Legal requirements applicable to the purchase and sale of used boats

This information on purchasing a boat includes tips, suggestions and a sample sales contract.

More often than not, when a boat is purchased from a private seller or an agent, the seller’s warranty for the buyer is excluded. This is an option provided for by law in Germany. Therefore, make sure to obtain factual information as to the condition of the boat.

Purchase from a private seller

Full exclusion of warranty is permitted and customary. Therefore, it is indispensable for both parties to be clear about the condition of the boat.

Purchase from an agent

The agent will only be liable for any specifications made in their exposé. However, the sales contract will be concluded by and between the private seller and the buyer. Therefore – as above – full exclusion of warranty is permitted and customary. Consequently, it is also indispensable in this case for the buyer, the seller and the agent to be clear about the condition of the boat.

Purchase from a dealer

The dealer will be subject to a 1-year warranty liability for material defects present at the time the boat was handed over. However, a boat is considered free from material defects if it is in the agreed condition at the time it is handed over. Therefore, it is important for both parties to include a report on the boat’s condition as an appendix to the contract.   Any existing defects are noted in the report and thus become part of the contractual condition of the boat. Subsequently, they will no longer constitute defects in a legal sense because they are known.

There have been cases where dealers concluded sales contracts for used boats from their portfolio with buyers in the name of the previous private owner. In these cases, similar to a purchase from a private seller, it is possible to exclude warranty completely. However, this would constitute a bogus transaction, i.e. the dealer is the actual owner of the boat and, therefore, cannot exclude warranty.

Help with the purchase of used boats

The information on purchasing a boat at Bootskauf mit Kaufvertrag includes tips, suggestions and a sample sales contract.

The following documents will help you buy and sell used boats:

Please add the following notice to the contract if you submit it to your agent/buyer for information: “This translation is for your information only. Please complete and sign the German sales contract!”

Should you require professional assistance in buying or selling the used boat, our cooperation partners at and at Verband der Sportboot- und Schiffbau-Sachverständigen e.V will be at your disposal for a no-obligation quote.

As an alternative to an on-site expert report, you can go to Rate my boat, an online rating portal. The online rating is based on a system developed by experts and includes an online form into which customers themselves can enter the information required to calculate the value of the boat. While this inexpensive online rating system is a useful tool for a quick estimate of a boat’s value, a personal inspection and assessment by an impartial expert will no doubt yield a more reliable result. So, depending on the purpose for which the value of the boat is needed, the customer will have to decide whether the inexpensive online service at Rate my Boat will suffice in the case at hand or whether an expert should be consulted.

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