Comprehensive Guide to Frequently Asked Questions on Buying a Yacht


Making the decision to buy a boat is a significant one that calls for a careful and involved approach for individuals who are not familiar with the industry. We raise a few questions for you to think about before moving on.

Which boat shall you select?

First and foremost, decide what your project’s goal is. What are your plans for your boat? Embark on a family vacation to another country or go fishing on the weekends? Each boat has a certain purpose and is designed for a certain kind of cruising. Think on the number, size, and desirable qualities of the cabins. Which style will you choose—classic or sporty? Do independence and peace prevail above quickness and ease? Catamarans are admired for their generous living spaces, while sailboats provide fascinating navigational opportunities. Trimarans offer reasonable compromises between room and sailing performance. Or do you tend to be more of the motoryacht type? A Bertram can be the best choice if you enjoy sport fishing. Alternatively, if you seek the thrill of high speeds and day trips, a speed boat such as a Pershing or a stylish Riva might be more appealing.

Potential considerations:
San Lorenzo Yachts
Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67
Neel trimaran 51

How ought I determine my budget?

Besides defining your project, it is crucial to appraise your investment capabilities. In addition to the boat’s price, you must factor in substantial yearly supplementary expenses. These may encompass the cost of mooring your boat (which can often prove a challenging endeavor depending on the desired location), fuel, insurance, maintenance (including engine upkeep and sail replacements), and winterization. These expenses fluctuate based on the boat’s dimensions, age, and type under consideration.

The word of the WI broker:
For a round-the-world journey with your family, it is prudent to allocate funds for regular visits to relatives, accommodation, health insurance, and potentially certain optional equipment that enhances your boat’s autonomy. 

Additionally, it is recommended to peruse the following writing for insights into yacht ownership costs: “How much does it cost to own a yacht.”

Where and how should I commence my search?

Begin by outlining a list of your preferences, separating the elements and features that you hold in high esteem from ones you would rather avoid. Also compile a record of desirable, though non-mandatory, equipment that you would potentially consider acquiring later, even if it necessitates subsequent additions. Armed with this information, the professionals assisting you can better guide you toward the options that best align with your requirements.

Shall I buy a new or a used yacht ?

When contemplating the purchase of a boat, the decision between acquiring a new or used vessel arises. Opting for a new boat presents the opportunity to explore various units from different shipyards at boat shows, engaging in discussions with professionals to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each offering, and request multiple quotations. It is important to note that new boats may entail extended delivery times, lasting several years, depending on the chosen shipyard.

Alternatively, considering a “second-hand” boat carries the benefit of an already broken-in vessel. Should you intend to charter your yacht, selecting a model that maintains popularity in the market is advisable.

Read also: How To Get The Best Deal While Selling A Yacht?

Where can we organize the visits?

Concerning boat viewing, visitation can be arranged at the port or dry dock, subject to the applicable period. However, viewing arrangements require the submission of financial guarantees. If the chosen unit is located a significant distance from your residence, a videoconference visitation can be organized. Furthermore, the advantage of this approach is that the vessel will already be situated in a picturesque location for your prospective vacation.

Do I need a boat licence?

Questions may arise pertaining to the necessity of a boat license. The requirement for a license depends on the vessel’s flag and the intended navigation area. Licensing regulations are subject to considerable variation across different jurisdictions. For instance, in France, a pleasure boat license is mandatory solely for motorboats with engines exceeding 6 horsepower, while sailboats do not necessitate such licensure.

Do I need a crew?

As for the consideration of a crew, this decision hinges on the vessel’s size and intended activities. Should you desire charter management, the selection of an experienced captain, cook, and crew members such as sailors or hostesses becomes imperative.

What are the formalities associated with the acquisition of a boat?

The process is not inherently complex, but a certain level of formality must be observed, particularly for international transactions necessitating a change of flag. WI Yachts can handle all the administrative procedures on your behalf and provide guidance on the legal framework for your future vessel usage.

Is it necessary to have the purchase or sale of a boat validated by a notary?

No, it is not a requirement. The purchase or sale of a boat is a private agreement usually accompanied by a provisional purchase or sale contract that includes a deposit and is subject to suspensive conditions (such as inspections and sea trials). Your legal representative can assist you throughout these stages.

Should I arrange for a survey if I am interested in a boat?

WI Yachts recommends that its clients have a professional survey conducted as part of the purchase process for their prospective yacht. Moreover, this survey should be a condition precedent to the purchase. Your bank and insurance company may also request this evaluation.

Do I need to consider the number of engine hours when evaluating the price of a pre-owned boat?

Most engines can accumulate numerous hours of operation if the manufacturer-recommended maintenance has been regularly performed. If you have any doubts or if the number of hours is substantial, it is advisable to request an oil analysis, which can potentially reveal underlying issues.

Read also: What Qualification Do I Need To Sail Around The World ?

Will insurance be mandatory?

For purely private use, insurance is not compulsory. However, if you intend to moor your yacht in a port or a yard, the harbour master’s office will require an insurance certificate. In the case of charter activities, specific insurances are obligatory. We strongly advise you to insure your yacht in all circumstances to ensure coverage in the event of a disaster.

Can I purchase a boat through a “lease”?

Yes, the feasibility of purchasing a boat through a lease depends on factors such as the vessel’s age, flag, and navigation area, as these elements will have an impact on the bank’s agreement.

Should I keep my yacht for private use or offer it for charter?

Our team of professionals is available to assist you in making this decision based on your project and the chosen yacht. Charter management can help reduce the maintenance costs of a boat. However, it’s important to note that revenue may vary depending on the destination and type of yacht.

Read also: How Much Does It Cost To Charter A Luxury Yacht?

What documentation should I prepare?

Once both parties have reached a mutual agreement on the negotiation, a contract will need to be drafted. WI Yachts will handle the necessary paperwork for the boat and provide a sale agreement for your review. The seller will need to provide you with the following documents: registration document, certificate of seaworthiness, certificate of conformity, navigation authorization, certificate of fitness for the installation of radio equipment, invoices for equipment, engines, and auxiliaries, a copy of the seller’s identity card, application for authorization to install and/or dismantle radio equipment, owner’s manual, and other manuals for the equipment on board, as well as the trailer permit.