Hi Spurious :)
I'm going to approach your question more from the "useful guidance"
aspect, particularly as it seems like you're in the early stages of
planning this project and probably don't require anything too
complicated or in-depth at this point. At the very least, I think it
will provide you and your friends with enough ideas and thoughts to
think about before entering into any formal arrangements.
You mentioned that you and some friends are thinking about buying a
boat together in Hong Kong, that you (and presumably none of your
friends either) are previous boat owners and that the anticipated
capital outlay between you probably isn't going to be that great (at
least initially anyway).
As someone who sees a fair amount of contracts on a day to day basis,
I would suggest that you consider setting up some kind of syndicate
agreement between you. The Hong Kong legal system is based on English
which means among other things that 1) their system of law is stable
and generally well defined and, more importantly 2) the concept of a
syndicate-type of agreement exists and will be a familiar concept
within their judicial legal system, should you ever have to rely on
the document itself.
A syndicate agreement can be as formal or informal as you like and
really is meant to serve as a guideline as to how people wish to share
legal, financial and other responsibilities when participating in some
kind of joint purchase or enterprise. As at least one of you is new
to the concept of sharing a boat, there's no reason why a simple and
effective agreement, easily understood by all, cannot be created.
For example, lottery syndicates are quite common when people club
together to buy lottery tickets
(see http://www.legalhelpers.co.uk/lottery/lottery.asp for a brief
outline of this concept)
and, of particular interest to you, boat SHARING agreements (which are
similar to syndicates) appear to be quite common as well
for a member boat purchase and sale agreement - please note that this
page link is a cached-page reference as the original link kept
returning a server error - the original link is
I also managed to find a draft syndicate agreement relating to a
glider (plane) which, although is not a boat (!), should give you some
good ideas both as to format of the agreement and things to include
within your own agreement:
Some other things which you and your friends should think about:
1. How much money will each person contribute to the initial purchase?
2. How will you agree to contribute amongst you re: payments for
upkeep, repairs, mooring, docking fees, gas, insurance, boat
equipment, etc? Although you mention the initial outlay between you
isn't going to bankrupt anyone, future costs really should be agreed
and identified up-front as far as possible so that there are no
3. When you purchase the boat, in whose name (or names) will it be in?
4. Who is going to do the admin re: purchasing items, upkeep, docking
fees, mooring fees, registrations, opening a bank account for joint
monies to go into, etc?
5. What happens is someone isn't pulling their weight within the group
e.g. they continually don't contribute payments re: supplies, etc? Do
they get expelled from syndicate?
6. What law will govern your syndicate agreement? If in Hong Kong,
I'd suggest Hong Kong law as a starting point. Also, how will you
resolve disputes? Will you go straight to the courts or will you
request arbitration or mediation or even perhaps a simple vote amongst
the members of the syndicate?
7. How will you all share enjoyment of the boat e.g. does each person
have a set time or times when they can use the boat? Also, is
everyone in the syndicate allowed to bring guests and if so, are there
any limitations e.g. only 3 guests, guest not allowed to drive boat,
8. What happens if one of you wants out? How will that work and in
particular, does that person get back any (and/or all) monies that
they put into the boat (i.e. not just their share of the purchase
price but also any monies spent towards the upkeep, etc)? Do they get
a pay out based on the current value of the boat OR the value of the
boat when they initially invested?
9. Linked to point 8 above, what if you all agree to sell the boat -
how will you divide the proceeds.
Hope you find the above useful and a good prompter for your
discussions this weekend and best of luck with the boat purchase!
Search Terms used at ://www.google.com/
boat share agreement
search results link:
Hong Kong common law
Some additional links which may give you some more ideas for your new
boat sharing venture:
Sharing of various duties:
Concept of timesharing a boat:
boat share company (UK based):
Request for Answer Clarification by
27 Apr 2003 03:58 PDT
Thanks for your very useful reply. I'll post some comments here that
don't need to go into your rating summary.
I've been through your links - the glider agreement was particularly
useful, and can easily be modified with your comments on issues that a
boat agreement should address. The share-a-boat.com link made me
realise how much money I didn't have!
Initially, we formed a syndicate of close friends, but now as we get
closer to closing and people begin to drop out replaced by people we
don't know well, your advice on a legal agreement is becoming more and
more important, so that everyone can feel confident that we are all on
the same page and a big argument isn't going to break out over a
One thing we hadn't previously considered was the division of
responsibilities, such as organising maintenance and administering
I'm adding a tip equivalent to 100% of the original price, in
consideration of your very thorough response.