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3 things to check when buying a previously owned yacht

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Maritime And Admiralty Law

Buying a previously-owned yacht can be an exciting venture, but it is essential to conduct thorough checks before making the purchase. The possibility of structural issues or operational failures can lead to fatal accidents when you take the yacht out to sail.

Here are three critical things to examine to ensure a smooth and satisfactory transaction.

1. Inspect the hull and structure

The hull is the foundation of any yacht, and its condition is crucial for the vessel’s overall integrity. Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks, blisters or deformations. Look for areas with recent repairs, as they may indicate past problems. Pay attention to the keel and the areas around it, as damage there can be particularly serious. Use a moisture meter to detect any hidden water damage, especially in wooden or fiberglass hulls.

2. Examine the engine and mechanical systems

The engine is the heart of the yacht, and its condition directly affects performance and reliability. Start by inspecting the engine for any signs of corrosion, leaks or unusual wear and tear. Check the engine oil for the presence of water or metal particles, which could indicate internal damage. Review the maintenance records to verify regular servicing and to understand any past issues. Additionally, inspect other mechanical systems, including the transmission, steering and electrical systems. Ensure all components operate smoothly and efficiently, as mechanical failures can lead to costly repairs and dangerous situations at sea.

3. Review the yacht’s history and documentation

A thorough review of the yacht’s history and documentation can reveal important information about its past and current condition. Examine the title and registration to confirm the seller’s ownership and check for any liens or encumbrances. Verify the yacht’s maintenance records to ensure regular upkeep and to identify any recurring problems. Investigate any accidents or significant repairs reported in the past. The logbook can provide insights into the yacht’s usage, including any long voyages or periods of inactivity. Proper documentation helps avoid legal complications and provides a clear understanding of the yacht’s background.

The Coast Guard reported a total of 4,040 recreational boating accidents in the year 2022. This statistic illustrates just how important it is to inspect your yacht before taking out on open water, especially if it is a previously owned vessel.