26 North Yachts Among This Year’s “Inc. 5000” Fastest-Growing Private Companies
Learn More

Blog | What to Look for during a Yacht Inspection

October 19, 2015

What to Look for during a Yacht Inspection

The yacht inspection is a critical time in the decision process of buying a luxury motor yacht. If you have come to this point, you are sending a clear message to the owner, and your yacht broker, that you are seriously interested in this boat.

The yacht inspection should come before the next, and usually the final step in the sales process, the sea trial. The inspection should not be just a cursory glance at the boat. This can really be one of the most important steps in the buying process. Take it seriously, get your inspection right, and you will likely enjoy your motor yacht purchase for years to come. Get it wrong and you could be in for a world of rough waters ahead!

So, what should you really be looking for during the inspection to ultimately decide if you want to make an offer on the yacht?

Be Realistic

One of the keys to a proper boat inspection is to be realistic about your expectations. You are likely going to be inspecting several boats before you make your ultimate decision to buy one. You should go to each vessel with a very specific list of what you want to see, but also, with the understanding that it is unlikely that any boat will hit everything on your list 100%. Which means you should list your key priorities, but also, note which of those you may be willing to compromise a little on.

What to Look For

Obviously, if you have requested an inspection visit, you have already read up on the yachts listing, and have seen many pictures, and probably also a video tour. So, the main things you want to look for during a yacht inspection are the things you cannot see in a picture or video.

If you are an inexperienced yachtsman, you definitely want a broker you can trust along with you on your inspection tour. You also may want to bring along a more experienced friend. An honest broker will have no objection to you doing so.

A good way to know what to look for is to look up the “class” of yacht on the internet. If there is a history of some particular problems with that model or series of yacht, you may find some issues to look for from other owners.

So now you are ready to begin your inspection. Start out with getting a feel for the cosmetic condition of the hull and deck, including gelcoat or paint. Look for any evidence of structural damage, such as chips, or cracks in high stress areas. Next:

  • Check that all gear described in the listing is actually there, and in proper working order.
  • Look for any signs of water leaks, or water damage below decks
  • If allowed, start and run the engines. You may not really get a feel for their condition until sea trial, but an experienced boater can tell from the sound if there are any serious problems. You can also at least look for obvious engine problems such as fuel or oil leaks.


During your inspection, find out who has been handling the yacht’s maintenance. Yachts that have been placed with a reliable yacht management company, or have been made available for charter, are likely very well maintained.

When you have completed your inspection, how should the things you find, affect your offer? Obviously if you found too many things to be weary of, move on to your next boat. But, if you still like what you see, be sure to take into account any issues you find that may require investing in repair, and factor that into your offer. Again, a skilled yacht broker, can help you in evaluating your next steps.


Understanding the pluses and minuses of buying a motor yacht can be complex. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Sales Specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

Talk to usContactOur Team 

Sign up forYoga On the DocksTuesdays at 8 AM