Call A Pro

call a pro

Relying on yacht sales professionals is always your best bet when buying or selling a boat.

By Vincent J. Petrella, CPYB, Executive Director Yacht Brokers Association of America

Buying and selling a boat can be more complicated, problematic and risky than a real estate transaction. Unlike real-estate transactions, vessel transactions do not come under the jurisdiction of State Laws except in California and Florida. You can eliminate potential headaches by working with a qualified, reputable yacht sale professional who will help you navigate what could otherwise become a complex and difficult transaction.

I know this from personal experience. As the Executive Director of the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA) and based on my40-year career as a yacht sales professional, I often answer calls from frantic and confused boat buyers and sellers with horror stories about sales transactions gone bad. Whether it was a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) or a transaction with a less than scrupulous broker, I can only advise these boat buyers and sellers to follow the dispute resolution provisions in their agreements, if one exists, and/or seek the advice of a maritime/admiralty attorney. “The law of the sea” is vastly different than “The law of the land.”

Buyers and sellers alike need a proper, time-tested and proven vessel purchase and sale agreement that can address all of the issues in vessel transaction. In the hands of an experienced professional, this document can help eliminate potential snags and/or disputes between buyer and seller.

The buying and selling process requires a great deal of due diligence on the part of the buyer, including a vessel survey, trialrun, finance and insurance contingencies, obtaining clear title, proper transfer of funds including deposits and escrow, and a host of other terms and conditions that must be clearly defined in writing and agreed to by both buyer and seller. Without proper documentation, buyer and seller are both at serious risk of ending up with a transaction gone sour, due to some detail that was not clearly defined at the outset.

Further, and often more importantly, a purchase and sale agreement that does not specifically address dispute resolution between buyer and seller can lead to costly legal battles that could take years to resolve. A buyer and seller, no matter the value of the transactions and the apparent simplicity of such, should always seek the services of a yacht sales professional who is a member of a professional trade association that has a strict code of ethics and standard business practices, a requirement for their members to maintain a dedicated escrow account for client funds and standardized forms such as listing and purchase and sale agreements. Find a yacht sale professional here or for questions, contact us at and

The “Call A Pro” article is featured in the March 2019 Edition of Chesapeake Bay Magazine    



Vincent J. Petrella, CPYB

Executive Director, Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA)

Vincent J. Petrella, CPYB has been in the marine industry for over 40 years. In 2007 he retired as the President and Owner of Hellier Yacht Sales, New London, CT, the first sailboat dealership in the country to become a Certified Dealership under the Marine Industry Certified Dealership program.

While serving as President of the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA), America’s oldest brokerage association, Vin was instrumental in creating the industry standards for yacht sales professionals, resulting in the Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB) program. This industry initiative is supported by every brokerage association in North America.

In November of 2010, Vin became the Executive Director of YBAA, leading the association’s strategic and operational initiatives in partnership with the elected board members and committees.

In addition to his service to YBAA, Vin has served as the President of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association and was the founding Chairman of the CPYB Certification Advisory Council (CAC). In addition, Vin is honored to represent YBAA and CPYB as a member of the NMMA Recreational Boating Leadership Council. In 2003, Vin was awarded the YBAA President’s award for “exemplary service to the profession”.