Buying a used yacht may be a dream for you or an investment. But, it’s a big decision that comes with a lot of responsibility. You need to ensure that the yacht is in good condition and that you’re getting a fair deal.
Here are nine tips to help you buy a secondhand yacht that offers you good value for money:
1. Ask about how the boat has been used till it was sold.
The usage of the yacht will give you an insight into its maintenance and if it was used for private or commercial purposes. If it was part of a charter fleet, chances are that it would have been well-maintained.
Some of the other questions you need to ask are:
- How long was it used? A yacht that is a few years old but was only used for a couple of seasons will be in better condition than one that is older but was used more frequently.
- What are the engine’s running hours? A boat with low engine hours will obviously be more expensive but will also have a longer life.
- What is the average number of hours per day/week it was used? A yacht that has been rented out often or used for long hours will have more wear and tear.
- In what waters was it mostly used? Yachts used in saltwater for long periods are more likely to have corrosion.
- Does it have a full-time crew or was it privately owned? An experienced crew will take better care of the yacht and its systems. A private-owned yacht may be better if it is from a reliable source and you can verify the usage and maintenance records.
- Did the original boat owner face storage, maintenance or other kinds of issues with it? If the boat has some issues that will need maintenance or repair work, you may use them to get a better deal.
2. Check the servicing and maintenance records
A good secondhand yacht must be annually serviced by certified professionals. The servicing should include an engine service, generator service, and air conditioning service.
The maintenance records will give you an idea about the overall condition of the yacht and if any major repairs or replacements were done.
If the boat is more than 10 years old, it is advisable to get a hull survey done by a qualified marine surveyor. This will help you understand the structural condition of the yacht and if there is any hidden damage that needs to be repaired.
3. How many hours boat engine has done?
Unlike cards, yachts do not have odometers. But they do have hour meters. The engine hours will give you an indication of how much the yacht has been used. A boat with low engine hours will obviously be more expensive but will also have a longer life.
On average, a boat should do about 50 hours each year. But hour meters alone are not reliable. They can be disconnected or reset easily. Inspection by a professional marine technician would reveal the actual usage.
Yacht sale experts also recommend that the buyers must start the engine and check it for excessive noise or vibrations. Corrosion, signs of oil leakage, milkiness in engine oil or gearbox oil (indicating the presence of water in the oil), or gritty oil could be a sign of serious wear and damage to the engine or gearbox.
4. Look closely while inspecting the boat
Some kinds of yacht damage are easily visible, such as:
- Fading or chalking of paint
- Rust spots on the hull
- Cracks in the Gelcoat
Most yacht owners do a thorough job of cleaning and repairing the obvious damage before selling the yacht. However, some damage may not be visible to the naked eye. This is why it is important to inspect the boat closely with a trained eye.
The following are some of the things you need to look for while inspecting a used yacht:
- Osmotic blistering of hull: Look for blisters while sanding the hull
- Wet core: Check for softness or sponginess in the hull
- Delamination: Check for cracks or crazing in the Gelcoat
- Hull-to-deck joint: Check for cracking or deformation
- Stringers and bulkheads: Check for signs of water damage
Hire a reliable yacht brokerage company that can help you save hundreds of dollars while buying or selling a used yacht by pointing out things like these.
5. Check if all the equipment is in working order
A used yacht should come with all the essential equipment, such as:
- Anchor and rode
- Fenders and lines
- Life jackets and flares
- Fire extinguishers
- First-aid kit
- Flotation devices
It is important to check if all this equipment is in working order and compliant with the latest safety standards.
Some of the other things you need to check on a used yacht are:
- The condition of sails
- The state of the electrical system
- The batteries
- The bilge pumps
- The navigation lights
Inspecting all this equipment may seem like a daunting task, but it is important to do so to avoid any unpleasant surprises later.
6. Take a sea trial
Once you have shortlisted a few yachts, it is time to take them out for a spin. This will give you an opportunity to check the performance of the yacht under different conditions.
A sea trial is also a good way to see how the boat handles. You can check if the steering is smooth and if the yacht is stable while underway.
While taking the sea trial, pay attention to the following things:
- The engine performance
- The handling of the boat
- The noise level of the engine
- The condition of the sails
- The state of the rigging
If possible, take a professional marine surveyor with you on the sea trial. They will be able to point out any problems that you may not be able to see.
7. Negotiate the price
Once you have decided to buy a particular yacht, it is time to negotiate the price.
The first step is to find out the market value of the yacht. You can do this by checking online listings or talking to a yacht broker.
Once you have an idea of the market value, you can start the negotiation process. Remember to be reasonable while making an offer. If the seller is not willing to budge on the price, you can try negotiating on other things, such as the inclusion of certain items or a longer warranty.
8. Check for financing options and warranty
If you are planning to finance the yacht, it is important to check with different banks and lenders to get the best deal. Also, ask the seller if the yacht comes with any warranty. If not, you may have to buy one from a third-party provider.
Please note that insurance and warranty are two different things. While insurance protects you from financial losses in case of an accident, a warranty covers repairs and replacement of parts due to manufacturing defects.
9. Close the deal
Once you have reached an agreement with the seller, it is time to close the deal.
The first step is to sign a purchase agreement. This document will include all the details of the sale, such as the price, the inclusion of certain items, and the warranty.
Once the purchase agreement is signed, you will have to make a down payment. The remaining balance can be paid in cash or through financing.
Once the deal is closed, you will be the proud owner of a used yacht!
A used yacht can be a great way to enjoy the waters without spending a fortune. But it is important to do your homework and due diligence to avoid any surprises later on. Hope these tips will help you buy a used yacht without any hassle. Enjoy the ride!