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Buying a boat: Tips on buying your first yacht.

If you managed to catch the happenings of this year’s Singapore Yacht Show over the weekend, you may be in the mood to get one of your own. However, with the many choices available, it may be confusing, and a little intimidating to decide which yacht is best for you.

To help you consider important points before putting down the cash, we speak to Edwin Tan, a proud yacht owner and Richard Lambert, Managing Director and Senior Broker for Burgess Yachts in Asia, to gain some insight on how to choose the perfect yacht.

Where are you going? 

Related: Onboard: Two of the coolest yachts at the Singapore Yacht Show

Yachting in Singapore has evolved quickly, with more Singaporeans and expats alike showing an interest in the cruising lifestyle. Be it for corporate events or simply socialising with friends and family, there are many possibilities and destinations for yachters in Singapore near or far. “In Singapore, you can sail to the southern islands like Lazarus and St. John’s to picnic, swim, fish or snorkel,” says Tan. “And there are other islands in the Johor Straits where you can also water ski.”

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Further afield, Lamber lists popular destinations in Thailand and nearby Malaysia. “Yachters in Singapore often go to places like Langkawi and Phuket, which will take a couple of days depending on the speed of the yacht.”

Know what you want

Have an idea of what you’re in the market for before heading down to the docks – this way, you won’t make rash, regrettable decisions. “Think about how and where you’re going to use it, and what you want out of it,” says Lamber. “Work down a sort of wish list to choose the yacht you want. Everyone’s going to say theirs is the best, however, it’s important to know what you’re looking for, and how you want to use it.” Above all, Lamber advises to stick to your guns if you have an idea of what you want in mind. “Buy what you want, because its a shame to buy such a beautiful thing and regret it after.”



Tan says one way to ensure you get the boat you want is to look at what you need in terms of space, facilities, speed, comfort and practicality. “My boat, the Azimut Magellano 43 flybridge, suits my family’s needs best. It has three cabins which sleeps five and a modern kitchen located towards the back of the salon. It is a long range boat, capable of carrying a lot of fuel and fresh water which allows us to go to faraway places, either on a slow cruise or at higher speeds. Recently, we cruised to the Indonesian island of Anambas and to Phuket in Thailand.”

How much?

Clearly, if you’re looking to buy a yacht, you know these bad boys don’t come cheap. One thing to remember is that on top of purchasing the yacht, there are additional costs for the upkeep and maintenance of the vessel. “The rising cost of repair and maintenance is a main concern for many yachters: the larger the boat, the more expensive the berth charge, the higher the capacity machinery and high fuel cost for example. Availability of servicing and spare parts is also important,” says Tan. “My yacht has spares and parts that are available locally if not, overseas.”

Lamber also reminds potential buyers that staffing the yacht will be an additional cost to buying. “The bigger the yacht you get, the more crew is needed, and more expensive it becomes to maintain. Set aside a budget every year for the yacht – one should look further ahead than simply the initial cost of the yacht,” he says.

Safety first

One of the top priorities of a yacht is the safety of the vessel and this is one purchase where buying branded is worth it. “Make sure it’s from a respected brand, of good quality and built correctly,” says Lambert. ‘When you’re out at sea, assured safety is the highest concern.” He lists popular brands in Singapore as Princess and Sunseeker in the semi-custom rage, and Oceanco at the high-end.


Tan lists three things that he looks for in a yacht as safety, reliability and whether it comes from a good brand with a proven track record. “Ask questions like: Is the manufacturer, dealer or agent reputable? Do they offer a warranty on the boat? Is it a safe boat with a proven design?” he advises.

Sail on 

Owning a yacht can be a dream come true, but ensure you know what you want and what you’re in for. Take into account practicality, cost, safety and the reputation of the yacht to finalise your choice. Keep these in mind and you’ll be sailing the high seas with confidence in no time.