What to Look For Before and During a Sea Trial of a Used Yacht for Sale

yachting, what to look for in a sea trial

If you have reached the time to go for a sea trial, it means that you are seriously considering purchasing the chosen used yacht. You can’t merely sea trial any yacht you fancy as this is an expensive procedure that is usually performed after a survey.

First Things First: Conduct a Proper Survey

To have a proper survey, you should research a good surveyor, make sure they have the right qualifications and are familiarized with the marine politics in the country where the boat will be purchased.

Once you have made sure that you have the right surveyor, the yacht needs to be taken out of the water, and a thorough inspection of the hull, the outside areas and interior, equipment, engine room, and every other aspect of the yacht must be done. However, there are many details that can’t be surveyed while the yacht is outside the water, including the yacht’s performance. This is why a sea trial is recommended, and it should be taken very seriously.

Six Sea Trial Steps You Don’t Want to Miss

If you have hired a surveyor to check the quality of the yacht you want to purchase, this same person would probably inspect the vessel during the sea trial. If this is not the case, let your yacht broker, captain, or chief engineer do the survey for you, or if you have the knowledge, go for it yourself.

Before the Sea Trial

#1 Before you go on the sea trial

  • Make a list of all the areas you want to check, all the systems and electronics, and any equipment that can’t be checked during the first stage of the survey.
  • Make sure that there is up-to-date safety gear on board.
  • Bring a camera to take photos and videos during the sea trial.

#2 Before running the boat

  • Check the engine room for any leaks or dripping and take a picture of it.

#3 Another point to consider is the quantity of fuel and water in the tanks

  • The fuller, the better.
  • Ideally, water and fuel tanks should be full to the top. This way, any cracks or leakages could be identified on time. Also, that would contribute to the more realistic load of the boat in normal conditions with more passengers on board.

#4 If the boat has been actively used

  • Ensure no unsecured objects that might fall during the trial. It is crucial to execute the sea trial in conditions closest to the ones you would typically use the vessel. If you plan to use the yacht on rough seas, wait for bad weather to do the sea trial.

Once you have made it clear to yourself and the yacht professionals running the sea trial what needs to be checked and all the sea trial preparations have been made, you are ready to go for a rough ride of exploring the yacht’s capacities.

During the Sea Trial

#5 Try the boat’s performance by reaching the extremities in the RPMs

  • Pay attention to how it stays in a planning position when cruising or when at anchor. Check the yacht’s stability and rolling time. Make a few walkthroughs while at different speeds so you can get an idea of how it feels to be on board while underway.
  • Pay attention to any weird sounds, engine noise, and vibrations. It is a good idea to get the authorized technical team taking care of the engines such as MTU and CAT specialists to register engines’ performance.
  • Pay attention to the engine room temperature and the temperature of the air going into the engines. They usually should not differ with the outside air temperature of more than 16 -17 C. Generators should be working at least half of their maximum capacity. However, if surveyed at 80% of their load would be ideal.
  • Check water-makers if possible.
  • While at the helm, check out the visibility at different boat positions in accordance with the water.
  • Also, go through all the electronics and navigation systems. This is the time to check sonar, radar, depth sounder, etc. Register fuel burns at different RPMs.

#6 While on board

  • Take a seat in different areas where passengers might be sitting so you can get an idea of comfort and visibility.
  • Pay attention to how dry the ride is. Is there water coming on board while going fast?
  • Take the chance to check the anchor. This way, you would also have the opportunity to try zero-speed stabilizers or only the rolling period if stabilization is available but not switched on. Crane and tender can also be surveyed while at anchor.

Running the two-staged survey is a very important step when purchasing a yacht. It is a big investment, but it can give you peace of mind when using the yacht in the future if done by the right professional. On the other side, a bad survey report can dramatically decrease the asking price and lead to a great deal. The buyer usually pays the survey after a deposit has been given in an escrow account. Usually, the seller covers fuel expenses for the sea trial, but this is not a rule, and it should be discussed before the process.

A Sea Trial Is a Test and Not a Pleasure Ride

Remember that the sea trial is a test, not a pleasant time to enjoy the vessel. Try to check as much as possible because if you don’t find any issues at the sea trial after the purchase, you will be responsible for the yacht and can’t complain that something is not working. If you are given the opportunity to do a survey, grab it, and use it wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and go to extremities. Open your senses or trust a good surveyor.

Check out all the used yachts for sale today in YATCO, the Official MLS of Yachting.

Sign up to receive updates on the latest yachting and boating news and events.