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      I am in the process of buying a Bavaria Ocean built in 2000 and imported into Germany in June 2007.
      Does anyone know if it is possible to find the previous owners or first purchaser. Or can main agents/brokers find this out for a fee.


        Depends on where and how it is registered. I would expect a boat that young to have a full set of documents going back to the original dealer purchase from the factory. The factory will he able to tell which dealer it was sold to from the HIN (Hull) number. The dealer may well have a record of who he sold it to. Ideally you are looking for a Bill of Sale to support every change in ownership. On some registries you can get a transcript of all previous owners. If you are buying through a broker, you should expect him to get this information for you, together with evidence that VAT has been paid and searches to show that there are no outstanding charges against the boat. If you are buying privately the seller should still provide the paper trail but you will need to check on possible outstanding charges.


          I am just going through this process as I imported a boat from a Belgium owner in 2010 and have just realised that my papers are not in order!

          I contacted the post sales department at Bavaria. A guy called Murphy Mende – email mmende@bavaria-yachtbau.com. His English is excellent.

          I gave him the HIN of the boat and he tracked down the Recreational Craft Directive certificate and Volvo engine warranty documents but no invoice.

          Mr Mende was able to tell me which Bavaria dealer the boat was supplied to, in my case a dealer in Holland called Van Den Bosch. Unfortunately Van Den Bosch went bankrupt in 2011 but they were taken over by Jansma Jacht B.V. Jansma have an archive of documents and the dealer charged me 50 euros to search for a copy the sales invoice for the owner he sold it to.

          In many parts of Europe it appears that yacht registration is compulsory so you may also be able to search for a registration/deregistration certificate. This should confirm who owned the boat. Also in Belgium, a boat cannot be de-registered (de-flagged) if there is a mortgage or encumbrance on the boat.

          It took me a while but I now have an audit trail of documents that proves title.

          Incidentally, the RCD certificate should also be on Page 7 of the “Manual for Owners and Skippers” in the blue bag. The HIN in there should match the boats HIN. However, because the manuals were mostly in German, many English copies obtained have the wrong HIN (they were copied from a single translated copy) so it may be worth getting an original RCD certificate in case.

          Also, my HIN was confusing, a number 1 should have been a letter I (India), so my receipts and MCA bill of sale all had to be redone to match the boat!

          I’ve just purchased a 2001 Bavaria 40 Ocean from France and am going through the process again for this boat. Mr Mende has just informed me that my HIN is not correct. It ends L001 (built December 2000, 2001 model I thought) but he says that’s an illegal number so I am now trying to get to the bottom of that. I believe he is mistaken actually. The boat is in France so I can’t pop down and check the HIN easily.

          Ideally you would always have copies of the paper work but in my experience that’s quite rare especially on older boats. I decided not to lose the sale over it hence my recent forensic activities. You need to have title going back 5 years to get a mortgage apparently.



            My search for the history of a refurbished bavaria 47 Ocean in Denmark came to nothing. The broker and owner confirmed that VAT and other documents were in their possesion and would be released on payment of deposit. They were all lying. After spending £3000 on solicitors, surveys etc we found that the boat had been imported to EU and had been severly crushed in an accident. Only then did we get a VAT document from the import agent.

            Fortunately I had a solicitor to get my deposit back otherwise I fear they would have tried to keep that.

            The yacht broker business is worse than the second hand car dealers. The insurance companies will not divulge any information and relying on a broker to tell the truth is just stupid.

            Its about time there was some regulation regarding EU yacht documentation for purposes other than tax collection by politicians and bureaucrats.

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