Yacht spotter does the legwork for buyers

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Looking for a new boat? Gary Buonanno will help you find it, inspect it and even make repairs

Looking for a new boat? Gary Buonanno will help you find it, inspect it and even make repairs

A Connecticut man has launched a marine service to help time-strapped buyers find the boat of their dreams.

Last fall Gary Buonanno, of Riverside, in Fairfield County, started YachtSpotters, a business in which he says he does the legwork in finding a boat for buyers who might not have the time to search themselves.

“I’ve spent a lot of time and worked around marinas over the years,” says Buonanno, who is 52. “Traditionally when someone wants to buy a boat and needs some help they go through a broker, and that’s great. But a broker wants to sell you the boat they have listed. They don’t have the time to poke around and find you the boat you really want. They have merchandise to move. I don’t, and that’s the difference.”

Buonanno, who used to work in film production, says that in order to matchbuyers to their “perfect” boat he gathers information such as the buyer’s budget, location and how they plan to use the boat. He then taps a national network of friends and marine business professionals to locate and perform initial inspections of boats.

“If you pick up the classifieds and see 30 Dyer 29s, are you going to go look at them all?” asks Buonanno, who owns a C.W. Hood Katama 30 jet boat. “If a broker has two Dyer 29s he’s going to do his best to sell you one of those. Simply put, I work for the buyer. I’ll find the boats that no one else will and find the best bang for the buck. Part of what I take into consideration is how much and to what extent a boat has been used. I like to find better deals on more lightly used boats.”

Buonanno says if he finds a buyer a boat, but it is in need of serious work, he’ll have the repairs done before the boat is delivered. “Sometime with older boats not everything is perfect,” he says. “If you want a boat, but the electronics are shot, I’ll take care of that.”

When Buonanno started YachtSpotters about a year ago, he says he thought most of his customers would be interested in boat-buying advice only.

“I found out quickly that buyers want someone to do the legwork for them,” he explains. “Let’s be honest, everyone wants a boat, but don’t have the time or patience to find one. I’ll drive to the boat, inspect it myself and have it surveyed if necessary. I’ll do all the preliminary work and narrow the selection down.”

Buonanno says that so far the majority of his business is in southern New England. He hopes to grow YachtSpotters over the next few years and have customers all over the country.

“The right boat isn’t always the biggest,” Buonanno says. “I’ll talk someone into a smaller boat if it’s what they can really handle. I’m working for the buyer and will find them their boat, no matter where it is.”

For information call (203) 637-3935 or go to www.spotyouryacht.com .