Taking
a first step into the world of yachting is exciting. It can also be a
monumental error if you choose to buy without doing some homework first. To
make an informed decision it’s helpful to review the process others have gone
through in purchasing a yacht.

These
sizable oceangoing vessels are far from simple, and there are a great many
types of yachts from which to choose. Depending on the ownership experience
you’re looking for, making an informed decision could be the difference between
being a happy longtime owner and putting a “for sale” sign on your
new baby a few months after buying it.

Buy Your First Yacht Sunset

Spend Some Time on a Yacht or Two

The
world of ocean-going yachts is exclusive, that’s just a reality. Unlike
purchasing a car, there are people in the market for a yacht—or people who
think they are—who have never been on a yacht.

If
you believe that you want to be a yacht owner, you should test that idea
out
by
spending some time on board someone else’s boat. Traveling by boat is a
wonderful pastime that many people enjoy. It also has certain realities that
might be a challenge for you. For example, if you prefer to go for long runs in
the park every day, you might be disappointed by the space that a yacht
affords.

Buy Your First Yacht Sail

In
cases like this, you can compromise. Install a gym, for example. But certain
things like the chill in the air when sailing through specific parts of the
globe are just realities and if you’ve made a big investment, you’ll need to be
comfortable with them.

Have a Budget and Understand Cost of Ownership

Hearing
that buying a yacht is a little like buying a Ferrari might not come as a
surprise. But consider what is meant by “cost of ownership” when you
think about making this purchase. Similarly to buying a home, a yacht is a
large enough purchase that in many scenarios, the money you actually part with
is not the sticker price. The trick is to have a budget and understand how different
methods of buying let you leverage your money best.

Buy Your First Yacht Moorings

Used
boats will regularly come in at significantly lower prices than their brand-new
cousins. Naturally, newer boats will be equipped with
more recent technology
and will typically be in better states of
repair
when
you buy them. It’s a good rule to assume that a new yacht needs little more
than fuel, basic engine maintenance and a few washes in its first three years
of existence. After that three-year honeymoon period, however, all bets are
off.

Does
that mean you’ll be parting with your firstborn child if you choose to buy an
older boat? Not necessarily, but you need to closely analyze what the boat
needs and how the investment will pay out for you.

A
good question to ask is how long you plan to own the yacht. If you’re not
planning to own it past two years and can afford a down payment on a newer
boat, it’s possible that you can get into something more recent and recoup the
initial investment by selling it quickly. Conversely, if you want to own your
yacht for a long time there might be a good argument to be made for buying
something a little older and amortizing repair costs over the years.

Know How you Want to Yacht

If
you’re planning to live aboard your yacht for six months at a time and spend
most of your days on the open ocean, you’ll want a very different craft than if
you are planning to go for weekend jaunts and fish for sailfish in the Gulf of
Mexico. The experience you’ll have aboard a sailing yacht will be much more
involved (unless you have a crew to run it for you, which might be a good call),
but for some people, that’s a plus. Other’s would be much happier with
a powered yacht
that nearly drives itself.

These
are just a few of the types of yachts that are available. Within the different
classes, there are different lengths of boat, and levels of finish. Attending a
yacht show with your broker—you should find one you trust early—is a good way
to get some exposure to what’s out there if you don’t have an idea.

Buy Your First Yacht Harbour

Think About Where to Park it

One
of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a boat owner is parking. Space in the
world’s harbors is limited, so finding a boat that comes with a slip is a major
advantage. Typically a listing will say if the boat does or doesn’t include a
spot. If it does not, you’ll need to pay some real mind to how much money it
will cost to store your boat in a place where you can make use of it.

Some
owners have the means to store a yacht away from a harbor but that can be a
tremendous additional cost and then you have to deal with the challenge of
moving the boat back to the water. That’s no small chore.

Do you
still want to be a yacht owner after reading this? There’s no reason to shy
away from making a purchase but it’s important to think ahead so that you’ll be
satisfied when you do. Going into yacht ownership with your eyes open is the
only way to do it responsibly. Noone likes a nasty surprise. You wouldn’t want
to buy a home only to discover that it’s going to cost twice what you planned
for, would you? So good luck with your purchase, we hope this advice serves you
well!

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