The Anatomy of a Yacht Broker

Let us settle this debate once and for all. What exactly does a yacht broker add to your chartering or yacht buying experience?

Article published in the MYS Summer Magazine, #2018 | By Risa Merl


There are some out there who might question or underestimate the value of working with a yacht broker. After all, anytime you part with money it can be tempting to try to cut costs. But we also know that cutting costs often means cutting corners, which only costs you more money in the long run.

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A yacht broker should possess a particular set of skills and qualities that will make them indispensable to their client. The ideal broker, that’s him (or her):

Knows lots about yachts
Most yacht brokers get into the field because they are highly passionate about yachts. They either grew up sailing, worked on yachts as crew themselves or both. While previous experience working on yachts isn’t mandatory to being a world-class broker, it can certainly give them an edge in understanding the inner workings of crew, yacht design and an owner’s preferences.

Captain and crew whisperer
During a yacht charter, brokers work behind the scenes as the intermediary between captain and crew to ensure every detail of the trip meets your exacting requirements. If there is a particular request – or any concert arise during the trip – a quality broker is the one to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Travel guide
A broker will have a good understanding of the cruising grounds where their clients want to go. They should be able to give you basic details and hidden secrets about the most popular destinations. Beyond this, they will present ideas for new itineraries that are off the beaten path or suggest places to try in shoulder seasons, where you can enjoy wonderful places but save money before the crowd rush in.

A broker won't just be there on the business end, they can either personally accompany you – or set you up with the right people – to attend the yacht's sea trials and surveys to make sure that everything is in order. Your broker will delve deep into the technical muck that is a survey so you don't have to, renegotiating the deal if necessary. They are your eyes, ears and sea legs for the entire affair.


Value added
Brokers will also give you itinerary and logistical advice on where to start or end your itinerary that can help you save money on VAT (value added tax). Starting or ending your trip in different ports can make a big impact on reducing VAT, which will affect the overall price of the charter.

Legal eagles
There are many steps involved in buying a yacht, and many rules involved in chartering that differ wildly by country and cruising grounds. Your yacht brokers stay up to date on this legalese so you don’t have to, making everything as simple as possible so your only job is to enjoy your time on board.

Yacht tailors
A charter or sales broker makes it their job to get to understand their client’s unique tastes and preferences. This allows a broker to tailor their advice to their client’s specific preferences and personal needs, finding them the right yacht to charter or buy. It’s a skill a website simply cannot replicate.

Honest opinions
When it comes to chartering, you’d never have the time to scope out every yacht you might want to charter in person – and you’d never want to make such a big decision based on photos on the internet alone. This is where a skilled broker whose honest opinion you can trust comes into play. Charter brokers travel to yacht shows all over the world, go on board all the latest yachts for charter, get to know the captains and crew and sample the chef’s cooking. They do all this so they can give their client’s their objective, honest opinion and quickly find you the right boat, every time.

Deal maker
Part of a broker’s job is to negotiate the best rate for their charter client. In a “direct” situation, without a third party to do this, it isn’t nearly as easy. Likewise, having a broker do your deal making means that the yacht’s owners are paid 50% on the first day of the charter and the remaining 50% at the end of the charter. This gives the broker room to negotiate on your behalf if the charter is not up to snuff.

Network advantage
When you work with a sales broker, you aren't just tapping into this one person's knowledge, but you are gaining access to their vast network. Sales brokers will be plugged in with contacts in the top shipyards, the best designers as well as other brokers, so whether you are designing a new build or buying a pre-owned yacht, they can find you the perfect team and ensure you get the best deal. Likewise, if you're instead buying a marina slip as an investment, a sales broker can help you find the ideal location for your yacht.

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Market pro
Just like you wouldn’t try to buy or sell a home without a local realtor who knows the area and the comparable prices, you wouldn’t buy or sell a yacht without an expert broker who knows the state of the industry. Superyacht sales brokers have a deep understanding of market values, pricing and trends, and they utilise this knowledge to help their clients set the right price and get the best deals.

Worst case scenario saviour
At the end of the day a yacht is moving object filled with many other moving parts, and as much we try to avoid it, sometimes things do go wrong. A broker who is calm under pressure and proactive at solving problems is invaluable if unfortunate situations do occur. They deal with the headaches while you keep enjoying your holiday.