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12th December 2022

Top Tips for Purchasing a Pre-Owned Yacht

Anybody who owns a yacht knows how exciting the initial stages can be. It can be difficult to remain calm as you browse the market for your next, or even more so, first purchase. This article will give you the best tips for purchasing a used yacht.

The number one rule – be patient

You should never go for your first choice when perusing the market for any yacht, let alone used. Experienced buyers will always tell you never to go for the first one you see and to keep looking until you don’t even want it anymore. Using a reputable broker with a good track record is a great way to guarantee that the transaction is as smooth and safe as possible. A lot can go wrong, and purchasing a yacht goes far beyond its aesthetics. You should get to know who the seller or broker is and find out if they are reliable, inspect the boat thoroughly, be willing to make compromises on aesthetics for a more reliable vessel and thoroughly plan the logistics.

  • Knowing your stuff – Make sure you do plenty of research on the brand. You are probably aware of brands like Bertram or Sunseeker, but many other brands have outstanding reliability. Before requesting a viewing, get some background information on the constructor and its reputation.
  • Make sure you know the history of the yacht – Knowing the yacht’s past is valuable information when deciding to purchase a used yacht. You need to find out if it has been recalled, been in any accidents, or has any issues you need to be aware of. This will give you a better understanding of any potential future problems with the vessel.
  • Check the engine – The most expensive and possibly most problematic part of the yacht. The best way to do this is to take it for a test drive. If engines aren’t your thing, bring someone who knows what they are doing. There are a lot of vital components to consider when looking it over. The indoor and outdoor motor(s), breathability, raw water intake, levers, transition, insulation, possible leaks, and age.


  • Do the electrics work? – As well as checking every switch and outlet on board, ensure you give the generator a lengthy test. Check the battery and electric box for any damage or corrosion. It is essential to check all electrical devices and ask to see the owner’s manual.
  • Exterior and interior condition – The exterior condition of the yacht can tell you a lot. A detailed inspection can show you about past treatment and potential troubles you may face. Make sure to have the boat lifted out of the water; seeing below the waterline is valuable to gain insight into the past and future of your new purchase. There are many things to look over before you make any decisions. Any cracks, scratches, bubbling paint, rust, or other damage should be duly noted. Tap the fibreglass or laminate, listening for hollow sounds. Thoroughly inspect the hull, deck, helm, steering wheel, and upholstery. Check the rudder’s bearings and make sure the cleats are in good condition.
  • As for the interior, most of this will be covered while checking the electrics, but it is a good idea to have a once over, checking the doors, portholes, flooring, ceiling, bathroom, and plumbing; and that everything is bolted in securely.
  • Safety equipment – Often, when purchasing a used yacht, most people plan to also replenish and renew the safety equipment on board. However, checking the condition and quality of the equipment will give you an insight into the previous owner’s treatment of the boat. This can provide clues to any mistreatment, and the care given to these aspects can usually be transferred to the care given to the entire yacht. Check everything, from the anchor and lifebuoys to the first aid kit.
  • Manual and legal documents – Ask for a copy of the boat’s legal documents. This will give you a complete understanding of anything you need to be wary of or aware of. Especially checking that the boat is debt free. A reliable broker will check this for you and make sure the paperwork is all in order.


It doesn’t end there

There is more to consider when purchasing a used yacht. The list can be extensive if the yachting world is new to you. It would be best if you shopped around for mooring spots. Read their policies carefully and make sure the location is perfect for your needs. One major factor to consider is the depth of the water. Good communication with the broker or seller of the boat and where you plan on mooring will ensure that the water isn’t too shallow for your new yacht.

A great tip when shopping for your next yacht

When you want to purchase a used yacht, the best time to browse the market is between September and October. Most sellers will start to offer great deals throughout these months and other sellers will compete with them too. You will be spoiled for choice as you trawl through the abundance of yachts for sale. As well as getting a better deal, you will have plenty of options to make sure you pick the right yacht for you. There is nothing worse than compromise when browsing the market for anything, so it is often worth waiting for the right time of year to make your purchase.

Finding the right broker

Remember the first tip, be patient and don’t rush into anything. Purchasing a yacht is not a quick process and can often take years, but if it is something your heart wants, you can certainly achieve it. If you want a yacht broker with almost 40 years of experience who knows the ins and outs of the market, you can rely on Simpson Marine to help you make the right decision when purchasing a used yacht. Contact us at [email protected] and discuss your options.

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