Jason Heppenstall

Life on the ocean wave: Buying your own yacht in Europe

4 min read


Opening an account with Currency Solutions is completely free and you’ll be able to make currency transfers anytime at our excellent exchange rates.

Have you ever dreamed about taking to the Med aboard your own yacht, perhaps sailing around the Greek islands or simply spending lazy days in the marina at exotic locations such as St Tropez, Biarritz or Monte Carlo? Well, dream no more with this simple non-nonsense primer to getting hold of your dream vessel in Europe.


If you’re thinking about buying a yacht, as opposed to a sailing boat, be prepared to get your wallet out and dig deep. Typically, a yacht is considered to be a leisure sailing over 70ft (21m) in length, with some super-yachts and mega-yachts being anything up to 590ft (180m).

At the lower end of the price spectrum, a decent sailing yacht from a respected brand will start at around €100k new. Second hand ones can be bought for considerably less, and often there is no loss of quality. At the other end of the spectrum super and mega yachts generally cost around €1million per metre, with the most expensive luxury yachts costing billions.

Bear in mind, once you have bought a yacht there will be various ongoing costs …


If you are planning on entering the yacht market at the less expensive end – perhaps with a reasonably new small vessel – and you plan on crewing it yourself, then costs can be kept reasonably low. That said, you will still need to pay for:

  • Service and maintenance, including taking it out of the water once a year for anti-fouling paint on the hull. There is also engine maintenance to consider, as well as maintenance to fixtures and fittings such as upholstery and deck hardware plus waxes and varnish.
  • Berth, mooring and winter storage. These are generally fixed costs that you pay annually, and the price varies depending on the location. Often you will also have to pay for utilities such as water, electricity and garbage disposal while in port.
  • Insurance. Getting your vessel insured can be complicated, but there are specialist brokers who can take care of it for you. Expect to pay a bit less than 1% of your yacht’s value in marine insurance each year.

Generally speaking, you’ll spend around 10% of the value of your yacht each year, excluding any fuel, if you use it for a week or two at a time. If you plan on buying a super yacht you’ll also have to pay for crew and an on-board manager.


First things first, when buying a yacht you’ll need to decide whether to do it privately or use a specialist broker. Ideally, unless you know what you are doing, going with a broker is best as they will handle all the paperwork and do the necessary legal checks for you in the language of whichever country you are buying in.

For those not too worried about splashing the cash, the first port of call when buying a brand new yacht will probably be one of the big expos, such as the Monaco Yacht Show. Here you’ll no doubt find what you are looking for.

When it comes to second hand yachts, the best place to look for your dreamboat in Europe is … online. Yes, sites such as YachtWorld and Burgess list vessels that are for sale, and also put you in touch with brokers. If you see something you like, it’s time to arrange a visit to go and see it …

You won’t be surprised to find out that most yachts in Europe are bought and sold around the Mediterranean. There are numerous harbours, marinas and dry docks stretching from France to Greece and beyond, although the bigger marinas in places like Monaco will undoubtedly have more choice if you want to look at several alternatives.


So, you’ve bought your yacht, insured it, safely stowed in a nice little marina in Spain … now what?

Many people love the freedom owning a yacht gives them, and to experience this to its fullest they learn how to skipper their own vessel. Learning to sail can be done in the UK, with dozens of yacht and sailing clubs offering sailing lessons around the UK – particularly along the south coast.

Generally, courses take at least five days t get your Competent Crew certification, and by the end of it you’ll have an understanding of navigation, changing sails and tying yachts. This will give you a basis for further learning and it costs around £400.

Of course, if you have the money for it, or if you’d rather just relax and not need to worry about navigating you can always employ a crew to do it for you. Crewing costs depend on your needs, with everything from a single skipper to a full set of staff including chefs and a masseuse, but do need not be expensive as you may think!


Of course, if you are buying a yacht in Europe you are likely going to be transferring large sums of money to a broker in Euros. We can arrange this transfer for you, and you’ll avoid many of the costs banks routinely charge for such transfers.

What’s more, once you have your dream yacht in Europe, we can arrange ongoing money transfers to pay for costs such as berthing and marina fees, making sure that it’s plain sailing all the way.