The Ins and Outs of Buying a Yacht


What to Look for When Purchasing a Yacht

With some hard work and sacrifice, almost anyone can own a nice car or live in a big house. But the same can’t be said of owning a yacht. When you have a yacht to your name, you know you’ve reached the upper echelons of success in your career and personal life. And if you’re in a position where you can afford to make it happen, it’s time to start shopping!

aquila yacht

aquila yacht; photo: BurgessYachts

5 Tips for Buying a Yacht

Buying a yacht isn’t like buying just any other type of boat. As a rule of thumb, yachts over 100 feet cost $1 million per 3.3 feet. Additionally, owners can expect to spend roughly 10 percent of the purchase price annually on operation and maintenance. For a $5 million yacht, that’s $500,000 per year. And the bigger the yacht, the more crew members you’ll need.

On price alone, a yacht isn’t for everyone. But even if you have the money, there are some things you’ll need to carefully consider in order to make a smart investment.

Own a Smaller Boat First

You don’t necessarily want a yacht to be your first boat. It’s much better to own a smaller boat or two to learn the ropes and understand what’s involved with boat ownership. (This is true even if you plan on having a full crew to maintain and operate your yacht.)

With a smaller boat, you become familiar with what it takes to maintain the engine, clean the boat, winterize the boat, etc. If nothing else, having this knowledge will allow you to be a more informed yacht owner.

Look Past Aesthetics

As with many purchases in life, it’s easy to get caught up in aesthetics and make decisions purely based on how a particular yacht looks. However, the design of a yacht is far from the most important aspect. It’s much more valuable to focus on how the boat operates.

Yacht renovations are quite common, so you can always redesign or reconfigure something after the fact. It’s much harder, however, to address serious mechanical flaws.

ferretti group boats

photo: ferretti group

Look to the Future

“One of our tips for buying a yacht is to balance the budget with a size you can grow into,” Formula Boats writes. “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.”

You obviously don’t want to purchase more boat than you need, but do think about your plans over the next three to five years. How many people will you be taking on trips? Where will you be traveling? How much are you comfortable spending on monthly expenses?

Custom vs. Pre-Owned

The idea of buying a custom boat that you help design is highly attractive, but the process can take many months. It’ll also be considerably more expensive than the alternative.

If you want to buy a boat that can be used right away, consider purchasing something pre-owned. Not only will the price be lower, but you’ll also get the chance to personally tour and test-drive the boat (which obviously isn’t possible when building from scratch).

Riva Yachts at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2018


Be Patient

When you make up your mind that you want to buy a yacht, it’s tempting to dive right in and make an impulse purchase. But when you consider this will be one of the biggest investments you ever make, it’s imperative that you slow down a bit and be more thorough.

One of the best times to purchase a yacht is when the economy is in decline. As the market dries up and businesses experience rough patches, yachts are often the first things wealthy people sell. Keep this in mind.

Ready, Set, Sail

You shouldn’t buy a yacht without first taking into account all of the responsibilities and costs that come with owning a vessel of this magnitude. Simply operating and maintaining a yacht will require thousands of dollars a year. But if you’ve taken the time to do your due diligence and purchase a boat that fits your lifestyle needs and budget, you’ll be happy with your decision to join the ranks of the elite.

500 Wallyace - a sheltered veritable beach 80 cm above the water, with abundant natural ventilation

500 Wallyace; photo: WallyMonaco