Buying and owning a superyacht is a big decision with several parameters to consider. Our team has put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions that can answer your questions related to yacht ownership as well as the purchase process.
It is possible to buy a yacht without a broker, however using a broker will absolutely ensure the best possible outcome for the buyer. Consider it a partnership. A yacht broker will work with you from your very first enquiry all the way through to delivery (and often beyond). Their role includes advising on available yachts, creating a short list, arranging yacht visits, undertaking negotiations, organizing sea trials and surveys, and closing the deal. A good yacht broker will get to know you and understand all that you require from a yacht in order to present you with the best possible options for purchase. They are there to make the process clear, simple, and enjoyable.
There are several steps involved in purchasing a yacht.
First, decide what type of yacht you are interested in. A broker can help you understand all the different types of yachts that are available, and what/who they are best suited to.
Decide whether you wish to purchase a new build, or a brokerage yacht. There are benefits to both.
Set your budget and establish any other desirables, e.g. the size, whether it is registered for charter, or if there is a designer or builder you prefer.
Your broker will then put together a shortlist of the best available yachts that meet your criteria. You will then be able to visit your favorites on this shortlist and get a feel for your preferred option.
If there is a yacht you wish to proceed with buying, your broker will then assist with negotiations and contracts.
Sea trials and surveys will then be undertaken to be sure that all is as expected,
The deal will then be finalized, and you are now the proud owner of your new yacht.
Click here for a more detailed overview of the yacht buying process - https://iyc.com/buy-a-yacht/
The length of the purchase process can vary greatly from sale to sale. There are many different factors that might influence the time to complete the process, including the amount of due diligence required and the timeframe of the seller. That said, it is very possible to complete a quick sale when the purchase is straightforward. If you have a pressing purchase deadline, please make this clear to your broker.
Before buying a yacht we highly recommend taking expert advice to gain the full picture of all that yacht ownership entails. This includes the purchase process itself, as well as information about the annual expenses and what is needed to operate a yacht each year.
We recommend reading our detailed guide to buying a yacht for a more expansive overview of this important topic - https://iyc.com/buy-a-yacht/
This question is one of the best examples of why working with a reputable broker is highly advisable. By choosing to work with a broker you will benefit from their many years of experience and industry knowledge. This is a relationship of trust, and you can expect your broker to provide you with factual advice about the quality of a yacht you wish to purchase.
Sea trials and surveys are also a very important part of the quality control process and are the main opportunity to bring any issues that might exist to light. By the end of the purchasing process you should be going into the sale confident that you have a detailed picture about the yacht and are happy with your decision to commit to the sale.
To undertake a sea trial of a yacht, and conduct a detailed survey, a purchase agreement must be fully executed. A deposit of 10% of the agreed price must also have been paid. Your yacht broker can assist with all the sea trial and survey arrangements.
If there is a yacht you are interested in purchasing, your broker can arrange a visit on board, allowing you to experience and inspect it in-person. Your broker will arrange a viewing at a convenient time to you.
Once you have decided to purchase a yacht your broker can assist with arranging all the necessary legalities. After a formal offer is made, any negotiations will then take place and then if the seller is happy the offer will be accepted. A contract is then drawn up and will include key processes and timelines including due diligence and survey requirements. Once all conditions have been met the sale will be closed and final funds transferred.
Yes. In accordance to international regulations, it is necessary for the company to perform specific checks for the purpose of satisfying the anti-money laundering rules and compliance with any applicable sanctions. IYC is bound by these rules, and must comply with global processes.
IYC will request specific documentation to perform all necessary checks. The company strives to complete this process with the minimum possible inconvenience for our clients and will perform all necessary checks in an efficient manner. All reports will be made available to the client. Information and/or documents provided shall be maintained by IYC’s Legal Department, in accordance with applicable laws, in strict confidence and with restricted access.
The documentation requested depends on whether the contract is with an individual or legal entity (company).
