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Old 04-03-2009, 05:15 PM
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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business...,7611688.story



Tough economy means big business for Fort Lauderdale boat repo company
National Liquidators had orders to reel in 3,066 vessels in 2008, the most in 21 years handling boat repossessions and auctions.
By Arlene Satchell | South Florida Sun-sentinel
8:41 PM EDT, April 2, 2009
Rough sailing for South Florida boat dealers means big business for a Fort Lauderdale company that takes boats from cash-strapped owners.

National Liquidators had orders to reel in 3,066 vessels in 2008, the most in 21 years handling boat repossessions and auctions.

The company's highest profile catch came Wednesday when it hooked the jailed financier Bernard Madoff's 55-foot luxury fishing boat for federal authorities. National Maritime Services, its subsidiary that handles boat seizures for the government, impounded the custom-built 1969 Rybovich vessel valued at $2.2 million. It'll be sold at auction to help repay investors Madoff defrauded as part of his $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

"We repo four to five boats a day in South Florida," President Robert 'Bob' Toney said.



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Complete coverage of Madoff scandal This year, about 380 boats on average are being repossessed monthly and that could jump to more than 400, he said.

National also operates recovery sites in California and Ohio and is considered the nation's largest boat recovery and auction company.

Last year, it generated nearly $82 million in sales, an 86 percent increase. While the majority of vessels seized are 30 to 50 feet, more bigger boats 55 to 75 feet have started to trickle in.

Two yachts more than 100 feet long were towed in recently, Toney said.

Nearly 60 percent of National's business is in Fort Lauderdale, a boating mecca. The boatyard currently houses about 600 vessels, many repossessed and seized in South Florida and from central and coastal areas statewide. Boats also come in from North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, we take them without incident," said Lisa Castelazo, National's southeast recovery supervisor.

Though the majority of boats are plucked from marinas, repo agents increasingly have to scope out canals and waterways for boats, some intentionally hidden by owners.

A 60-foot Sea Ray docked behind a private residence along Fort Lauderdale's busy New River was recently snagged "seamlessly," she said.

Most repos are probably coming from banks that offered dealers creative lending programs based mainly on credit scores and no income verification, said Lang Ryder, senior vice president of Seacoast Marine Finance in Fort Lauderdale.

Seacoast Marine didn't offer these programs and has fared better in the slump, Ryder said. The firm recently had two boat repos, and one already has been sold.

While repo boats are selling, which is a bright spot for the marine industry, some worry about negative effects.

"We might be bringing some new people into boating, but in the long term it's [repo sales] not helping the local marine economy that much," said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida in Fort Lauderdale. "It's not a story with a happy ending."
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer;2835590 "We might be bringing some new people into boating, but in the long term it's [repo sales
not helping the local marine economy that much," said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida in Fort Lauderdale. "It's not a story with a happy ending."
He makes a good point that's often overlooked. Sad state of affairs.
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:01 AM
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In Tough Times, Boat Repossessions On The Rise
By JESSE LEAVENWORTH

The Hartford Courant

March 9, 2009

STONINGTON

The fenced storage yard at Northeast Marine Liquidation is brimming with lost luxury — sleek speedboats, sumptuous sport yachts, Bayliners and Boston Whalers — all unmoored from people who couldn't pay.

Business is up for boat repossession companies in Connecticut and throughout the country as the recession strips away nonessentials. At Northeast Marine — which repossesses boats, then sells them — dollar sales in 2008 increased 25 percent from the previous year, with more than half the boats going to foreign buyers, co-owner Brad Ferguson said.

These aren't skiffs or rowboats. Northeast handles larger boats, the kind with twin 450-horsepower engines, high-tech navigation and fish-finding gear, teak flooring, Sub-Zero refrigerators and fully equipped galleys, bathrooms, salons and staterooms. Northeast's repossessions of boats 35 feet and longer, in the second half of 2008, were double the number in the first half of the year, Ferguson said, and the trend appears to be continuing this year.

For many, the loss of a boat cuts deeply.

"It's horrible. In most cases, a boat is what the person lives for Monday through Friday to go to at the end of the workweek," said Liz Boccia, co-owner of a boat transportation company in Westbrook.

Business at East Coast Trailers has changed with the economy, Boccia said. Delivery of factory-fresh boats to owners has evaporated, replaced by the transport of repossessed boats to auction yards and the delivery of used boats, many of them repossessed, to new owners. Foreign buyers are snatching up bargains on many of these repossessed boats, Boccia said. Ferguson said that 60 percent of his sales last year were to buyers in Canada and Europe.

The strength of the euro and other foreign currencies has boosted the market for U.S. boats, according to a February report from Lloyd's List, which tracks maritime and transportation news worldwide. Many of the larger boats going to foreign buyers come from Florida-based National Liquidators, the largest marine repossession company in the United States, at which company sales of seized vessels increased by 86 percent last year.

