Wise men say that money cannot buy happiness. Fair enough, but it sure can buy a beautiful yacht. For boat lovers and yacht enthusiasts, that's pretty much the same thing. For some of us, a private yacht is our most prized possession.
Why, you ask?
For one, a yacht is a home away from home. It could provide all the luxury and comfort you could possibly seek. For instance, some of the popular luxury yachts on sale boasts of jaw-dropping opulence and splendor that could even put a penthouse to shame. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's colossal 150-meter superyacht Eclipse is worth mind-numbing USD 1 billion and has its own movie theater, helipad, and a tennis court. I hope you get the point I'm trying to make.
In addition to that, a yacht provides a tremendous amount of freedom and liberty. Freedom to get away from the world. Liberty to explore the vast seas and oceans. Cruising in the calm blue sea transpires such tranquility which is difficult to put into words. Before you get all excited and break the bank for a private yacht, it’s important to know what all to look for when buying a yacht. Apart from the budget, there are various other criteria one has to keep in mind when finding the perfect yacht.
1. First make up your mind: New boat or pre-owned?
Before you check out yacht brochures, you have to decide whether to go for a brand new boat or a preowned one. It's a matter of preference and budget as both the options have their own pros and cons. If you have deep pockets, a lifelong passion for the sea, and would spend a considerable amount of time offshore, investing in a brand new boat would be a wise decision. For one, it would come with a warranty regarding any future repairs and malfunctions while pre-owned boats and yachts will most probably not. Two, having a brand new boat out in the sea for the first time will impart a sense of security and peace of mind.
Although, one has to seriously consider the fact that boats and yachts depreciate in value with time. In fact, the asking price of a new yacht would reduce to half its original value after the first decade.
2. Have a realistic look at your budget
After you have decided what kind of yacht to buy, it's time to have a realistic look at your yacht budget. Always be aware of the total acquisition cost which entails not only the purchase price but also the cost of the refit - something which is inevitable. An experienced boat enthusiast understands this important detail. A good practice to follow is to keep one half of the total budget for yacht purchase and another half for the overhaul.
In addition to that, it's wise to prepare a realistic annual maintenance budget which would involve costs related to maintenance, fuel, mooring, boat insurance, dry docking, and cleaning. This would give a clear picture of the total amount you will have to spend on the boat in the foreseeable future.
3. Determine the yacht size
Always remember that, to some extent, everything about a yacht can be changed at whim except the size. While the size of a boat does matter when it comes to comfort, it's a tricky situation altogether. Allow me to explain. As the size of a boat increase, so does its volume. A 20-ft yacht would have twice the volume of a 30-footer which implies that the maintenance cost would rise exponentially in larger boats.
If you don't plan to spend the night on the boat and would prefer cruising in the daytime instead, a yacht or a boat of size between 20-40 foot would be perfect as it would have basic amenities sufficient for daytime boating. However, you will need a larger boat equipped with galley, cabin, and other amenities if you prefer an overnight stay. Larger boats provide ample storage space and allow you to take an additional crew, should you plan a voyage or two.
4. Ensure the yacht meets legal requirements
Boat and yacht owners in Dubai have to comply with the rules and regulations laid out by the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA). No vessels - including private yachts - can be used in Dubai unless it is licensed and registered with the DMCA. Be it a super yacht or a motor yacht, every boat has to undergo technical inspection - only after which a license is issued for a period of one year and can be renewed.
In addition to that, UAE authorities have also laid out regulations which apply to all new and existing private yachts of 24 meters and above. These Yacht Regulations (also known as Yacht Code) provide guidelines for designing, building and operating yachts by owners and operators.
5. Visit a boat show!
For someone who is willing to invest his money in a brand new yacht, a visit to a reputed boat show could do wonders. This allows you to have a closer look at a variety of yachts and even talk with the experts to learn more about your favorite brand or model. Renowned yacht manufacturers such as Sanlorenzo, Sea Ray, Fairline, Sun Odyssey etc. throw light at new and upcoming boat models at these exhibitions. In fact, a boat show in Abu Dhabi was recently held where we had luxury yachts and superyachts up for sale.
You can also shop for boats online where you can easily compare prices and yacht models. Royal Yachts, one of the top luxury yacht dealer in Dubai, has a list of wide range of new and used yachts for sale.
6. Inspect a pre-owned yacht before buying
If you prefer to purchase a pre-owned yacht instead of a new one, inspect it to make sure you are not buying a dud. Take the boat out in the sea to get the feel of it and to notice any major issues. Make sure all the papers related to the boat are in order and up to date.
Even better, get it inspected from an experienced surveyor before you ink the deal. The surveyor will inform you whether the boat in question is seaworthy or not, after a thorough inspection. Get the boat out of the water so that surveyor could examine the parts which usually remain underwater.
7. Take safety seriously
Life at sea is full of unexpectations. Whether you bought a brand new yacht or a pre-owned boat, safety should be your number one priority. Doesn't matter how small or large the budget or the boat is, invest in an ocean-certified life raft and life jackets.
You could also install EPIRB, which is essentially a radio-beacon device to alert search and rescue teams (SAR) in the event of an accident or an emergency. If you have money to spare, you can also opt for marine equipment such as SSB radio, chart plotter, WiFi router and a television in your boat for long voyages. For any boat enthusiast, safety at the sea is paramount and should never be neglected.
8. Don't drool over equipment and inclusions
If you are purchasing a pre-owned or a new yacht, look at inclusions and cosmetic touch-up with a pinch of salt. Most yacht brokers are aware of the fact that a dolled-up yacht would sell easily. That's true but it won't make it cruise any better now, would it? Instead, focus on the engine (the heart of your boat) and make sure it is reliable. If you have an option to buy a pre-owned boat from a private seller without the equipment at a lesser price, go for it. This is because most of the equipment would require replacement sooner or later.
9. Inquire about the boat designer
Even before the boat is built at a shipyard, one has to understand that it was conceived inside the mind of a proficient naval architect. If possible, it is always better to choose a yacht builder who employs reputed naval architect for designing their yachts. It's a best for any boat enthusiast when the boat designer and shipbuilder work in tandem.
For instance, in 2016, world-renowned shipbuilding company Fairline teamed up with Italian superyacht designer Alberto Mancini to work on the future yacht models. A year later, the company launched its first fully Mancini-designed boat Targa 63 GTO which became the showstopper at the event. Bottom line, inquire about the naval designer of the boat you have your eyes on and learn about his work, philosophy and boat designs.
10. Resist impulse buy
If you are ever in doubt when buying a boat, just walk away from it. When it comes to yachts and boats, refrain from impulsive purchase or you'll regret the decision all your life. Buying a boat is an investment which should be made after carefully considering all pros and cons. There are many aspects involved when buying a boat as discussed in the article. In fact, the whole purpose of this article is to prevent impulse buys by educating people who are looking to get a private boat for themselves. Unless a boat cultivates a real passion inside you, just walk away from it. At the end of the day, it is all about user experience, isn't it?