About -Blake Davis Yacht Brokerage Inc.
Florida Yacht Brokers License # 32. Established in 1984. YES- 1984. You can always get more money, but nobody get’s more time.
The Pilothouse vessels I specialize in were built from 1994-2011 (I’ve sold over 40 4788’s). The export boom from 2004-2014 sent thousands of yachts within the gravitational pull of Florida off to other countries (mostly to Australia and New Zealand), and they aren’t coming back. Sooooooo…… Racing Poodles, and now I’m the Studebaker King?
Many American buyers are coming to the market with perhaps unrealistic expectations to the availability of good (means with the right engines and never damaged) diesel powered boats with provenance. There’s such a shortage of late model boats out there that many Brokerages are just posting every listing from Yachtworld on their sites………………. Racing Poodles.
Many baby boomers are planning to retire in a couple of years, but are out looking at boats now, as if any will be available then…….Racing Poodles.
What does “racing poodles” mean? It means an exercise in futility.
WHY PILOTHOUSES? because “I like the sun, but the sun doesn’t like me”. You can’t beat a pilothouse for beating the weather.
I started this business in Miami Florida in 1984 with a Captains license running charters on my own sailboats (Morgan 38′ and a OI 41′) under the name Blake Davis Yacht Charters and Brokerage. Ten years earlier at 21 yro I entered the professional boat world fresh out of college with a BFA (I guess I can always go back to slinging paint if this boat thing doesn’t work out?) degree from the Atlanta College of Art, and Temple U., when I walked into a boat yard in New Orleans:“What do you know how to do?” the owner asked. “Nothing, I just graduated from college with a degree in painting” say’s I. “Good, go paint that boat” so I sprayed it all including bottom paint (pre-OSHA day’s-no masks). “yeah that explains it”: say’s you.
To reach the time clock I had to walk through the air conditioned office where I would see guys sitting with their feet propped up on their desks reading magazines all day. After several years working out in that hot humid brutal New Orleans weather fixing boats, and during that one rare time I wasn’t being yelled at by the owner, I asked him “who are those guys inside?” His reply was “Yacht Brokers”. I said ” I want to do that!” – he said “come in tomorrow dressed like one and you can”. I did, and the rest is history. I can attest that being on top of boats beats the hell out of being under them. Being in them-even better.
In 1978 I moved back to Florida, first selling new boats at dealerships in the Tampa Bay area, and Miami before striking out on my own in 1984.
I actually did a stint as the Sales Manager at Jones Yacht and Ship up the Miami River during the cocaine cowboys days. Boy do I have stories to tell about those days. Watch the movie- Cocaine Cowboys. I only mention this as proof of my discretion.
By 1988 I was the East Coast dealer for the Taiwan manufacturer Lien Hwa (Hartman Palmer, LH (Little Harbor) sailboats, Vitesse, Pacific), with an office and a boat yard on Biscayne Blvd at Maule Lake in Miami, selling brand new Motor Yachts, all lined up behind a very popular restaurant/bar named Rum Runners. I think their motto was “where the smugglers congregate” because for years I watched regular smuggling transactions go down in broad daylight. Then out-of-the-blue along came the Luxury Tax that stopped yacht sales dead. While other brokers were literally committing suicide as a result of that economic decimation of the boat business. (1989 was THE pinnacle of yacht manufacturing) By 1992 it was dead. I bought a 50′ single diesel pilothouse houseboat and just went cruising for several years. You don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one-you just need to know when to ZIG when others ZAG.
I dropped the “charter” from my business name sometime along the way as I realized I didn’t have the personality to entertain strangers on my boat. NO you can’t smoke, NO you can’t put that there. No I can’t play guitar, and NO I don’t wanna get high. Off the boat you go! I’m not sure I have the personality to be a broker either, but none the less, here I am, and I’m not changing now.
WHY THE MERIDIAN, BAYLINER, and NAVIGATOR PILOTHOUSES? The short answer is that they’ve always sold very well. They were great values new, and they’re great values now. I was introduced to them when a client requested I find him one. After repeating the same stupid negative mantra as other brokers about Bayliners, he said “do you want to talk or sell a boat?” Sell a boat please. I’m glad I opened my mind as it was an epiphany for me, as they flew through survey with no issues whereas the so called “quality boats” of the time- didn’t. I discovered that just because one brand of boats cost more than another, it didn’t mean they were actually built any better. Boat manufacturers (like watch and auto manufacturers) build products for different price points.
I listed one pilothouse, sold it, then another, then another, then another, then the owner of the South Florida Bayliner dealership (since 1959) discovered me and requested that I market his new 47′-57′ boats. Later he became a Navigator dealer. I wrote the sales material for his salesman as I had been given the royal tour of their factory by the chief engineer, and it was I who recommended Bill to become their east coast dealer.
