buying a yacht

Buying A Yacht


For many first-time yacht buyers, navigating the yacht market is like sailing a treacherous sea. From determining if you're ready to buy a yacht, to finding the perfect boat for your needs and lifestyle, and eventually working through the buying process, it's easy to feel like you're drowning in choices and information. When buying your first yacht, here's a guide for easy sailing through the market.

buying a yacht
Are You Ready?

Everyone loves the idea of owning their own yacht, but buying your first yacht is a major life event, and it's something that takes a lot of consideration. Make sure that you're fully ready to own a yacht before spending too much time and money on a boat you don't want and or will not use.

Consider your personal lifestyle, your work and business demands, and family life and responsibilities. If purchasing and owning a yacht gets in the way of other priorities, or if you're too occupied to get the most of yacht ownership, maybe now isn't the perfect time to buy your boat.

Think about the logistics of yacht ownership. In places like San Francisco, where access to the open water is simple, owning a yacht has many advantages. Do you live close enough to water to be able to enjoy your new boat as often as you'd like? The Bay Area offers many beautiful and well-maintained marinas to berth yachts of many sizes. Consider things such as, where you will dock your vessel. Are you planning to live on your yacht, or is it intended only for leisure and recreation?

Plan out a budget, both for purchasing a yacht and for maintenance and upkeep. Just like cars, yachts require regular service to keep them running properly and efficiently. Consider docking fees, insurance, and other recurring expenses that come with yacht ownership, and make sure purchasing and owning a boat fits into your budget.

Power vs Sail: Determine Your Ideal Type

After deciding that the time is right to purchase a yacht, it's time to look for the right vessel for your personal needs and desires. With so many differences in yacht styles, functions, and sizes of yachts on the market, finding the perfect one may seem impossible. But with proper consideration you can efficiently find the yacht that best suits your lifestyle and budget.

One of the key features of every yacht is its method of propulsion. Some yachts are sailboats, while others are powerboats. Both options have distinct features, as well as their own advantages and disadvantages. While the marina costs will be the same, depending on the size, each has different needs regarding equipment maintenance and upkeep.


Sailboats are the classics of the open seas. For yachters who want to feel connected with the world and its elements while sailing, the sailboat is the perfect choice.

buy a new sailboat

Sailboats are more environmentally friendly than powerboats, and their reliance on weather and water conditions provide the adventure and sense of pride and satisfaction many yachters seek in their vessels. Sailboats are quieter than the engines of powerboats, generally allowing for more peace and serenity on the open sea.

Sailboats do have their drawbacks, however. While sailboats have small engines to aid in docking and maneuvering, these engines are not designed to go fast. They rely on the wind to operate properly, so yachters have to wait for the right conditions to sail. Sailboat operation also requires more training and is more labor intensive than powerboat sailing, which is fine for some but a hassle for others. And, even without large engines to maintain, sailboat equipment still requires regular maintenance and upkeep to function well.



Powerboats provide more speed than sailboats and are generally simpler to learn and operate. They do not depend on the wind to move, so powerboat sailing is possible in less-than-ideal sailboat weather. Without tall masts, powerboats generally offer more space on and below deck, and provide shallower drafts and lower clearance heights than sailboats of comparable size.


Because of their reliance on diesel or gas-powered engines, powerboats are more limited in their ability to travel long distances. These engines are often costly to repair or replace, and a broken-down engine renders a powerboat useless until repaired.

Both sailboats and powerboats have specific advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to determine which answers your call to the sea better. Find more information on the pros and cons of each type and guidance on selecting your perfect fit, click here.


Finding Yachts for Sale

The yacht market in California is vast, and wading through your options may be a daunting task. After determining what type of yacht suits your lifestyle, it's time to start digging in and looking at your options.

One of the easiest ways to begin exploring boats for sale in your area is to search online. Reputable sites like YachtWorld and Yatco allow brokers and private owners to post their yachts for sale. This is a great way to see options available nearby and connect with the yacht market and community.

Search West Coast ListingsDo You Need a Broker?

Especially for first-time buyers, purchasing a yacht can become a confusing, exhausting headache. Yacht brokers, like real estate brokers, guide buyers through the buying process, helping them with the paperwork and negotiating the best prices. In California, yacht brokers and salesmen are required to take an exam and hold a license. Going through the process of buying your boat alone is much more difficult than going through it with the aid of an experienced broker.

Much like purchasing a house, there are specific codes and regulations that pertain to purchasing a yacht. Brokers understand these laws and can provide legal advice and guidance through the buying process. They will also help you find your dream yacht, negotiate prices and make offers, set up escrow, and work through post-purchase processes.

Brokers are extremely helpful in navigating the yacht market, for first-time and repeat yacht buyers. Some benefits of working with a broker include:

  • Saves time: Brokers help with the heavy lifting and legwork essential to purchasing a yacht. With established networks and relationships with salespeople and other brokers, an experienced broker can quickly and easily find your ideal vessel. They also ensure quick sales, handling the closing process and other legal matters to make the purchase as fast and smooth as possible.
  • Saves money: Yacht brokers know yachts. Their knowledge of the industry, including specific boat models is expansive. An experienced broker can negotiate a fair price on your behalf, make offers, and verify that the yacht doesn't carry any delinquent taxes or liens.
  • Your money is secure: California yacht brokers are required by law to have a bond and an escrow account set up to protect their clients. A broker can also ensure your seller satisfies all contractual conditions and agreements before they receive any money from you, keeping it safe from dubious yacht sellers.

Contact us to learn more about why hiring a yacht broker is necessary or what to expect when working with a San Francisco broker.

The Atomic Tuna Buying Process

At Atomic Tuna Yachts, we have streamlined the yacht buying process and simplified navigation of the market. Our licensed and experienced brokers will help you find the perfect yacht, then extensively research the vessel to determine a reasonable initial asking price and potential negotiating options. We assist in coordinating a sea trial and surveys to verify the quality and condition of the yacht you're interested in, recommending knowledgeable, professional surveyors.

Atomic Tuna Yachts buying process

After the surveys and sea trial are complete, our broker will help you in determining the best price for the yacht depending on the surveyors' reports. Our expert team handles the process of making offers and negotiating counter-offers to secure the most comfortable and reasonable price.

Next, we work with a title company to research the title for the vessel and handle documentation with the Coast Guard or registration with the state. We then offer professional suggestions about insuring your yacht and handle all the necessary work with your selected insurance company.

After paying the required amount due, you will receive acknowledgement of a clear title and Bill of Sale from the Title company. At this point, our brokers will provide you with your new key, and you will officially become a yacht owner.

Check out our Buyer's Guide to Purchasing a Yacht now for more details on the Atomic Tuna buying process. 

Post-Purchase Services

Even after a sale is completed, the Atomic Tuna team works hard to help you make the most of your new yacht. We'll determine what repairs or upgrades your vessel needs with suggestions for experts to handle the work. We can recommend experienced Captains to contact for training and lessons if necessary. We also provide an in-depth Maintenance Guide and checklist to help you keep your boat in excellent condition.

Our work isn't over just because the sale is complete. Our expert team is always available to answer any questions you may have, provide our services to your interested friends and family members who dream of yacht ownership, and provide professional guidance when you're ready to upgrade your yacht or purchase a new one.

Navigating the yacht market doesn't have to be difficult. With the right help, the process of purchasing your first yacht can be an exciting, informative, and rewarding journey. To learn more about Atomic Tuna Yachts and how we can get you sailing on your own yacht, contact us today!

Download Our Buyer's Guide