Once the boats are safely stored ashore, the
company takes pictures of them and writes
a brief condition report. Then, they post the
information to one of several websites and
put them up for auction. Boats are sold “as is,
where is.” Bidders are required to register and
provide a small deposit. At the end of the auction process — typically four to eight weeks
— the winner is notified. Once the winning
amount is paid, the ownership papers are
transferred and the boat starts its new life.
Surprisingly, the vast majority of CTL boats
eventually get sold; Costa says only one or
two percent of them are not. For those boats,
he says, there’s usually little left of them and
they eventually get disposed of properly.
The auction winner titles and registers the
boat, but the next step is the most daunting: repairing it to make it seaworthy again.
Some boats have gaping holes in the hull or
deck, some were submerged, and some were
pounded relentlessly for hours, with resulting
serious structural damage, corroded engines
and wiring, and shredded gelcoat and paint.
Boat lovers often get squeamish when they
see that much damage, but most can be
repaired with enough time and money.
Carroll Robertson, vice president of
To find a qualified marine
surveyor to inspect any boat
you’re considering buying, visit
BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Claims, says
some CTL boats go to boatyards that repair
them during the slow season to keep their
employees busy. Some companies buy several, load a container, and ship them overseas
where labor is cheap. Others are sold to
starry-eyed buyers looking for a bargain, who
often have more time than money to invest.
TraSh To TreaSUre?
For consumers, buying and repairing a boat
with severe storm damage brings many chal-
lenges. Though CAT Team surveyors try to
establish a rough repair estimate, it’s not
nearly as complete as if a boat were going
through the normal repair process. Once
the CTL threshold is reached, other damage
might not even be assessed. One big chal-
lenge is simply transporting a damaged boat.
An auction winner has a short time to remove
the boat from the storage yard, and it has to
be stored somewhere while the repairs take
place. Add transportation and storage to the
distressed price of the boat and it may not be
such a good deal.
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