With loan payments that typically stretch for 20 years and the relatively fast depreciation of boat values compared with homes, many boat owners have become mired in debt they can't handle.

Even the biggest fish are falling prey. Several years ago, seizures of yachts in the 60- to 100-foot range were almost unheard of, said G. Robert Toney, Northeast Liquidators' president. People who could afford such vessels had the means to weather just about any financial storm. Recently, however, even owners of those floating palaces have had to abandon ship to the repo men.

Banks also have suffered, and many have pulled out of the boat loan business. Marine lenders have always been stricter about qualifications than providers of home mortgages because for most people, boats are a luxury, and if they get into financial straits, the boat payment will founder in favor of paying the rent or mortgage.

Marine lenders did not fall into the deep sub-prime hole that swallowed many home mortgage lenders. But boat lenders did loosen rules before the current economic crisis, people involved in boat sales and financing say. Now, financial institutions that still offer boat loans have tightened qualifications significantly.

Grant Westerson, executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, agreed that the recession has hit the marine industry just as it has lots of other businesses. But owners' passion for their boats and their willingness to hang onto them should not be underestimated, Westerson said. In any case, 75 percent of privately owned boats in the state are 25 feet or shorter, he said, and many of those smaller vessels are owned outright.

"Joe Lunch Pail is the average owner of a boat in Connecticut," Westerson said.

When those small boats are repossessed, they're usually taken directly to auction outfits, Ferguson said. He had about 80 largervessels in his two yards recently, with an average length of 36 feet. The boats, Ferguson said, were seized from marinas and boat yards from Maryland to Maine.

The dry-docked boats included a 35-foot, 2003 Egg Harbor Predator with twin motors supplying 440 horsepower each, underwater fishing lights and an asking price of $179,000. On the cheaper side, Northeast was offering a 26-foot, 1990 Bayliner for $7,000. The most expensive boat in the recent inventory was a 2004 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer, about 50 feet, with touch screen navigation, air conditioning, conversation pit and every other comfort of a well-appointed home. The asking price was $350,000.

Still, all boats, and especially older boats, need maintenance and repairs, and the recession has affected every aspect of the marine industry.

At Harry's Marine Repair in Westbrook, sales of engines and boat parts are down, owner Harry Ruppenicker said. The good news, Ruppenicker said, is that his yard is still full of loyal customers' stored boats. The big test for his and other marine businesses will come in about a month, when hulls hit the water and all the economic activity on rivers, lakes and sea gets underway.

Copyright 2009, The Hartford Courant
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:38 PM
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Interesting article..... it will be interesting to see how many high performance boats are out this year in our area BMAN....
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:58 PM
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if you guys have some website links for the sale/auction please post them. I found a few on ebay. thanks.
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:42 PM
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I have a question for OSO'ers.

If you did fall on hard times and your boat was up for repo. Would you:
A. Hide it
B. Call the bank and make arrangments for pickup
C. Wait to fight the big tattooed Lady from "Operation Repo"???

I am curious as I have recently witnessed some first hand behavior from people I never would have expected it from.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRPSTF View Post
I have a question for OSO'ers.

If you did fall on hard times and your boat was up for repo. Would you:
A. Hide it
B. Call the bank and make arrangments for pickup
C. Wait to fight the big tattooed Lady from "Operation Repo"???

I am curious as I have recently witnessed some first hand behavior from people I never would have expected it from.

Woudn't let it get there, work as many jobs as possible to prevent. I would not screw up my credit rating
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRPSTF View Post
I have a question for OSO'ers.

If you did fall on hard times and your boat was up for repo. Would you:
A. Hide it
B. Call the bank and make arrangments for pickup
C. Wait to fight the big tattooed Lady from "Operation Repo"???

I am curious as I have recently witnessed some first hand behavior from people I never would have expected it from.
You expect everyone to do the right thing, and do B, but after seeing how people treat homes and other things they lose......you just never know. A neighbor of mine who was a "friend" lost his job, and ended up losing his place. He looted it of all the appliances (which certainly were part of the mortgage) and left the place trashed.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRPSTF View Post
I have a question for OSO'ers.

If you did fall on hard times and your boat was up for repo. Would you:
A. Hide it
B. Call the bank and make arrangments for pickup
C. Wait to fight the big tattooed Lady from "Operation Repo"???

I am curious as I have recently witnessed some first hand behavior from people I never would have expected it from.
You could start a poll and see what results you get.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:28 PM
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I am not sure how to start a poll on this (Help NORT).
As the days and weeks play on I would be more and more interested to know peoples thoughts.
I see cars, motorcycles and airplanes all come back in one peice. But boats seem to get it the worst. Stereo's, engines and drives.
And as the boats get stripped and sell at auction, the average selling cost in NADA goes down for all owners.
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