PUBLISHED: 10:02 AM on Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Free Guides Available From Boat U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau For Buying, Selling Or Owning A Boat
Want to know what all the fine print means in a boat sales contract? If you sell your boat, what does an "exclusive listing" mean? Care to find out if your current boat ever had any safety defects that needed correction?

The answers to these questions and many more are answered in two free guides from BoatU.S. Consumer Affairs, Buying and Selling a Boat and Guide to Marine Service.

The 34-page Buying and Selling a Boat guide will help the novice navigate unfamiliar waters and remind the seasoned boat owner of landmarks to steer by and trouble spots to avoid when trading up or selling. Unlike buying an automobile, the guide explains what to look for when buying a new or used boat, such as manufacturing standards, surveys and sea trials. Also likely to be unfamiliar to the prospective boat owner - and clearly spelled out in the guide - is information on warrantees, federal documentation, osmotic blisters, marine insurance and boat loans.

For sellers, there's a checklist to help evaluate your boat's condition, information on the pros and cons of selling on your own versus using a broker, and how to write a sales agreement. Important information is also included on how to use the BoatU.S. Consumer Bureau's free services, including the boating industry's only Recall Alert Registry that tracks safety defects for new and subsequent boat owners, the only national complaint database for boats, engines and service providers such as boat dealers, and a dispute mediation program.

The 34-page Guide to Marine Service has additional information geared for the current boat owner. This includes services provided by on-the-water towers, storage facilities such as marinas, overland transport, extended warranties, or how to handle billing disputes. Both guides are available online at ,by calling 703-461-2856 or by e-mail Consumer