?  What kind of boat are you getting?  When do you want it by?  Where do you need it shipped to?  If it’s used, make sure to know its history.  Was it used in fresh or salt water? Has it ever been in an accident?  Did it get swamped in Hurricane Sandy?  Is there an environmental lien on it?  Run a history report (a good one is on their inventory beforehand or bring a smart phone/iPad with you to run it there (might be best to buy an account with the history site first so you don’t have to hassle with it while trying to hold a brokers attention).  It would be a terrible shame to waste your day looking at a boat only to find out at the end of the day that it’s been salvaged.
  7. Once you get down to the marinas and boats in the water, it is a maze of floating docks and walkways.  You could easily get lost and look at the same row of boats over and over as the crowds start growing, you’re eyes start blurring at the wealth and your head grows dreary from the rocking docks.  By knowing what is there and where yachts of interest are located, you have a better chance of actually finding them.  Everyone is going to go see the biggest yachts so you know those walk ways are going to be crowded.  Hit them right away.  This will be your best chance of getting that awesome photo or asking all the usual questions- How much to charter it?  What is it selling for?  Who is the owner?  Does it come with a diamond ring?!
  8. Many shows run contests that aren’t overly advertised.  The Miami show for example gave away all sorts of gift cards, hotel stays, food certificates and boating excursions.  They were all listed online under a small section called “Contests.”  The odds of you winning at least something are high because no one knows about them!
  9. Lastly, HAVE FUN!  Go in with a positive attitude.  Look around. Talk to people.  Watch people.  Enjoy the weather and the water.  Be appreciative of the fact that you even live in or close to a city that offers a boat show.  ENJOY IT!!
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Twas the Night Before Christmas

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and all through the boat,
The bilge pumps were hustling to keep us afloat, 
The children were nestled all snug in their berths,
(We sleep here most nights to get our money’s worth)

As Ma read Jackie Collins and I guzzled beer, 
She said “You’ve had enough, now come to bed dear.”
Then out on the dock there arose an uproar
As I reached in the Igloo to get just one more.

So up went my head, out of the hatch. 
(Though I should have thought first to undo the latch.)
I saw stars for a moment, and as quick as a blink
My hunny yelled, “See, you’ve had too much to drink!”

The moon on the water lit the marina up bright 
(Which was good, since the kids had lost my flashlight.)
Then what with my wondering eyes should I see,
But a fat, fuzzy old guy in a Bayliner Capri.

Instead of an outboard hung on the rear,
Tied to the bow were eight tiny reindeer.
More rapid than Reggie, these coursers they flew,
And on each of their hoofs was a Topsider shoe.

With crashing and bashing and banging and knocking, 
I knew in an instant they must be docking,
“No Dasher and Dancer! Damn you Prancer and Vixen.
Stop, Comet and Cupid! The bumpers, Donner and Blitzen!
Look out for that boat! Watch that seawall!
Now tie up with ropes and fend off all!”

He was dressed in a red cap ringed with fur trim 
Along with a Speedo that covered just a fraction of him.
I was shocked and astonished. What could I say?
I also go boating dressed exactly that way.

He then grabbed a bag, a bulging huge sack,
And hoisted it up onto his back,
He also had sponges and a mop in his grip,
As he waddled his way o’er to my slip.

He said “My name’s Nick, and my friend, I can tell
That your gel coat needs buffing and your teak looks like hell.
Your vinyl needs cleaning, your lockers arranging, 
Your holding tank pumping, and your oil a-changing,
You’ve put these jobs off for too long and you know it.
So here’s all that you need. This time don’t blow it.”

Then as quick as he came, he was back on his boat,
His reindeer revving and eager to tote.
“Merry Christmas!” he called as they cruised through the night.
“And regarding the beer Joe, your wife- she is right.”


Originally published in Bluewater Sailing

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The Boat Insurance Mystery, Unraveled!

The Boat Insurance Mystery- Unraveled!

For some, boating’s a pastime; for others, a way of life.  No matter why you boat, everyone knows one thing- it’s EXPENSIVE!  Being prepared and educated prior to a loss can help save a lot of aggravation as well as your investment.  Many people found this out the hard way after Hurricane Sandy devastated their personal belongings, and their insurance company pulled out a magnifying glass to discuss their policies details and fine print.  Needless to say, thousands of boats were left stranded because they were not properly insured and the owners could not afford to repair of even salvage them.

Boat insurance: do you HAVE to have it?  It depends on the state.  Should you have it? Do you want your boat to float?  I think we can agree the answer to both of these questions is YES!  But why, what kind, and how much?  We are here to help decipher the nuts and bolts of your insurance contract and help you choose the best insurance to suit your specific needs.

