Buying a Sailboat New vs. Pre-Owned

Q: For prospective sailboat buyers, there’s always the big question - Why purchase a new sailboat versus a pre-owned sailboat?

A: Assuming that budget is not a serious consideration, there are many good reasons to purchase a new yacht. This is particularly true for the first or second time yacht purchaser.


New is better because it is new; you are the first owner.
New boat warranties are better than no warranty for a
pre-owned. There may be extended warranties available, which provides more peace of mind.
You purchase the most current technology
Your new boat will have the latest design and naval architecture
Electronics will be state of the art with the newest software
Sails and sail plans will benefit from new designs
New mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems(MEP)
Less yacht maintenance time and expense, more time for sailing
Possible boat show purchase incentives
Possible trade in of current boat (if applicable)
New yacht owner orientation available from dealer
Dealer support during warranty period
No pre-owned yacht survey or sea trial expense
Best possible yacht financing and insurance

Q: On the other hand, what are the major benefits of buying a pre-owned yacht?

A: Purchasing a pre-owned yacht can make your yacht purchase dollars go further, thus allowing more sailors to enjoy the sport. Doing your own yacht refit or basic upgrade can be a rewarding experience, particularly if you’re a seasoned yachtsman with rigging and woodworking skills.


Pre-owned yachts cost less than new
Shopping for a pre-owned yacht can be fun and educational
Monthly mortgage payment will be less
Cost of insurance will be less
Older designs have more classic lines
You choose from a wide variety of yachts
The depreciation curve has flattened out
Pre-owned is preferable if you do not plan to own the yacht for at least four years
Upgrading your yacht can be a rewarding experience, particularly if it is a family effort

Q: How do you recommend someone realistically compare the benefits of new versus used?

A: On balance, if a person can afford a new yacht, that is almost always the preferred yacht to purchase.  This is particularly true of first or second time yacht purchasers.  The factory and dealer warranties are important.  Extended warranties, if available, are important.  On-site dealer support is important.  None of those items are available on a pre-owned yacht.  Typically a person buying a new yacht needs to keep it for about five years so that the depreciation is not so great. 

A pre-owned yacht is good, particularly if a yacht purchaser is on a budget and cannot afford a new yacht.  Also if they have owned several yachts and know how to maintain and fix items, pre-owned might be the right choice.  Most of the depreciation is gone on a pre-owned yacht and that is important if a purchaser is not planning on keeping the yacht for more than a year or two.

Q: How do you properly assess a used boat?  What do you look for/consider? 

A: Someone purchasing a pre-owned yacht should always have a survey performed on the yacht they plan to purchase. They should make that a condition of the offer to purchase contract.  In addition, most finance and insurance companies will require this survey. A typical survey on a 40’ or smaller yacht will cost about $500, and it is definitely money well spent. Remember: there is no dealer or manufacturer warranty on pre-owned yachts so it is important to know about any deficiencies.  Also a purchaser should try to work with a trusted brokerage sales person who will give them good advice and the benefit of their experience. 
Q: What type of financing is available for new and used boats?
A:Marine financing is the same for new and fairly late model pre-owned yachts.  Most finance companies require about 20% down payment.  Mortgages are usually for 10 to 20 years terms.  Yacht financing is very similar to home financing, only for shorter terms.  Some yacht purchasers prefer to use the equity in their homes to pay for their yachts.  This usually results in low interest rates and the assurance of mortgage interest tax benefits. 

Q: What type of warranties are available on new and used boats? 

A: New yacht warranties include those offered by the yacht builder, the dealer, the supplier of many of the major components on the yacht, as well as extended warranties.  There are usually separate and longer warranties on the boat bottom (hull).  Pre-owned yachts do not typically have warranties or qualify for extended warranties.  Warranties are one important difference between new and pre-owned options.

Q: How do I take the next step?

A:Analyze your budget situation to determine if you can afford to buy new. If you’re not sure what your budget can afford, do some shopping at your local dealership or at the boat show, and/or speak with your financial institution/lender about available rates and what you can afford. Once you’ve determined if new or used is the right/best route, then start to do your homework via website research, onsite dealership visits, etc. The most important thing: Get Started! Your sailing adventure awaits!


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