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Tips for Buying a Yacht

You know you want to take your boating to the next level and purchase a yacht, but you also realize you may not be an expert when it comes to yacht purchases. You aren’t alone. The global yacht industry is projected to reach $74.7 billion by 2022 — and the United States captures 47.4% of that market. As the industry continues to grow, more and more people are searching for tips for buying a yacht. We’ve compiled a list of our own you can use as a yacht buying guide. You’ll find information on everything from the basics — like setting a budget and deciding on a type of yacht — to the specifics, like working with yacht brokers and setting contracts. Follow these 14 pieces of advice to find the perfect yacht for your preferences and budget.

1. Decide on a Type of Boat

You’ve decided you want to purchase a yacht, but there are hundreds of makes and models out there — how will you ever choose? How can you separate the must-have features from the ones you can live without? The answer is to begin with making a list of how you plan to use the yacht. When you picture your life with a new boat, what are you doing? Where are you going? Who’s on the yacht with you? How long are the trips you’re going on? Chances are, you have answers to at least some of these questions, and the answers to these early questions will lead you to focus on the layout and living arrangements of the boat. While the performance of the boat isn’t a detail you should ignore, the reality is that you want your yacht to be spacious and comfortable — after all, a yacht is a home away from home.

2. Set Your Budget

It’s important to remember setting a budget for a boat is not determining what purchase price you can afford to pay — it is so much more than that. You need to be sure to include money for insurance, fuel, ongoing maintenance and storage throughout the entire year.

In some cases, you’ll find that budget sets a limit to the size of your yacht — whether that is regarding fuel efficiency or the cost of storage space. Size matters when it comes to these factors, so it’s important to see the sticker price as only part of the equation. Otherwise, your excitement could quickly turn to stress. Be thorough in your calculations so you know what you can afford, then begin searching for yachts that fall within your budget.

3. Decide on Equipment

When it comes to yachts, equipment is a word to describe a lot of distinctive features. First, think about the tools that will be in the living quarters of your yacht. What do you want to have available to you as you’re out on your boat? Some common conveniences include:

– Refrigerators

– Freezers

– Grill

– Blender

– Washer and dryer

– Waste systems

– Air conditioning

– Heating systems

– Generators

The second group of equipment falls into more of an electronic category. Consider the devices that may help get you where you want to go, as well as those that can provide entertainment. Here are some of our favorites:

– Bluetooth integration

– Premium audio system

– Satellite TV system

– GPS system

– Satellite radio

– Night Vision camera

– Underwater lighting

As you’re making your list of needs and wants for equipment, don’t forget to take into consideration the length of time you’ll be out at sea. For someone who is planning weekend trips, many of these amenities may not be necessary. However, for someone who is planning on living on board for weeks or months, there may be some equipment you don’t want to live without.

4. Attend a Boat Show

Boat shows are an excellent opportunity to window shop for specific yacht makes and models. Doing your research online and gathering brochures from dealers is a fantastic way to find yacht makes and models that have the features you’re searching for in a yacht, but attending a boat show is exceptionally beneficial. Boat shows expose you to hundreds, if not thousands of boat exhibitors — many of which will have yachts for you to see up close in-person. Make sure you take all decision-makers with you. If you and your spouse are making the purchase, bring them along. This way, you can be sure you both get the same experience with the yachts you’re considering and can speak to specific likes and dislikes after the boat show. If you have your list narrowed down to a few types of yachts, check in with the manufacturers, as many of them will have a list of boat shows they’ll be attending throughout the year. Then, you can be sure to see the models you’re considering. Even if you don’t find your dream boat, you may discover innovative new features you didn’t even know existed.

While traveling around the world or across the country to attend a boat show is likely going to be the best way to see the most boats, it isn’t necessary. You can ask your local yacht club, marina or a yacht broker about boat shows that may be a little closer to home.

