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Tips from a Marine Surveyor: Avoid These Yacht-Buying Pitfalls

Career marine surveyor Tarn Kelsey wants you to know that marine surveys are a lot more than just a required step in the yacht-buying process: they're an opportunity. Purchasing a yacht is an exciting time, but prospective buyers would be wise to leverage the marine survey process to their advantage. We sat down with Tarn to talk through the marine survey process and his tips and advice for how you can get the most out of your next survey and avoid the common pitfalls he sees yacht buyers make.

Survey Says...

So what is a marine survey? Marine surveys are reports and valuations prepared by certified marine surveyors, who are like expert witnesses, acting as impartial third parties in a transaction. They are like a home inspector and an appraiser rolled into one, both inspecting and assigning a value. Tarn's specialty is pre-purchase inspections. He inspects the boat and prepares a written report for the prospective buyer, as well as for the insurance and financing companies involved. Tarn has been in the marine business since he began working in boat repair at 18. At 36, he hung up the tool belt and began apprenticing with a marine surveyor, and has been surveying boats ever since. 

When does a marine survey happen?

Pre-purchase inspections happen after a prospective buyer contacts a listing broker, decides they want to buy a boat, and signs a contract to start the purchasing process. That contract starts a clock for the rest of the process, and that's when it's time to get a marine surveyor like Tarn on board to take a look at the boat. 

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Survey Surveyors

Choosing a marine surveyor you trust is key. Most folks find Tarn through word-of-mouth recommendations from happy past clients, so reaching out to your networks can be a great way to get a few names to start with; brokers will usually recommend several names to preserve impartiality in picking surveyors. If you're searching online, look for names that come up again and again while cross-referencing forums, websites, and/or boat manufacturers' owner's groups. As the one who's ultimately buying the boat, you have the final say on who your marine surveyor is. It's a good idea to interview a few to find the right fit. You'll need to know if a potential surveyor:

- has enough career experience under their belt;

- is available to perform the survey and produce the report within the given timeframe;

- is familiar with the type of boat you're buying (sail vs. power, etc.); and

- tests engines, generators, and/or other specific equipment on the boat, and to what extent.

If you're going through the purchase process solo, you may want to keep in mind that some marine surveyors will only work with buyers who are working with a broker. Working with a broker can make the purchase process go much more smoothly for you overall, and the survey day for your marine surveyor: they know the ins and outs of how to prep the boat to ensure a successful day.

Macro to Micro

When Tarn arrives to survey a boat, he starts with the big things first: Are there basic structural problems? Is the rudder falling off? Is the deck rotting? Has the engine obviously caught on fire? After he's gotten an initial feel for the boat as a whole, he tackles the details, working his way through systems, and taking the boat out for a test run to check navigation systems and the sails on sailboats. Does the refrigeration work? How well? Are the hoses in good condition? How many hours are on the engine? This macro-to-micro approach allows him to systematically assess the boat's condition and begin working toward a valuation. Different used boats have different levels of wear and tear, and a marine surveyor can give you fantastic insight into the lifespans of various onboard systems and how well you can expect the boat to perform for your intended purposes. 

How do surveyors assign value to a boat?

It depends on the boat! Some boats are easy because they're from a popular brand with a lot of comps on the market to compare value to. Custom boats with no sister ships can be a little trickier and you have to get creative to figure out fair comparisons. Overall, the basic question is whether the boat is above or below average for what it is and how it compares to similar boats.

Mistakes Yacht Buyers Make

As a career marine surveyor, Tarn has seen a lot of prospective yacht buyers on their prospective yachts, and he's noticed some common pitfalls excited buyers can make:

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Getting too attached before the marine survey.

It's natural to be excited when you are close to buying a new boat, but getting carried away by your emotions can cloud your judgment. Try to maintain neutrality until after you've absorbed the marine survey report. If you've already got your heart set on a yacht and then discover the engine will need to be replaced within a couple of years, it might be difficult to accurately assess whether that's a future expense you actually want to sign on for.

- Not doing enough homework on the type of boat they're buying and the systems involved.

This one is pretty self-explanatory: it's hard to know what are key features or potential problems on a boat if you're not familiar with it, and if you're overwhelmed by a marine survey report on systems you don't understand, you could miss something critical that might make you decide whether or not to buy the boat.

- Overpaying for a boat or buying too much boat for what they have the experience for.

Some folks think it's best to buy as much boat as you can afford, but if you're not an experienced boat owner, you may not realize what it costs to maintain a larger boat after the initial purchase, which could be up to 5-10% of the boat’s value per year, not including where you keep it! It's not uncommon for marine surveyors to survey one boat twice within a couple years because the first buyers were overwhelmed and disillusioned by too much boat.

- Inviting "expert" friends to weigh in. 

Sure, some friends really do know what they're talking about and having an extra head aboard during the purchasing process can bring some balance to the equation, especially if you know you struggle with staying neutral. But choose who to bring into the decision-making process carefully. How experienced are they? Sometimes soliciting too many opinions can be unhelpful, especially if they're just opinions rather than expert advice.

- Not working with a broker or using a "hands off" broker who doesn't prep the boat before the survey.

As mentioned previously, some marine surveyors won't work with you if you're not working with a broker, and for good reason. Prepping a boat for a survey can be involved, and brokers know the ropes: all the systems should have been turned on, the batteries should be charged, etc. If a boat has been untouched for months (or years!) until the marine surveyor arrives, a lot of their limited time can be wasted on last-minute repairs and troubleshooting systems.


Get the Most from a Survey

So now that you know what mistakes to avoid, here's how you can go beyond and get the most out of your marine survey:

- Have an active dialogue with the marine surveyor throughout the survey.

Instead of waiting until the end to get a report you're left to decipher alone, get engaged with the surveying process. Ideally, nothing in the report should be a surprise because you had one-on-one time with the marine surveyor as they went through their process. No matter what your technical background is, you're sure to learn something helpful about the boat and its systems. Simply ask, "Do you mind if I go with you?" at the start of the survey to kick off an active dialogue that you only stand to gain from.

- Consider the time of year.

If you're surveying a boat north of the Carolinas in winter, it has likely been winterized; therefore, there are systems you either can't test or that are not cost-effective to test. Sometimes you can't help it: the boat will be gone if you wait until spring. But if you want to be sure everything can be tested and included in the survey, it's good to keep this in mind in terms of how you time your yacht-buying search.

A marine survey is so much more than an item on the yacht-purchasing process checklist. By doing your homework and staying engaged in the marine survey process, you can ensure that you have a clear picture of the boat you're hoping to buy and make a confident, informed decision about your yacht purchase. Happy boat buying!

Interested in getting a marine survey done by Tarn Kelsey? Reach out here: [email protected]. And if you're looking for a broker to aid in the entire yacht-buying process, learn why David Walters Yachts buyer's agents are some of the best in the business here [LINK TO BUYER'S AGENT BLOG] .

 Amanda Noon


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Marine Surveys and Surveyors

marine surveyors and surveys

If you’re considering the differences between buying new or used boats , boat surveys are a topic that’s sure to come up. You don’t often need to have a survey done when buying a new boat, however, if a used boat is under consideration a survey is generally considered a must. This is because:

  • Many lenders won’t consider financing a used boat that hasn’t been surveyed.
  • Many insurance companies won’t consider insuring a used boat that hasn’t been surveyed.
  • Used boats are subject to many problems that are hidden from view and require a professional to spot.
  • A marine survey is helpful in determining what repairs or upgrades may be necessary to get a boat into safe operating condition.
  • Boat surveys help determine the actual value of a boat, since they can expose items in need of repair or replacement.

different types of marine surveys

Different Types of Marine Surveys

Boat surveys fall into several categories including:

  • Condition and Value (C&V) surveys
  • Insurance C&V surveys

Appraisal Surveys

Damage Surveys

New Yacht Surveys

Condition and Value Surveys and Insurance C&V Surveys

Condition and Value surveys are the most common type of boat survey, and are performed when you’re buying a used boat. These are comprehensive inspections that include the entire boat and its propulsion systems, though with very large, expensive boats, separate engine surveys are sometimes performed. And in the case of large sailboats, additional rigging surveys may be necessary.

Insurance C&Vs are essentially the same thing, but since they’re done solely for insurance purposes they’re generally less comprehensive and stick to a list of specific items that the insurance company wants checked before covering a boat.

These are just what they sound like: surveys performed to identify a boat’s approximate value. Usually these are required in cases of divorce or estate settlements, although in some cases a lender may require one prior to financing a boat .

Damage surveys may be necessary after storm or accident damage. They determine the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs. Often these are required by insurance companies after an unfortunate incident.

New yacht surveys are usually only necessary on large, expensive boats. They’re sometimes performed for custom-built yachts and may take place over time, with the surveyor visiting the manufacturer several time to check on construction as the boat or yacht is being built. Whenever you’re dealing with a reputable production boatbuilder, however, this isn’t considered necessary. How do you know that a manufacturer is reputable? Make sure you’re buying an NMMA certified boat . Certified builders undergo regular third-party inspections, and meet American Boat & Yacht Council standards and specifications—which go above and beyond Coast Guard requirements.

How to Choose a Marine Surveyor

Many people choose a boat surveyor via a recommendation from a broker, seller, or lender, while others depend on word of mouth. In some cases, lenders or insurance companies maintain lists of approved surveyors they trust. There’s one key factor to bear in mind: you should make sure any surveyor you use is a member of either the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) .

Both of these organizations have membership requirements and standards that surveyors have to meet in order to gain accreditation, so when you hire a NAMS or SAMS surveyor you know he or she is a professional.

how to choose a marine surveyor

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a boat survey cost?

Pricing varies in different areas, but as a general rule of thumb plan on spending around $20 to $25 per foot of boat. Note, however, that many surveyors have a minimum charge that may exceed this rate with small boats.

How do I find a boat surveyor?

Start by visiting NAMS or SAMS online, to locate some of their accredited surveyors in your area.

How long does a boat survey take?

Anywhere from a couple of hours for a small boat, to a couple of days for a large boat or yacht.

Do I have to be present for the boat survey?

Surveyors usually don’t require you to be present. However, it’s a good move to be there. You’ll probably learn a lot about the boat you’re buying—and about boats in general.

Does a boat survey tell me how much needed repairs will cost?

Generally speaking yes, the surveyor will sketch out a basic budget for repairs or required upgrades. Remember, however, that they’ll be using average costs and the numbers they provide aren’t exact.

To learn more about the entire buying process, financing or ownership costs, be sure to read:

  • Choosing the Right Boat: Buying Guide for Recreational Boating
  • Boat Loan Calculator
  • B oat Values & Boat Prices: Negotiating Your Purchase
  • Boat Buyer's Guide
  • Costs of Ownership: Boat Costs & Affordability

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A trusted partner to the insurance industry, yacht brokers, management companies and owners worldwide, ABL Yachts offers clients the strength of a large multi-disciplinary superyacht survey team with a collective experience measured in hundreds of years, combined with the heritage and support of one of the marine industry’s most respected brands.

Marine Casualty Investigations for Superyachts

We are regularly called upon by the insurance industry to investigate and report on superyacht casualties for both Hull & Machinery underwriters and P&I Clubs.

With our depth of experience in undertaking damage surveys, we are able to quickly and efficiently assess the scale of damages, the steps required to undertake repairs and the likely cost of doing so.

We are able to assist owners, captains and crew in getting their damaged yachts back into service with the least possible interruption to busy schedules.

Pre-purchase and condition surveys for Superyachts

We undertake pre purchase surveys, advising potential buyers on the condition of the yacht that they wish to purchase. The size of our team means that we are able to quickly and efficiently survey and report on the very largest yachts. We have expertise in house to survey all types of yacht and yachts of all materials, including high performance sailing and motor yachts. Our relationships with specialist contractors enable us to quickly build a team of deep specialists to report in depth on key systems and facilities, including helidecks and submersibles. Our reports are written with the buyer in mind, providing readily accessible summaries of key issues, with fully costed analysis of any remedial works required.

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Our team’s experience in managing complex new builds and refits on the World’s largest and most complex yachts can support our clients in planning and executing a new build or major refit. Through involvement in concept development, project definition, drafting of technical specifications, shipyard and contractor due diligence, on site supervision, milestone surveys, commissioning and acceptance trials, we can be your trusted and independent partner, every step of the way.

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Refit and new build progress surveys

Progress (or Milestone) surveys form a key part of the structure intended to track progress of a new build or major refit and are often used as the basis for release of stage payments to the shipyard. Involving an experienced independent surveyor is an effective way of ensuring that a project remains on track and that issues that may come to light are dealt with quickly and efficiently. Our surveyors’ experience in managing such projects enables us to understand where problems tend to arise and how best to navigate them. Where necessary, we can mediate between the Owner and the shipyard on contentious issues.

Sea trial supervision

Properly planned and executed sea trials are an essential part of ensuring that a new or refitted yacht is delivered to her Owner as specified in all respects. Our team of superyacht surveyors, with their extensive experience as serving deck and engineering officers, are ideally placed to undertake this essential task. Working closely with the build captain, managers, lawyers and shipyard, we will work with the team to plan and execute harbour acceptance trials and sea trials.  As with pre-purchase surveys, the size of our team means that we are able to quickly and efficiently undertake sea trials on the very largest yachts.

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Representing the Owner’s interests during a new build or refit, technical negotiations or in any situation in which the Owner requires the benefit of knowledgeable independent technical support and advice is all part of our services to superyacht clients. However large or complex the project, we have the experience and skills needed to add value to the Owner.

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Yacht Survey Partners | Superyacht survey specialists

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The Superyacht Survey Process

We find that both clients and crew want to know how our superyacht survey process works, and how we reliably plan and execute our surveys so as to deliver our paper and online reports so rapidly. As always, the secret is in careful advance planning by the team and careful coordination whilst onboard, combined with the experience of our survey team members and our unique cloud based survey software. The aim of this article is to explain the process and to discuss some of the choices and decisions that need to be addressed in order to deliver a successful outcome.

Pre contract phase

We usually get approached by the buyer’s broker once they feel that the transaction has a realistic prospect of going to contract, but not necessarily before contracts are signed. We are used to providing survey proposals at this stage, in order to give the buyer’s team an idea of what is involved and the likely cost. It isn’t unusual for things to go quiet for a period of time, as lawyers and brokers negotiate the final detail of the sale and purchase contract. During this period, we may have pencilled a rough date into our survey calendar. We will also have discussed with the buyer’s team what their likely requirements will be in terms of haulout and the use of specialists. Depending on the client’s requirements, we may also have sounded out our preferred specialists, and will have looked at the availability of synchrolift or dry dock options for the underwater hull survey, all the time keeping details of the transaction confidential.

Post signing contracts

Once contracts are signed, the pace generally accelerates rapidly. We work with the buyer’s team to firm up the survey location and timetable, allocate our surveyors to the survey and book the specialists required by the buyer (usually Cat or MTU, plus electrical, noise & vibration, paint and possibly NDT). If needed by the buyer, we will also compile a shortlist of haulout locations and prepare a scope of work for each shipyard to quote on. Once the plan is firmed up, we will send a survey briefing letter to the Captain, yacht manager and selling broker, letting them know what to expect during the survey.

Survey planning

Obviously the time needed for the survey will vary depending on a number of factors, but our approach is to scale our team to complete our survey on even the largest yacht (and we regularly work on yachts from 40 metres up to 160 metres or more) within 5 working days. Occasionally the survey might need to be split into two attendances, for instance, if the yacht needs to be moved to a haulout facility, or where the yacht is going to use a traditional dry dock, which will inevitably be slower than using a travel lift or synchrolift.

In planning our time onboard, we usually try to avoid holding the sea trial on day 1, as we like time to become familiar with the yacht and its systems and to get to know the crew. We find that day 2 usually works well for the sea trial. Although we request a minimum of 4 hours at sea for the sea trial, the reality is that with pre sea checks and post sea trial checks, the sea trial will occupy a whole day. Our surveys require half a day undertaking what we refer to as “interrupting” work (ie they can interrupt the yacht’s routine and day to day work of the crew) whilst we undertake a blackout trial and test transitional power sources, fire alarms and fire doors, remote closing watertight doors etc. We try to group these tests into half a day following the sea trial, usually on day 3. We encourage all parties to try to make the haulout the very last part of the survey process for several reasons: it is the part of the survey most likely to encounter delays beyond our control; the survey team cannot be onboard whilst the yacht is being lifted and moved, or whilst the dry dock is being drained or flooded, and in either case until power is restored, losing us time; if any problems arise during the underwater hull inspection, it is much more cost effective to leave the yacht ashore for a few additional days in order to deal with the issue, rather than relaunching and then having to haulout all over again at a future date; and finally, if the sea trial is a disaster, the buyer might avoid the cost of a haulout in the event that they decide to reject the yacht following the technical sea trial.

Report delivery

Assuming that everything goes according to plan, the buyer’s team are going to be anxious to know our opinions as early as possible. To that end, we maintain a regular dialogue with the buyer’s team during the survey, with regular written updates. We will have established with the buyer’s team how quickly they need the report. Our current record is to submit a 350 page report within 48 hours of stepping off a 95 metre Lurssen. With planning and experience, by scaling our team size and by harnessing the power of our cloud based survey software, we’re able to provide industry leading reports within very tight deadlines.

If we can help you with your next superyacht pre purchase survey, please contact us by using the details here .

Other acrticles

If you would like to read other articles about superyacht surveys, please click here to read an article about use of specialist contractors, or here to read our thoughts on whether or not to haulout as part of the survey.

Yacht Survey Partners are global specialist superyacht surveyors. We are currently active in the UK, USA, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Malta, the Caribbean and further afield, undertaking pre purchase surveys, pre sale surveys, condition surveys, insurance damage surveys and providing advice to buyers, owners, family offices, brokers, managers, insurers, lawyers and shipyards. Our surveyors are located in London, Palma, Barcelona, Antibes, Monaco, Genoa, Fort Lauderdale and Hong Kong.

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Survey/Sea Trial Process

The process of survey and sea trial is where the hard work of condition and price have resulted in a yacht trade offer contingent on this inspection. your yacht’s condition and ability to pass survey/sea trial is the most vital part of the entire yacht selling process., successful yacht sellers prepare & understand the process.

Your yacht was listed, shown and now has a contract on it contingent on survey & sea trial. How you prepare, and having a full understanding of what your yacht will go through will help make this a success and avoid a rejection from the buyer. The buyer pays for the inspection, haul out, fluid samples and production of the report. The seller makes the boat available for survey/sea trial and accepts the risk of sea trial, cost of fuel, and is expected to provide an operator for the vessel.

Prepare Prior to the Survey

Check 01 1 at Knot 10 Yacht Sales

Service Records

Gather any and all service records you have for the history of your vessel. Also find your title and/or USCG documentation. Have this ready to produce and in your broker’s hands.

Check 02 1 at Knot 10 Yacht Sales

Systems Check

Starting at one end of your yacht, work your way forward and test all systems for function. They will all be put to the test on survey day so check them now and if not working fix ahead of time. Systems to check include:

  • Bilge Pumps
  • Shower Sumps
  • Navigation Lights
  • Entertainment Systems

Check 03 1 at Knot 10 Yacht Sales

Run Your Boat

Run your boat means under full load to rated RPM. This is critical as too many sellers say, “I ran the boat and it ran fine” only to have their broker discover they meant, “I ran it at the dock for 30 minutes.” At sea trial, your boat will be tested 100% to make sure it meets the rated RPM under load and not overheat. If your bottom is fouled or props are nicked or bent address these issues now so that you have time to make sure your boat is ready. Also make sure there is enough fuel to run the boat (1/4 tank minimum).

Survey Process

The buyer’s surveyor is going to go through the boat from stem to stern checking the entire structure; from underwater running gear (on land or hauled out), to the decks for fiberglass/delamination issues, and through the entire yacht’s operational systems.

Depending on the yacht, this can be a half or all-day affair, or multiple days of testing for larger vessels. A thorough surveyor will record and document things many sellers have not even accounted for; like expired flares, fire extinguisher dates and various USCG requirements. Their job is to observe and produce a report on the health and safety of the systems and vessel overall.

A report will be produced for the buyer that will typically give the yacht’s market value and a list of suggested repairs and concerns. This punch list of items is often separated into essential and non-essential recommendations. Preparing ahead of time will minimize the items on the list and save money, time and possibly the sale.

At some point in the survey process (it can differ at the request of buyer or surveyors), your yacht is going to leave the dock and head for sea trial. This will be where all mechanical systems are going to have to function in a real-world environment. Engines, transmissions, motor mounts, generators, stabilizers, steering, navigation equipment will all be stressed and tested.

If an engine survey team has been hired, they will perform additional testing focused on the yacht’s engines and generators in conjunction with your hull surveyor who will be focused on navigational and other systems during sea trial.

There is no doubt what will be asked of your vessel at sea trial. The yacht will need to run properly at all RPM band ranges, from idle all the way up to wide-open throttle. Saying, “I never run my boat at WOT” is not an option or excuse – as it will be asked to be proven. Does your yacht make full RPM without vibrating or overheating? If the answer is, “yes,” and those three things pass, you have fewer worries. Should it not make full RPM, or vibrates or overheats, buyer concern and post-survey issues will be a hurdle to cross.

Oil samples are commonly taken which are sent for independent lab testing at expense of the buyer.

After Survey/Sea Trial

As indicated, the buyer will receive a thorough printed report from all the inspectors paid to do this inspection process. Oil samples, if taken, will have results that come back as well. This report begins the acceptance phase of your boat deal.

The buyer on or before the ACCEPTANCE DATE faces one of three decisions:

Accept the vessel as is, reject the vessel, conditional acceptance of vessel.

Yachting World

  • Digital Edition

Yachting World cover

Second hand boats: getting a yacht survey

Will Bruton

  • Will Bruton
  • July 27, 2022

Commissioning a yacht survey before buying a boat is essential due diligence, giving the buyer an independent review of the complex craft with numerous systems they are about to buy. But how should you go about it?

survey yacht broker

‘Subject to survey’ might be the most powerful caveat to a serious offer on a yacht, yet what a good yacht survey entails can be something of a mystery.

The international market for yacht sales is largely unregulated, so all parties are reliant on mostly independent surveyors to help them make an informed decision. Finding a good one can be half the battle.

“The first thing to understand is that, just like a house survey, we can only survey what we can see. There’s no crystal ball,” explains Ben Sutcliffe-Davies, a full member of the Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association (YDSA) with two decades of surveying experience.

“The report is a comprehensive look at everything we can see. If done properly, it requires good access to the boat for the surveyor. Owners are sometimes surprised that we want to see inside every locker – ideally empty – so it can be disruptive as a process and is usually spread over at least two days.

survey yacht broker

Checking hull condition. Photo: Louise Heusinkveld/Alamy

“On completion the second hand yacht buyer (but not the seller) will be given a report of the findings, including recommendations for any further specialist investigation. While the report might then be used to negotiate on an already agreed price, buyers at this point are usually under contract to complete the purchase. Sometimes buyers appoint a surveyor hoping to knock a significant sum off the price they have already offered.

While that might be an outcome, the survey should never be approached as leverage – we are there to be totally objective, not as a negotiating tool for a boat that can’t be afforded at the already agreed price. Surveys can also sometimes deliver a dose of cold reality to both buyer and seller, ruling the transaction out completely.”

survey yacht broker

would you spot that crack in a bow fitting weld? Photo: Ben Sutcliffe Davies

Comprehensive assessment

A good marine survey will be broken down into sections on different aspects of the boat:

  • Hull – The hull, deck and topsides of the boat are generally the initial focus, checking the yacht is structurally sound and looking for moisture in the hull with a hammer and hydrometer. Skin fittings, hoses attached to them, and deck drains will also be carefully checked as they often need replacing. Security of the keel and its condition will also be carefully looked at.
  • Rudder – Rudders are vulnerable to water ingress, delamination, and failure of the steering bearing.
  • Engine – Engines and generators can be looked at as part of a survey out of the water but can also sometimes be run up to temperature. Engine mounts, fuel lines, belts, exhaust systems and the stern gland are all serviceable parts which wear over time. Using tools like thermal imaging cameras can help surveyors build a picture of what is going on inside the engine when it is running as well.
  • Systems – Yachts are also a home, and a survey will consider both domestic systems and those that enable the yacht to sail. Fresh water, heating, gas, navigation technology and lighting will be looked at. A survey does not generally include a gas safety check, and this may be insisted on by an insurer separately.
  • Rigging – A survey will generally look at the rigging at deck level only, so it may also be necessary to commission a rig check by a professional rigger. It’s often the case that a survey recommends full replacement of a yacht’s fixed rigging earlier than expected by buyer or seller.
  • Safety equipment – A survey will look at the condition and service dates of the safety equipment on board and make recommendations for replacement. This is sometimes a significant hidden cost.

Survey reports vary a lot in length and the degree of detail included. Pictures may be included in the report, but they are primarily for the record of the surveyor.

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The sound from light tapping can reveal a lot about a structure. Photo: Geoff Moore/Dorset Media Service

How to find a surveyor for your yacht survey

A yacht surveyor does not officially need to be part of any organisation and technically anyone can call themselves a yacht surveyor, but several industry bodies are recognised by marine insurance companies. A surveyor that is a member of the Yacht Brokers Designers and Surveyors Association (YBDSA) or the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS) are good starting points, both recognised by the main UK marine insurance companies.

Article continues below…


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Second hand boats: how to buy a ready to sail yacht

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Finding a suitably qualified surveyor for a yacht located abroad can be more challenging but a surprising number are located in or near popular yachting destinations. While some are happy to travel, these additional expenses can add up.

The legalities

A survey does not form any kind of guarantee, so it is important to understand what the limitations of a survey are. Lucy Rutter of the RYA’s Legal Affairs Department explains that the devil is in the detail: “A purchaser/future owner should read the surveyor’s terms and conditions to ensure that they fully understand the extent of the survey.

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Testing for electrical continuity on underwater metals. Photo: Graham Snook

“Some members have found issues post-purchase, such as furling gear failing, having expected the survey to report on such items when it was clearly stated in the surveyor’s terms and conditions that the scope of the survey would not involve testing the furling jib.”

If something does become contentious with a survey, Rutter explains, “A surveyor’s duty is confined to exercising reasonable skill and care in reporting reasonably discoverable faults existing at the time of the survey. We advise that any purchaser confirms with the surveyor that they have professional indemnity insurance before appointing them. Any claims against a surveyor should be covered by such a policy. RYA members have access to our Negligent Survey Guidance Note and we can provide them with advice based on the legal principles of a claim.”

When it comes to insurance, Rutter warns that a pre-purchase survey can also help to avoid the nightmare scenario of a yacht that fails a survey under new ownership and cannot be insured.

“Many insurance providers require a condition survey before they are willing to insure. We’d advise any future boat owner to confirm with their preferred insurance broker as to whether their policy requires a survey. They may also stipulate the boat to be subject to regular surveys (for example, every five years).

“We know of some members who purchased without a pre-purchase survey and later had to instruct a surveyor for insurance purposes, only to find the survey identified issues with the boat post-completion. Unfortunately, in such circumstances there is little legal recourse as when buying from a private individual ‘caveat emptor’ (buyer beware) applies, which means it is up to the purchaser to ensure they are aware of the condition of the boat.”

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Mandated every two years for older boats, we evaluate the vessel’s risk for insurance underwriters, emphasizing structural integrity, suitability, and determining fair market value.

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During our comprehensive surveys, we meticulously examine a multitude of components found in various types of boats, including but not limited to detecting faults in engine heaters.

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Hidden delamitation in fiberglass may not always be immediately apparent. However, entrusting us with the survey of your boat ensures that any concealed delamination issues will be uncovered.

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        Captain Bob Harding           P.O. Box 1256, Naples, FL. 34106        properyachts@gmail.com               Tel: 239-777-0564       Office Hours: 7AM - 7PM

Captain Bob Harding P.O. Box 1256, Naples, FL. 34106 properyachts@gmail.com Tel: 239-777-0564 Office Hours: 7AM - 7PM

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Welcome To Proper Yacht Surveys

With more than 30 years of professional maritime experience, Capt. Bob Harding founded Proper Yacht Surveys to assist clients with surveys of vessels being considered for purchase and to provide an unbiased confidential evaluation for lenders and insurers. Additionally, consultation in regards to a vessel’s repairs, restoration and upgrades are services provided by Proper Yacht Surveys.

Bob’s early years of living and cruising aboard the families 45’ wooden yawl from Maine to the southernmost Caribbean Islands formed his foundation and love of all things marine. A licensed USCG Captain for the past 32 years, a former Service Manager at two yacht dealerships, a yacht maintenance company owner, a licensed broker and a graduate of Chapman’s School of Seamanship Yacht and Small Craft Surveying leads to the experience and knowledge to provide detailed valuations, reports and findings on a vessels overall condition.

Surveys performed by PYS are compliant and referenced with the standards set forth and established by United States Code & Federal regulations (CFR’s) as they pertain to safe boating practices. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the voluntary standards and recommended practices of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) are also referenced through-out the survey report.

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Take Advantage and Save Big $$$ with Dominion Yachts

Knowledge of the Market. Familiar With all the Brands, Styles, Layouts & Prices. Nationwide Marketing!

If you find a boat on the Internet, YachtWorld or Boat Trader of interest to you, contact Dominion Yachts. A rewarding option is to consult with a broker about all of your boats of interest, and let that broker represent you in your inquiries and transactions.

The Initial Inquiry

A professional broker will listen closely to your wants and needs and will help you determine if the boat you are calling on is right boat for you at the best value. They can objectively tell you about the condition of the vessel before you decide whether or not to spend your time to look at the boat. They will help you determine if there are similar boats on (and off) the market, the history of the yacht, how long it has been on the market, and the motivation of the seller. Anyone can look up asking prices on boats, but it takes a professional broker to have an intimate knowledge of current market conditions, a familiarity of similar boats, and information on recent sale prices and time on the market through www.soldboats.com, an industry resource not available to the public.

Getting a Boat Loan and Marine Insurance

You may want to pre-qualify for a boat loan before you shop. That will give you some extra leverage and breathing room when you’re negotiating prices. The National Marine Bankers Association has a great selection of nationwide lenders. The Marine Finance Specialist we suggest is Cindy Lewis with Sterling Associates.

Making an Offer on a Pre-Owned Boat

A professional broker can help their buyer decide on a realistic offer that increases the chances of buying a pre-owned boat for a fair and reasonable price, and with the necessary elements to protect your interests. Your broker prepares an Offer to Purchase for your signature. It should spell out the terms of the sale including obligations that you and the seller have agreed to, and when these obligations will be fulfilled. You also make a good-faith deposit on the boat, usually placed in escrow, and subject to sea trial and survey.

Making an Offer on a New Boat

Dealers taking trade-ins will inform you of tax issues and tax savings associated with the trade-in. Price negotiations may include making your new boat available to show to other dealership clients in the future. Depending on whether the vessel is custom built, semi-custom, or a production model, there is usually a basic cost, plus transportation expenses from the builder to the dealership, plus optional equipment and installation.

Professional brokers and dealers are familiar with all the paper work requirements for their country, state or province, from the initial Offer to Purchase and Bill of Sale to licensing and registration; or documentation and titling, to paying tax and other fees, as well as certificates of ownership, security agreements, and other documents needed to complete a sale. For example, twenty three forms are needed at a closing of a brokerage boat in Florida (27 for foreign flagged vessels). Professionals will understand maritime and admiralty liens for the type of vessels they represent, as well as agency contracts, listing agreements, closing statements, deposit requirements and escrowed accounts to safeguard funds.

Sea Trial and Survey

The buyer of a pre-owned vessel will usually request a sea trial and the services of a marine surveyor. Buyers pay for the surveys and for hauling the boat out of the water for inspection. Your yacht broker will usually attend the sea trial and marine survey with you, and help you determine how to properly address the nearly inevitable yacht survey issues and put the problems in context. They can help estimate time and cost of correcting, and where to obtain accurate quotes for items that are unfamiliar. Your lender and insurance carrier will usually require a copy of the survey.

The Art of Negotiating The Deal

The broker can use his position as a middleman to keep the negotiations between buyer and seller moving to a successful conclusion.

Safeguard Funds

professional broker will use an escrow account for clients’ funds, and ensure that at closing, any existing loan or other encumbrances is paid off. This safeguard is of critical importance to the buyer and seller, and can be a potentially serious hazard in a private transaction not involving a broker.

After the Sale

Your broker and dealer can help you find moorage and yacht maintenance and repair specialists or facilities. They can refer you to classes on sailing, boat handling and seamanship, Their experience in local waters can help you chart a course for great day, weekend or longer trips. They can connect you with boat clubs, races and rendevous sponsored by builders and dealerships. Plus, you’ve got a new boating friend for life.

Find your dream boat

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CINDY LEWIS Sterling Associates | Mid-Atlantic Sales Rep 410-903-6611 [email protected]

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The member listing service (MLS) is a database established by some of the industry’s leading professional yacht broker associations to collect & provide data about vessels for sale and is exclusively for yacht sales professional use.  The MLS allows brokers from around the world the ability to share their vessels for sale with other professionals in an effort to maximize the marketing exposure while minimizing time on market.

While there are many segments to the global, “leisure craft” industry; for the purposes of sales within the MLS, we are breaking it into 3 dealer/brokerage segments based on the types of vessels/listings specialized in.

  • Firms locally or geographically specific offering smaller boats (often on trailers) and/or boat dealers with boats on a lot up to about 50’.
  • Brokers and Dealers with 25 to 99 ft listings (mid-market) with a local or national scope and a limited international presence.
  • Brokers and builders representing superyachts (vessels over 100 ft) that may require extensive knowledge during global transactions and respective regulations.

While every broker may aspire to sell a large yacht, not every company is equipped to service the marketplace. Consequently, it has been requested that our membership be offered an “Authorized Superyacht Member” designation to help create a policy over how superyacht listing data is shared among the entire MLS community.  Currently…

  • “Available for Co-Brokerage” listing’s basic specs and images are currently shared with ALL active MLS members.
  • All Media (Videos, Virtual Tours, Location Map, PDFs, External Links) are NEVER shared with co-brokerage regardless of size (Unique Content)
  • Custom Fields are NEVER shared with co-brokerage regardless of size (Unique Content)
  • Questions below assume the listing is “Available for Co-Brokerage”

Sharing Listing Data with Co-Brokerage Websites for Yachts 99 Feet or Less

Sharing listing data with co-brokerage websites for yachts over 100 feet, sharing listing data with advertising websites.

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What A Yacht Broker Can Do For You


Especially when buying or selling a large boat, the right broker can reduce stress and make the transaction go smoothly and painlessly.

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A broker can take the complications out of buying or selling your next boat. (Photo: Michael Vatalaro)

When BoatUS member David Issacson bought his first boat 26 years ago, he searched the newspaper classifieds in the morning (remember those?), located a couple of candidates before noon, and by 3 p.m. wrote the seller a check for $1,000 for a 17-foot boat he took fishing that day. "It was so simple then," he says. "Pretty much like buying a cheap used car. I don't even think I got a bill of sale. It was all done with a handshake." Now that he's retiring, he's looking for his fourth boat, which he says will be much bigger, probably in the 42- to 45-foot range. "I have no idea what it's going to take now. I've never had a boat that was documented or had a loan on it. I don't even think they have classifieds in the paper anymore, and I'm not sure what the process is these days."

Issacson is exactly the type of person who could benefit from using a boat broker. Boat brokers are similar to real-estate agents, but with important differences: They're far less regulated, and their commission is 10 percent rather than six percent. Unlike realtors who must take classes, sit for an exam, and be licensed in every state, only boat brokers in Florida and California have to be licensed and only California requires an exam. In most other states, anyone can call themselves a boat broker. And while all brokers have certain legal responsibilities to their clients, selecting one should be done carefully. Ask around at your marina or boatyard and get referrals from others who have used a broker before. Talk to two or three and get a feel for them, just as you would with a real estate agent. One way to increase your chances of finding the right broker is to look for a Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB). These brokers are members of the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA), have taken a comprehensive exam, have pledged to abide by a code of ethics, and will work with the BoatUS Dispute Mediation Program (see links in sidebar).

If You're Selling

There are several advantages to using a broker, the biggest of which is exposure. Plastering "For Sale" signs in yacht clubs and marinas can't equal the power of a broker's listing, especially with larger boats that have a smaller pool of buyers who may not even be in the same state. Brokers typically list boats through websites such as Yachtworld, which is easily searchable by anyone, anywhere in the world. Only brokers can list boats on the site, which functions much like the Multiple Listing Service for real estate agents.

Here's How A Broker Can Help

If you're the seller, a broker will:.

  • Advertise your boat. Brokers should list your boat on Yachtworld and advertise in other places where appropriate. Find out what their marketing plan is and get it in writing.
  • Price your boat realistically. Brokers have access to recent sale prices and know a good starting point.
  • Prescreen responses to advertising. This will avoid most tire kickers.
  • Show your boat to prospective buyers. This will save you from wasting time with buyers who don't show up.
  • Communicate all offers from potential buyers to you.
  • Negotiate the selling price. This is where brokers can really earn their money.
  • Draw up sales agreements and accept deposits. Many brokers can do this electronically over computers, tablets, and even smartphones.
  • Arrange for sea trials and schedule surveys.
  • Coordinate closing.
  • Transfer funds to you. Now you can start shopping for your next boat.

Correctly pricing a boat is critical to getting it sold, and an experienced broker has a very good idea of what a boat will sell for and can price it accordingly. Brokers typically have access to what similar boats have sold for in the local area and they'll prepare a listing based on the kind of boat and type of buyers expected. They'll take photos, write an enticing description, and recommend things to improve the look and marketability of your boat. Brokers can also help you navigate some of the more confusing aspects of selling such as corporate ownership, loan payoffs, bills of sale, and other documents needed for transferring ownership. Aside from listing and advertising the boat, their most important job is helping move the process along once a buyer is found. Brokers can also help a buyer obtain financing and assist with changing the USCG documentation. While the 10-percent commission is usually not negotiable, brokers will sometimes discount it for a sale that might be falling apart because of a survey report or other defects found on a boat. The different listing contracts used by brokers can be confusing, but they're not complicated once you understand the two main types, a central agency agreement and an open listing agreement.

A central agency agreement (sometimes called an exclusive listing) means you've hired a specific broker to sell your boat. With this type of agreement, the broker typically lists your boat on Yachtworld and — this is important — is obligated to sell it through a co-brokerage arrangement. Co-brokerage means that if another broker finds a buyer for your boat, your broker agrees to split the commission with him. This incentive to help each other is why about 70 percent of all brokerage sales are co-brokered. Keep in mind, though, with this type of agreement, even if you bring in the seller or end up donating your boat, you'll still be liable for the broker's commission. The majority of brokerage sales are central agency agreements.

An open listing agreement means you've given more than one broker the right to sell your boat and you also retain the right to sell it on your own. The disadvantage is that because no broker is guaranteed at least a part of the commission, it's not very likely any of them will spend the money to list your boat on Yachtworld or pay for other advertising. There can also be confused communications between multiple brokers and potential buyers. On the other hand, a hungry broker may be more motivated to bring you a buyer because he would get the entire commission. With this type of agreement, if you find your own buyer, you don't owe anyone a commission. For either type, don't be pressured into signing for a longer term than you're comfortable with. Six months is typical, but don't be afraid to ask for less, though a broker typically needs at least a couple of months to generate interest. Usually, you can walk away from any contract after giving 30 days notice. Most agreements automatically renew, so give notice before that if you want to cancel. No matter what kind of listing, ask for biweekly progress reports.

Selling It Yourself

For Sale By Ow ner (FSBO) certainly sounds attractive. Not only do you pocket 10 percent more than if you used a broker, but you're in charge of the whole process. Selling it yourself has drawbacks, however. You won't be able to get the same kind of national exposure a broker can, and you'll be responsible for keeping the boat in top condition and available for showing. And, because most boat shopping occurs on weekends, expect to be tied down during your time off. Finally, like many others, you may simply dislike negotiating. But if you want to save some serious money, BoatUS can help. Our thousands of online classified listings are viewable by anyone, anywhere in the world, and we offer an escrow service that takes the anxiety out of the financial part of the transaction. We also offer members full documentation service, boat financing, comprehensive insurance, and on-water and roadside towing coverage.

If You're Buying

While owners may find the process of selling to be an anxious one, buyers are looking for their next dream boat and are likely to be enjoying looking around, trying to find the perfect fit. But buyers tend to get apprehensive once it comes to plunking down hard cash. This is where a broker can make the process less stressful. Brokers should have a separate bank account for holding deposits and there should be wording in the contract specifying what the sale is contingent upon as well as how and when the money will be returned if the sale falls through.

It's important to remember that the broker in a typical sale is getting paid by and working only for the seller, not the buyer. A broker will try to get the highest possible price (that's what his commission is paid from) and will try to sell his client's boat even if it's not necessarily the best deal for you. You're on your own with negotiations and paperwork advice. You can, however, enter into an agreement with a broker through a buyer's broker arrangement. A buyer's broker will represent you, not the seller. Once they know what you're looking for, they can scour their sources and suggest likely boats for you to view, assist in negotiating a price, and help with the paperwork. Typically, a buyer's broker gets a commission split from the seller's broker so there's no cost to you, but read the agreement before signing.

When it's time to seriously consider a boat, it will need to be hauled out and surveyed — something that's usually paid for by the buyer, though as with anything in a sale, that's negotiable. Never use a surveyor recommended by the broker or seller; it's critical to hire an independent, qualified surveyor (see links, below) who has no stake in the outcome. Not only will the survey uncover needed repairs and deficiencies, it will also establish a fair market value, all of which can be used for negotiations. It will almost certainly be needed for financing and insurance as well.

Useful Links

  • Finding a Certified Professional Yacht Broker
  • Find a Marine Surveyor
  • BoatUS USCG Documentation Service
  • BoatUS Financing
  • BoatUS Insurance
  • Find out if a Florida Broker is licensed

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Charles Fort

Contributing Editor, BoatUS Magazine

Charles Fort is BoatUS Magazine's West Coast Editor. He often writes local news items for BoatUS Magazine's Waypoints column and contributes to Reports, in-depth tech features in every issue written to help readers avoid accidental damage to their boats. He is a member of the National Association of Marine Surveyors, he's on ABYC tech committees, and has a 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard license. He lives in California.

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Understanding the Role of a Yacht Broker

The world of yacht buying and selling can be complex and overwhelming, requiring expertise, market knowledge, and a keen understanding of the intricacies involved. This is where a yacht broker comes into the picture.  A yacht broker is a specialised professional who acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers, assisting them throughout the transaction process and ensuring a smooth and successful experience. 

In this article, we will delve into the role of a yacht broker, exploring their functions, benefits, challenges, and limitations. Whether you are a buyer or a seller in the yacht market, understanding the role of a yacht broker is essential to making informed decisions as to whether they might be helpful to you in achieving your goals.

Qualifications & Regulation of the Yacht Broking Industry

In general, there are no specific educational requirements to enter the field of yacht brokerage and anyone can set themselves up as a broker. However, acquiring certain qualifications and certifications can enhance a yacht broker’s credibility, knowledge, and expertise.

Many yacht brokers choose to pursue professional certifications and memberships offered by industry organisations. For example, in the United States, the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA) and the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA) offer certification programs that provide training, education, and professional development opportunities for yacht brokers. These certifications, such as the Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB) designation, demonstrate a broker’s commitment to ethical conduct, professionalism, and industry knowledge. Training does not cover the global marketplace and differences arise between jusrisdictions.

Relevant experience in the marine industry, such as sailing, boating, or yacht management, is also useful. Strong knowledge of yachts, boat construction, navigation, and other related areas is valuable in understanding the intricacies of the industry and providing expert advice to clients.

Regulation of the yacht brokerage industry varies depending on the country or region. In some jurisdictions, there may be specific licensing requirements or regulations in place to ensure ethical conduct and consumer protection. For example, in the United States, individual states may have licensing requirements for yacht brokers, while in the United Kingdom, the industry is regulated by the British Marine Federation (BMF) .

Industry organisations and associations have codes of ethics and standards of practice that their members must adhere to. These codes and standards promote professionalism, integrity, and transparency within the yacht brokerage profession.

Functions of a Yacht Broker

What is the difference between a broker and a dealer.

While a yacht broker and a boat dealer may seem similar, there are key differences between the two. A yacht broker represents the interests of either the buyer or the seller throughout the transaction process. They provide valuable guidance, conduct market research, arrange showings, negotiate prices, and assist with the necessary paperwork. On the other hand, a boat dealer typically represents a specific brand or manufacturer and sells boats directly to consumers. Dealers often focus on new boat sales and may offer additional services such as boat servicing and maintenance.

The Broker’s Role in the Buying and Selling Process – Buyers Broker vs. Sellers Broker

Where employed, the yacht broker plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction. 

A buyer’s broker exclusively represents the interests of the buyer, working diligently to find the most suitable yacht, negotiate the best deal, and guide the buyer through the purchasing process. If you are a buyer, a yacht broker will work closely with you to understand your preferences, requirements, and budget. They will leverage their extensive knowledge of the market to identify suitable yacht options, arrange showings, and guide you through the selection process. Once you’ve chosen a yacht, the broker will assist in negotiating the best price and favorable terms on your behalf, as well as handling the necessary paperwork and legal documentation.

On the other hand, a seller’s broker represents the seller, focusing on marketing the yacht effectively, attracting potential buyers, and negotiating favorable terms on behalf of the seller. If you are a seller, a yacht broker acts as your representative, aiming to secure the best possible deal for your yacht. They will conduct market research to determine a competitive asking price, create professional listings and marketing materials, and promote your yacht through various channels to attract potential buyers. Additionally, the broker will handle inquiries, qualify potential buyers, arrange showings, and negotiate with interested parties. Their goal is to facilitate a successful sale while minimizing your involvement and maximizing your proceeds.

In some cases, a yacht broker may act as a dual-agent, representing both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. However, it is essential to be aware that in dual agency situations, the broker must disclose this relationship to both parties and maintain transparency throughout the process.

What Exactly Does a Yacht Broker Do for a Buyer?

When you engage the services of a yacht broker as a buyer, you can expect them to fulfill several essential roles throughout the yacht purchasing process:

Assess the Client’s Needs and Preferences

A yacht broker will begin by thoroughly understanding your specific requirements, preferences, and budget. They will take the time to discuss your boating goals, desired features, and intended use of the yacht. This allows them to tailor their search and focus on finding yachts that align with your needs.

Conduct Market Research and Identify Suitable Yachts

With their extensive knowledge of the boating market, yacht brokers conduct comprehensive market research to identify suitable yacht options. They have access to a wide network of listings, both publicly available and exclusive, enabling them to present you with a range of yachts that meet your criteria.

Facilitate Yacht Showings and Surveys

Once potential yachts have been identified, the broker will coordinate yacht showings, providing you with the opportunity to view and assess the vessels of interest. They will accompany you during these visits, offering insights and answering any questions you may have. Although they can also arrange for a professional marine survey to ensure the vessel is in good condition, a buyer should remember that the surveyor he chooses works for him, the buyer, and is completely independent of the broker. It is best practice for the buyer to select the surveyor – the broker should be able to supply a full list of surveyors working in the area for you to choose from – and allow the broker to coordinate the arrangements for the pre-purchase survey itself.

Negotiate Prices and Terms

One of the key roles of a yacht broker is to negotiate on your behalf. They possess in-depth market knowledge and negotiation skills, allowing them to secure the best possible price and favorable terms for you. They will advocate for your interests throughout the negotiation process, ensuring you achieve the most advantageous outcome.

Assist with Paperwork and Legal Documentation

Yacht transactions involve a significant amount of paperwork and legal documentation. Your yacht broker will guide you through this process, ensuring that all necessary documents are completed accurately and efficiently. This includes contracts, registration, title transfer, and other relevant paperwork to finalise the purchase.

Provide Expert Advice and Guidance

A yacht broker is your trusted advisor throughout the buying process. They can provide valuable insights and expert advice, drawing on their extensive experience and knowledge of the boating industry. Whether it’s selecting the right yacht, evaluating pricing, or navigating complex legal aspects, your broker is there to support you every step of the way.

By performing these crucial tasks, a yacht broker acts as your advocate and partner, making the yacht buying process smoother, more efficient, and ultimately more rewarding. Their expertise and dedication help ensure that your yacht purchase aligns with your needs and preferences while providing peace of mind throughout the entire transaction.

What Does a Yacht Broker Do for a Seller?

When you enlist the services of a yacht broker as a seller, they take on various responsibilities to help you navigate the yacht selling process efficiently and effectively. Understanding the key tasks they perform on your behalf will highlight the value they bring to the table.

Prepare Sales Particulars and Photographs of the Vessel

A yacht broker will gather detailed information about your yacht, including its specifications, features, inventory and history. They will create compelling sales particulars highlighting the yacht’s strengths and appealing to potential buyers. Additionally, brokers will take high-quality photographs that showcase the vessel’s aesthetics and key selling points.

Conduct Market Research and Agree on a Suitable Listing Price

Yacht brokers have a deep understanding of the market and current trends. They will conduct market research to determine a competitive and realistic listing price for your yacht. By analysing similar yachts currently on the market, recent sales data, and other market indicators, they can guide you in setting an appropriate price that attracts potential buyers.

Yacht brokers take on the task of coordinating yacht showings and inspections with potential buyers. They arrange viewings at mutually convenient times, ensuring that interested parties have the opportunity to see your yacht firsthand. During these showings, the broker will present the vessel professionally and answer any questions that arise. They will also coordinate the pre-purchase survey to assess the yacht’s condition.

As experienced negotiators, yacht brokers are skilled at representing your interests during price and terms discussions. They will handle the negotiation process on your behalf, aiming to secure the best possible price and favorable conditions for the sale. Their market knowledge and expertise in negotiating can be instrumental in achieving an optimal outcome.

Manage Transfer of Payments

The management of escrow for the seller is not always within the direct scope of responsibilities for a yacht broker, however, many have access to an Escrow account as part of their activities and do undertake this role. Escrow services, which involve holding funds or documents in a secure account until specified conditions are met, are otherwise handled by a third-party escrow agent or a trusted closing lawyer.

In the yacht selling process, the buyer and seller may mutually agree to use an escrow account to hold the funds until the completion of certain conditions, such as the satisfactory completion of documentation and transfer of title. This helps ensure a secure and transparent transaction for both parties.

Yacht sales involve a considerable amount of paperwork and legal documentation. Your yacht broker will guide you through this process, ensuring that all necessary documents are completed accurately and in compliance with relevant regulations. They will handle contracts, transfer of ownership, title documentation, and other paperwork required to finalize the sale, ensuring a smooth and efficient transaction.

A yacht broker is your trusted advisor throughout the yacht-selling process. They provide expert guidance and insights based on their industry knowledge and experience. From preparing your yacht for sale to evaluating offers and strategizing marketing efforts, they offer valuable advice to help you make informed decisions at every stage.

By taking on these responsibilities, a yacht broker acts as your representative and advocate, streamlining the selling process and maximizing your chances of a successful sale. Their expertise, market insights, and professional network contribute to a smoother transaction, allowing you to focus on other things while entrusting the sale of your yacht to their capable hands.

Checking a Vessel’s Title

A yacht broker’s role includes checking the clear title and identifying any liens or secured loans associated with the vessel; however, the extent of their investigation may vary.

Yacht brokers typically conduct a preliminary check on the boat’s title and documentation during the listing process when they request relevant documents from the seller, such as the vessel’s registration, ownership history, and any recorded liens or encumbrances. They may also utilise online resources or databases to gather information about the boat’s title status.

While yacht brokers strive to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, it’s important to note that they may not conduct a comprehensive title search like a specialised maritime attorney or title company would. Their primary focus is on assisting with the transaction and ensuring a smooth process for the buyer and seller.

A yacht broker should encourage buyers to conduct their due diligence and seek professional assistance when necessary to ensure a clear title and mitigate any potential risks associated with the purchase.

If a potential buyer is concerned about the boat’s title and wants a thorough examination, it is advisable for them to seek the assistance of a maritime attorney or a title company that specialises in vessel documentation. These professionals have the expertise and resources to conduct a detailed search, examining public records, lien databases, and other relevant sources to determine the boat’s title status and identify any potential issues.

How Are They Paid?

Yacht brokers are typically paid through a commission-based structure. When a successful sale is made, the broker receives a percentage of the final sale price as their compensation – this is typically 8% in the UK and 10% elsewhere in the world.  The specific commission rate can vary depending on various factors, such as the size and value of the yacht, local market practices, and the agreement between the broker and the client.

This sum can be quite considerable, with a payday of $100,000 on the sale of a $1m vessel.

The commission rate is usually negotiated and agreed upon between the yacht broker and the boat owner (seller) before the listing is finalised. It is important for both parties to have a clear understanding of the commission structure and the associated terms.

In the case of a yacht sale, the seller is responsible for paying the commission to the broker. Upon the completion of the sale, the broker’s commission is deducted from the proceeds of the transaction. The remaining amount is then disbursed to the seller.

It’s worth noting that the commission is typically calculated based on the final sale price, including any additional costs or upgrades that may be negotiated as part of the sale; this may also be lower if adjustments to the price have been made following the pre-purchase survey.  The commission serves as the primary source of income for yacht brokers and is designed to align their interests with achieving the highest possible sale price for the seller.

It is important for both buyers and sellers to clarify the commission structure and any additional fees with the yacht broker upfront to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises during the transaction process. 

Benefits of Using a Yacht Broker

Advantages for yacht buyers.

Engaging the services of a yacht broker offers numerous advantages for buyers in the yacht purchasing process. The following are some key benefits to consider:

Access to a Wide Range of Yacht Options

Yacht brokers have an extensive network and access to a broad inventory of yachts, including both listed and unlisted vessels. This grants buyers the opportunity to explore a wide range of options that align with their preferences, requirements, and budget. Brokers can present you with a curated selection of yachts that match your specific criteria, saving you time and effort in your search.

Time and Effort Savings

Searching for the right yacht can be a time-consuming and demanding task. By leveraging their expertise, brokers narrow down the options based on your preferences, saving you the hassle of sifting through countless listings and facilitating a more efficient yacht search.

Negotiation Skills and Financial Savings

Brokers have an understanding of the market value and current pricing trends, allowing them to negotiate favorable terms on your behalf. Their negotiation skills can potentially lead to financial savings by securing a lower purchase price or favorable conditions, ensuring that you receive the best value for your investment.

Expert Knowledge and Guidance

Yacht brokers possess comprehensive knowledge of the boating industry, including various yacht models, brands, and market trends. Their expertise allows them to provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the buying process. 

Assistance with Paperwork and Legal Processes

Yacht brokers are well-versed in the necessary paperwork, contracts, registrations, and other legal requirements. They can guide you through these processes, ensuring that all documents are accurately completed and submitted in a timely manner. Their familiarity with the legal aspects of yacht sales minimizes the risk of errors and provides peace of mind.

Benefits for Yacht Sellers

The following benefits highlight the value that a broker brings to the yacht-selling process:

Broader Exposure and Marketing Reach

Yacht brokers have access to a wide network of potential buyers, industry contacts, and marketing platforms. They employ marketing strategies to showcase your yacht to a larger audience. By leveraging their connections and utilising various advertising channels, brokers can enhance the visibility of your yacht, increasing the likelihood of finding interested and qualified buyers.

Professional Listing and Advertising Services

Yacht brokers provide professional listing services to present your yacht in the best possible light. They know how to highlight the key features, specifications, and unique selling points of your yacht through compelling descriptions and high-quality photographs. A professional presentation enhances the appeal of your yacht to potential buyers.

Pricing Advice and Market Expertise

Determining the optimal asking price for your yacht can be a complex task. Yacht brokers provide pricing advice based on current market conditions, recent sales data, and the specific attributes of your yacht. Their guidance ensures that your yacht is competitively priced, attracting potential buyers while maximizing your chances of achieving a sale.

Screening and Qualifying Potential Buyers

Yacht brokers take on the responsibility of screening potential buyers to ensure they are qualified and serious about the purchase and have the financial capability to complete the process. They have experience in discerning genuine buyers from casual inquiries, helping you avoid time-wasting or unreliable prospects.

Assistance with Negotiations and Closing the Sale

Yacht brokers use their expertise to secure the best possible price and favorable terms. They handle the back-and-forth negotiations, providing guidance and advice to protect your interests. Additionally, brokers assist in navigating the closing process, ensuring that all necessary paperwork and legal documentation are properly completed.

Qualities and Skills of an Effective Yacht Broker

To be an effective yacht broker, certain qualities and skills are essential for success in the industry. These attributes enable brokers to provide exceptional service and ensure a positive experience for both buyers and sellers. 

Extensive knowledge of yachts and the yachting industry

Yacht brokers must possess comprehensive knowledge of different yacht types, brands, models, and their respective features. This includes understanding the technical aspects, performance capabilities, and maintenance requirements of various yachts. Staying updated with the latest industry and pricing trends , advancements, and regulations is crucial for providing accurate and up-to-date information to clients.

Strong communication and interpersonal skills

Effective communication is vital in building relationships with clients, understanding their needs, and articulating information clearly. Yacht brokers should be skilled communicators who can listen attentively, ask pertinent questions, and provide concise and relevant information. Interpersonal skills, including empathy, professionalism, and the ability to establish trust, are also essential for establishing rapport and fostering positive relationships with clients.

Excellent negotiation and sales abilities

Yacht brokers are responsible for negotiating prices, terms, and conditions on behalf of their clients. Possessing strong negotiation skills allows brokers to advocate for their clients’ interests effectively. A successful broker understands the dynamics of negotiation, employs persuasive techniques, and strives to achieve the best possible outcome for both parties involved. Additionally, having solid sales abilities helps brokers market yachts effectively, attract potential buyers, and close successful sales.

Attention to detail and organizational skills

Yacht transactions involve numerous details, documents, and deadlines. Yacht brokers must exhibit meticulous attention to detail to ensure accuracy in paperwork, contracts, and other essential documentation. They should possess strong organizational skills to manage multiple listings, client inquiries, and various aspects of the buying and selling process simultaneously. Being well-organized allows brokers to deliver a high level of service and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks during the transaction.

Trustworthiness and integrity

Trust is a fundamental aspect of the broker-client relationship. Yacht brokers must operate with the highest level of integrity and ethical standards. Clients rely on their brokers to act in their best interests, maintain confidentiality, and provide unbiased advice. Demonstrating trustworthiness and ethical conduct establishes long-term credibility and fosters strong relationships built on transparency and integrity.

By embodying these qualities and skills, an effective yacht broker can provide clients with exceptional service, professional guidance, and a positive experience throughout the yacht buying or selling process. 

Challenges Faced by Yacht Brokers

The yachting industry is subject to market fluctuations influenced by economic conditions, global events, and trends. Yacht brokers need to adapt to these changes and stay updated on market dynamics to provide accurate advice and make informed decisions on behalf of their clients. They must navigate through both seller’s and buyer’s markets, adjusting strategies accordingly.

When supply is short, finding the exact yacht that meets all client requirements can be challenging, requiring extensive research, networking, and potentially longer search periods to identify suitable options.

Yacht brokers occasionally encounter demanding clients with high expectations or challenging personalities. Great brokers possess strong interpersonal skills and the ability to navigate difficult negotiations while maintaining professionalism and a focus on achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. They strive to manage client expectations, mediate conflicts and ensure a positive experience for all parties involved.

Yacht brokers typically earn their income through commissions based on the final sale price of a yacht. While this incentivises brokers to negotiate the highest possible sale price, it may also create potential conflicts of interest. Some buyers may be concerned that brokers could prioritise higher commissions over their best interests. It is important for clients to communicate their expectations and ensure transparency with their broker openly.

Finding the Best Yacht Broker for Your Needs

Not all brokers have equal expertise or experience; the yacht brokerage industry comprises professionals with varying levels of expertise and experience. Not all brokers possess the same depth of knowledge or extensive networks. It is essential for clients to carefully select a reputable and experienced yacht broker who understands their specific needs, has a strong track record, and can provide the desired level of service.

Word of mouth is the best recommendation.

Disadvantages of Using a Yacht Broker

While utilizing the services of a yacht broker offers numerous benefits, it is important to consider potential drawbacks and limitations associated with relying on a broker. 

Commission Fees

Yacht brokers typically earn their income through a quite substantial commission based on the sale price of the yacht. This commission is a percentage of the final sale price and is paid by the seller. Buyers may find that this commission is factored into the overall price, potentially resulting in higher prices. Similarly, sellers should be aware that the commission reduces their net proceeds from the sale. It is important for both buyers and sellers to consider the financial implications and evaluate the value provided by the broker’s services.

Limited Control Over & Lack of Involvement in the Buying or Selling Process

Relying on a yacht broker means relinquishing some degree of control over the buying or selling process. Brokers are responsible for making decisions on behalf of their clients, such as negotiating terms and handling paperwork. While brokers strive to act in the best interests of their clients, there may be instances where clients would have preferred more involvement or different approaches. Clear communication and setting expectations can help address concerns regarding control and ensure a collaborative working relationship with the broker.

Potential Conflicts of Interest

As commission-based professionals, yacht brokers may face potential conflicts of interest. While brokers aim to prioritize their clients’ best interests, there is a possibility that their own financial gain could influence decision-making. Clients should openly communicate their expectations, including any specific concerns related to conflicts of interest, to ensure transparency and maintain trust throughout the process.

It is worth clarifying that while these potential drawbacks exist, they may not be applicable or significant in every situation. The value of a yacht broker’s services should be assessed based on individual circumstances, including the complexity of the transaction, personal expertise, time constraints, and comfort level with the yacht buying or selling process. Each buyer or seller must evaluate their specific needs to make an informed decision about whether to engage a yacht broker.

A good yacht broker can save you a LOT of time and effort in buying or selling a boat, but there can be a high price to pay in the form of commission on the selling price. In the end, whether to engage a yacht broker or not depends on your personal circumstances, preferences, and level of comfort with the yacht buying or selling process.

With such high sums at stake on a single transaction, it’s easy to see that lower-value vessels might have less attention than expensive ones; check the inventory of your local brokers and choose accordingly.

Samantha J Bartlett


Sam Bartlett is an IIMS Surveyor, a Commercial Skipper of sailing boats, and a boat owner for over 30 years. She lives in St Martin in the Caribbean and provides yacht surveys, skippering and marine consultancy throughout the Caribbean.

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Frequently asked questions Yacht Brokerage

Advertising strategies for yachts, how to determine the asking price, why exclusively use a brokerage house to list a yacht for sale, sea trial and survey - how they work, what is involved in the administration of selling a yacht, how to make an offer on a yacht , what does a yacht broker do, what is a broker's involvement in after-sales, how do brokers deal with enquires, what is a broker's role to a yacht buyer.

Most brokerage houses have a standard outline plan of how a yacht is to be advertised in the most appropriate media. A broker�s objective is to devise a strategy with the best chances of reaching the most qualified audience for each yacht category. Common methods are e-marketing, online listing access for public viewing, yacht shows, print media, using in-house databases of clients, brokers and representatives all combined with professional "knowhow".

To ensure an appropriate sale, it is essential to ask a fair price. A broker can help establish fair-market value for the yacht through access to actual sold yacht data that is not available to the public.

Yacht broker�s work hard to generate interest and enquires for their yacht listings. They also protect and promote the principles of their clients. Most brokers sign a "Central Agency Agreement" with the owner/seller, providing a secure arrangement between all parties. Brokers will also work co-operatively with most other brokers on a co-brokerage basis. Yacht brokers charge a commission when the yacht is sold, and the commission amount would have been set in writing in the Central Agency Agreement. If another broker brings a buyer to the table on a co-brokerage arrangement, the total commission will normally be shared between the brokers.

A buyer of a pre-owned yacht will usually request a sea trial and the services of a marine surveyor. Buyers pay for the surveys and for hauling the yacht out of the water for inspection. The Broker will usually attend the sea trial and marine survey with their buyer to help determine how to properly address any yacht survey issues and put the problems in context. Part of this includes; estimating time and cost of rectifying and where to obtain accurate quotes for items that are unfamiliar. The Insurance Company will usually require a copy of the survey.

Brokers are familiar with all the paperwork requirements from the initial Offer to Purchase and Bill of Sale to licensing and registration; to paying tax, certificates of ownership, security agreements, and other documents needed to complete a sale. They also understand maritime and admiralty laws for the type of yachts they represent, as well as agency contracts, listing agreements, closing statements, deposit requirements and escrowed accounts to safeguard funds.

Brokers will help their buyer decide on a realistic figure to offer which will increase the chances of buying a yacht for a fair and reasonable price, and together with the necessary elements to protect interests. Once this is done, the broker will prepare a "Letter of Intent or Letter of Offer" ready for the buyer to sign. This document will display the terms of the sale including obligations that you and the seller have agreed to, and when these obligations will be fulfilled. The buyer should then make a good-faith deposit on the yacht, usually placed in escrow, and subject to sea trial and survey.

Most yacht brokers work in a similar way to estate agents. They are representatives consulted to find and purchase yachts, as well as appointed to list, represent, and sell yachts. Traditionally, the seller pays the commissions that a yacht broker earns, yet brokers have a duty to both buyer and seller in every transaction.

Once a yacht is purchased the broker will guide their client through the next stages such as; finding a berth, yacht maintenance, repair specialists, yacht handling, seamanship, sourcing yacht crew, charter management and all other after-sale fundamentals to complete the service package.

A professional broker will listen closely to your requirements and will help you determine if the yacht you are considering is the right yacht, at the best value. Brokers can objectively tell you about the condition of the yacht before you decide whether or not to spend your time inspecting it. They will source and compare similar yachts on (and off) the market, the history of the yacht, how long it has been on the market, and the motivation of the seller. Anyone can look up asking prices on yachts, but it takes a professional broker to have an intimate knowledge of current market conditions, a familiarity of similar yachts, and information on recent sale prices and time on the market through industry resources not available to the public.

Pre-owned yachts are either a "central agency listing" of a yacht broker, or a trade-in from a new yacht dealer. If you are interested in a broker's listing or a trade-in, the listing broker or dealer is likely to know the yacht inside and out. They have been selected by the owner/seller to exclusively represent this yacht and all enquiries must go through this yacht broker or yacht dealer. If you are not already working with a yacht broker, and if you find a yacht on the market of interest, you should contact the listing broker directly. However a more rewarding option might be to select a yacht broker of your own, and consult with that broker about all of your yachts of interest, and let that broker represent you in your enquiries and transactions.


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Marine Corps launches resident survey of housing and barracks

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The Marine Corps recently kicked off two monthlong housing surveys that will assess the quality of its barracks, public-private housing and family housing.

The tenant satisfaction survey began Monday and will run through April 18, according to a news release.

The 10-minute survey will be conducted by a third party, Robert D. Niehaus, Inc. The surveys are anonymous.

Neither military identification numbers nor names will be associated with responses and responses will not be shared with unit leadership, according to the release.

Tenants in either barracks, public-private partnership or government housing should receive a survey link via email or text. Those links will be sent using contact information on file with local military housing offices.

All surveys will be digital.

The Marine Corps recently requested an increase of $65 million in its annual budget request to fix barracks problems . The total barracks restoration budget request was $274 million.

That amount will fall short of what’s needed to fully address barracks restoration. The service needs to spend nearly $1.5 billion a year to bring the facilities up to “good/fair” condition, Marine Corps Times previously reported based on an internal Corps memo obtained in January.

That’s partly to do with a $15.8 billion facilities deferred maintenance backlog, according to Department of the Navy budget request documents.

“Every contribution is vital in helping the Marine Corps progress and provide quality and affordable housing and housing services,” said Maj. Gen. David W. Maxwell, commander of Marine Corps Installations Command.

In the fiscal 2023 survey, nearly 7,000 tenants shared responses, which showed a 2% increase in overall satisfaction from fiscal 2022. Eleven installations rated outstanding, very good or good for their overall score, which fell between 75–100.

Respondents noted areas for improvement that included: pest control, interior lighting, and bathroom and kitchen amenities.

“These surveys allow my office to prioritize support to our Marine Corps residents and families,” said Mr. Ed Cutshall, MCICOM Housing Director. “These surveys also empower us to hold our housing partners accountable to ensure these residents and families receive the safe, quality housing they deserve.”

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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More than 480,000 items of litter removed from UK beaches in nationwide survey

More than 480,000 items of litter were removed from UK beaches in 2023 as part of a nationwide survey.

In the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) annual beach clean, 14,721 volunteers picked up rubbish from their local beaches and recorded the number of items found within a 100m stretch.

Publishing its annual State of our Beaches report on Wednesday, the charity said half of all litter collected came from public sources – either dumped, blown or washed on to beaches.

Drinks-related litter, such as plastic bottles, caps and cans were one of the most-found items, with an average of 16 found per 100m of beach surveyed – up 14% compared with the charity’s 2022 report.

Plastic caps and lids were also recorded on 89% of surveys, with more than 30,000 found in total, MCS said.

Plastic bottles were commonly collected, with 73% of surveys finding this single-use item – a 4% increase compared with 2022.

The MCS’s inland litter pick survey, Source to Sea , also reported finding plastic bottles on 92% of cleans.

The charity said that 480,343 items of litter, weighing 37,937lbs (17,208kg), were picked up from the coast overall last year, up 22% from 2022.

But it came after 658 more volunteers joined the survey in 2023, submitting 1,119 litter surveys – the highest number the charity has received in 30 years of the initiative.

The MCS report also showed that some types of litter are on a downward trend.

Although still in the top-10 litter items, disposable plastic cutlery, trays and straws were found on 5% fewer beaches across the UK.

Bans on these plastic items were introduced last year.

The number of plastic cotton bud sticks dropped by 14%.

Lizzie Price, beachwatch manager at the Marine Conservation Society , said: “Half of the litter found on our beaches originates from public sources, underscoring the pressing issue of single-use plastic.

“Evidence shows that refillable alternatives and litter return schemes effectively reduce rubbish, as demonstrated by the decline our data has shown in items like plastic bags and disposable cutlery.

“Urgent and decisive action from UK governments is needed to accelerate our shift towards a circular economy, where we reuse, repair and recycle.

“The public needs greater access to refillable products and systems need to be implemented in which manufacturers are responsible for their waste.”

The MCS is also calling for the Government , and devolved governments, to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) as soon as possible.

The recycling scheme, which would see consumers recoup a small deposit when they return single-use bottles and cans, has been in development in the Environment Department (Defra) since 2017 and was part of the 2019 Tory manifesto.

However, the policy has been beset by delays, with the Government currently intending to introduce it by October 2025 – although recent reports said the scheme may not be operational before 2028.

The proposed scheme in England also does not include glass items.

The MCS, which said glass was found on 52% of beaches in 2023, also called for the schemes to be all-inclusive.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are pushing ahead with our programme of reforms to reduce waste and improve our use of resources as part of our goal of eliminating avoidable waste by 2050.

“It’s why we have taken billions of plastic bags out of circulation, banned many single-use plastics and are rolling out simpler recycling so that no matter where you live in England, you will be able to recycle the same materials.

“It’s essential that we work closely with industry to make sure these reforms are a success. We are continuing to engage with businesses closely as we proceed with introducing the deposit return scheme.”

Register now for one of the Evening Standard’s newsletters. From a daily news briefing to Homes & Property insights, plus lifestyle, going out, offers and more. For the best stories in your inbox, click here .

Marine Conservation Society


Dredging of Wailoa Small Boat Harbor on track

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Kelsey Walling / Tribune-Herald

A boater brings his boat into the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor while a man plays with his dogs in Hilo on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

HILO, Hawai‘i — Lawmakers and boaters hope for smooth sailing at the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor in Hilo, as a long-awaited dredging project inches closer toward beginning.

The harbor, one of East Hawai‘i’s last functioning boat launches after the closure of the Pohoiki Boat Ramp during the 2018 eruption, has gone undredged for more than seven years, leading to a dangerous buildup of sediment in the harbor mouth that has substantially reduced the facility’s usability.

Boater Leilehua Yuen said her late father’s boat has been stuck in the harbor for more than five years, and went aground at least three times attempting to pass the mouth of the Wailoa River — multiple times at high tide, no less.

“Once was midway through ebb-tide,” Yuen said via email “For several years, he could only go in and out at highest tide, which meant that if we took the boat out, we could not come back for either 12 or 24 hours. Since then, he went aground twice at high tide.

“For the past five years, we have been trapped in the basin, and could not take the boat out at all,” Yuen continued. “This winter’s storms have now made the harbor impassable for many other vessels, as well. This also means that boats needing to seek refuge in the basin from storms cannot come in to safe harbor.”

Thanks to $3.2 million in capital improvement funds allocated for the dredging during last year’s state budget cycle, some of the harbor’s woes are on track to be fixed later this year, although Hilo Sen. Lorraine Inouye said she is disappointed at the pace of the work.

“It shouldn’t have gotten this far,” Inouye said. “The burden is now on the public, on the boaters who have to deal with this problem.”

Inouye said she has been in constant contact with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in attempts to expedite the dredging. However, she said the project is not anticipated to begin before July, which she said is too long for users to wait.

DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood said the Army Corps of Engineers has appointed consultants who are currently conducting surveys to determine the scope of the dredging necessary. Once those surveys are completed, and permit applications are finalized and submitted, contractors will be hired to carry out the actual dredging, Underwood said.

How long the dredging project will take will depend upon the results of the survey.

Although Underwood noted that DOBOR has “been asking for funding for this for years,” Inouye said that Hilo boaters can ill afford such essential work to be put off for years at a time, particularly when Hawai‘i Island fishermen are more limited than ever in where they can launch from.

To that end, Inouye touted Senate Bill 2156, a measure she introduced this legislative session that would allocate funds to the DLNR for a scheduled program of maintenance dredges and other necessary work at all of the state’s small boat harbors and launches.

“It seems we only get these dredges to happen every few years, but it needs a consistent process,” Inouye said.

The Senate Committee on Water and Land, which Inouye chairs, voted Thursday to pass SB 2156 with little discussion, although she told the Tribune-Herald funding could still be hard to come by this year thanks to ongoing budget pressures from the Lahaina Fire. Consequently, the bill does not include a specific dollar amount in its current form.

In the event that no additional funding is available, Inouye said she hopes the bill can still pass and establish a framework for a future schedule of maintenance work.

She added the DLNR could potentially establish a pilot program for a single island, and posited that between Wailoa, Pohoiki, Kawaihae and other facilities, Hawaii Island should be the prime candidate for such an enterprise.

“I just feel sorry for the people whose careers depend on being able to use these harbors,” Inouye said.

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  • 1 GIFCU opening Kapa‘a Branch on Friday
  • 2 Man jailed for allegedly strangling dog
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Watch CBS News

10 shipwrecks dating from 3000 BC to the World War II era found off the coast of Greece

By Stephen Smith

March 15, 2024 / 6:48 AM EDT / CBS News

Researchers have discovered 10 shipwrecks , including one estimated to be more than 5,000 years old, off the coast of Greece, along with scattered ancient artifacts from around the globe.

Using Homer's "Iliad" as a guide, an underwater archaeological team made the discoveries during a four-year survey off the coast of Kasos, a small island in the Aegean Sea, the Greek Ministry of Culture announced  Wednesday.

During the underwater missions, teams found the remains of 10 doomed ships, spanning thousands of years of history —  with the oldest one dating back to 3000 BC.


The ships sank during different eras, including the Classical period (460 BC), the Hellenistic period (100 BC to 100 AD), the Roman years (200 BC - 300 AD) and the Byzantine period (800 - 900 AD). The team also found the remains of a more recent vessel — a World War II-era ship made of wood that was almost 100 feet long.

Near the wrecks, the ministry said researchers also discovered a trove of "unique finds" originating from Spain, Italy, Africa and Asia Minor, including a Spanish amphora with a seal on its handle dating from between 150-170 AD.

Also discovered were drinking vessels, terra sigillata flasks from Africa and a stone anchor from the Archaic period, which lasted from the 8th century BC until the 5th century BC. A photo of the anchor was among six images from the survey released by the culture ministry.


All the shipwrecks and sunken treasures were found at depths of between 65 and 155 feet. From 2019 to 2023, researchers took more than 20,000 underwater photos and employed a side-scanning sonar to map the Kasos-Karpathos reef for the first time.

Centuries ago, Kasos served as a major trade hub east of Crete and, according to Homer's "Iliad," played a role in the Trojan War. Officials said researchers who surveyed the waters off the island actually used the Iliad and other historical sources to study the area.

"It is the first systematic research on the seabed of Kasos with the main objective of locating, recording and studying the antiquities of an area at the crossroads of cultures and once a center of navigation," according to the survey's website , which includes a 12-minute video  chronicling the underwater missions.

The team of international researchers includes diving archaeologists, historians, architects, geologists, postgraduate students and other specialists.

The announcement of the shipwrecks came just a few months after scientists found a partially submerged building, as well as a variety of ancient marble treasures, while exploring Salamis, a small island off the coast of Greece where a now-sunken city once stood.

Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com.

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