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Buying First Motor Yacht - What's your #1 tip?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Dingus, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Dingus

    Dingus New Member

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    Besides "don't do it!", what's your #1 tip for someone buying their first motor yacht?

    I'm looking in the 50-60 foot range, from as new as maybe 2-3 years old to as old as 10 years or so.

    I'm going to the Fort Lauderdale boat show this weekend and I'm sure I'll be able to evaluate the aesthetics that I like, the layout that will work for my family, and the creature comforts that are important to us (a bigger galley because I like to cook, etc.)

    But what I don't know are the things that a first-time yacht buyer be on the lookout for. What are common pitfalls? Things that sellers will try to cover up? Outright scams?

    Any brands to steer clear of in those age ranges?

    Any stand out brands?

    Tips for hiring a surveyor?

    Thanks so much in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience!!

    Tony
  2. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    I would recommend finding a Buyer's Agent that you can develop a working relationship with and put him to work for you. That's going to require some shopping around. So I'd be looking for that at the show ...as much as I would be looking at the boats.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
  3. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    Agree, buyer's broker could be good.

    You might hum a few bars about your prior boating experience... I mention that simply because another option might be to hire a managing captain -- if you'll need that -- who can work with you and guide you through the selection process.

    -Chris
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I agree with what RER and Chris have said. I also believe in a process for any large purchase such as a boat. Spend a lot of time defining your requirements based on how you intend to use the boat. This will help immensely in narrowing down boats. Also, for those things you don't know your preference on, this will give you the impetus to try to figure it out. In my opinion, this should be in writing. Then from that you can develop two more lists, one is "not preferred" and the other is "deal killers."

    If you need to in order to figure out some of these things, based on limited boating in this size range, then charter some. In chartering you can figure out on each boat things you don't like, things you absolutely can't tolerate.

    Just a few of the type items you should develop preferences on. Do you want a flybridge? What speed must it cruise? Twin or single? Thrusters? Stablizers (Can of course be added later)? Galley up or down? Steps from aft deck to salon to helm? Stairs or ladder up? How many cabins and heads? Any separate accommodation for crew? Water and air draft are huge issues depending on your cruising grounds. Headroom, for those of us above average height eliminates many fine boats.

    The list goes on and on. I'd spend a lot of time looking at boats online in your size and price range and discussing with your partner or family the things you like and dislike about each. Even if the only comment is one saying "Eww, that's ugly", then you learn something about preferences.

    You want to find the boat that is right for you, not what others prefer. That starts with your intended use. We realize our tastes are very different than others but we've always found the right boats for us. As part of our process, we studied builder's histories and reputation and one of our style favorites was quickly dismissed. We like new, which are financially a mistake in most opinions. Everyone kept telling us that for long range cruising on a 100' + boat, you would cruise at 12 knots or so and be happy. We chartered one 113' Burger and that boat was absolutely gorgeous and well built in every way and so well preserved in spite of being about 10 years old at the time. It's max speed is 14 knots and cruise is 12. We took it for a week. We just couldn't be happy with the speed. Everyone tells us we're crazy but we know ourselves and we were honest with ourselves. It didn't matter how perfect the boat was, 12 knots didn't suit us.

    What is your prior experience and your intended use? How did you settle on 50-60'? Keep in mind that no single boat will check all the boxes. The purchase of a boat is a compromise. Just be sure you compromise on things you're comfortable doing so and not on things that make you unhappy with your choice.

    As to buyer's broker, they should ask you a litany of questions. If they don't, they're not the one to choose.
  5. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Member

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    My number 1 tip would be to realize that the purchase price is just the beginning of the spending of money. The financial commitment that keeping a boat in nice shape requires that the significant other supports the decision. I have been boating for 39 years and I still get excited about the next trip. My favorite family memories all have 1 thing in common and that is they occurred while boating. Prepare for the purchase but enjoy the process of buying a new to you boat. Go have fun.
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Budgeting all costs is important and difficult if not experienced. A great place to use an experienced captain and/or engineer.
  7. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    Thanks.
    :-(
  8. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    ...or her.
  9. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    :)
  10. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Member

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    OP I reread your post. You like to cook. I have 50amp 240V service (2) and my cooktop will not boil water. I wonder if my cooktop is 120V. It is certainly possible that something is wrong with mine. Also I have not found a grill that cooks good and stows easy. My wife prefers to eat out so not that big of a deal for us. But when we do cook on board we bought a butane?? Cooktop which will boil water. Most MY’s that I am aware of don’t have ovens. I have seen the trawler’s with them. Anyhow don’t assume that a boat’s galleys cooks like your home’s kitchen. atleast that has been my experience. Others will chime in and may have better experiences and ideas than I do. BTW my boat is 54’.
  11. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    There is most certainly something wrong with it. Yes, boat galleys offer additional challenges mostly due to lack of counter top and cabinet space. Then again, I've lived in some studio apartments that a lot less than the average 50 footer.....

