How To Buy A Yacht

What was once seen as a pastime for the privileged, Yacht ownership has over the last decade or more become a much more commoditized and even, egalitarian, pursuit. With yachts now available at £50,000 second hand, the dream of being able to sail away and live a life on the open waters is much more attainable than ever before.

A large part of this is down to the development of boat materials; fiberglass construction has made the process cheaper, whilst the used boat market is at an all time high. The second hand yacht market has grown and manufacturers are getting a taste for new business opportunities at the same time.

But when it comes to buying a yacht, not many people know what it involves or what is expected from the buyers side. Here is a quick guide to the purchase process, and what you can expect if you are looking at going after your very own luxury yacht!

Research and select

One of the biggest ways to avoid heartache is to use a broker. Professional broker services from companies like Princess Yachts do a lot of the research and selection process for you. You can view the choices at boat shows and get more information from the broker than a direct seller in most cases.

Make an offer

Once you’re happy with the choice, the broker will make an offer on your behalf on an industry standard contract to buy the yacht. Usually, a 10{ba62a898734fb3387e6fbb57d69c446ff0e5e4fa6e3e73003eccf779ba94bbf6} deposit on the offer price is paid into an escrow account with your lawyer or broker. Here a full list of details about your vessel is recommended and any photographic proof of all inventory would be ideal to also have to note.

At this stage the offer will either be accepted or rejected by the seller. If it is, then we are moving on to the next phase.


Much like with a house purchase, a yacht needs to be surveyed. All mechanical and electronic equipment is tested and it is designed to give the buyer an indication on how much the running costs will be over the next few years. At this point it is also recommended that the vessel is taken out of water for its survey; all costs associated is paid for by the buyer.

Sea Trial

Here the yacht is water tested, all at the expense of the seller. Lasting no longer than 4 hours, it gives the buyer an indication of how it runs and any performance issues it may have that the survey may have missed.

Acceptance and Closing

These two stages are in effect separate, but the point to make is, once the offer is accepted the 10{ba62a898734fb3387e6fbb57d69c446ff0e5e4fa6e3e73003eccf779ba94bbf6} deposit is paid at the buyers risk until the purchase is deemed as closed. Any repairs and survey notes must be taken care of by the seller and then, as with a house, once all contracts are exchanged, the boat is sold to the new buyer.