How to choose a yacht

The decision was made: it’s time to buy a yacht! Where to begin? Where to go and what to do to become the happy owner of your own yacht – these questions arise for everyone who has just made a purchase decision.

Understand this inexhaustible topic itself is quite difficult, because the buying process consists of several stages and harbors many nuances. Whether the transaction will be successful and legally clear depends on how well you prepare for it. What you should pay attention to when preparing – read in our material.

Broker to help

Despite the fact that the choice of your own yacht is a fascinating and even intimate process, it will be very long and costly to deal with all the issues of buying a ship yourself, especially if it’s about choosing the first yacht, but there is no experience in this yet.

The best solution would be to hire a professional broker. He will take care of everything, protecting you from dubious options and unscrupulous sellers. A good broker has full information regarding the sale and purchase of any vessel, knows all the practical and legal aspects of entering into an agreement, subsequent insurance and storage of the vessel.

When hiring a broker, pay attention to whether he is in MYBA – the Mediterranean Association of Yacht Brokers. MYBA membership is an additional guarantee that the broker has the necessary experience, understands all the intricacies of the sale and sale of yachts and guarantees a successful transaction. Clearly state your wishes regarding the type and design of the yacht, its purpose, design and your budget for the implementation of this project. The more detailed the basic requirements, the higher the likelihood that the broker will select the most suitable options and you will get what you want.

What will the broker help?

  • will select a vessel for you according to the set parameters;
  • negotiate with the official dealer or owner of the yacht;
  • control the process of the transaction and the conduct of all statutory examinations, prepare all the necessary documentation, contracts and acts;
  • arrange the package of documents properly and legally; check the availability of comprehensive information about the conditions of sale of the vessel;
  • if necessary, take part in the examination and testing of the yacht, will help to recognize the hidden defects of the vessel;
  • when buying a yacht on credit, the broker will help you choose the bank with the most favorable credit conditions, will help in the execution of the necessary documents
  • will tell you where to insure the ship.

When the boat is new

If a decision is made to purchase an absolutely new yacht, it makes sense to study the offers of the largest shipyards, including Russian ones. Typically, on the websites of reputable yacht builders, the entire range is presented, so you can even study the features of the models from a mobile device.

There is an opinion that it is possible to significantly save money by contacting a new yacht to buy directly at the shipyard – this is not quite so. The fact is that large shipyards usually do not negotiate directly with the customer. When a customer applies, the shipyard simply transfers it to a representative in the region. Therefore, the dealer can be found independently: at specialized exhibitions or upon request on the Internet. It is important not to make a mistake and not to fall for the tricks of dishonest sellers – choose only official dealers, checking information in open sources. Ensuring the security of the transaction, a good broker takes over the job.

A new yacht is always the most desirable, because it has a number of undeniable advantages, including:

  • The feeling of novelty and freshness

The smell of the new ship, like the smell of the cabin of an expensive car – always uplifting. The opportunity with trepidation and personally remove the packaging, as with the most desirable and expensive gift.

  • Availability of warranty

Despite the fact that the warranty period is usually short, the first few years the warranty frees you from unplanned expenses, covering most of the possible faults.

It is preferable to choose a shipyard specializing in the region in which you plan to operate the vessel most often. So, being on the Cote d’Azur, it is better to give preference to shipyards specializing in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean – the vessel will be adapted to the operating conditions, and in case of problems, in order to eliminate them you will not need to cross the ocean

If you want the yacht to be built specifically for you on an individual project, the broker will help you visualize the design of your future yacht, and will continue to oversee the process of its construction at the shipyard. As a customer, which means the person most interested in the result, you still have to personally monitor the progress of work, visit the shipyard and participate in the selection of interior elements.

A yacht from a famous shipbuilder, especially a foreign one, will cost much more than a yacht from a little-known family shipyard, but it is the well-known brand that will ensure its liquidity in the future

When the yacht is with history

If you do not belong to the category of people who do not accept second-hand things, buying a yacht with a history can be profitable for you not only from a financial but also an operational point of view. Usually, in 1-2 years the ship passes the necessary run-in and the identified defects are eliminated by the owner, thus, it gets to you already in better condition. You can choose the most interesting for viewing options in the catalogs, on the yachtsman forums and specialized Internet portals.

Despite the fact that the purchase of such a yacht can be profitable, the secondary market has its own nuances, without which, the purchase may later seriously disappoint you.

If you are looking for the desired model on the Internet:

  1. Fuzzy photos in the offer to sell the yacht should alert you. Often in this way unscrupulous sellers try to hide body defects. To save your time, request additional, clearer photos from different angles. If the seller is adequate, and the vessel is in order – the photos will be sent to you.
  2. Choosing a boat, pay attention to the profile of the seller and all his ads. A large number of ships of the same model at a reduced price? It is possible that the owner sells the yacht charter fleet. When buying such a vessel for personal use, you may encounter a number of problems.
  3. Find out in which country the yacht is registered. Is the European VAT paid?
  4. Before buying, be sure to meet the owner of the yacht personally, find out how and in what conditions the vessel was operated. From the story it is possible to understand how the owner relates to the yacht and which hidden defects may be silent.
  5. If you are not an experienced yachtsman yet, and the cost of the chosen yacht exceeds EUR 100,000, it is better to bring a professional surveyor to her inspection, otherwise this purchase may cost you several times more expensive.

