Ask The Experts: Should I buy a new or pre-owned yacht?

For many people looking to buy their first-ever yacht or boat, the process can seem overwhelming. In the seventh of our series on the initial stages of interest in the yachting market, we asked some of the world's most expert yacht brokerage companies - including BurgessEdmistonFraser YachtsSimpson Marine and Y.CO - about what to know if you are deciding between a new and pre-owned yacht for your next purchase...

The Singapore Yacht Show has a wide selection of pre-owned yachts on display as well as many of the world's finest yacht builders exhibiting at the show, offering a wide variety of options for someone looking to purchase a vessel, whether second hand or built to their specification.

What are the pros and cons of buying a new boat or yacht over a used one?

A used yacht you can have almost immediately. Some may require just a small refit and you would have a yacht close to what you are expecting. A new yacht is usually recommended for owners who have owned one or two yachts before and that have enough experience to design the perfect yacht for their needs with the accumulation of their experience. David Legrand, Sales Broker, Fraser Yachts

The pros of new yachts are that you get the latest technology, the latest design and styles. The yacht can be customised according to your needs and tastes (upgrading of equipment and interior changes), and new yachts come with warranties. However with a new yacht, you will be paying a premium price, and there can be a long lead-time from order to delivery (depending on the yacht size and shipyard’s schedule) that can be several years before you will have the yacht delivered to you. For pre-owned yachts on the brokerage market, the benefits are that you have almost immediate delivery (if it is purchased locally), and it is less expensive than a new yacht. Also, there will be no warranties (there is a certain amount of risk and uncertainty about the boat’s history and equipment), outdated design and style (for older boats), and hidden costs to bring a boat up to the buyer’s liking. Simpson Marine

If I want to buy a used boat, how long will a major interior refit usually take? And is this cost-effective in today’s market compared with buying new?

A refit will totally depend on the size of the yacht but it could take anywhere from one to six months. We have a number of clients who have purchased second-hand yachts and undertaken an immediate interior and exterior refit to customise it. This is a very cost-effective way to purchase a yacht. Edmiston

Although a refit could vary from SG$200,000 to several million, it could be cost-effective if the purchase is well handled and if the brand of the yacht is worth the investment for a fair recovery of money spent when the time to sell the yacht comes. David Legrand, Sales Broker, Fraser Yachts

It all depends on the type of yacht, size and what kind of refit (interior or exterior) one is aiming for. A full refit of a 24m (80ft) yacht can take between six and 12 months, depending on the jobs required and the efficiency of the shipyard. It is difficult to compare the cost-effectiveness of this exercise with buying new, as there are a lot of reasons why people buy second hand. One reason could be because the boat is a classic and it is no longer in production so it is more of a labour of love – think classic cars. Another reason is that it is simply less expensive to buy second-hand boats and then refit the whole boat – it would almost always still cost less than buying new. However, the boat will still be an older boat with a more dated design. Simpson Marine

Where could I have significant refit work done in SE Asia?

Phuket, where the yachting activity is predominant would be the best choice. There are several other shipyards in the area that have experience in building superyachts and could therefore also carry out refit work and you should check with your broker which would be the best yard to suit your needs. David Legrand, Sales Broker, Fraser Yachts

There is a shortage of facilities and skilled workers for yachts all around Asia. Currently, the best place to refit a yacht (for pleasure boats) is in Phuket, as it has the facilities and skilled and semi-skilled workforce. Bangkok comes in second for both interior and exterior refits. Singapore has the facilities to offer exterior refits as they work on a lot of commercial vessels and ships. Simpson Marine

How long would delivery of a yacht built in Europe usually take to reach Singapore or other parts of SE Asia?

Approximate time would be circa six weeks, however, this is highly dependent on weather and the size of the yacht. Edmiston

For a yacht cruising at 12 knots, probably around one month non-stop (though two months would be more realistic), and it would be about the same by yacht transporter. David Legrand, Sales Broker, Fraser Yachts

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