Where the client/engaging party will be a legal entity the following would be required:
On a case by case basis, the company may be legally required to ask for additional information and/or documentation.
A new build yacht has had no previous owners and has been built brand new. A brokerage yacht has had previous owners. One notable difference between the two is price – a new build will come with a higher price tag than a comparatively sized pre-owned yacht.
There are many different factors that will affect the price of a yacht. These are numerous but include the age, construction material, the brand and of course the size. Naturally, a newer and larger yacht will cost more than a smaller, older yacht. Cost will also be impacted by the location of the yacht and any relocation expenses. There are yachts available to suit a wide range of budgets - your broker can prepare a shortlist based on what you wish to spend.
There are a number of different yacht types. Here is a brief overview of key features of the most common yacht types:
For more detailed information on each type of yacht please refer to IYC’s guide to yacht types - https://iyc.com/yacht-types/
There are three main hull types: displacement, semi-displacement, and planing. In brief, a displacement yacht offers high comfort, good volumes and a longer range; a semi-displacement yacht is a crossover between performance and comfort; and a fast-planing yacht suits those who like to travel at speed and who don’t require a long range. You can also choose the number of hulls, with options including monohulls and multihulls such as catamarans and trimarans.
Most motor yachts use twin fixed pitch propellers that are driven by diesel engines, with a great variety in the size and power of the systems dependent on the yacht. Sailing yachts are mainly fitted with one or two fixed pitch propellers. Under this umbrella there are many variables, including waterjet propulsion, pod propulsion and hybrid propulsion. Diesel electric and electric hybrid systems, which make use of combined power sources, are seeing increased advances, with more yachts being developed and built with “green” propulsion systems.
The terminology around what defines a “superyacht”, “megayacht” and a “yacht” is not set in stone, with often different interpretations. Generally speaking, the term “yacht” encompasses every size of vessel, both motor and sail. A superyacht is considered a pleasure yacht with a load line length of 24 meters and over (though some argue that a true superyacht is 30 meters and over). A megayacht is American terminology, and often refers to yachts over 60 meters in length.
Absolutely, there are reputable shipping networks operating all around the globe between all major ports. Your broker can recommend a reputable specialist shipping company that you can trust to safely transport your yacht between destinations.
How does this work? Once the route is decided, your yacht will be booked on to the most suitable shipment. Your yacht will be carefully loaded on to a specialist vessel and inspected before departure and after arrival to ensure it arrives in perfect condition. Your broker can advise on all necessary requirements, including insurance
How long does it take? The time it takes to ship a yacht between destinations will depend on the route you have selected. Anything between days and months depending on how far the yacht needs to travel. No matter what the distance you can be sure that your yacht will be in safe hands.
No, tenders and toys do not automatically come with the yacht. For a new yacht you have the option of selecting the tenders and toys that best suit your vessel and needs. For a brokerage yacht, a detailed inventory of chattels that are included with the asking price will be provided – this may or may not include tenders or toys. Your broker can assist with procuring tenders and toys if required.
When you choose your port of registry you are effectively assigning your yacht a nationality. There is no hard and fast guide to which port of registry to choose for your yacht and each option will have its own pros and cons. How and where you intend to operate your superyacht may influence your choice. Port of the registry depends on the flag registration you choose. For superyachts there are three clear favorites: nearly 80% of yachts are registered to the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Malta, and Isle of Man. An expert advisor will assist you in making the best choice of port of registry for your yacht.
It is a legal requirement that a yacht be identifiable with either a name or unique number. This is to assist with easy identification.
In a nutshell, a yacht’s flag indicates which country and laws the yacht operates under, and which body will inspect and regulate it. Choosing the flag state that your yacht will be registered to is an important decision, and one that should be taken with expert legal advice. There are many implications around a yacht’s flag, including how it can be used, taxes you pay, and where it can go. Other influences are whether you plan to operate the yacht privately or commercially. Furthermore, selecting the adequate flag registration also has an impact on the crew work regulations, social security system, wages and tax rates.
