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New Yachts vs Pre-Owned Yachts & Charter Yachts

l52aThere is always much debate about which is better: new or pre-owned? While there are good things for both sides, each side also has a not so good aspect. Just because a yacht is new, doesn't guarantee there won't be problems. Yes, there may be warrantees in effect to cover repairs but even that do not ensure a hassle free yacht and there is the big depreciation the minute the yacht hits the water. A good clean used or "previously loved" yacht is great if you are somewhat handy with repairs and you could possibly get a bigger 2 -5 yr old yacht that you would not have been able to afford new but beware, make sure that you go into it with open eyes. So let's analyze:


New Yachts

  • Often "boat show specials" will be available before and during shows that could be sizeable
  • Ask specifically if the builder has any unsold inventory or unsold production slots. 
  • Ask if the dealer has any inventory they would really like to sell i.e. discontinued models. 
  • Mention that you would be agreeable to have your yacht displayed at any up-coming boat shows in exchange for extra equipment or a discount.

New Yacht Pros:

  • Newest designs, materials, technology
  • The engineering that goes into a new boat produces a stronger, lighter, faster hull. 
  • Much less maintenance in the first 5 years.
  • Mechanical and electrical systems are more efficient and safer. 
  • The engines use less fuel and are quieter, easier to maintain, more reliable and more environmentally friendly. 
  • Warranties. 
  • Financing more readily available and at lower rates. 
  • You choose the options and upgrades you prefer.
  • Get exactly what you want. 
  • Many new boats have better accommodations for electronics at the helm. 

New Yacht Cons:

  • Fewer choices. 
  • Quicker depreciation. 
  • Cost more initially.
  • Not all the "bugs" may yet have been worked out. 
  • Consider the impact that foreign exchange makes. 
  • If you have dollars and are buying a yacht in Euros there can be huge price swings from year-to-year. 

Pre-owned or Used Yachts 

  • Yacht sales have seasonal price tendencies. In relatively "thin" markets like the catamaran market, it is possible to see large swings in prices in just 6 months' time. I have seen incredible price changes from year to year and I think understanding this factor alone can save you many thousands of dollars. Consider this: every year, most catamaran buyers are buying for the winter "high season" in the Caribbean. They generally start their shopping in late August and this buying activity ends in December. The lowest priced/best deals sell first (late May-June-July-August) and the highest priced "worst deals" occur later on (October-November-December) but this can vary by one month in a given year. Every year, the very highest prices for a given model are usually seen in December or perhaps January. On several occasions I have heard, "I promised my wife that we would have a yacht for Christmas vacation so what do you have?". These are the buyers who wait until the last minute and pay the most. It must be nice to have money to burn! A little planning will save you thousands!

Pre-owned Yacht Pros:

  • Slower depreciation. 
  • Bigger "bang for the buck"...more affordable.. 
  • Larger selection and variety than new yachts

Pre-owned Yachts Cons:

  • You inherit problems of previous owner. 
  • Appearance isn't always an accurate indicator of value. You MUST employ a competent surveyor. 
  • Everything starts to fall apart after 7 years. 
  • Beware of the "fixer-upper". Most people grossly underestimate what it costs to refit a used boat. They say, "Oh, I can do a lot of the work myself!"... But they don't understand that a lot of the work is highly technical and the technicians required are priced in the stratosphere.

Charter Yachts

Charter Yachts Pros:

  • Costs of ownership are reduced through charter income. 
  • Sometimes there are additional tax benefits. 
  • A professional will maintain the yacht for you. 
  • When you are done sailing just walk-away and the boat is cleaned and maintained. 
  • If you only have four weeks of sailing per year or less, consider putting your boat into charter.

Charter Yachts Cons:

  • The yacht will receive additional wear and tear and can depreciate faster than a never-chartered boat. 
  • Charter clients have been known to damage the yacht. 
  • Most charter companies restrict the equipment and layout you can have. 
  • You must leave the yacht at the charter base year-round.

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