Buying Your First Yacht: A Yacht Buying Guide | NW Explorations

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Buying Your First Yacht: A Yacht Buying Guide

So, you’re thinking of buying your first yacht. How wonderful! Not to mention exciting. And such an important decision with so many considerations.

But before you take the plunge, consider asking yourself some key questions to help make the shopping easier. We’ve put together this Yacht Buying Guide to help.

What type of boating do you plan to do?

Think about where and how you plan to cruise. What kind of experience do you imagine? Who is coming along?

Think about size to accommodate the typical number of passengers. What kind of accommodations and amenities will you require for you and your partner or family, as well as guests?

For any type of coastal exploration, cruising yachts are a good choice and highly popular. In its most basic form, a cruising yacht is any powerboat with overnight accommodations, a galley, head with shower and the range to take you to new and distant ports. They are usually trawler type vessels with speeds 8-12 knots and range anywhere from 36’ or so on up. For a cruising yacht it is more about the journey than just the destination. Express Cruisers are great for short, weekend or week-long excursions.

Cruising Yachts & Cruisers can be separated further into five basic types:

  • Aft Cabin Cruising Yachts. They have a berth, head and shower located all the way aft for space and privacy. There are berth(s) forward that include a head & shower. Usually have a walk around deck for easy docking by the crew. 36’+
  • Europa style Cruising Yachts. The berths and head(s) are typically in the forward section of the vessel. The salon is directly off the covered cockpit and is generally one level. A great boat for entertaining guests at happy hour. 36’+
  • Motoryacht Cruising Yachts. A large aft cabin similar to Aft Cruising Yachts except the aft deck is elevated to allow for the full width cabin. 36’+
  • Pilothouse Cruising Yachts. Similar to Europa style Cruising Yachts with the berths and heads amidships and forward in the vessel. The pilothouse is usually raised and includes seating for crew at a settee behind the skipper. 40’+
  • Express Cruisers. This category of cruiser is low-slung and fast, with a cockpit aft, a helm deck amidships, and staterooms forward. 30’+

Where do you plan to use your boat?

The Cruising grounds of Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Canadian Gulf Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Desolation Sound and the Broughtons offer a great variety of experiences that can take many years to explore. NW Explorations also offers the Mother Goose Alaska Flotilla within the charter fleet boat ownership program.

The question where do you plan to cruise also takes into account where the boat is going to be moored in the off season. Several options are available. Permanent moorage at a marina with security for year round moorage is the most popular. Temporary moorage during the off season is a possibility if you are planning to cruise during the summer season. Also dry storage is offered by most haul out facilities for the off season. This may be inside storage or shrink wrapped for outside storage.

What is your budget including purchase, maintenance, moorage, insurance?

Beyond the cost of the boat itself, moorage or storage comes with its costs, as does maintenance and insurance. It’s very important to detail all your associated costs before you even step foot into a brokerage. Have a firm number in mind.

What is your level of comfort with cleanliness and age?

Unless the yacht you buy is brand new, there will always be some level of “less than new” condition with a used boat. Always check the state of the engine room and refrigeration. A dirty engine room or refrigerator with mold or with old food speaks volumes about the previous owner’s care of the boat.

Buying privately is a risk. A better choice is to go with a reputable surveyor and/or broker in the early stages. They’ll tell you what to look for, and which boats are historically well-built, and which ones should be avoided. Quality construction and care will pay dividends over ownership time and at resale time. We use a marine surveyor to provide a pre-listing survey ensure all of the yachts for sale are very highly maintained at a level that is unmatched in the industry. The buyer is able to use the survey to secure financing and insurance.

Would you like your boat to earn you some income?

Although you’ll want to be out on your yacht as much as possible, the reality is there will be times when you can’t be. Our team at NW Explorations has an outstanding charter division for just this purpose. Allow us to assist in the purchase of your yacht and essentially, you’ll be reducing the cost of ownership and saving thousands by paying no sales tax initially. When the vessel is taken out of charter service the sales tax will be due on the depreciated value. You’ll have prime moorage, and you can use the charter fees to cover maintenance, insurance, moorage or financing costs. You’ll also have your yacht attended to by an experienced technician team who will ensure your yacht meets a rigorous maintenance checklist.

This yacht buying guide is simply a start. Next, talk to the experts: brokers who can help you find the ideal vessel from which to launch your dreams.

Check out the line-up of yachts we have for sale and get one step closer to buying your first yacht.

Call toll-free (800) 826-1430, or locally: (360) 676-1248.

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