Whether you are new to southwest Florida, new to sailing or neither, there are lots of questions on the mind of the sailboat owner.  Here are the answers to some that we had.  Please let us know what other questions you have that we can add to this list?

Where can I find listings for boats that are for sale?

There are several websites that specialize in boats listed for sale by owners and yacht brokers.  Some of the most popular are shown below:

www.yachtworld.com  This site is used by most yacht brokers to list the boats they have for sale.  It is very comprehensive, easy to use and the most popular for both buyers and sellers.

www.sailboatlistings.com  This site is used by owners who are selling their boat themselves.  It's also a very comprehensive site, but not always up to date.  Many owners will list their boats here before turning them over to a broker and then not remove the listing.  Listings more than one year old are probably out of date.

www.boattrader.com  This site is used by both owners and brokers and may contain listings copied from other websites.

www.ebay.com  Some owners will also list their boats for sale here.

www.craigslist.com  This site is typically used by owners of older or less expensive boats.

Where can I find information about a particular make and model of boat?

The best place to start looking for information on a particular boat is www.sailboatdata.com. The SAILBOATDATA.COM is a database that contains information on more than 6000 production - semi-production sailboats going back as far as 1900.  A majority include photos and or drawings, from a library of original and plans and brochures. Others have been contributed by users (only when we can be sure about a reasonable degree of accuracy). Also included is information on the designer(s), original builder(s), links to related websites where applicable* with a number of search options. Access to this information is COMPLETELY FREE, and no registration of any kind is required to use the service.

You can also find reviews of many older and newer boats at www.practicalsailor.com and www.sailmagazine.com.  Both of these publications are available by paid subscription.

How can I determine a boat's condition?

This is where an experienced friend or other reliable resource will be very helpful.   Two books by Don Casey are particularly helpful in evaluating a boat's condition, Inspecting the Aging Sailboat and Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual.  Both are available on Amazon.com.  You will want to hire a Marine Surveyor if you're planning to spend several thousand dollars on a boat.  A good marine survey will cost you several hundred dollars, but could potentially save you thousands of dollars in undiscovered repair costs.  A current survey is required by most marine insurance companies and by lenders if you're borrowing to finance the purchase of your boat.

How can I tell what a fair price is for the boat I'm considering?

All boat prices are negotiable, depending on the boat's age, condition, location and current market conditions.  Current market pricing information is available at www.bucvaluepro.com.  This website is used by brokers to find comparable pricing on boats, but individual buyers can access it as well for a small fee.

Do I need boat insurance?

Interestingly enough, boat insurance isn't required to register a boat in Florida.  However, the prudent boat owner will carry liability, hull coverage, and commercial towing and assistance coverage.  An article entitled A Sailor's Guide to Marine insurance on www.PracticalSailor.com gives detailed information on marine insurance from an independent source.  Detailed information on policy coverage and cost specific to your needs can be obtained from www.boatus.com or www.seatow.com .  Your local property and liability insurance agent may also be able to offer marine insurance coverage.

Where do I go to register my boat?

All boats in Florida must be registered in the county where they are located.  Boat registration is done at the same county office of the Tax Collector where you register your automobile.  Registration fees are based on the age and size of the boat.

What do you do in the event of a hurricane?

The threat of hurricanes during the summer months is a fact of life in southwest Florida and boat owners need to have a plan to deal with this threat.  There are essentially three choices:  Move your boat inland to protected waters out of the path of the oncoming storm, haul it out of the water and tie it down to a hardstand, or leave it in the water and double all dock and spring lines.  Regardless of your plan, you should remove the sails, sail covers, dodger and bimini, cushions and any equipment that might be blown off the boat.