Boat Auctions – The Top 6 Boat Auctions Sources

I have been bargain yacht hunting for six years now and have now come to recognize that sometimes a superb deal on a used vessel can bring a greater sense of gratification and pride than the smell and shine of a new factory product. This year has been a banner year but…

I strongly believe boat auctions will continue to stir up some unprecedented savings for boat buyers in 2010 — and several years to come. There are still a lot of boat owners who can’t afford their mortgage right now let alone their 21′ Sea Ray. And once its repossessed — you can find it at auction.

However, finding legitimate auction sources, especially online can be a real chore. Whether you are a DIY’er or simply looking to find a discounted vessel, I have found the following sites without a doubt — the best public marine auctions sources available on the internet:

1. Boat Auctions Direct — This resource regularly aggregates in all nearly every marine auction source across the U.S. It is extremely detailed and also includes pwc’s, rv’s, atv’s, in addition to marine equipment auctions as well.

2. National Liquidators — Now this company is the largest auction house in the U.S. and practically carries the yacht auction industry in southeast Florida. NL will on average have 350-400 bank repossessed vessels at any given month.

3. Commonwealth Boat Brokers — By way of two locations in Virginia, CBB inventories acres of bank repossessions together with pwc’s.

4. Gov Deals — You don’t have to pay to view Government auctioned assets when you can access most of their seized items here for free. Just click the boating link and you can view current inventory up for bid.

5. Luxury Yachts at Auction — This auction site lists a directory that offers an extensive selection of yachts, sailboats, pontoons, Bayliners, trawlers, houseboats, performance, fishing and bassboats, including multiple other asset classes i.e. equipment and machinery.

6. Crashed Toys — is a specialty insurance and salvage auction company with numerous pick-up locations across the country. They specialize in seized, repossessed or salvaged cars, trucks, yachts, trailers, pwc’s motorcycles and more. Simply register to bid online.

I’ve subscribed to almost every free and/or paid membership auction site out there. And though many are beneficial, several are not practical for locating auctioned assets of any type.

WARNING: Be most notably cautious of ‘auction’ sites (mainly those sponsored listing ppc sites) that gratuitously offer ‘free’ repo listings in exchange for your name and e-mail, and other personal information. I’ve never got anything from these sites but a email box full of spam from other third party sites.

Anyway, the auction sources above certainly aren’t exhaustive, nonetheless I think you’ll find they should put you in front of a bargain boat pretty quick.

‘Fair Warning’ – 7 Legal Risks of the E Auction

Online auctions (or e auctions) are big business and can catapult the regional auction house onto an international stage with access to new and dynamic global markets.

Companies such as eBay have added all kinds of auction capabilities to their websites in order to attract users and add excitement. But running an online auction – an auction which is held over the Internet – raises many legal issues both for the seller and the buyer.

This article looks at ways to mitigate the organisation’s risks which come from adding an auction to a company’s website. The information does not constitute legal advice and organisations considering an online auction should always seek expert opinion.

1. What kind of auction?

You might think that an auction is a sale where buyers bid the highest price for an item and the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer confirms the deal. This English auction is the most common type, but there are others and each carry their own legal risks and responsibilities, including:

  • Vickrey auctions – the highest bidder obtains the item at the price offered by the second highest bidder;

  • Dutch and Yankee auctions – auctions formatted to handle a situation in which a seller wishes to sell multiple, identical items;

  • First-price sealed-bid auction – a single bid is made by all bidding parties and the single highest bidder wins, and pays what they bid. The main difference between this and English auctions is that bids are not openly viewable or announced as apposed to the competitive nature which is generated by public bids;

  • Reverse auction – where the roles of buyer and seller are reversed. Multiple sellers compete to obtain the buyer’s business and prices typically decrease over time as new offers are made. They do not follow the typical auction format in that the buyer can see all the offers and may choose which they would prefer. Reverse auctions are used predominantly in a business context for Procurement.

