Keep It In the Family

Make the most of your inheritance.

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Your folks may have instilled in you a love of the sea, just as they may have taken steps to keep other valuable assets in the family, such as a yacht broker. Working with a buyer's broker is a matter of trust, and that good feeling can be passed from generation to generation, with happy results.

"My customer has made offers on 15 different boats over the last two years," says Roy Sea, a seasoned yacht broker with Ocean Alexander. "I've been selling boats to his family for 25 years and this is the next generation. I sold his sister a boat a couple of months ago and I sold his father eight or nine boats, it was one of my first sales." Sea's story about his related clients is not exactly commonplace, but it should come as no surprise-after all, yachting is a family affair. Just ask Roy's brother, Walter, a yacht broker in the Ft. Lauderdale office of Camper & Nicholsons International.

"Roy and I grew up in a boatyard in Connecticut," says Walter. "My dad emigrated from Sweden and he was in the merchant marine and he had a small boatyard in Cos Cob."

The sport is clearly in the Sea family. But passing along a broker to the next generation- now that's trust. What makes an "heirloom-quality" yacht broker? Here are three things those brokers do. Don't trust your children to anything less.

1. A smart broker will do his homework. "He'll have knowledge of the specific yacht," says Roy. Included in that information are past sales, any insurance claims, and detailed history of the time the yacht spent in the yard.

2. A reliable broker really knows the market. While the boat is the centerpiece of the sale, your broker also needs to know how it fits in with the rest of the boats in the world. "That broker will have knowledge of the market in general, including similar competitive boats and past sales, so the buyer can gain a sense of value," says Roy. "Most people want a good deal, and some want a good boat, too."

3. An effective broker makes the deal happen. Sometimes when a deal seems like a good value, you've got to move forward. "A good broker has knowledge and tenacity about negotiating," says Roy. "Don't let offers sit in the fax machine or on the computer. Get the deal signed up. The seller can reject the boat on survey if he gets cold feet or if a better deal comes along. Get him the opportunity to survey the boat and then enlist experts to carefully examine the particular yacht at the next level of detail."

Do the Brothers Sea see eye to eye? "We get along fine-we're competitors, but we also help each other out," says Walter, of conducting business with his brother. "After all these years, I know what to expect from Roy. He's very demanding and represents his customers well. And you'd better have your ducks in a row when you're dealing with him, which I think is good. I'd rather deal with people like that than people who leave a lot of loose ends."

Editor's Picks

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Enter Sandman: The 135-foot Moon Sand is a 2004 Sovereign trideck motoryacht with space for 10 guests and 8 crew. Roomy aft and sky decks are ready for alfresco entertaining. Not for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters. Contact Roy Sea at Ocean Alexander at (954) 779-1905 or www.oceanalexanderflorida.com.

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Standing O: Oriana is a 96-foot Burger motoryacht built in 1984. This Hargrave original is a displacement hull with updated accommodations for 8 guests. Not for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters. Contact Roy Sea at Ocean Alexander at (954) 779-1905 or www.oceanalexanderflorida.com.

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Fish Friendly: Mea Culpa is a 2003 McMullen & Wing Yacht fisherman designed by Jack Sarin. The 138-footer hits 22 knots, thanks to twin 2,735-hp MTU diesels. Contact Walter Sea at Camper and Nicholsons at (954) 524-4250 or www.camperandnicholsons.com.