Let’s start with the basic, yet often confusing terms in a policy:

  • Boat- For most insurance companies, a boat is classified as 26’ and under
  • Yacht- For most insurance companies, a vessel 27’ and larger
  • Boat Liability Insurance- The maximum amount of money your policy could pay to help cover the expenses of injured third parties outside of immediate family, as well as property damage other than your own.  Policy limits are generally stated in an XX/XX/XX format.  For example, 20/40/20 means $20,000 is the max payment for any one injured person the policy holder is liable for; $40,000 is the max payment for all people injured in any one occurrence; and $20,000 is the max payment for property damaged as a result of an accident or event.
  • Actual Cash Value- The cost to replace damaged property, less the deductible, minus depreciation and wear and tear.  For example, if your 2001 Bayliner is damaged beyond repair and had a value of $5000 before the accident, you would most likely receive $5000 (less deductible), and not the $15,000 it would cost to replace the boat.
  • Agreed Value- A predetermined vessel value.  Should your boat be damaged beyond repair, you would receive the entire agreed value of the boat (less deductible), despite the boat’s age or wear and tear.
  • Replacement Cost- The cost to replace damaged parts (less deductible).  In the case of a total loss, a replacement cost provision would replace your boat with a new boat.  Generally this option is typically limited to the first year of ownership and then would switch to Agreed Value or Actual Cost Value.
  • All Risk Policy- This is the “cause of loss” provision which most policies are written.  This means all damaged to the boat is included (after the deductible is applied), unless specifically mentioned in the exclusions.
  • Navigational Limits- These are specific limits as to where you can use your boat.  Be sure to discuss your this information with your agent or underwriter as some policies have detailed navigational boundaries and may only provide coverage in your home state or within limited coastal waters.
  • Lay-Up Discount- For those who live in winter climates where your boat will not be used for a portion of the year, some policies offer discounts if your boat is winterized and stored.
  • Deductible- Portion of a loss the policy holder is responsible for prior to payment from the insurance company (where applicable).  This could be a flat amount or in the form of a percentage of the policy.

Now for the really confusing part- What do I actually need and where should I start?

To begin, insurance companies generally define boat insurance as Marine Insurance or Hull Insurance.  As one insurance company explains, it is the “accidental, direct physical loss or damage to the boat and equipment as well as salvage charges.”  Equipment could include sails, machinery, electronics, furniture, dinghies, outboard motors, and other equipment normally considered necessary for the use of a vessel.

In general, most boat insurance policies are “All Risk” policies which means all damage to the boat is included except for specifically excluded perils named within the policy.  These exclusions may include general wear and tear, weathering, mold, blistering, design defects, and animal and marine life damage.  It may or may not include machinery damage exclusions, depending on the specific policy.  There are a few variables that will also affect your policy, such as horsepower and type of engine, intended use, planned storage, and expected operators.

If you are new to owning a boat, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask your insurance agent or underwriter:

  1. Is this an agreed value or ACV policy (and make sure you understand the difference)?
  2. What are the deductibles and how will they apply at the time of a loss?
  3. What are the navigational boundaries of the policy?
  4. What if someone else drives my boat and has an accident?
  5. What is covered while trailering the boat?
  6. Are there any medical payments?
  7. Is boat insurance mandatory in my state; if not, would it be wise to purchase coverage for uninsured/underinsured boaters?

You will also want to find out the company’s coverage for the following:

  • Personal effects and unattached equipment coverage for items such as fishing or diving gear
  • Fuel/environmental damage and salvage/wreckage removal
  • On-water assistance
  • Uninsured/underinsured coverage for bodily injury
  • Specialized coverage for highly valued items on the boat
  • Consequential damage (for wear and tear, rather than an accident)

There are a few things you can do to help keep the cost of insurance down.  Many insurance companies offer discounts for boating safety classes.  These classes are offered in most areas by The US Coast Guard Auxiliary and The National Association of State Boating Law Administers, and are usually free.  You may also qualify for a discount by having your boat inspected by the USCG Auxiliary, which is also a free service.  Some insurance companies also offer discounts if your boat is only used in freshwater, or you bundle your boat, auto, and home insurance with the same company.

Ask your boating friends, boat dealers, and local marine financiers who they recommend and if they have had any personal experience dealing with claims.  A personal reference is a great way to ensure you will consider aspects that effect your marine insurance policy for your specific needs.  Finally, always consult with an insurance professional who is familiar with marine risks for that area to make sure the exposure and your asset is properly insured.

And Boat ON Friends…

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