New vs Pre-Owned Yachts

Should you buy a new or used yacht? That is one of the most frequent questions we get, and annoyingly, the answer is, it depends. But our team of experienced yacht brokers can take the annoyance out of confidently arriving at the right answer for you and your situation.

We can discuss the various pros and cons of buying a new boat versus a used boat as well as key aspects such as your mechanical aptitude for fixing things and what makes you happier.

Buying a New Yacht vs Used Yacht

Many prospective boat buyers, especially first-time yacht buyers, automatically think buying a new yacht is the best option because they perceive it guarantees a trouble-free yacht ownership experience.

New things of all types require less repair and maintenance and warranties cover repairs, but even that does not ensure a hassle-free yacht.

So it is worth considering what is right for you.

2020 Bali 4.8 for sale in NASSAU Bahamas

Buying a new yacht results in a sizeable depreciation of the vessel the minute the yacht hits the water. Buying a used yacht that someone else took that value “hit” on, can offer the possibility to buy a bigger 2-5 year old yacht than you would have been able to afford. A well-maintained used yacht is great option if you are somewhat handy with repairs.

An analysis of the pros and cons of buying new or used boats follows.

Pros & Cons of Buying a New Yacht

New Yacht Pros

  • Much less maintenance in the first 5 years.
  • Newest designs, materials, and technology that produces a stronger, lighter, and faster hull.
  • Mechanical and electrical systems are more efficient and safer.
  • Newer engines are more fuel efficient, quieter, easier to maintain, more reliable, and more environmentally friendly.
  • Warranties between 2-5 years depending on the manufacturer. Tip: Catamaran Guru has built-in after-sales warranty service management and tracking that includes a online dashboard you can use to have convenient access to the same yacht maintenance history and documentation that our yacht service company sees. Learn more about our concierge-level after-sales yacht service.
  • Loans for new yachts are more readily available and at lower rates.
  • You choose the options and upgrades you prefer, you get exactly what you want.
  • For many, new and shiny just makes your smile wider and that is something to consider.

New Yacht Cons

  • Fewer choices – only a few new boat models may fall within your price range.
  • Higher cost to initially invest
  • Rapid depreciation
  • Not all the “bugs” may yet have been worked out, specifically if you buy the first two or three models of a new range.
  • Often, you must consider the impact of foreign currency exchange. Note this may work in your favor or against you depending on how well the dollar stacks up to the Euro at the time of purchase. If you have dollars and are buying a yacht in Euros, there can be huge price swing impacts from year-to-year.

Ways to Get the Best Deal on a New Yacht

  • Often “boat show specials” are available before and during shows that can offer significant discounts.
  • Ask specifically if the boat builder has any unsold inventory or unsold production slots.
  • Ask if the dealer has any inventory they would really like to sell such as discontinued models that may have significant discounts.
  • Mention that you would be agreeable to permit your yacht to be exhibited at any upcoming boat shows in exchange for extra equipment or a price discount.
  • Talk to a yacht broker who has deep experience in the market as they have all the contacts to ferret out the best deals, new or used.

Pros & Cons of Buying a Pre-Owned Yacht

Used Yacht Pros

  • Slower depreciation, the original owner took the initial large value reduction and a 5-year-old used boat should sell at around 60+% of the original value.
  • Bigger “bang for the buck” in that  you can buy buy a larger boat than your budget will allow for a new yacht. Or buy the same boat range as planned and pocket the potential savings on a lower cost of ownership (as long as hidden issues don’t eat away at the savings…do your due diligence and know your mechanical abilities and desire to make repairs yourself).
  • You most often will find a bigger choice of makes and models since there is a larger selection and variety than new yachts in your price range.
  • You may benefit from lots of equipment and upgrade “extras” that were added on after the original owner bought the boat. It is like buying a new home that often does not come with necessities like window blinds or lawn irrigation that result in immediately required additional investment. On a boat this may be things like upgraded boat power plans with expanded solar panels or hydrogenerators, superior marine communication equipment, or a nicer dinghy.
  • The kinks of that can come with a new yacht model will be worked out. Plus, with the boat having a history of use among many owners, any common “defects” will be well-known and discussed in online yacht owner forums.
  • You have more flexibility in the type of sale: a trade, an in-kind exchange, etc. A used yacht seller is often motivated to lower prices for a quick cash deal. 
  • Especially if you are a more novice sailor, it may bring you comfort to have a boat that already has its first “ding”. This is the paradox of boat ownership that only you can know for sure which is true of your personality, but a shiny new boat may not make your smile wider if you are the type that experiences overriding fears of being the first to cosmetically mar a boat.

Used Yacht Cons

  • You inherit problems from any neglect, misuse, accidents, or other actions or inaction of previous owners.
  • You often don’t get a satisfactory answer as to why a boat is for sale, which can be cause for concern.
  • Appearance isn’t always an accurate indicator of value. You MUST employ a competent surveyor.
  • Boat maintenance costs increase 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 sometimes.
  • Read our article: Top ten catamaran buying tips.

Ways to Get the Best Deal on a New Yacht

Used yacht sales have seasonal price tendencies. Be sure to click on that link as we discuss, in detail, how in relatively “thin” markets like the catamaran market, can see large price swings in just 6 months.

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. This seasonal yacht-buying activity ends in December. The lowest priced or “best deals” sell first (late May-June-July-early August) before the rush to buy starts. The highest priced “worst deals” occur later on (October-November-December). But this can vary by about a month in a given year and the severity of prices swings can vary widely year to year 

We have seen incredible price changes from year to year, so understanding this factor alone can save you many thousands of dollars. (Tip: our services don’t cost you, the yacht buyer, a dime.. Yet we can provide insight into the market forecasts for catamarans to help you time your purchase for the best pricing). .

Pros & Cons of Buying Charter Yachts

Read an explanation of charter yacht programs.

Charter Yachts Pros

  • Costs of ownership are reduced through charter income.
  • Sometimes there are additional tax benefits by operating your yacht as a business.
  • 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 however, the charter company does carry insurance coverage for such incidents.
  • Most charter companies restrict the equipment and layout you can have.
  • You must leave the yacht at the charter base year-round and cannot be moved around at will.

Contact Us for a more in-depth discussion to help you discover if a new or used yacht is right for you.


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