We are Finally Boat Owners!

We have bought our first boat!

We have finally bought our first boat. After my last post, we put an offer on a 31′ Bayliner Ciera 2000 cabin cruiser in the beginning of April. I owned one before and Bayliner boats are very prominent here in the northwest.  We had looked at many boats, but we kept coming back to this one.
The boat was located in the Des Moines Yacht Club on the hard and was in mint condition. The owner kept heaters in the cabin, cockpit and engine room. He didn’t accept our initial offer, but we settled half way in between.  Now the fun begins as we try to schedule the survey and mechanical inspection.  The challenge here was both the weather windows and the seller’s schedule, as he travels every week.


Finally, we scheduled the survey with Terry Larson of Northwest Marine Surveyors and sea trials for the second week of May! Yes, a whole month after our offer. This was one of the frustrating things about this process, as we were at the mercy of the owner.  Even our broker, Eddie from NW Yachts said this was one of the more difficult deals in regards to scheduling he had dealt with.  The boat was surveyed on the hard for a few hours, then the seller put it in the water so we could go to sea trials that same day.  We went out on the sound with the seller, surveyor and our broker.


Sea trials went great. It was a fairly windy day and I as you can see by the photo, there were lots of boats lined up on the dock. When we returned I started asking the seller what all came with the boat, so we could prepare and purchase anything needed. First I asked about the life jackets. He had them, but they were up in the shed at the house. (??!!) I was just out on the sound, are you kidding me? He had no distress kit, no first aid kit and the fire extinguishers were from 2000, the year the boat was built!
The survey only found some minor issues, that were not major nor deal breakers.  We then scheduled the mechanical inspection for a few days later.  The seller had upgraded almost everything on the boat, including the engines, the cooling systems, the electronics – in fact, he went a bit overboard our broker said. Even the electronic winch and davit system for the dingy he put in was a huge investment and a bit overkill for the boat.  But we’ll take it. Now we needed to schedule the closing….not as easy as you would think.

Boating Supplies

I wanted to be prepared for when we finally took possession. Knowing that he was leaving only the bare necessities on the boat, we went shopping. First to Fishery Supplies in Seattle to buy all of our boating items: PFD’s (we bought two inflatable ones for us), distress kit, first aid kit, boat cleaner, rags and much more.  Then we went to get stuff for the galley: dishes, glasses, utensils, etc. I also stocked our toiletries. The idea is that we want to be able go down to the boat and enjoy it without having to pack anything (besides clothes and food).
Back to the boat – the seller hardly used it in two years.  We are going to drop it in saltwater for the summer and I wanted it cleaned, buffed and waxed.  The seller refused to do that, so we paid someone to come out while it was on the hard and take care of it.  We finally went to closing on May 17th. It was a bit surreal to be finally signing the papers! When you buy a boat, it is much like buying a house. You sign at a title company and the funds go into escrow.


We signed with VanNess Vessel Title on Wednesday the 17th  and we wanted to take possession on Saturday, May 20th. If we didn’t, the seller was going to be out of town starting on Monday, May 22nd for two weeks!  The catch for us was, the seller wanted the funds in his account before he would hand over the keys, but he couldn’t sign until Friday the 19th. In the end, it all worked out!! Thank God.

Taking possession of the boat – finally!

Our broker Eddie moved the boat to a guest slip at the Des Moines Marina and we met him on Friday evening.


While we were so excited, we were also extremely anxious and nervous. Remember, I hadn’t operated a boat in 18 years and Scott has never. And this is a twin engine boat, which can be easier or harder depending on your experience.  Eddie spent about 45 minutes with us on the boat and took Scott to the fuel dock. I wish I had thought of taking video of all of this, but my phone was on the boat and I was on the dock.  During that time, he showed him how to dock it (who can learn in 5 minutes?) and then he backed it up into the slip. From there we drove both of our cars to Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle, so we could leave my car there (so we had a way to get home after we got to the marina) and also load up our dock box with some supplies. (It was a long night!!)

The trip from Des Moines to Seattle

Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to get up the next day and have the fun begin!! Our good friend Randy, drove us and Mac to the Des Moines Marina, where we loaded all of our gear and got things put away. After about an hour, the winds really picked up and we knew we had to get going.  My sister Susan and brother in law, Kurt were meeting us at our dock at Elliott Bay, so we could throw them the lines in case we needed help docking. The trip would take about an hour. I had no problem pushing the boat off the dock as the winds were coming from the north and all I had to do was untie the lines and we were off. And we were nervous as hell.
The trip was easy and fun. It was a gorgeous day, in fact, fighter jets from Whidbey Is were doing maneuvers over head. When approached downtown Seattle the views were stunning and we were glad we were mooring in Seattle, at least for the summer. Elliott Bay Marina is on the northwest side of Elliott Bay.


Scott and I had picked out our slip a month earlier. We had walked the docks and picked one that (at the time had no neighbors) and was close to the entrance. We picked M95.

Arriving to Elliott Bay – Uh ho!

As we entered the marina, we soon realized that we were not on the west side of M dock, which was right in front of us. We figured, we would simply pull into the marina and head down our dock lane. But not so. Turns out we were on the other side of the M dock which required Scott to turn a sharp right and then a sharp left to dock. The catch is we had to maneuver between two huge yachts and it was very windy.  The image below doesn’t do it justice, as it has two small boats inside, but when we went through, there were two 65′ yachts on both sides.


Luckily, we made it just fine, but our hearts were racing like mad. We wanted to dock this boat and get off (LOL). So I threw Kurt the lines from about 10′ away and told him to pull us in. We were ready to relax, have a beer and enjoy some sun!




Sleeping the first night on the boat

Even Mac did very well. He had troubles at first getting on and off, but soon that was a piece of cake. He wasn’t to sure of going down the stairs to the cabin, but food finally encouraged him.  We slept that night on the boat peacefully and woke up to a gorgeous morning.


That morning, we explored the marina. We knew it had two restaurants and then we found the fuel dock and marina store. The store is much bigger than we expected. They even have a great wine selection!
We are staying the entire Memorial Day weekend on the boat, Friday – Monday.  My sister and her husband are coming down on Saturday morning to spend a few hours with us. He will help us practice docking, entering the marina and other maneuvers so we can be comfortable using it on our own. The weather is forecasted to be warm and sunny, so it should be a fantastic weekend. This is what we have been waiting for all these years!  #KokomoSeattle