  • Bidding fee auction, or penny auction requires customers to pay for bids, which they can increment an auction price one unit of currency at a time

2. Bidder terms and conditions

Sophisticated auction websites such as eBay publish several policies that cover the variety of goods intended for auction. Less sophisticated sites will still need to carry bidder terms and conditions which include:

  • the method by which bids will be processed;
  • how winning bids will be handled;
  • how winning bidders will be notified;
  • the use of “reserve” prices (a secret price below which no bid is accepted); how disputes between bidders will be addressed;
  • how merchandise and payments will be shipped;
  • refund and return policies;
  • information on fees, membership eligibility requirements, and feedback mechanisms;
  • which country’s jurisdiction and laws will apply.

The rules may also include a list of prohibited items due to their potentially hazardous or unlawful nature (e.g., firearms, chemicals, or fireworks). Some countries may also prohibit certain products, such as France’s ban on the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

The European Distance Selling Directive does not apply to online auctions so bidders acting in a private (rather than a business) capacity do not have the right to a cooling of period, as consumers generally do when purchasing products ‘at a distance’.

3. ‘Sale of goods – as seen’

Offline, items are sold in auction ‘as seen’. Companies that are auctioning off their own goods (as opposed to merely creating a forum for third party transactions) should be particularly aware of the legal issues that auctioning specific items may pose, such as rare wine which may be subject to pricing or shipping regulations. Similarly, although companies may be tempted to describe their goods for auction with glowing words to encourage bidding, they should bear in mind that all the rules, regulations, and laws which govern the conventional sale of goods still apply.

4. Privacy

Most auction sites require that users, both bidders and sellers, register before participating. The registration process usually involves collecting some user information, including name, address, phone number, etc. The auction site owner should publish and adhere to a “privacy policy” regarding how it collects and utilizes user information online. This includes compliance with the EU cookies rules in EU member states as well as Data Protection.

Auction rules do vary significantly in other countries, so companies may wish to limit participation to their own country. However, if you do allow those in other countries to participate in online auctions, you must be aware of international privacy laws and regulations.

5. User feedback

Following the lead from eBay, many auction sites now provide a feedback mechanism through which registrants can provide post-transaction commentary about other users. This user “feedback” is meant to keep the bidding process open and honest, and to allow customers to communicate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the seller and its goods. However, user feedback has already become the basis of at least one libel lawsuit, in which one car retailer sued another, alleging that the defendant had posted false and defamatory feedback.

Companies should incorporate rules concerning the content of user communications in their web site terms and conditions (not the same as bidder terms and conditions) as well as expressly disclaim all responsibility and liability for user-provided content.

6. Website terms and conditions

Website terms and conditions govern visitors’ use of your website. It covers issues such as legal notices, ownership of intellectual property, use of hyperlinks and disclaimers.

A “clickwrap” agreement requires the users to view the agreement and click “I Agree” or some similar wording before gaining access to the site or a feature. Terms and conditions are usually accessible through a link at the bottom of the home page of the site and do not require viewing or consent. Although many companies opt to have terms and conditions rather than clickwraps because of their more user-friendly nature, as between the two, clickwraps are more likely to be found to be enforceable in court.

7. Money laundering

In a cash high business, you have to take a zero tolerance attitude towards money laundering. Not only will the regulators come down heavy on an organisation that doesn’t have sufficient controls in place to prevent money laundering, but it also doesn’t look good from a commercial and professional standing.

And finally…

Auction companies tend to outsource the online part of their operations to hosting companies such as i-bidder. Not only does this ensure that expertise and service is consistent, but the auction company will also get access to a wider market as well as Internet savvy customers. All in all, professional auction houses will always ensure that customers have a safe and enjoyable browsing experience when bidding online.

Dinosaurs and Other Fossils Sound at Auctions – The Pros and Cons

Fossils and Ancient Artefacts Under the Gavel

And so the dust sheets are drawn over those lots that did not reach their reserve price and the auctioneer’s gavel is put away in readiness for the next time and we in the scientific community all breathe a huge sigh of relief. Over the last few years there has been an increasing number of rare, museum quality fossils coming up for auction at major auction houses all over the globe. Sad to say, but recently the first, large-scale auction of a dinosaur skeleton took place in the UK. “Misty” a seventeen metre long, nearly complete Diplodocus fossil excavated from Wyoming went under the hammer.

She (palaeontologists have speculated that it was a female), fetched £400,000 GBP ($640,000 USD). The fossil skeleton was purchased by an unnamed and unknown buyer.

