If you are seriously considering buying a boat or yacht, our yacht insurance specialists strongly recommend you take it for a sea trial first.
Why? Seeing a yacht where it’s docked or in a showroom is not the same as understanding performance. A sea trial is a perfect opportunity to feel how the vessel operates at cruising speed, check for vibrations, practice hard turns, and experience riding in rough waters.
Here’s how to get the most out of the experience:
- Only ask a broker or dealer for a sea trial when you’ve pretty much made up your mind. In some cases, the seller may require a 10% deposit before a sea trial.
- If you’re buying new, you might take a demonstration model out for the sea trial. In this case, be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples! Confirm that the engine has the same power and that other specifications match.
- Remember that when you take a boat or yacht out, it may not be as loaded as when you’re heading out on a voyage. The weight of supplies, guests, and possibly crew can significantly impact performance.
- How is the speed when taking the boat for a trial run? How does it handle under different conditions? Was the fuel economy as expected? Consult the owner’s manual for the recommended maximum rpm, and then see how it compares to what you experience when you go top speed.
- Take note of safety features (this is important to know when you check your yacht insurance coverage rates before you put in an offer). What is there, and what’s missing?
- Regarding speed, remember to check not only how FAST the vessel can go but also how she handles at a minimum planing speed. You’ll want to determine how well you can control it at variable speeds.
- Check all the electronics on board, especially if it’s pre-owned. Not only should everything power on all right, but the screen visibility should also be adequate, whether it’s dark outside or there’s a lot of glare from sunshine. Does everything work as it should? Test it – don’t be shy.
- Investigate other elements. What is the visibility like from the helm? Open and shut cupboards and storage areas to see if things stick or latch properly. Similarly, check how windows, doors, and skylights open and shut in case of any issues. Take a look at the cabins while you’re out on the water and see if things are quiet and smooth or if passenger areas are comfortable.
Trust your instincts. If you’re not happy after the sea trial, keep looking. If you are happy with the experience, determine if a vessel survey is appropriate. Only make an offer if you can see yourself enjoying many voyages without regrets.