Buying a Yacht: George’s Tips

George Decsy portrait_1

Buying a yacht is like house buying, after all, it’s a second home that floats.

Like a house, it can be a money pit, but it doesn’t have to be. An expert sales agent knows how to spot the clues. For example, does the head work? It may seem minor, because you can easily replace a head. You cannot easily replace an entire suction system. When George Descy flushes a head, he knows the difference.

George’s Credo: Minimum headaches, maximum pleasure.

“You have a dream. You imagine yourself in the Caribbean, floating on your yacht with a cocktail in hand. You don’t think about the head backing up, or things breaking down, or rough weather, or that it might be awkward for future guests to share a bed. A good yacht agent does that thinking for you.

George says that the first step is to commit the dream to paper, even if it’s a sketch on a bar napkin while chatting with friends. Yacht ownership begins as wishful thinking. Consider where and how you envision using your yacht. Write down what’s most important to you.

A speedy performance hull is great for island hopping and weekends with friends. A deep-V hull is designed for heavy seas and long range, ocean adventures. A sailing yacht is timeless and romantic, but a multi-hull has more living space for family vacations.

“It’s my job to help you tick all the boxes.”

“Combine what you really want with what you really need and voila – the perfect build. With lots of industry contacts and access to a worldwide network of resources it doesn’t take long to find yachts that fit the bill, sometimes even before they’re listed. Once I find that dream boat, my priority is to make sure she’s not just another pretty profile.”

Buying a yacht, sailing yacht bow cushions, sunpads

George Decsy has purchased many boats, and owned several. He leaves no cushion unturned, because evaluating a vessel requires meticulous attention to detail, right down to the stitching.

“We want history. Engine hours and maintenance logs that go back to the commissioning of the vessel, which need to be scrutinized. I assess if the logs have been kept correctly, if there is a logical sequence of events to indicate that the yacht has been properly maintained. We want cleanliness and attention to detail. Is the engine clean? Is there oil lying in the bilge? Does the yacht smell bad? Does the head work? I flush the head and read the clues.

The key is to know the man who knows the man.

Buying a yacht, maintenance and repair

I am the nexus. When additional evaluation is required, I know honest and trustworthy industry experts that I can rely on for an unbiased analysis. I organize the various specialists to come in and pass their professional opinion over the product. I collate all that information, the issues that need to be dealt with structurally, mechanically, cosmetically and seaworthiness. If the vessel meets the highest standards it is truly sellable. If not, it may or may not be worth negotiating. I research comparable yachts on the market and am pretty relentless when it comes to negotiating the best price.

You’re not just buying the boat, you’re buying whoever is selling the boat.

buying a yacht, wheel, helm, vintage, wood, brass

Knowing owner practices is key to evaluating the yacht. I also try to get in touch with the person who owned the vessel before the current owner, and the present captain and the engineer. They can reveal what is not readily apparent on an inspection. For example, I discovered  the owner of a vessel that I wished to purchase was operating semi-legally between Greek and Turkish waters. This indicated to me that he was not averse to taking short-cuts, not only with shoddy paperwork, but more importantly with maintenance. I look as carefully at the product as the seller’s level of commitment to the product.”

Review all documentation with a professional eye. Look especially for critical omissions.

buying a yacht, office sketch, iPhone, computer

George’s checklist for pre-owned vessels:

  • Clear title
  • Owner is Seller
  • Maintenance log
  • Required inspections/certifications
  • Any obligations, liens, legal issues
  • What is included/excluded

While all the contracts are standard, they can be amended with terms and conditions. The specifics of the purchase must be defined and locked into the contract. There should be no unmet expectations.

Contractually there are many important decisions including registration for tax purposes. For example, a US owner may want to fly their national flag but there are disadvantages to that such as tax issues, and a US flagged vessel can only hire US nationals as crew. If you flag your vessel in the Cayman Islands, for instance, you can hire anybody you like.

“Hand-holding is important throughout the whole process and beyond.”

“The owner-agent relationship can be a lifelong affair. I’m an honest-to-goodness person. I’m good at managing expectations. I’ll tell you how it is. I am a resource for all the trades and professions that maintain an ocean-going vessel. When I get a call from a past client with a yacht problem, I put them in contact with the right person to solve it. I love yachting and want to share the experience. I want all of my clients happily sailing off into the sunset.”

Contact Yacht Sales Agent George Decsy at Select Yachts.

 Select Yachts Featured Boats For Sale

On Display at the Palm Beach International Boat Show:

LADY MARGARET, 2004 64′ Horizon E62 Motor Yacht, a rare find in virtually new condition. LADY MARGARET spent most of her life stored in a freshwater boathouse never exposed to weather. She’s a beauty!!  To make a viewing appointment during the Palm Beach Show, or for additional information, contact Bonnie Mims 954-294-0890 (cell) or [email protected]. Palm Beach Show location: Ramp 6; Slip 656

PIGGYBANK, 2004 Beneteau Oceanis 473 sailing yacht, priced for quick sale! Located in Fort Lauderdale.


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