The quip never fails to bring a knowing look to those who take their recreation on the water. And there's a lot more rustic humor floating around as well: "Definition of a boat -- a hole surrounded by water down which you throw money," or something along those lines. You get the picture.
But where there's that much smoke, there is usually a little fire, and the folks at Gateway Yachts in Anacortes propose making your boating experience significantly less expensive and a lot less trouble. They'll be at the Seattle Boat Show, which opens Jan. 27, selling a fractional ownership plan for a range of Hewescraft, Nordic Tugs and Aspen models.
As a saltwater sport fisherman, for instance, you purchase a one-eighth chunk of a 22-foot Hewescraft Ocean Pro aluminum salmon fishing machine (an $80,000 boat) for about $11,000, and then block out five weeks over the next year for your boating pleasure. You're also eligible to use the boat during "open time" when other fractional owners are not aboard.
"A one-eighth share pencils out to be less than what you lose immediately on purchase of a new boat in off-the-lot depreciation," Gateway Yachts owner Nathan Martin said.
Your boat is moored in Anacortes, clean and well maintained, and ready for use at your instructions, for a management fee starting at about $235 per month. All craft are new or relatively new, and standard -- no pre-owned or miscellaneous boats here -- and equipped with the latest electronics: GPS, radar, remote-controlled autopilot, bow and stern thrusters and so forth.
Martin said the plan has specific tax advantages not found in such gigs as the old timeshare-condominium bubble.
"It's really more similar to the aircraft industry," Martin said, "where more than half the new business jets go into fractional ownership."
Shares come in one-eighth, one-quarter, and one-half blocks, or larger in one-eighth increments. After an initial two-year commitment, Martin said, owners can sell at any time, or Gateway will sell for a reasonable brokerage fee.
So what happens if a specific event -- say the Anacortes Salmon Derby -- is of major interest to more than one of the fractional share owners? Do you duke it out on the docks, or what?
"That type of thing is certainly an issue," Martin said. "We try to avoid it with a very comprehensive scheduling plan, and a formula involving 'tie-breakers.' A half-share owner, for instance, gets priority over an eighth-share owner, and senior owners -- those who bought first -- have priority. We act as referee if and when a conflict comes along."
For more information catch them at the show, go to gatewayyachts.com or call 800-229-1817.
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