An ideal place to buy a yacht with history is the local yacht club. You do not have to spend money on delivery and customs clearance, besides, the “pedigree” of the yacht in this case will not be a secret. If you don’t find a suitable option nearby, consider European offers, as in Sweden, yachts are cheaper, but in most cases they have the northern deck layout and solid age.

Time to buy


If you plan to buy a yacht in the European Union, as a non-resident, you may not pay VAT, but in this case you must export the vessel beyond the borders of the union within 30 days from the date of purchase.

If you are planning to purchase a yacht with the attraction of credit funds or leasing, remember that the condition for this in the territory of the European Union is the payment of taxes. So, to simplify the procedure for obtaining funds will help you have a real estate or operating business in the European Union. By purchasing a yacht on lease, you deposit up to 50% of the value of the vessel and pay the balance monthly for 12-15 years, and upon expiration you can redeem the vessel. The advantage of leasing in the EU is the payment of VAT in the amount of half the rate.

If you opt for a used yacht, send its owner its offer for the price, preferably in writing. In case of his consent, the broker will prepare an agreement in the form of MYBA . Next, signing an agreement, you make a deposit in the amount of 10% of the cost and your money is transferred to a special account, where it will be until the final stage of the transaction. The full cost of the yacht minus these 10% you pay after careful inspection of the vessel by an independent expert and the final decision on the purchase.

It is better if the vessel is inspected by an independent expert who is accredited in the country whose flag your yacht is going to fly

Checking the yacht

Usually, a ship is lifted and the hull condition is below the waterline, if there are no holes or corrosion, check the condition of the screws, and test all systems in the cockpit. Sometimes they take oil samples for laboratory testing. As soon as the expert report is received, the final decision on the purchase or rejection of it is made on the basis of its results. In case of revealing some defects that are not a direct basis for refusing to purchase, the total cost of the yacht can be adjusted.

From the previous owner – to the new

When accepting a yacht, make sure that you have a previous registration certificate, insurance policy, as well as a certificate of compliance with EU standards. The document titled (Bill of Sale) Bill-of-Sale should state that there are no debts behind the boat. This document you certify with a notary, and the previous owner sends you a certificate confirming the removal of the yacht from the previous flag and register. Remember that when you transfer ownership, the previous insurance becomes invalid, you will need a new one.

check in

Even if you plan to use the vessel exclusively in Russian waters, it is necessary to register it. Remember that to complete the registration of the vessel under the flag of Russia, you must, no later than 30 days from the date of its purchase – this time should be sufficient for the passage of all procedures, including customs clearance.

For registration, documents are strictly admitted in Russian, so in advance translate and verify properly all foreign references and contracts.

If you register a vessel for a company, prepare originals and copies of documents on state registration, registration of the vessel on the balance sheet, a copy of the order of the director to appoint the person responsible for the operation of the yacht, a power of attorney for the company representative.

According to the results of the state registration of the yacht, a ship ticket will be issued.

Registering a vessel in the Russian Federation is possible only if it is located on the territory of the state.

Yours or someone else’s

Any vessel that goes to the high water and the more so carrying out transboundary movements must have registration under a certain flag. The presence of a flag means that the indicated state is the guarantor of the vessel’s compliance with international standards and upon the occurrence of cases stipulated by law, the state protects the ship.

Which flag to choose – the question is by no means idle. Since the procedure for registering a vessel in Russia lasts longer and costs more, very often our compatriots register under other, more “convenient” flags. The key role is played not only by the simplicity of the registration procedure in offshores, but also by the possibility of preferential taxation and the reluctance of wealthy owners to advertise an expensive purchase in their home country.

In any case, the choice of the flag under which your boat will sail depends on many factors. In addition to the economic, it is worth considering the legal aspects of registration, and the conditions of operation of the vessel – it is still preferable to register a yacht in the country in whose waters it will stay most of the time.

Private or commercial

Before you register a vessel, decide whether it will be issued to an individual or a company. The fact is that a private yacht registered outside the EU can be located in its waters not more than 6 months a year. Non-residents have the opportunity to extend their stay up to 18 months, but for this they need to use a temporary importation scheme. A commercial yacht has the right to stay in the waters of the EU for more than 18 months, while it can enjoy the benefits provided, for example, for the purchase of fuel.

In this article we covered only the main aspects of buying a yacht, in fact, this process is very responsible and has many nuances. Of course, the buyer of an expensive yacht will not begin to deal with routine issues personally, but will entrust it to an experienced broker. However, for a beginner yachtsman, it will be useful to find out what needs to be taken into account in order for the transaction to go smoothly and make the purchase happy for many years.

One Reply to “How to choose a yacht”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *