The Sale and Purchase of Yachts in Germany

The Sale and Purchase of Yachts in Germany

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers offer practical guidance regarding the sale and purchase of yachts. Deciding what to buy, where to buy and being aware of the legal considerations in such purchases are crucial to buying a yacht suited for your purposes. Our lawyers advise private individuals and corporate bodies on the purchase of yachts in Germany and further afield.

We aim to protect our clients, minimise the risk involved in the sale and purchase of yachts and ensure that they are fully aware of the legal regulations involved. From there, our clients can continue with the transaction with peace of mind.

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Full-service legal support with the sale and purchase of yachts in Germany.

Proceed with peace of mind.

Drafting the Purchase Agreement during the Sale/Purchase of the Yacht

Finding the right yacht is the first step to a successful purchase, and that will depend on the budget and purpose involved, whether it is for private use or commercial use. Once a suitable yacht has been found, it is crucial to consult with legal advice, as the legal aspects and potential pitfalls involved with the construction, purchase and sale of yachts (and other marine vessels) can complicate the situation and potentially damage your interests.

If you are purchasing a newly-built vessel, our lawyers will examine whether it reaches the required legal safety standards and that the build was compliant with the stated requirements. For second-hand vessels, our team will examine the yacht involved to determine whether there are any potentially damaging defects.

It is critical not to verbally agree to the purchase of a yacht until experienced professionals have examined it in advance and until you have concluded a written agreement. Our lawyers are highly experienced in sale and purchase agreements and will oversee drafting the contracts involved.

New-Build Yachts: Custom, Semi-Custom or Production Yachts

There are a couple of options available when purchasing a yacht in Germany, namely whether it is a production or custom yacht. With production yachts, they are generally the fastest yachts with delivery. However, with production yachts, there is very little room to make the vessel “your own” and personalise the yacht.

Custom and semi-custom yachts can be personalised and constructed to fit the purchaser’s requirements and desires; however, they are also the riskiest type of new-built yacht. It is crucial to have legal advice when pursuing this route.

Greater commitment to overseeing the building of the yacht is required for custom yachts. That may involve close collaboration and regular visits to the yard during the construction of the yacht. Reviewing the contracts involved is absolutely necessary to ensure legal solutions are available in the event of delay or defects.

Our lawyers will examine and draft the contracts involved in such matters to ensure that the yacht fulfils the demands of our clients. By allowing our lawyers to draft such contracts, we can ensure that your interests are central concerning payment structures, the specifications of the yacht itself, that there are consequences for failure to meet performance criteria, security and warranties involved, and that you are fully aware of the subcontracting situation involved with such a custom-built yacht.

Purchasing a yacht is a substantial undertaking, and with the right legal support in your corner, you can be assured that it will be carried out in the correct manner.


Second-Hand Yachts: Legal Support

When purchasing a second-hand yacht, it is vital to have it checked for defects and to have an inventory of what equipment is included in the sale. The inventory should list all the engine, deck and interior elements that will be included in the sale that are available onboard. These need to be agreed upon by the parties and signed for before delivery of the yacht. It is also essential to check the status of the vessel.

Our lawyers can determine whether the boat’s seller owns the boat entirely and, therefore, has the selling rights. From there, we can determine whether the boat is free of any charges and liens; these can take the form of mortgages, loans and interests from 3rd parties.

Resolving tax issues when buying the yacht also needs to be considered. Purchasing a yacht in one country to moor it in another can bring complicated tax arrangements, particularly transactions involving countries outside the European Union. Our lawyers will advise you throughout the purchase of the yacht. This will help prevent future costly legal disputes and other conflicts.

Selling Yachts and Vessels

When engaging in the private sale of a yacht, our lawyers can advise you on pricing considerations and draft the written agreement when you reach a deal with the buyer. Our team will design a comprehensive bill of sale, and our full-service approach means that we are aware of potential signs of fraud within the transaction and can advise you about that.

It is not unusual for fraudsters and scammers to contact sellers displaying interest in purchasing yachts, only to scam the seller afterwards. Our legal team will support you by identifying common scam techniques and using our experience to uncover more complex fraudulent activities.

The final written agreement needs to be watertight, as mistakes at this time can lead to costly legal battles and leave you open to further disputes and financial losses. A thoroughly designed agreement will reduce the risks involved in selling the yacht as it should outline the process regarding deposits and will help limit your liability.

Having experienced legal counsel available to you during negotiations is vital; our team has considerable experience in German contract and commercial law and will utilise such knowledge when representing your interests.

Yacht Defects: Legal Advice

One of the most significant sources of conflicts following the sale or purchase of yachts concerns defects. Expert legal assistance in your corner while purchasing the vessel is one way to reduce the risk of buying a yacht with such a defect significantly.

If you have purchased a yacht and notice a defect, you need to consult with professional legal advice as early as you can. Defects can take the form of the vessel not meeting the agreed standards or quality or not being in a suitable condition for the agreed purpose. In such cases, the defect should have been present at the time of the purchase.

Therefore, the contracting parties must draw up a report concerning the boat’s condition and attach it to the contract. This report will take note of any existing defects; therefore, the parties will become aware of these defects as part of the contractual condition of the boat.

However, suppose the case concerns a consumer contract. In that case, it can be presumed that the defect already existed when the yacht was handed over if the defect becomes apparent within 6 months of the handover of the motor or sailing yacht. Such a presumption is based on the nature of the fault. Should it become clear that the defect only arose after the yacht’s handover due to the purchaser’s actions or due to a storm, the seller can defend themselves from this presumption.

As a rule, the limitation period for warranty rights is two years from the yacht’s handover.

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Practice Group: German Yacht Lawyers

Practice Group:
German Yacht Lawyers

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