When choosing a delivery skipper it is really important to understand and check their credentials, but more importantly their experience and references. Credentials unfortunately often don’t mean much in this business. It is all about what work they have done and how well they do it. Find out how much delivery work the skipper has done, what type of boats they have moved, how long they have been in the business and what routes they are experienced with. Ask for their last 2 jobs and if they would mind if you called those for references. If you are moving a sailing yacht then ensure your delivery skipper has not just moved powerboats and visa versa. For multihulls it is preferable that the delivery skipper has delivered multihulls in their previous experience.
There needs to be discussion about insurance with your delivery skipper. Whatever arrangement is made with him has to be agreed to by your insurance company. This is very important to ensure that you are covered in a worst-case scenario.
Have everything in writing. It is important that whatever quote you receive details what is included – who pays for food, repairs, marina fees, airline tickets, fuel, etc. There is no cost guide to boat delivery, you mostly will pay more for a better skipper and a stronger team. Pricing options include having a flat rate to complete the job; a price per nautical mile; or a daily rate. I would usually recommend a flat rate with the owner being responsible for fuel, marina fees en route and repairs.
Another discussion to be had as part of the quote is what happens if boat breaks down. If extra travel is incurred in this situation who pays? Usually it would be the owner paying. If it is an extended period of layup then the delivery skipper would normally expect part payment and release from the original agreement. Ensure that this information is clear before the trip begins.
It is important to be realistic in your expectations of your delivery skipper. If the boat has issues in transit do not blame your delivery skipper. Delivery skippers in general will attempt to correctly prepare a boat for passage, maintain her as best they can and fix anything that is fixable. In most cases, it is unfair to blame a delivery skipper when things go wrong.
From my (Rod Waterhouse) delivery experience I expect and warn owners of the unexpected. I deal with issues as best I can however, past a certain point the delivery has to be stopped and the owner take on the responsibility of issues that have arisen. Prepare yourself for the fact that a delivery may have to be stopped before or part way and resumed when safe to do so.
It is the owner’s responsibility to disclose to the delivery skipper all known issues on the boat. Usually these will show up in a pre-sale survey, however the more information you can provide your skipper, the better prepared he can be. The skipper can then ensure these issues were addressed or at least watched en route. The owner is also accountable for ensuring that the boat is equipped with all the regulation and up to date safety equipment. On-board equipment can be rented for the journey e.g. life raft, satellite phone, personal EPIRBs. Some delivery companies even supply their own equipment.
On timing of a delivery it is expected that no unreasonable deadline be given to a skipper. Weather timing is everything to ensuring the boat arrives in as best shape and with as little wear as possible. It is a good idea to watch the weather together and clarify what you believe to be the best conditions for your boat and for your delivery skipper.
For delivery routes it is important that the delivery team is sufficiently sized to cope with the passage as well as satisfying the insurance requirements. Small inshore routes are often ok single handed however all others require a minimum of two crew. The setup of the boat often dictates this. A boat without an autopilot takes a lot more handling and concentration than one without.
If it is an international delivery there are certain protocol and responsibilities over and above coastal work. It is important that skipper is experienced in the required paperwork. The owner in conjunction with a skipper needs to ensure all legal sides of moving the boat in particular customs regulations, boat registration and visas are all properly in order.
On all types of deliveries I am a big fan of owner involvement if possible. It is a fantastic way to learn about your new boat by jumping on for all or part of the journey. If doing this remember that unless agreed otherwise you are just a passenger; your skipper is in charge.
Please contact us and we can assist with your delivery needs.