5 Tips you must know if you want to buy a boat

5 Tips to Buy a boat

Things you need to know and some tips if you are looking to buy a boat or a sailing yacht in Hong Kong, Asia or in fact anywhere in the world.


Buying a boat can be a complicated thing, there are too many brands out there every agent or dealer saying theirs’ is the best. I am a bit of a conservative type of a person, so choosing things only because of a big brand name seems foolish to me. I have been to many European boat factories and met with countless European, American boat factory representatives. Some how they all just said, “look our boat is better than the other boat because its of a higher quality, and its beautiful”. I never understood this. Everybody says the same thing, and every boat which I imported to Hong Kong, had similar issues. The economical boat to the most expensive one all had their share of ridiculous problems that should not have been there. After complaining about the problems to the factory, the factory representatives then said oh sorry, this is one time problem. But rest of the boats are again “Great Quality”. I heard that thousands of times from all factories.

So let me tell you the truth. They all are going to have problems. Some minor and some major. But if you expect to have a James bond type of a boat, where you sit on a smooth ride, press the buttons and things do exactly what they are suppose to, then you are in for a unpleasant surprise. The bigger your boat gets, the more minor issues you are going to have to deal with. But they are not all that bad. Imagine your apartment and a car mixed together, you are going to deal with similar issues. Have you ever had a home or a car that never required maintenance. If you did, tell me, and I will get one of those.

The point I am trying to make is that having a boat is great, it serves your purpose and really gives you that needed time on the waters with your loved ones. But your expectations need to be realistic too. After all things are suppose to give you happiness. and If you become frustrated and angry at small things and minor issues. Then owning a boat is not your cup of tea.


5) Know what you want and why you want it : So time to be honest with yourself. This first step can already let you know if you should or should not buy a boat. If you are buying a boat because your friend has one and you want to show off more than he/she does. You are gonna hate boating. If you are young and rich, and want a sexy boat to attract the opposite sex and throw parties. You are going to hate boating and you might go broke very soon too. So know your purpose. is it water sports? family outings? corporate entertainment? fishing? going for long weekends? etc. Also try to know how important speed is for you. Do you need something that moves very fast, or a in a reasonable speed? how big your boat should be? Try to roughly estimate how many people would generally be on your boat if you take it out every other weekend and then decide the size of the boat that can accommodate that number of friends. Its also a good idea to charter a boat or accompany your friends on their boat. so you get an idea if you like day cruises or you might also enjoy over night stays on your boat. This can also help you make a decision.

4) New boat or a used boat : Decide if you would like to buy a new boat or a used boat. There is a substantial price difference between the both. But people expect to find a 1 year old shiny boat for 40% the price of a new one, frankly speaking the chances are very low of getting such a deal. Because if there is an obvious good deal in the market, the dealer or the broker will buy it off right away to make some money from it. So yes, have realistic expectations. And always remember if something sounds too good to be true in this business, then walk away. A boat that is 4 or 5 years old which has been maintained well normally are priced well in the used boat markets. For an experienced boater, he or she will know that the age of the boat doesn’t really matter as long as the condition and machinery is well maintained. Similar to buying a car. New boats come with warranties, You will find minor things here and there. The factories cannot be entirely blamed for this, almost all the boats in the world use same machineries such as engines, generators, wirings, electronics etc they are all bought from other companies and normally you get same issues as electronic components in your home. Many times dealers give good discounts for new boats especially for brands that are trying to enter the market. So there is value in both used and new boats, but you have to find it. Consult a trustworthy agent and its always good to consult a maintenance shipyard to see what kind of problems normally occur in what boats. But shipyards and agents sometimes are affiliated so be careful you might just end up putting money in someones pocket if they introduce you as a customer to some agent.

3) Consult an agent directly: Normally for new boats you have to approach the area’s dealer. Try to contact dealers directly and not through some trusted captain, crew, friend or your personal assistant. There are lot of cases of personal assistants and captains asking for commissions and cuts while selling the boat to their bosses. Do it yourself. Put some effort in contacting dealers, You don’t have to go anywhere, call the agents to your office for a meeting but get in touch directly.  As for buying a used boat, unless you are a seasoned boater who really knows the market values and you completely trust the seller, then fine, do it yourself. If not, then get a broker to do things. There are procedures such as, inspection, survey, paper works, agreements, deposits, final payment, transfer of ownerships, insurance arrangements etc. There are many things that can go wrong in each of these steps. The risk is huge when some disagreement happens after you have paid deposits. Get a experienced broker, have a conversation, try to know things, a good broker will tell you procedures, you can evidently see and feel if he or she is experienced or not and hire them to do things for you.

2) Be Smart when choosing a brand name : When you first start looking for boats, the biggest brands are normally well exposed. A well known brand has a certain standard in quality and style. But its advisable not to go overboard by a brand name only. Because think about it, you are paying for their marketing and promotions. A good idea is to put more effort in exploring more brands in your area. If a factory has been making a boat for a good number of years and decades. It also tells you that they know how to do their job. It very much depends on your own sense and sensibility on how you choose. You can compare prices and go into the details of the product and see if you are paying for gimmicks or you are paying for a boat? see the boat’s size, details, history and try not to be sold by a charming agent unless and until you are comfortable and it makes sense to you. Very much like a car or a house, there are different views from a customer who is focused on engineering, design, spaciousness, performance, maintenance etc. Its also not a good idea to take a risk and buy a completely unknown boat from a newly opened factory because its cheap. Especially some new factories opening in some very famous Asian countries. Many factories are still not experienced enough to deliver a high standard boats which may start falling apart after a few years of usage.

1) Get a survey done! The most important thing while buying a boat is to get a survey done from a well known surveyor, especially for a used boat. But again, you need to put some effort. When the surveyor is doing a survey, accompany him and try to understand things on the ground level. If you only read a report in your office you can be hugely misguided. Because I know surveyors who can write one page explanation for a missing screw and a bolt, which makes a small problem look huge. So go with the surveyor and get an objective view of things. Sometimes I like to get one handy man accompanying me who will quickly open panels and check things if incase anything looks suspicious. For example there can be water leaks due to loosely connected pipes, or sometimes the gauges may not work due to loose wiring connections which many times can be fixed on the spot.  When you order a new boat a survey can be expensive especially if the surveyor has to travel all the way to the factory and check and inspect things. Lot of factories also do not welcome surveyors because they simply don’t want any additional trouble from someone’s subjective point of view. A good factory making boats with high standards will normally welcome surveyors. Its infact a good idea for the factory aswell because a sea-trial done by the surveyor will ensure that the factory has delivered satisfactorily and the factory will be off the hook when problems arise due to misuse of the boat later. A survey for a new boat can be expensive but its definitely worth it.


I hope you found this article useful

And Best of luck if you are thinking of buying new boat.



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