What to look for when buying a used yacht

When it comes to purchasing a used yacht, you will be aware of the many stories that get told to either, encourage you to buy used, or, horror stories that will leave you reaching for the exit and without even taking a second look at the used yacht section.

Buying a used yacht however need not leave you making bad decisions and as they say in the industry, research is everything!

So what is that you need to look for when it comes to buying a used yacht and what pitfalls can you avoid along the way?

Condition of the vessel

One of the key things when buying anything used is that you understand what the overall condition of is and what may be required to get it up to standard if it has endured a marked history. Yacht specialists like Princess Yachts who deal in both the new and used market recommend and even offer something called a surveyor service.

This is like when you are buying a property and a surveyor inspects the house that is undergoing the sale. Here a full and complete survey takes into account all physical work on the body and even tests the mechanisms and electrics. Once a survey has been done, it is down to the seller to correct any issues raised before a purchase is made.


One of the things that will be raised in the survey is also a report as to what will be required with regards to maintenance over the next three to five years. Here you will need to take into account the work that will be needed and also if you have budgeted for this level of expenditure in the short to medium term.

If it’s a bargain, be weary

One of the reasons why there are so many horror stories is that a supposed bargain can actually end up being a bit of a money pit, especially if a full survey hasn’t been done. The idea that boat fixes, especially ones which require specific labour can be done with a video tutorial on YouTube is also a myth that needs to be debunked. Whilst some fixes can be done by the buyer, many systems such as electrical and mechanical issues need to be repaired by trained professionals.

Again, these repairs take time and money. Shop around for what these fixes would cost and factor this into your budget of repairs.

Finally, take it for a test spin

One of the advantages of a survey process is that you get to take the vessel out for a test spin. Many sellers oblige 4 hours in the open water for you to get a feel for how it handles, the controls and any mechanical issues/bugs to check and further resolve.

This is a key part of the yacht owning experience and you want to make sure that your purchase is done with thorough research and testing before making any final decisions.