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Zen & The Art of Boat Buying; TrawlerFest-Bremerton Seminar

survival guide

John Park of Seattle came out “Boat Boat Buyer’s Survival Guide” at a prior Washington TrawlerFest with a sense of regret. “If I had taken this course 10 years ago, I would have saved $100,000 and a whole lot of aggravation,” Park said.

Buying a cruising boat is an emotional as well as financial transaction, and there lies the rub. It’s easy to buy the wrong boat by following your heart alone. That’s why we’ve assembled a team of experts at TrawlerFest-Bremerton to demonstrate how to leverage your self-knowledge into a smart purchase. Thursday & Friday, May 18-19.

The idea behind this eight-hour seminar is to arm buyers with the information they need to minimize frustration and unnecessary expense. There are five “team teach” instructors, with individual presentations and a group panel session at the end of the second morning. The theme of the first morning is “physics & psychology,” 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 what kind of hull design, because, as boat designer Sam Devlin will argue, hull form matters.

Then boatbuilder Ken Fickett of Great Harbour Trawlers will explain fiberglass boat construction and how to discern between good and bad. Metal boat builder Dylan Bailey explains metal boat construction and its advantages and disadvantages, and Sam Devlin will talk about the art of wood/epoxy builds.

The theme on day two is “the fine print,” and it begins with Dylan Bailey on how to choose the right surveyor and his or her proper role. Yacht broker Vin Petrella speaks on the topic of choosing a yacht broker and the elements of a good sales contract. Insurance veteran Cary Wiener 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.

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


"Boat Buyers Survival Guide" is included in both TrawlerFest VIP package deals. The five-day VIP Pass costs $499 but can amount to a value of more than $1,100. Here’s what it includes:

  • General Admission to all three days of TrawlerFest’s In-Water Boat Show
  • Unlimited access to seminars (Tuesday-Saturday) (Diesel Engine course and Boat Handling Hands On is available as part of the VIP package)
  • Entry for one to Thursday’s Dinner and entertainment.
  • Entry for one to Friday’s Docktail Party

There is also a three-day VIP package for $399, which provides similar value for Thursday through Saturday seminars.

Most PassageMaker fans know that TrawlerFest is more than a seminar series. The event’s in-water boat show, runs Thursday, March 2-4. Dozens of power cruisers will be open for inspection on the docks and vendors will be on hand to demonstrate products and services.

SEMINARS: Tuesday, May 16 – Saturday, May 20

IN-WATER BOAT SHOW: Thursday, May 18 – Saturday, May 20

120 Washington Beach Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337

Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside
100 Washington Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337

For more information, visit and navigate to TrawlerFest>Bremerton, or call 443-745-7785.