Frequently Asked Questions
In the interest of saving you time, please read the following series of FAQ that have been posed by many of our website visitors.
- Who is Thunderbird Yacht Sales?
- What services do you offer?
- Where do you advertise?
- Where are you located?
- If I list my boat with you, do you offer moorage?
- Are the prices listed on your site in CDN or US funds?
- How much is that is US dollars?
- Does Thunderbird Yacht Sales collect tax on the brokered boats it lists and sells?
- How is tax paid on the brokered boats Thunderbird Yacht Sales markets?
- What about tax to out of province or USA buyers?
- Does Thunderbird Yacht Sales take trade-ins?
- Does Thunderbird Yacht Sales transport and deliver?
- How do I know there is not a lien the vessel?
- As a buyer, should I have a boat surveyed?
- Everything you need to know about licensing, registering, and boating safety.
- What should I do to prepare my boat to sell?
- Can you help me buy a boat in the USA?
- I’m American, can you help me buy a boat in BC?
- Who do I contact if I still have further questions?
Thunderbird Yacht Sales is division of Thunderbird Marine. We have been in business since 1952 and are members the British Columbia Marine Trades Association. Thunderbird Yacht Sales specializes in bringing buyers and sellers of pre-owned boats together.
We offer complete marketing services for our sellers including expertise in the evaluation and pricing of all types of pleasure craft. For our buyers we are able to walk you, step by step, through the buying process from the selection of a boat that meets your needs, viewings, the offer, surveys, to sailing away on your new boat. Ultimately we facilitate the private sale between the two parties .
On this, our corporate website, Yacht World, the largest data base of boats for sale in the world, Pacific Yachting Magazine and Pacific Yachting online. Additionally, we use other online advertising services such as boats.com, Used Vancouver, Used Victoria, and Used Nanaimo dot coms. Thunderbird Yacht sales also participates at both the annual Vancouver International Boat Show and the annual Victoria Floating Boat Show.
Yes. We do have in water moorage in our sales display areas at our West Vancouver and Sidney locations. For boats on trailers we have display space ashore at these two locations. In water moorage and display space ashore is limited, please contact a broker for availability and rates.
All prices listed on our website are in Canadian funds unless otherwise stated.
To calculate the daily exchange rate use the following link: XE.com Personal Currency Assistant.
No. We provide a marketing service to the vendor or seller. It is only this service that is subject to GST.
Upon completion of a purchase, customers are provided with bills of sale and other transfer documents which are intended to provide sufficient information to effect change in ownership. The processing of these documents by the authorities triggers a demand from the B.C. Ministry of Finance for the purchaser to remit tax on the sale, often some weeks later. Alternatively, purchasers may self-remit tax using a “Casual Remittance Return” form (FIN 405) which can be downloaded from the link below.
For more information use the following link: BC Ministry of Finance.
As Thunderbird Yacht Sales does not collect sales tax it is up to the individual buyer to determine any tax liabilities he/she may have with authorities of differing jurisdictions.
The vessels we sell are privately owned. However our brokers will present all offers to vendors including those that may involve a vendor taking a trade as part payment.
Normally, we do not transport and deliver. However, we can help you coordinate a move with qualified companies specializing in transport and delivery.
Thunderbird Yacht Sales conducts a lien search on each vessel it sells.
Thunderbird Yacht Sales always recommends buyers have a marine survey as a subject condition on the purchase of any vessel.
The licensing and registration of boats are two different things.
A licensed boat carries a small vessel license (BC, 13K, 14K etc.). It is required on any vessel under 15 meters in length with an engine greater than 9.9 hp. This includes personal water craft. You can, at your option, license any vessel with an engine less than 9.9 hp.
As of November 1, 2010, to get your free pleasure craft licence, you must mail the following documents to the Pleasure Craft Processing Centre, P.O. Box 2006, Fredricton, NB, E3B 5G4:
1. a completed application form;
2. proof of vessel ownership such as a bill of sale; and
3. a signed copy of a valid piece of government-issued identification (further information is available on the form.)
Application forms are available online at: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/debs-obs-paperwork-paperwork_boat_licence-3211.htm#a6
or for pickup in person through your local Service Canada Centre.
A registered boat carries a certificate of registry, or blue book. It is required on every commercial and pleasure craft over 15 meters in length regardless of gross tonnage.
The requirement for the registration of all vessels over 15 meters regardless of tonnage was a revision to the revised Canada Shipping Act. If your boat is greater than 15 meters in length you may need to convert it from a licensed to registered status to be compliant with the Canada Shipping Act.
Licensing and Registration
Effective November 1, 2012 regional offices are being closed and all registrations for vessels is being cnetralized in Ottawa. For detailed information on licensing, registering vessels and boating safety laws click on the previous link: Transport Canada: Office of Boating Safety.
Boats that are prepared for sale, and will sell in a timely manner at a good price, generally have these things in common:
- The exterior and interior are clean and free of obvious flaws.
- The hull, deck and superstructer are tight and free of leaks.
- All electronic and mechanical systems/accessories are in good operating order.
- The bilge is clean and the engine room orderly.
- The boat is ready for sea trails with tuned engines and a clean bottom.
- The boat will pass hull and mechanical surveys wit hno major issues.
- The boat is priced right.
- The vessel meets Canadian Coast Guard safety requirements.
- All documentation is on hand (license, up to date log and/or supporting invoices for maintenance and upgrades, recent survey, and manuals)
Is your boat dressed up and ready for the dance? Or is it time to send in the TLC Patrol?
