Buying a boat, even a used boat, is a serious investment. A high quality boat or yacht will not come cheap. And with any vessel will come a range of additional ongoing costs including repairs and maintenance, registration and mooring.
But it’s not all about the price tag. Buying a boat is an investment in lifestyle. It gives you the freedom to get out on the water whenever you want. Whether you’re in it for fishing, sailing or just leisure cruising, you want to find the boat that’s right for you.
However, if you’re new to boating, then finding the right vessel can be a real challenge. Exploring the huge variety of yachts for sale can be overwhelming. But we have some tips to help you get started.
1. Do your Homework
As with any big ticket purchase, it’s important to first do your homework. You should spend some time doing extensive research into the different types of yachts available, the different brands, price points, features, as well as training and safety requirements and ongoing costs.
To start with, you should familiarise yourself with the different types of yachts and boats available. There is a huge range of different different sizes and styles, that are suitable for different purposes.
Once you’re familiar with the different sizes and styles of boats available, you should also look into pricing. Prices can range dramatically from tens of thousands of dollars up to tens of millions. Some preliminary research will give you a good idea what kind of vessels are within your general budget.
If you’re new to yachting it’s also important to do some research into yacht safety and training and licensing requirements.
Starting your research online will give you a solid base. However, to really start diving into what’s available, it’s worth checking out boat shows. These can be a great way to explore as many boats as possible without the significant leg work that comes with travelling from dealer showroom to dealer showroom. Boat shows are great places to network and talk to boat owners, dealers, brokers, mechanics and anyone else in the industry who may be able to provide you with all the information you need.
2. Work out what you want in a Boat
Once you’ve done a bit of research, it’s important to work out what you want in a boat and how you plan to use it. Your requirements will determine what kind of boat you choose.
Are you looking for a vessel for pleasure sailing or fishing? Do you need space for just a couple of people or larger groups of people? Do you require on-board accommodation or are you just planning day trips? What kind of amenities will you need and what level of luxury do you want?
Once you have a detailed idea of the kind of vessel you want and what you plan to do with it, you can explore different models to see what boats there are in your price range that satisfy your requirements.
3. Talk to a Broker
There are a few different ways to buy a used yacht. But if you’re new to the boating game, going through a broker is one of the best ways. A boat broker is like a real estate agent combined with a buying agent. They can shop on your behalf and provide you with a range of options based on what you’re looking for.
A broker will require a range of information from you including what kind of yacht you want, what you plan to use it for, your level of boating experience and your budget. They can then track down vessels that meet your requirements and discard the boats that aren’t right for you, don’t meet quality or maintenance standards, or are coming from less than reputable dealers or sellers.
As industry professionals, a broker will be able to provide advice about the types of boats best suited to you and help you get the best price, while avoiding dodgy sellers or poor quality boats. A broker is a particularly good idea if you’re shopping for boats at the upper end of the market.
4. Check the Vessel’s Hours
While the amount of work a car has done over its life is measured in kilometres, on a boat it’s measured in hours. The number of hours is a good indicator of how much the boat has been used over its life. The easiest way to check is by simply using the boat’s hour meter. However, these can be reset, altered or disconnected much more easily than a car’s odometer, so it’s important to have the engine inspected by a qualified marine mechanic.
5. Check the Service and Maintenance History
Buying a used yacht is a great option if you’re looking to save some money and you’re not looking for something fully customised to your specifications. If you’re just getting into yachting, a used boat is a great way to test the water (so to speak). However, as with used cars, it’s essential that you check the service and maintenance history on any used vessel.
A well looked after vessel will have detailed and up-to-date service and maintenance records that clearly outline all work that has been carried out. These records will give you a clear indication how well the boat has been cared for.
It’s important that the previous owners have had regular and professional services on their boat throughout its lifetime. Ideally, the boat will have been serviced annually by a certified marine technician or service centre.
You should also have an independent marine mechanic inspect the vessel and verify that the service records actually match the condition of the boat, as well as certifying it seaworthy.
6. Find out what’s included in the purchase price
Boating requires a great deal of specialised equipment from safety and navigation gear to fishing and other recreational equipment. And none of this gear comes cheap. While the vessel may have been fitted out for deep sea fishing when you inspected it, that doesn’t mean that all that equipment is included with the vessel. Before agreeing on a purchase price, you want to double check what’s included in the price. Don’t just assume that everything you see on the boat is included in the price.
7. Confirm all additional Costs
As any boat owner will tell you, the purchase price is just the beginning. There are a range of additional and ongoing costs to consider like registration and docking fees, repairs and maintenance, fuel, safety and recreational equipment and so on.
It’s important that you have a thorough understanding of all these costs before you make your purchase so you can factor these into your budget. There’s no point stretching your budget to buy your dream boat if you’re not going to be able to afford the costly upkeep and maintenance.
Buying a yacht is an investment in lifestyle. Getting the boat of your dreams can change your life. However, it’s essential that you go into it with your eyes open and a clear understanding of all the requirements so that you can buy and sail with confidence.