HOW ABOUT BOAT SHOWS? I used to do boat shows- back when boat shows were relevant, which was a LONG time (talking 1978-1996) ago. I used to even run full page ads (links to your right) in magazines (remember those things that would stain your fingers?), but by the late nineties the internet had totally changed that paradigm. I was actually one of the first brokerages to use the internet, and was one of the first Brokerages on Yachtworld (back when it was free) to reach the savvy buyer who knew he no longer had to stand in line, take his shoes off, and be pestered by fat guys in khaki shorts every few feet just to see a yacht. He could, from the comfort of his chair, with drink in hand- at his leisure look at all the boats available in the entire world, and BUY- without even having to put on pants. I’ve sold boats for upwards of $900k to buyers solely via emails without even one phone conversation. The majority of the vessels I exported were sold 100% sight unseen by their buyers.
Yes, the Internet was indeed a game changer, although it is a sword that can cut both ways. Today many buyers think they’re experts because they have access to some information because they “Googled it”. Big difference in “some” and correct. Don’t even get me started on all the misinformation I regularly see posted on boat forums. WHY people don’t just ask professionals for THE answers vs asking total strangers I have no idea. Again, I’ve been in the boat business since 1974. What have you been doing?
Years ago during the ‘Great Recession’ I sold out ALL my inventory (mostly all exported to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) with JUST THIS WEBSITE. Here it is August 2017, and I’m about sold out of the type boats people are actually wanting to buy——–-Racing Poodles.
My clients who aren’t referrals come directly from my websites dedicated to Bayliner and Meridian pilothouses. Anybody who types in any combinations of those words in a browser comes up with this site at the top of their results.
View from my Miami office for many years. .
Manufacturers come and go (mostly go), styles come and go, brokerages come and go but it was the South Florida real estate boom of 2014 that finally chased me out of Miami up north of Ft. Pierce as I had slip rates in Miami go from $150.00 a month in the nineties to $450.00 a month in the 2000′s, to $1800.00 a month IF a slip could even be found because so many marinas had been torn out during the real estate “boom”-(which indeed blew up) by 2014 -which was insanely high. Down in Ft. Pierce- it’s only $9.00 a foot at a NICE marina.
I’ve attended hundreds of surveys, I’ve looked inside (from the outside) the hulls of hundreds of busted up boats after countless storms over the decades to see how they’re really constructed and have watched time take it’s toll. I discovered long ago, that just because a machine was expensive when new, doesn’t always mean it was built any better than the cheaper ones. Turns out you were just paying for their inefficient construction methods, their marketing, and executive salaries.
“I think your more a poet than a yacht broker, but I can’t argue with your salesmanship” – “You don’t often see Yacht Brokers who wear cowboy hats”
Gary Ziegler, 2004 Meridian 490 Florida. (sold without either a survey or seatrial to the first person I showed her to)
Blake was the selling Broker when I purchased my 4788. Not only did he help me throughout the purchase of the 4788, he also helped me sell my previous boat. In our pre-purchase discussions, I felt he gave me a truthful overview as to the condition of the boat I was looking at. He also gave me a realistic assessment of the boating market at the time. I found his message was the straight goods, not what i wanted to here. I have spoken to other people that have used Blake’s services and all have spoken highly of their dealings with him. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, colourful straight shooter then call Blake, if you are looking for someone who is going to paint a pretty picture, call someone else.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Blake sold my 45 P/H for me. He is knowledgeable, direct and outspoken. He lists and SELLS P/H boats. He has all the resources to assist the sale. You want action, he will get you the most bang for the buck in the shortest time. (he also later purchased a 2000 4788 from me)
John Lynch Michigan
When we bought our 1997 4788 thru Blake in Ft. Lauderdale it was a big deal for us. Blake made it a very enjoyable experience. He shared his knowlege on the boat we were looking at and on others like it so there were no surprises after the sale. We found Blake to be very professional and a good arbitrator on our behalf in the purchase of our boat. The whole process was effortless for us as he drove us to and from our motel to the boat many times. In addition to the professional survey, Blake provided us with the expertice of his friend “Captian Bob” who really was helpful in explaining the mechanical side of the boat and what to expect of her. Blake gave us a list of surveyors to chose from to maintain his impartiality. After the sale Captain Bob negotiated the best deal on fuel delivered to our location. He also did some minor repairs as well as replacing filters, impellers, etc. in preparation for our long voyage home to St. Louis Mo. I wouldn’t give up the BOC forum for anything and it was Blake Davis who told me about it. Anyone wanting to purchase a pilothouse cant do any better than what the Pilothouse King did for us! Thanks again Blake
Dave Berg GREAT ESCAPE St. Louis Mo.
Blake is the most knowledgeable and experienced broker on Bayliner and Meridian Pilothouse Yachts in the country. You can totally rely on his guidance!