5. Read Boat Reviews

We all read online reviews for products and services we anticipate purchasing, so why would a yacht be any different? Much like new product reviews by industry journalists, yachting journalists often review new boats. Reviews aren’t just for brand new yachts — you’ll find online reports on a variety of makes and models from well-known journalists and yacht owners across the globe. While we don’t advise making a yacht purchase solely because of an online review, it should certainly be a part of your online research. These reviews give you an opportunity to see how different makes and models stack up in the opinion of the professionals, as well as a chance to discover smaller nuances people may have noticed after purchasing a specific yacht. Initially, you may begin by reading yacht reviews in popular publications and websites to help you start to determine what you’re looking for in a yacht.

Once you have narrowed your list of potential yachts down to a few, consider taking a deeper dive into researching online reviews for those specific models. All of this is extremely beneficial as you continue to search for your perfect yacht.

6. Consider Yachts You Can Grow Into

One of our tips for buying a yacht is to balance the budget with a size you can grow into. Buying and selling in a short period isn’t ideal. While it may be a little intimidating to think about navigating a bigger boat, it’s something you will get used to — and it’s worth it to make sure you have the space you need. How can you determine if you’ve accounted for growing space? Here are a few questions that can help:

– How many people do you want to be able to accommodate on day trips? What about overnight trips?

– How much time will you spend onboard? Will you be making lots of overnight trips? If so, will they be mostly weekends excursions or extended journeys?

– Where will you be traveling? Will boat traffic density, weather and the tide affect your preferred size?

If the answers to these questions leave you considering a larger boat than you initially anticipated, it’s important to revisit your budget. What can you afford? If you could get a larger boat, but would then have to sacrifice some features — is it worth it? Take some time to consider these factors. We can’t emphasize enough that you shouldn’t rush decisions regarding your yacht purchase. Yachts not only function as boats but also as a living space. So, like a house, you want to be sure it’s going to meet your needs.

7. Make Sure You’re Comparing Apples to Apples

Once you have the specifics nailed down, you’re probably going to find models from a few different manufacturers that seem to have your list of needs and wants, but at very different price points. It’s essential to keep this in mind before comparing the two and signing on the dotted line for the cheaper model.

It may be time-consuming, but write down the specs and equipment levels and compare them side-by-side. If you don’t see a clear difference, don’t be afraid to ask. Buying a yacht is an investment, so asking questions is essential to make sure you’re getting what you want. Yacht sales exist, and so do special offers. Taking advantage of exclusive offers is excellent, but you want to make sure you aren’t sacrificing essential features. A yacht is a big purchase — and one you may be living in for long durations — so make sure you’re not making any significant sacrifices in the name of a particular offer.

8. Consider a Professional Survey

A professional survey is an inspection of your yacht, and you should consider one before you purchase your new boat. A registered yacht surveyor will go over every inch of your boat with a fine-tooth comb to assess the condition of your yacht, including inspections for any mechanical or engineering issues. But wait — certainly this step isn’t necessary for a brand-new yacht, right? Having a third-party check for mechanical and engineering issues, in addition to the construction of the boat is beneficial for your peace of mind, and it’s also great to be able to share with your insurance company to prove your yacht is in great shape. Let’s assume you decide you want to get a professional survey — how do you find a qualified surveyor you can trust? If you don’t have any referrals from family or friends, you could start by checking out the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors and the National Association of Marine Surveyors. Both organizations require members to have a commitment to integrity and continuing education and are regarded as a top source for surveyors. Once you find one, don’t be afraid to ask for credentials, experience and a sample survey so you know what you’re getting.

9. Ask For a Sea Trial

A sea trial is like a test drive for your yacht. The problem is, sea trials aren’t accessible when you’re in the initial stages of searching for a yacht — after all, getting these big boats out in the water isn’t nearly as easy as driving a car off the lot and around the block. If you’re seriously considering making a purchase, many companies may give you the opportunity to do a sea trial, but it will almost always be at your own expense. That expense may be in the form of a fee, or in exchange for a down payment on the yacht. Either way, it’s worth considering.