Not the First Dinosaur Sale in Europe

The auction house responsible for the sale, which also included rare ammonites, Pleistocene aged fossil specimens and a partial Ichthyosaurus excavated from Dorset’s Jurassic coast, claimed that this was the first sale of its kind in Europe. Like so much of the pre-auction blurb associated with such sales this was incorrect. There have been other auctions of extensive fossil material held in Europe, a Triceratops mounted skeleton up for sale in Paris a few years ago springs to mind. One thing that can be said with certainly, this sale may not have been the first, but it will most certainly not be the last.

Fossils Attract Buyers

Fossils and other ancient artefacts have become highly sort after by collectors and private individuals. Many corporations and businesses have also made purchases. It seems that a fossil specimen, especially a dinosaur is rapidly becoming a “must have” for the elite. Just ask the likes of “A listers” Nicholas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio, both of whom have been involved with high-profile purchases of fossil material.

“Duelling Dinosaurs of Montana”

With a recent pair of dinosaurs the so-called “Duelling Dinosaurs of Montana”, recently put up for sale in New York with a reserve price around the $5 million USD mark, the purchasing of dinosaur fossils is becoming the reserve of the super wealthy. The Montana specimen consists of a Theropod (meat-eater) potentially a Nanotyrannus, preserved in fatal combat with a likely new species of horned dinosaur. This is a very significant fossil, one that did not sell on the day of its auction, as the reserve price was not reached. However, the fate of this remarkable fossil hangs in the balance and a number of palaeontologists have expressed the concern that such material if procured by a private individual or institution may be lost to scientific study for ever.

The Problem with Fossils Sold at Auction

Specimens which are sold at auction may not be put on public display. This denies access to such fossils for the those people who would want to visit a museum to see such attractions, but few museums can afford the extraordinary sums of money that such fossils now fetch. In addition, from an academic perspective, one of the principles of scientific enquiry is open access to specimens to allow other researchers to test the theories and assumptions made by others. If fossils are not available to them, then the ability to study them under one of the guiding principles of science is lost.

The “Black Market” in Fossil Material

The high prices paid for such specimens, after all, a Tyrannosaurus rex called Sue (also believed to female, like Misty), was sold at Sotheby’s on October 27th 1997 for $8.36 million USD, is fuelling a fossil “black market”. Recently, there have been court cases brought in the United States that relate to the illegal smuggling of fossil material. Sadly, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg as there are a number of suspected fossil smuggling cases being investigated at the moment. One can see the attraction, a humble farmer working his land, stumbles across a strange rock that a local dealer will pay many times his monthly income to possess. The rock changes hands a number of times until that wealthy foreign buyer takes possession.

A number of governments have attempted to bring in legislation to curb such practices but it is very difficult to police fossil movement or indeed to prove provenance of any fossil material that comes to light.

The Role of Commercial Fossil Dealers

Whilst the black market for these rare artefacts is deplored by many people it is worth bearing in mind the important function that many fossil dealers and commercial fossil hunters perform. Most fossils are rocks, when exposed on the surface these rocks are subject to weathering and erosion, just like any other rock. Abrasion processes, freeze-thaw, attrition all damage fossils and eventually will destroy them. Museums and research institutes do not have the manpower to continually explore fossil sites, but thanks to the commercial fossil dealers many specimens that would have been lost forever are found, excavated and preserved.

If it wasn’t for the efforts of dealers, many of which possess a remarkable knowledge and great skill a number of important specimens would have been lost to science forever.

Striking a Balance

With museums and other facilities co-operating very closely with governments and other bodies to clamp down on illegal fossil smuggling there is hope. A degree of realism needs to descend on the science of palaeontology, fossil auctions are going to be a fact of life from now on, but perhaps new rules on selling could be implemented such as once a specimen is sold the option remains open to permit fossils to be studied by scientists should the need arise. After all, for the wealthy, private collector there are tremendous public relation gains to be made. Perhaps a licensing or tracking system on major fossils could be implemented. This would permit a database of material held outside museums to be properly catalogued and documented with movement of material recorded. These measures in conjunction with education of locals when it comes to finding fossils, plus strong deterrents in the form of tougher punishments for the smugglers might give extinct animals such as the dinosaurs brighter future. Far better if we stuck to purchasing dinosaur models instead.