P&I Club

Update Volume 2020/34 Points to consider when buying a second-hand pleasure craft

Published on 30 october 2020

When buying a second-hand pleasure craft, you are naturally focused on the benefits of ownership, however what if, after you assume ownership, you discover that the craft has defects and you want to hold the seller liable for these defects? What measures can you take as a buyer and what should you pay attention to?

  • We recommend that you always ensure that the purchase is put in writing in the form of a contract, regardless of the value or size of the craft. In particular, pay attention to the terms regarding the condition of the vessel upon delivery. Will the craft be transferred “as is”? Is a condition survey carried out by an surveyor? Does the seller guarantee the condition of the vessel?
  • As buyer you have a duty to investigate. You must investigate the condition of the vessel as best as possible. The law imposes stricter requirements on your duty of examination when it comes to the purchase of a craft that has already been used. For example, as a buyer of a second-hand craft you must take into consideration that, given the age of the vessel, there are traces of use and that there is possibly overdue maintenance. As part of this duty, you must also ask the seller questions in advance should you have any doubts about certain characteristics of the craft.
  • The seller has a duty of disclosure under the law and must inform you of: defects known to the seller at the time of transfer including defects which do not impede the normal use of the vessel. However, whether the seller can be held liable will often depend on whether the defect was or should have been readily visible.
  • As soon as you notice that the craft a defect after you have taken delivery, it is important to notify the seller in writing as soon as possible. In a notice of default you must clearly indicate which defect has been found and invite the seller to rectify the defect within a reasonable period of time.

We recommend that you always as a surveyor to check the condition of a second-hand recreational craft before you take delivery. Should you require assistance in drawing up a purchase contract or a notice of default, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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