The appeal of the yachting lifestyle is extraordinary. The freedom of the open sea; the excitement of fresh destinations; the simple exclusivity of separation from the land; the sheer indulgence of lazy aft deck lunches under a Mediterranean sun. It’s all very real and it’s all very compelling, but the with the splendour of it there are also the practical, commercial, legal and logistical considerations that underpin a long and happy relationship with your yacht. Whether you’re buying, owning, upgrading or selling a yacht, there are realities that need to be faced and processes that need to be addressed – and happily, there are professionals who can step in to help.
Buying a yacht
Picking the right yacht is key. While most yachts can be used for most basic recreational pastimes, boats are far more pursuit-specific than cars. You need to pin down what you like to do; who you like to do it with; and where you intend to do it – and select a boat with the scale, the layout, the equipment and the performance characteristics to suit.
Once you’ve found the boat you want at a price you’d like to pay, you need to verify that it is owned by the seller, that it is free of outstanding finance and that any VAT due has been paid. Documented proof should be available on all of the above and if it can’t be provided, secure written testimony on behalf of the seller, explicitly verifying it.
Once the viewings are complete, a provisional price has been agreed upon and a sale & Purchase Agreement has been drawn up and signed by both parties, it’s time for the surveys and sea trials. These enable you to check the operation of any practical and mechanical elements of the yacht. They can be as useful on new build craft as on used boats but in all cases, this important step is your final chance to satisfy yourself that the yacht is everything you expect, before you push on with the final exchange.
If you have sourced marine finance secured on the basis of the boat itself, your survey report is likely to be required by your provider. If not, you can move straight ahead, completing the exchange by means of a formal Bill of Sale.
At Argo Yachting, we understand these boat buying issues. All of our listed boats undergo surveys and paperwork checks as a matter of course and all of our brokers are proven professionals. When you buy a yacht through us, we dispatch one of our in-house service technicians to talk you through the boat and to ease you into the ownership experience with confidence and security, wherever in the world your new boat happens to be. And by taking advantage of Argo’s service packages, which now range from one to ten years, you can ensure that the ease of your boat purchase is mirrored by the ease of its ownership.
Owning a yacht
If you haven’t organised insurance prior to the signing of the Bill of Sale, it needs to be your number one priority. If your insurer is a member of the British Marine Federation as well as the Financial Services Authority, it should have policies that cater for most boating scenarios. Once you have a favoured insurer and a sensible quote, make sure you read the Summary of Cover and think earnestly about your usage. Does it cover you for boating overseas? For watersports? For towing? For overnighting? For cooking on board? What about winter boating? What about other people driving your boat? If there are any limitations, a specialist marine insurer should be set up to expect and accommodate any bespoke stipulations you may have.
Your second consideration is likely to be where to keep it. In many cases, the existing location of the boat will tally with your own cruising ambitions but if not, you need to think hard about where works best for you. Ideally, this will all have been considered prior to your purchase but if you’re looking to relocate, your options are now much broader than ever before. With the increase in the reach of budget airlines, allied to the exponential growth of the charter market and of the shoreside facilities required to service it, you can now consider areas of Europe that could never have featured in your mooring shortlist a decade or two ago. Wherever you favour, look for a reliable climate and a nearby airport, as well as some interesting cruising grounds and some English speaking marina staff. If those staff offer 24-hour support, alongside established onsite service and maintenance facilities, that also makes it much simpler to manage your boat from the UK.
As regards keeping your long-term ownership experience affordable, you may also want to think about offering it for charter. Not only can this help mitigate the costs, but by giving it more regular use, it can safeguard your yacht’s condition and enable you to sell it on faster and more profitably, courtesy of the exposure it has enjoyed via your charter operator’s marketing materials and via the first-hand experiences of your charter guests. Done well, the charter schedule needn’t even impact too greatly on your own private use. Just be aware that, to remain legal, you may need to book and pay for a week on board your own boat, precisely like any other guest.
Selling your yacht
Selling your yacht can involve a lot of work, and is something that Argo Yachting will do for you. It needs to be cleaned and serviced, to remedy any issues ahead of selling. We will also photograph and market it to the right audience at a strong but credible market price and then identify and engage with serious buyers on your behalf. As part of the process, we will help you conduct viewings, handle any sea trials, and we will negotiate on your behalf, while handling the finance and paperwork required to close the deal.
Appointing a Argo Yachting as your broker can also make a lot of financial sense. After all, when you’ve resolved to sell your boat, you don’t want to spend six, eight or even 12 months looking for a buyer while you continue to take responsibility for the cost of moorings, storage, insurance, tax, maintenance, depreciation and finance. And if you’ve found a new boat that you want to buy, the idea of being held up by the sale of your old one can prove even more stressful.
Plainly, a situation like this is where part exchange can help speed and simplify the process. But in all cases, if you enlist the services of a proven end-to-end yacht management company such as Argo, (one that is able to help you buy, manage, service, charter, market and sell your boat), it will help generate a very useful degree of continuity. In addition to enabling you to enjoy the full lifecycle of your yacht without the stress or worry, that fastidious documented continuity will also help give any potential buyer the utmost confidence that the boat you’re selling is one they would do well to buy.