    To the OP..... not a dig, but first you need to learn what questions to ask. The ONLY way to learn is time on the water. I HIGHLY suggest you do some chartering. First with a skipper, and then you can pick his brain on the way and learn. Go with different skippers and get some variety of opinions. Then rent. Different boats. WE cannot answer the question as to what YOU need. First YOU need to find out what you need.

    Unless you just want to wave your check book and have your people handle it all. Then you need to find a good yacht management company.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I would suggest chartering a few different yachts for week long trips in the size range you’re looking at and see what you like and don’t like once you spend a week sleeping and traveling on one.

    Develop a list of 5-7 must haves, and 5-7 items you don’t want. Then find yachts that fit those parameters. Look deeper, things like heads, shower size, refrigerator size, galley size, storage, etc. speed? Range?

    You really need to figure out what you expect your usage to be.
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Some builders use low end cook tops. The worst I ve seen was a 240v Kenyon which took 20’ to boil a pot of water. The new glass cooktop input on my own boat boil waters in a couple of minutes.

    Grilling? I really like the 240v Miele. No hassle with gas bottles. Flip a switch.

    Ovens, a good compromise is a microwave / convection oven. I have a GE. It roasts pretty well.

    And yes we cook and bake A LOT to charter standards

    As to the original post, the key is to define how you will be using the boat.

    Persnally I put serviceability near top of the list as well as what I call “boatability”. Many boats are unpractical with poor clear placement, narrow side decks, and can be hard to board . Before of euro boats with no run rails and no side decks to board from fixed finger pier (very common here)
  14. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    Add to that accessibility to systems and machinery whether you work on things yourself or pay someone else.
  15. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    That s what I meant by serviceability :) I ve seen too many things like bilge pumps, fresh water pumps generator parts that could only be reached with one hand.
  16. Ormond Bert54

    Ormond Bert54 Senior Member

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    What are some of the boats you like so far and the price range? When I buy again, I'll be looking for something in the 10 yr old range that has depreciated significantly, been maintained perfectly and upgraded along the way. The most expensive boat is the fixer upper where you spend triple what you think to fix it.
  17. GhostriderIII

    GhostriderIII Member

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    Ok, where will you dock it? A question that was posed to me many years ago by a broker in Anacortes. Makes sense to not buy something if you have nowhere to put it. At the time, we had several boat houses in BC - so where to put it wasn't a problem.

    Are you going to live-aboard it - ok, will the marina you plan to use allow it? Many won't anymore. And those that do have 1-5 yr waiting lists.

    Expenses beyond initial purchase: Insurance; Captain, mates, engineer - they are employed now; dock fees, live-aboard fees; electricity, LP, fresh water supply, pump out, fuel. Does $1.50/ltr shock you? :eek: It should. People to clean the boat, above and below waterline. The cost of haul out and bottom jobs - every third year.

    If you're a chef, then don't trust electric stoves - we use only diesel on ours but the personal boat has LP and both do a great job.

    Buying the boat is just the tip of the 'berg.
  18. GhostriderIII

    GhostriderIII Member

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    Take some classes first - before heading to the brokers

    Charter those before purchasing.
  19. cleanslate

    cleanslate Member

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    First have plenty of money...leftover after the purchase.
    Charter a few boats first. To get a ''feel'' for things.
    Then , if you have the ''bug'' get yourself a boat, that YOU and your family truly like.

    And my old 120 volt Princess three burner range with oven works just fine. Just boiled a pound of Fresh spaghetti, pan seared New Jersey Scallops, tomato sauce, and sautéed zucchini. With a three burners on.
    Helps to pre heat the water in a insta-hot tea pot, the pour that into your stove pot to speed things up.
    I lived aboard my 42' boat for three years, cooked all kinds of things on the stove top and oven. You just have to give the marine stove a little longer time to get to temp vs. land units.
  20. gr8trn

    gr8trn Member

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    Intended use as has been pointed out.
    What do you see yourself doing. Marina queen, marina hoping, fishing, rafting up, anchoring out, where do you see yourself going.

    Intended use is number one for sure, otherwise you are always looking at another boat.

    Actually, you will likely always be looking at another boat, so just go for the best boat you can get the best deal on. High end luxury bottom feeding!

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