Your broker can connect you with an expert advisor who can provide an overview of the best flag options for your yacht.
With an adequate boat license, an individual can run a yacht below 24m category under the European CE regulation for pleasure craft. Ideally for a 24m yacht, it is highly recommended to have a minimum crew of 2 to handle and maintain the vessel.
Yes, in most cases you will need to pre-book a berth in a marina – for this reason travel itineraries will often be planned well in advance. That said, there are often many options available without booking depending on the time of year and the location. Anchoring out is also another option, especially in smaller ports where there may not be berths big enough to accommodate larger vessels. Many owners also invest in purchasing or leasing a marina berth in their port of choice.
Yes. It is a requirement that every yacht is insured. It is always best to be prepared for the unknown and to be sure that you are covered should anything happen to your vessel.
You cannot control what happens at sea so it’s wise to secure a comprehensive insurance policy that will mean you are insured for all events. Insurance instances can include accidental damage, accidental loss, and liability cover. IYC operates a specialist superyacht insurance team who can provide you with a tailored insurance solution.
Yacht management places the responsibility for the management of your yacht into the hands of an expert team. A yacht manager works with the owner and captain/crew to ensure seamless operations and deliver the best support, wherever in the world the yacht may be.
IYC offers a comprehensive Yacht Management service, with a team of experts on staff. Read more here for an overview of IYC’s Yacht Management division.
It is not mandatory to keep a permanent crew on board all year, but it is highly recommended. A full-time crew will help to manage your asset and keep it in peak condition. They will also be sure that your yacht is ready to use at a moment’s notice and be able to provide a bespoke service that is tailored to your needs. It is also worth noting that the cost and time of regularly decommissioning and recommissioning a crew would not be insignificant
The annual expenses of a yacht can vary hugely depending on many factors including size and age. However, there are certain annual expenses that are a necessity. These will include maintaining a professional crew that will man and take care of your asset. Insurance via a reputable broker is another necessity. You should also expect to budget for maintenance costs, whether general upkeep or more advanced work. On top of these costs, there will also be the expense of operating the vessel, including fuel costs, food and beverage, and equipment. Your broker can provide you with some guideline costs for a yacht of your size/style.
It is possible for a yacht to be profitable, but this would necessitate enough guaranteed charter bookings to offset and exceed all the annual expenses. By obtaining a commercial license for your yacht (which comes with certain requirements), you can operate your yacht as a charter vessel – charter income can be an excellent way to contribute towards the annual expenses of owning a yacht. However, there is no guarantee of profit as there are many variables that might affect the number of charter bookings a yacht is able to secure.
Not all yachts can become charter yachts. In order to be safe and compliant for charter guests, a yacht needs to meet set regulations in order to be issued a charter license. If a yacht has not been built to charter standard, this may require some work or modifications to bring it into compliance. Note that a charter-compliant yacht can be a real positive when it comes to resale down the line.
Above all the best way to maximize the resale value of your yacht is to maintain it well so that it does not fall into disrepair. When purchasing a yacht it is also worth considering the features that will likely make it appealing to a future buyer (as well as to yourself). For example, a reputable builder, built to class, charter compliant.
A yacht refit is when a yacht undergoes either maintenance, cosmetic or structural works. Refits can take place on the water, on the hard or in the yard facility, depending on what work is required. Refits can be minor projects or spanning several years depending on the work brief. Owners will often choose to work with a specialist refit yard, or the original builder of their yacht. Examples of refits include a new paint job, engines upgrade, an interior overhaul, deck space arrangement or hull/superstructure modifications
There is no set requirement for refit work. This will depend on your own preferences, or the needs of the vessel as it ages. That said, superyachts that have been built to class are required to undergo surveys at a set period (often 5-years, 10-years etc.) in order to demonstrate that they remain compliant to their class – a survey period is often a good opportunity to undertake refit and maintenance work. Class surveys are mandatory to keep the yacht properly covered by insurance.