Selling Your Charter Yacht

Remember your boat’s charter potential when it’s time to sell.

Selling Your Charter Yacht

If a boat has been used for charter and proven easy to love, her seller has an advantage — if he handles it correctly.

If you put the boat up for charter while you owned it, you can speak to its true potential. "I would certainly as a purchase client want to see what type of charter business is on the books," says Barbara Dawson, a charter broker for Camper & Nicholsons in Palm Beach, Florida (www.camperandnicholsons.com). "Take a look at the repeat business — that typically shows the reputation of the crew and the yacht." A broker may be able to get information and even referrals as testament to the quality of the experiences aboard.

The promise of good business may help the sale, but keep it real. "The first thing a new owner, who is considering charter should think about is having economic goals that are low enough in terms of income and high enough in terms of expense to be realistic," says Ron Rickard, a yacht broker with Ardell in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (www.ardell.com). "Every new charter prospect tends to look at his boat as being worth more per week than it's going to be worth and as being likely to charter for more weeks than it's going to charter. And to run for less money than it's going to take to run it." The boat that pays for itself is like the tooth fairy — don't perpetuate the myth. Instead, show sensible figures and attract a reasonable buyer.

Take a hard look at your boat. Are its charter attributes all they could be? “You definitely need good deck spaces — multiple good deck spaces so people can get away from one another, or find each other,” Rickard says with a laugh. “The exterior of the boat for most charters is more important than the interior. The interior is important when you’re looking at pictures in a brochure, but if you’re down in the Virgin Islands you’re out on deck most of the time, so you want deck spaces that are conducive to privacy and fun.”

For the interior, flexibility is best. “I typically have a conversation regarding the staterooms,” Dawson says. “The ability of the client to be able to have all doubles or several twins by converting the berths makes a great selling point as it appeals to the various makeup of groups of charter guests.”

Charter clients place great importance where yacht buyers may not. “Watersports are typically the final subject,” Dawson says. “A good list of water toys is a must and a towed tender is one of the top requests.” This begs the question: Do you spend the money to modify your boat? In a word, no.

“Every aspect of a potential yacht comes into the equation,” says Bill Sanderson, a yacht broker with Camper & Nicholsons. “It’s essential that the potential purchaser look at the boat in terms of its fundamental design and the type and installation of its machinery.” The value lies in the boat, not in the potential business that it may conduct.

“I think a major refit of most boats, if it’s done well, will move it to the front of the line of similar boats waiting to be sold,” Rickard says. “But it won’t have a dramatic impact on the price, because buyers expect a good boat.”

A yacht with a great book of charter business may have a built-in list of potential buyers. In other words, “We’ve always loved our time on that boat” could easily become “We love to spend time on our boat.”

Editor's Picks

Happy Days: Pure Bliss is a 142-foot Palmer Johnson motoryacht built in 1997 and refit in 2008. Her semi-displacement hull gives her a cruising speed of 13 knots and she can take 12 guests in her five-stateroom layout. Contact Bill Sanderson at Camper & Nicholsons at 516-655-2121 or visit www.camperandnicholsons.com.

Expedition Ready: Garfield is a steel-hulled 132-foot Dearsan built in 2004. She carries two 25-foot tenders and a 29-foot sport fishing boat, and has a cruising speed of 11½ knots and five staterooms. Contact Ron Rickard at Ardell Yacht & Ship Brokers at 954-525- 7637 or visit www.ardell.com.

A Real Gem: Blue Gold is a custom 164- foot Benetti motorsailer built in 1986 and refit in 2006. Generous accommodations accept 12 guests in five staterooms. Contact Ron Rickard at Ardell Yacht & Ship Brokers at 954-525-7637 or visit www.ardell.com.