What Size Yacht is Best For You – Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Yacht
Choosing a yacht is sometimes just as complicated as choosing a new car, if not more. Besides, choosing a yacht is often a lifetime investment, unlike our vehicles which have a shelf life of around 30 years at best. By understanding your preferences, educating yourself on your choices, and testing out some options, you can make an educated decision before making a purchase. Buying a yacht is not something you want to jump into without first weighing out your options.
The size of the yacht you choose will most certainly be an individual decision based on your goals and budget. From going to expos and boat shows to online forums, there’s no shortage of places to get information about yachts. It’s important to gain as much information as possible before making your final decision. This ultimate guide to choosing a yacht will ease the process of figuring out exactly what size yacht is best for you.
The first step you need to take when deciding on what size yacht is right for you is making a list of preferences. Take some time to think about what’s important to you. What kind of boating will you primarily be doing? Once you’ve figured out your preferences, the decision-making process becomes a whole lot easier. By eliminating choices that don’t fit your needs, you are left with a shortlist of good options.
What will you be using your yacht for most of the time?
This is an important question to ask yourself. Will you be spending multiple nights at sea with your entire extended family? Or will you mostly be making daytime fishing trips with your buddies? The size of your yacht will vary greatly depending on what end of the spectrum you’re on.
How many guests would you like to accommodate?
As with the above question, it’s important to figure out exactly how many guests you’d like to have onboard at any given time. While you may be getting your boat for intimate family trips, you may want to consider something bigger if you’re thinking of hosting birthday or bachelor parties.
What is your budget?
It’s a good idea to look at the short-term and long-term costs when deciding on what size yacht is right for you. Once you’ve made the initial purchase, the price of owning a yacht doesn’t end there. A bigger yacht will ultimately cost you more in transport, storage, operating, maintenance and repairs. This is also a good time to look into insurance and registration fees associated with owning a yacht.
Are you on board with buying something used?
If your preferences aren’t quite aligned with your budget, purchasing a pre-owned yacht may be a good option if you can’t find the right size in your price range. Just like buying a used car, buying a second-hand boat comes with both benefits and risks. Buying from a dealer will usually come with some sort of warranty, whilst purchasing a boat from a private seller could cost you considerably less.
When deciding to take the plunge and buy a yacht, one of the crucial steps you need to take is educating yourself on the types and sizes of yachts available on the market. For most enthusiasts, buying a yacht isn’t a quick decision. Finding out exactly what’s out there will help you narrow down your choices. It’s easy to get distracted when researching online; the key is staying focused and take notes.
Do your research:
By this time, you’ve probably got an idea of the size and style you’re leaning toward. Find out if there are any boat shows, expos, or dealerships in your area. This is also a good opportunity to look up the registration requirements and insurance options, even if it’s just to get an idea of what to expect. There is so much information out there; fine-tune your focus and learn all you can.
Visit some of the local boat dealers in your area: Going to the dealership and looking around can give you valuable information about the yacht you’re thinking of purchasing. Most dealerships have experienced salespeople working who can answer questions and give recommendations. Additionally, most boat dealers will let you take tours of the yachts in their showroom.
Join social media groups or online forums:
Joining online yacht groups like those on Facebook and Twitter is a great place to seek answers when deciding on the right size yacht. Most yacht groups have some knowledge on the subject. The same goes for online forums like Reddit and Quora; a wealth of information at your fingertips if you ask the right people the right questions.
Subscribe to yacht and boating magazines:
Whether in print or online, subscribing to magazines like Yachting Magazine can give you up-to-date information on yachts and sailing. Subscriptions like Passagemaker even have a classifieds section for buying and selling boats. You don’t have to join a magazine club to get the most out of yachting-related publications; take a look online to see what sparks your interest and only subscribe to a few.
Check the ratings and reviews:
It doesn’t make sense to purchase a yacht with poor consumer reviews, especially if it’s due to mechanical issues. Many first-time yacht purchasers will think they found the perfect boat at a steal of a price; this would be a good time to check the reviews for that particular boat. Asking friends, club members, and online forums what the pros and cons are of owning a yacht of their particular size can give you a more personalized review.
Attend a boat show:
Boat shows, like visiting a dealership, allow you to check out potential yachts and sizes as well as pry for information. Most boat dealers aren’t going to spill out all the negative aspects reviewers have pinned on their product, but they will certainly be able to tell you if any of their models fit your preferences. This is also a good place to network with locals in your area who may be attending; introduce yourself as often as possible because you never know where a new friendship might take you.
Go to an expo:
Attending a boat or yacht expo will most likely leave you more confused than confident at first. It’s tempting to want to take a tour of the 130′ party boat or snap a selfie with the new space-age-looking prototype, but gaining information should be your primary goal. The advantage of going to an expo is that you are likely to come away with some reading material to mull over at home. Additionally, you’ll often find other vendors at these types of gatherings like insurance or financing options.
The Test Phase
This is one of the most important steps when choosing the appropriate size yacht. There can be a point where your boat is just too big for your needs, budget, or storage capabilities. It’s not as easy to test drive a yacht as for a car, but there are some ways to try out a yacht before purchasing.
Tag along with others:
Chances are you know someone personally or indirectly with the same or similar yacht you are thinking of buying. This might take some finagling, but there’s a good chance someone will take you out. Once aboard, ask questions, explore the boat and ask for a turn at the helm.
Rent a yacht:
Renting a yacht is by far the best way to test out a few options. This method might be pricey, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to rent a yacht that is the same or similar to the ones on your shortlist. Modern technology has created an avenue linking boat owners with boat seekers making this an easy, streamlined process.
Sizing Up Your Options
The test phase of this process should bring some insight into what size yacht suits your needs. By this time, you should have been able to narrow it down to three or four choices at best. This is a good time to revisit your preferences list to try and eliminate any contenders that don’t fully meet your size and lifestyle criteria. Think of it as a job applicant; you’re trying to narrow down your selection until you’re left with the perfect choice.
Fine Tuning Your Decision
If you haven’t been able to make a decision by now, you most certainly should have narrowed down your choices to two or three. If you are left with only two choices, it’s best to go bigger if that works for your budget and sailing capabilities.
If you’ve already decided on the size and are having trouble choosing between two manufacturers of yachts, this may be a time to revisit and update your preferences. Outside of size, style, comfort, and capability options, what else is important to you. Are you interested in buying products that are made locally? Is the environmental impact of the yacht and manufacturing practices important to you? Going beyond the surface preferences can most often seal the deal, but you will need to go back and do some more research.
Taking the Plunge
If you’ve figured out your preferences, done your research, and tested out your options, you’re ready to make your purchase. Owning a yacht of any caliber is an accomplishment since the decision-making process alone can be taxing. Aside from figuring out an appropriate size, potential captains are also faced with storage, insurance, and registration decisions which add to the effort and excitement of buying a yacht.
There’s nothing like feeling the water moving beneath you as you make the way to the helm of your new yacht. While the steps you need to take to decide what size yacht is best for you may seem time-consuming, you’ll be on the water in no time. Taking the time to make the most educated decision will serve you well in the long run with less anxiety about a big purchase. The online forums and social media sites boast grand adventures for yacht owners with very few stories of buyer’s remorse.