We’ve done something a bit different this month. Ian Swan is a marine specialist broker from Swan Super Lines who we’ve had a number of dealings with over the years. They recently added us to their Trust and Respect Alliance – local businesses that the company has good working relationships with. Ian agreed to talk to us recently about what he does as a broker and why it’s a good idea to use a broker when you’re in the market for a new boat.

Ian’s job, as he sees it, is to talk to the buyer and figure out with them exactly what they’re looking for – and then to help them to get it at the best possible price and condition. He told us a story about an old man walking along the beach in the early morning after a storm, coming across a young man picking up stranded starfish from the beach and throwing them back into the water. “Are you kidding, mate?” the old man asks. “Look at all these starfish all over the beach. There’s too many for you to help. You can’t make a difference.” And then, Ian said, the young man replies (still busily throwing starfish back into the water), “Yes, but I made a difference to that one.” We figure that’s a perfect metaphor for Ian’s attitude to his clients – that he does his best to make a positive difference where he can (not that he throws them in the drink).

Cut through the confusion

The internet is a great tool, and we’d never tell you not to do your own research before buying a boat. It’s a great way to get an idea of all the different options available today and to figure out not just what you want, but what you can afford. However, doing your own research isn’t a good replacement for using a boat broker. One of the big issues that a lot of people experience when buying a boat is that comparing features can get very difficult. 2 cabins, 3 cabins, flybridge or no flybridge, interiors… there are a heap of different combinations available. A marine specialist broker can outline and compare the key pros and cons of each boat that you look at, and help to keep your list of possibilities nice and short.

Market knowledge

Finding the right boat isn’t just a matter of sifting through the available options: first you have to know about them. A boat broker knows the local market and who’s currently selling – or can quickly find out who might have something that will meet your needs. With a network of contacts, a broker can show you a range of different makes and models.

Pre-sale inspections

A boat broker can not only help you to spot any potential issues with a boat – they can also ensure that the boat receives a proper going-over pre-sale. Your boat broker can find a marine surveyor and/or mechanic with experience in the specific type of engine used.

All the paperwork

A broker can make sure that all the paperwork is in order as the sale progresses. This includes checks that the seller has clear title to the boat by running a PPRS query to save issues when buying a boat that’s still under finance, as well as setting up statutory declarations and legally-tight bills of sale.

How do I find a broker?

The Boating Industry Association (BIA) have a number of member brokers, and hold their members to a high standard of ethics and behaviour. You can search their website for members located close to you.