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  • Writer's pictureCapt. Rex Witkamp

How to Shop for Yachts: Things to Keep In Mind When Looking at Yachts for Sale

A few things to keep in mind when looking over listings:


Clean Engine Room
Clean Engine Room

1) It’s the health of the engines and the mechanicals of the engine room that carry the most burden. For a charter business, the youth and vitality of the mains will keep you running, fishing, and operating.




2) Soft goods of the salons, and exterior cushions…while they can add to the look of a boat, the replacement cost pales in comparison to the refurbishment of engines and machinery.


Nice pictures could be hiding dirty engines
Nice Yacht Interior Pictures

3) Some listings will catch your eyes based on their shiny appearance and staged look of the salon and staterooms, even granite, and stainless steel appliances.



Clutter in an engine room
Clutter in an engine room

4) Dig deeper into the engine room: go straight to the engine pictures and zoom in on the bilge below the engines. Is it white? Clean? Are there clean oil diapers down there? Or is it dark, oily and dirty? Zoom in on the hose clamps and integrity of the engine room hoses…are they dry rotted & cracked? Are the hose clamps rusted and worn? Keep a sharp eye out for detail like excess paint overspray on hoses. It could be an attempt to cover a rusted engine. The above pictures shows makeshift intake and exhaust blowers and strung up electrical cords indicating a problem with the boats engine room air delivery system.



Your AC doesn’t work because there is a mangrove growing in your sea strainer.
“My AC stopped working…………"

5) Look around for the ominous green discoloration on brass in the engine room thru hulls. It could mean a problem with the boat’s grounding system. Certainly a mangrove plant growing inside of an AC sea strainer is not a good sign!!


6) Look for old or worn out or leaky zincs on the engine. It could mean that zincs have not been replaced on schedule. This would indicate maintenance schedules are not being adhered to or performed.

Corrosion unchecked turns to rust
Unattended metal corrosion


7) Look for excess clutter in the engine room, dirty rags thrown in corners, extra cardboard boxes holding liquids or crap laying around. Look for oil splatters or oil drips from areas of the engines and the immediate surrounding engine beds, or ceilings. Look for rusted bolt heads attaching critical components on the engines (they are all critical components, lol)


nice pictures from the salon don’t tell the whole story!
I’ll give you $100 to drink what’s in the bilge...

8) Look for the engine rooms to be clean, and brightly lit. I like to keep my E/Rs that way to facilitate a better working environment which leads to more attention spent on the engines themselves.

Kept Engine Rooms are maintained better
Fine Example of a Clean Engine Room

Surely after reading this list, you will start looking at boats a different and in a more helpful and scrutinizing way. Point being that a shiny boat with foul engines goes nowhere. But a boat with healthy maintained engines and mechanicals will easily pass the sniff test…. The rest is just soft goods and interior appointments that are easily replaced or changed out.


How to Shop for Yachts: Things to Keep In Mind When Looking at Yachts for Sale


If you are in the market to get out on the water, upgrade, or list your yacht for sale. Make an appointment with me at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show using my link below:


I hope to talk soon!



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