If you decide to do it and can coordinate it for the same day as the yacht’s professional survey, you’ll get your survey results taken to the next level. Then, this sea trial can give you a feel for the boat and maximize the accuracy of the inspection.

10. Create a Contract

A contract is not legally required for the purchase of a yacht, but we highly recommend it. Simply put, it’s easiest to have all the conditions down on paper for both parties to sign, just to ensure everyone is on the same page.

If you decide to have a professional survey done and have decided on a sea trial, the contract is the place to explicitly spell out the conditions — the amount you will put down on the yacht in exchange for the sea trial, etc. The manufacturer or owner of the yacht may have one ready for you, but you can always have an attorney create one for you if they don’t. For those interested in taking the lead on the contract themselves, some pieces of information shouldn’t be left out. According to BoatUS, here are the essential pieces of information about your yacht that should always be in a sales contract:

– Complete names and addresses of buyer and seller

– A full description of boat and engine, including its make, model, year, engine serial number(s) and hull identification number (HIN)

– The purchase price, including a description of any deposits paid by the buyer and how the balance will be paid (for example, certified check, etc.). It should also describe the trade-in boat, if any, and its exact value.

– A firm delivery date describing when and where the boat will be delivered, and the deal finalized

– The boat’s condition at the time of delivery, including a complete list of the accessories and items that convey with the boat

– A full description of any warranty from the dealer or manufacturer — when boats are sold in “as is” condition, recourse may be impossible if problems arise

– Buyer’s contingencies to spell out that the sale hinges on a satisfactory survey and sea trial and the ability to obtain acceptable financing and marine insurance

– A statement that the boat is free of all liens and encumbrance

11. Custom Build A Yacht

When you’re in the market for a yacht, there’s a lot to consider. Ultimately, when it comes to designing a new yacht, the rule of thumb is usually that with more customizations come a longer wait for delivery.

At Formula Boats, we’ve struck a balance between minimizing your wait time and maximizing your customization options. With 60 years of offshore boating experience, we’ve become recognized for performance. Our 45 Yacht reflects that with its proven deep-V Formula hull configuration and Volvo Penta Twin IPS 600 Diesel 435 horsepower with joystick handling. We also test extensively for quality and endurance — and only the materials and items that pass our test make it into our boats. Our yacht matrix is the perfect example, filled with foam to reduce vibrations as you cruise. This yacht comes with a feisty pace, responsive handling and a smooth ride. While the performance foundation and exterior frame are set, the exterior graphics, cabin décor and electronics are left entirely up to you through our FormulaFlex™ and FormulaFlex™ MyWay™ programs. You have the option to customize:

– Graphics Colors and Design: We have more than 50 Formula Boat paint colors you can mix and match. If you want more, our FormulaFlex™ MyWay™ program gives you virtually endless possibilities to match any of the 1341 solid Pantone® colors.

– Upholstery Bases, Accents and Piping: You’ll find our 45 Yacht’s lounges are perfect for relaxing and entertaining — the color of the upholstery base, accents and piping colors are all up to you.

– Corian Countertops: While the durable, nonporous, easy-to-clean surface remains the same, you choose from a few different color palettes.

– Cabinetry: All our cabinet options have perfectly joined hardwood maple drawers with a high-gloss or matte finish, but you have the opportunity to choose from several different colors.

– Electronics: With joystick piloting, integrated Bluetooth, USB charging ports, an iPod™/MP3 port and iPod/USB dock, Bose® Lifestyle® surround sound, a Premium AM/FM/CD stereo system with subwoofer and lighted speakers — what’s left? You can even choose the positioning of the electronics throughout your yacht.

– Pillow, Drapery and Bedspread Fabrics: We know your yacht will likely be a home away from home, so we give you the opportunity to customize the décor in the cabin areas. Choose one of our beautifully coordinated collections and make it your own.

Imagining your dream yacht? Good news — you can custom build a yacht with our online boat builder. Once you’ve designed the perfect boat, contact us to take the next step, whether that’s getting your questions answered or placing an order.