Here’s how to properly prepare your boat before the “For Sale” sign goes on:
- Eliminate obvious exterior flaws
First impressions count. Faded gel coat, chips, scratches, stains, cracked windows, worn varnish/paint, damaged canvas, rusted/damaged hardware, dirty fenders, worn dock lines should all be attended to.
- Eliminate obvious interior flaws
Nothing kills a showing on a boat as quickly as a blast of bad air when the cabin door opens. The usual culprits are the musty aroma from mildew, the scent of a holding tank, or the tangy aroma of something old and active beyond the fridge door. Eliminate the source of the odors – don’t try and mask them with air freshener.Clean or replace damaged, soiled carpets and upholstery. Water stains and any subsequent damage from leaks needs to be attended to. Insure the galley and head are impeccably clean.
- Remove all personal and non-essential gear
Eliminate the clutter on deck and inside. Buyers want to see storage space. They want to imagine where their belongings will be stowed. They want to visualize themselves cruising on the boat. Clean out every drawer, locker, lazarette and take it home. Leave only what is being sold with the boat. It avoids confusion as to what is excluded form the listing.
Only the hardiest buyers will stick around for a sea trial on a boat that won’t start or doesn’t run smoothly. Hire a mechanic to service the engines and check the systems – steering, shifting, trim tabs, blowers all need to work. Change the oil, filters and don’t forget to check all other fluid levels. This is not a place to skimp. Make the buyer feel confident things have been looked after in these areas.Engine rooms and compartments must be clean and orderly. Be certain the bilges are clean – spotless is better. Eliminate old wiring and secure any that’s hanging loose. Check the batteries. There should be no signs of rust or fluids seeping from anything. Get rid of old cleaning supplies, jugs, boxes, and other stuff which may have accumulated cluttering up the space.
- Electronics and systems
The boat will be advertised with an inventory of electronics, systems, and extras. Make sure everything works and is on the boat. If it doesn’t work, fix it, replace it, or remove it. Check all lights and change out any burned out bulbs.Don’t forget safety equipment. Make sure the boat meets Canadian Coast Guard requirements for her size. Check the dates on your flares and fire extinguishers.
- Clean bottoms
Buyers may perceive visible growth on the hull, outdrives, trim tabs, and rudders as neglect. Growth will also inhibit the boats performance on sea trials. Offers on your boat will be conditional on the buyers satisfaction with a sea trial. If the boat has growth either haul it out or hire a diver to clean the bottom.
- The price is right
Regardless of the condition of the boat, at the end of the day, it always comes down to price. If the asking price is too high it will not sell and in all likelihood may not even generate you an offer. You must be realistic about the asking price. A realistic asking price will light a fire under your broker to get the boat sold and ensure you get something close to what you want for the boat.The final words on pricing _ don’t expect to recover the full cost for new equipment or upgrades you’ve added to the boat. New electronics and so on will make your boat more attractive and easier to sell, but with few exceptions will not add value. As for money invested in repairs, rebuilds, refits, or maintenance – these types of expenditures keep the boat at market value and of course, easier to sell.
- Survey says
Offers on your boat will be conditional upon the buyers satisfaction with hull and mechanical surveys. It can not be stressed enough just how critical it is that you are proactive in prepping the boat to pass these inspections.Smart owners, before putting the boat up for sale, will haul the boat, inspect the bottom, and attend to any need s. The same goes for the mechanical end of things. Have the engine and drive checked and serviced if needed.Really smart owners will have survey and mechanical inspection reports conducted on the boat before it goes on the market. Buyers will still do their own inspections , but a seller can avoid unpleasant surprises later while laying any doubts to rest about the boats’ condition during the sales process.
- Paper work
Is the boat licensed or registered in your name? You will need to produce a license, or a “blue book” in the case of a registered vessel to effect title transfer and complete the transaction when the boat is sold. When you list the boat for sale you will be asked to produce this documentation.In situations where there is a lien or loan on the boat, advise the lender your selling. Then, provide your broker with the name of a contact at the financial institution. This will speed up the completion of a sale.If you’re kept a maintenance log leave it on the boat along with any supporting invoices for repairs, service and upgrades. Buyers also like to see operating manuals for the systems on the boat, so be sure to include what you have. And don’t forget a copy of the most recent survey.
- Curb appeal
Often overlooked with boats, but as with houses, curb appeal is the all important first impression. How does the boat look as you approach it along the dock? What’s the overall feeling you get as you step aboard? Is the boat moored and tied up properly? Don’t leave dock lines, power cords, and other boat clutter laying on the dock to trip over.Is the boat easy to board? Provide a step to simplify boarding if the boat has no transom door or access is otherwise difficult. Remove the dinghy if it impedes boarding ease. Keep the space around your boat clean. If it looks like you care about your boat, other will too. Eliminate any negatives and mike a strong first impression. Try looking at your boat through the eyes of a buyer.
Yes. We have a wealth of experience in making cross border transactions a breeze. We probably do more of this work than any other brokerage. Contact a Thunderbird broker to learn more.
Yes, we do that too. If you have your eye on a boat in BC contact a Thunderbird broker to learn how easy the process can be.
If you have further questions regarding specific vessels listed on our website, please contact the listing office:
Thunderbird Yacht Sales – Sidney Sales Office
Phone: (250) 656-5832
Fax: (250) 655-1981
Thunderbird Yacht Sales – West Vancouver Sales Office
Phone: (604) 921-7457
Fax: (604) 921-7486
Thunderbird Yacht Sales – Port Moody Sales Office
If you have further questions regarding purchasing a vessel from Thunderbird Yacht Sales, please contact:
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