How to buy a superyacht

This guide to buying a superyacht covers everything you need to think about when shopping luxury yachts for sale. It includes tips on how to refine your shortlist, outlines the ways that a broker can help, and goes through the process that underlines a superyacht purchase

Know your needs

The first step in buying a superyacht is to understand exactly what you’re looking for. Do you need extra space for new family members? Do you want longer-range cruising to reach more remote areas? Do you need a shallower draft so your superyacht can fit on the dock of your new residence? Or is it your first time buying a superyacht?

Choose your broker

No matter your level of experience, having a broker at your side throughout the process of a yacht purchase ensures the best possible outcome. They’ll find you the best superyacht – and have access to some that may not be publicly for sale. They’ll also become your communications hub, your researcher, your advisor and your negotiator. It’s their goal to make your yachting wishes a reality.

Meet our brokers

Define your search criteria with a broker

Once you’ve found your broker, it’s a good idea to view some yachts with them. This will give you a broad view of what’s on offer, and will help you to define your search criteria with your broker.

  • Size: what length of yacht do you need?
  • Do you want a motor or sailing superyacht?
  • How much do you want to spend?
  • What style do you like? What yachts are good examples to illustrate this?
  • How many people does the yacht need to accommodate?
  • Do you have any preferences about the shipyard or the area the yacht was built in?
  • Does the hull need to be made in a specific material, for example, steel, aluminium, GRP or wood?
  • How fast do you want your superyacht to go?
  • Do you need to consider accessibility? For example, do you need an elevator?
  • What cruising range do you need?
  • Where do you want to cruise? Do your plans include adventures in the ice, docking by your residence in shallow areas, traversing oceans, or something else?
  • What’s the yacht’s intended usage? Will it be fully private, a blend of private and charter, or purely chartered?
  • Where would you like to berth your yacht?
  • If you already have a yacht, would you consider a part-exchange?
  • Are there any must-haves, like a helipad, elevator, dedicated gym, two master suites, and more?

Review recommended yachts

Your broker will search the entire market of superyachts for sale, and investigate off-market possibilities. They’ll present you with clear comparative information, brochures and technical data to create a final shortlist.

Your broker will do a lot of background market research to build this shortlist for you. They’ll tap into their vast global network of professionals, and consult their in-house database of luxury yachts. They regularly visit yachts throughout the year, too.

When you find a superyacht you’re seriously interested in, the broker will visit in person (or virtually if it’s not possible to travel) and give you their initial feedback.

View your shortlisted superyachts

With a shortlist agreed, your broker will prepare a possible itinerary of viewings for you or your chosen representative(s). Your broker will be with you every step of the way, checking every aspect of the yacht and discussing with you where the yacht matches your needs and where there is potential to make any changes you have requested.

Make a decision - and negotiate

Once a yacht has been selected, the excitement of making the purchase begins. Your broker will discuss the market asking prices and recent selling prices. They’ll also highlight any negotiating points prior to the survey, like the condition of the vessel and the proclivity of the current owner to sell.

Your broker will put your offer to the seller and the negotiation process begins. If the owner is ready to sell, then the process of agreeing a price may be relatively short.

Contract, survey & sea trial

Once a price has been agreed, your broker will draw up the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This will form the central reference document for the sale of the yacht. It binds both parties to advance the sale until its successful conclusion – unless there’s due cause not to complete. Due cause to not complete could be unacceptable survey items, or anything that causes a renegotiation of price that is then not agreed.

This is when a legal team is often needed. They will help to prepare and verify the buyer’s and seller’s documentation. If you don’t have a yachting lawyer, your broker will recommend some. And if you already have one appointed, your broker will liaise with them.

It’s important that you know what the ownership structure of the yacht will be by this point.

Your buying team will:

  • Arrange the survey and sea trial of the superyacht on your behalf
  • Prepare, with your legal team as required, the addenda to the MOA listing all documents required from both seller and buyer before completion of the sale
  • Liaise with the sellers team to ensure all documents are provided
  • Liaise with your buying team to ensure all of your documents are provided to the seller. This will include information on the identity of the buyer that you will need to provide either as an individual or as part of an owning company

Other factors that you may need your buying team to help with include:

  • Financing
  • Registry
  • Crew recruitment
  • Berth procurement
  • Yacht Management

Closing the sale

The closing meeting is generally conducted partly on board the yacht with the sighting of documents required to stay on the vessel and then the tabling of all other documents to the satisfaction of the buying and selling teams at a meeting at another convenient location.

Closing the sale includes:

  • Transfer of funds
  • Transfer of title
  • Completion in international waters or other places