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When purchasing a boat, many people believe that they are buying some freedom. Unfortunately, there are times in which that idea is shattered when the unwary purchaser finds that there are claims, liens and costs registered against the boat. Our firm advises to proceed with caution to ensure that you are getting what you have bargained for.

Claims may be unregistered or registered. Unregistered claims include: the rights of the government to recover charges and penalties against the boat; maritime liens for services, property damages or personal injury; possessory liens and non-possessory liens under the Repairers and Storers Lien Act; and claims enabling the boat to "arrested" under the Canada Shipping Act and the Federal Court Act. Registered claims against the boat, and/or boat owner, include: registered Repairers and Storers Lien Act claims; mortgages under the Canada Shipping Act; security interests and loans registered under the Personal Property Security Act (PPSA); and judgments and claims registered under the Federal Court Act, Canada Shipping Act and in the Port of Registry of a registered vessel.

At present, a purchaser might buy privately, from a manufacturer, from a boat dealer or a boat broker. The conditions of sale should be considered before completing the purchase. Most written agreements include such phrases as "as it, where is" or "particulars not guaranteed" or "there are no representations as to the fitness and seaworthiness of the vessel". All of these mean buyer beware, in that you must satisfy yourself as to the condition of the boat. As a practical step, a thorough inspection of the boat, sea trialing, and a survey by qualified person could be in order. In addition, many, if not all, maritime insurance companies require a professional survey before they will extend insurance. Insurance issues include compliance with regulations, grey water issues, on board safety systems, fuel system and fire hazards, and the general condition of the boat.

When purchasing a boat, it is wise to complete an Agreement for sale of the boat (so that each party knows what their obligations are), a Bill of Sale for the boat (which proves ownership), and to arrange the transfer of the Registration of Licencing from the seller to the purchaser (done through the local "custom house").

If you are in the Midland/Penetanguishene/Georgian Bay area, the law firm of Deacon Taws would be pleased to provide any services relating to the purchase of a boat, and can also assist you through the drafting of documents, in searching for claims against the boat, and with pertinent legal advice. It should be noted that the purchase of a registered vessel under the Canada Shipping Act is fundamentally different from purchasing a licenced vessel. For further information, if you are in the Midland/Penetanguishene/Georgian Bay area, please contact Deacon Taws Law Firm.


The foregoing articles are meant for informational purposes only and are not to be taken as legal advice. In the case of any questions, issues or needs arising from the above please contact us at Admin@deacontaws.com, Phone: (705)526-3791 or Fax: (705)526-2688



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