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The National Marine Manufacturers Association said registrations of new powerboats were up 6.1 percent year over year for the rolling 12-month period through July. Registrations of boats 27 feet and larger were up 10.3 percent.

That probably makes the "Boat Buyers Survival Guide" at TrawlerFest-Bay Bridge on the Chesapeake last month a lagging indicator. Because of the size of the room and its acoustics, we were forced to cut off attendance at 48, a record for the seminar, which is now in its third season. We memorialized this record with the above photo.

We will be reprising this two-morning seminar at TrawlerFest-Stuart on March 8-9, 2018. Keep an eye out for an announcement that we have begun taking registrations online.

 The idea behind this eight-hour class is to arm buyers with the information they need to minimize frustration and unnecessary expense. There are six “team teach” instructors, with individual presentations and a group panel session at the end of each morning.

The theme of the first morning is “nuts & bolts,” leading off with the first decision a prospective buyer of a cruising boat must make. That is, what kind of cruiser you plan to be and therefore which hull design, because hull form matters. Then our fiberglass expert will explain fiberglass boat construction, coring and how to discern between good and bad. We then take a brief look at custom metal and wood boats. Our surveyor rounds out the morning with advice on how the survey process works and how to find the right person for the job.

The theme on morning two is “the fine print,” and it begins with a brokerage expert on how to choose the right yacht broker and the elements of a good sales contract. 

An insurance veteran follows with a behind-the-scenes look at marine insurance and the elements of a good cruising policy. Topics will include navigation territories, coverages, claims liability coverages, international medical coverage, north/south restrictions, named windstorm deductibles and the differences between the agreed value and actual cash value policies. We end th second morning with a cautionary talk by a maritime lawyer on how to avoid East Coast tax traps.

Each morning ends with the panelists answering audience questions, and, as has sometimes happened in the past, disagreeing. 


The NMMA said all boat segments improved through July, but the growth was led by jetboats (up 10.9 percent); tow boats (up 9.5 percent); personal watercraft (up 9.4 percent); pontoons (up 7.7 percent); cruisers (up 7 percent); and saltwater fishing boats (up 6.8 percent).

Registrations of outboard-powered boats were up 5.5 percent. Outboards represent 65 percent of new powerboat sales.