Yacht Deliveries: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Have you ever done a “yacht delivery?” The term “yacht delivery” is used to describe the job of ferrying a boat from one location to another. It can be a good job. After all, if you are doing a yacht delivery, someone else bought a boat and is paying you to take a boat ride! Right?

If you have done many yacht deliveries, you have learned that it is not always fun and games. There are often many surprises relating to the operation of the boat and the availability of necessary onboard equipment. Such problems can either be an inconvenience or a hazard.

When a customer calls you to move their boat from one place to another, there are a few things to discuss besides the cost. Some questions to ask are the following:

  1. How long has the boat been sitting without the engine having been run?
  1. How long has it been since the boat made a long trip.
  1. How old is the fuel?
  1. How much fuel is in the boat?
  1. Are there current charts on the boat?
  1. Does the boat have a working VHF radio?
  1. Does the boat have a working GPS?
  1. When was the last time the bottom and running gear was cleaned?
  1. Are the batteries up to charge?
  1. Does the boat have life jackets and other required safety equipment?

These are SOME of the questions to ask. While a few of them might appear trivial, we can assure you, they are not. Yacht brokers, delivery captains and others who occasionally move customers’ boats around generally prepare for the worst situation. The boat that is in “perfect shape” and is “loaded with the latest equipment” often turns out to be otherwise.

All professional mariners will carry a hand-held VHF radio and GPS on a yacht delivery. They have gone to enough boats that had a radio, but no antenna, or a GPS but no power to it.

That full fuel tank may have been full once, but it is rarely full when the delivery captain shows up. A partially full tank that sits around for a while will accumulate moisture from condensation. Old fuel can break down and “gum up” your engine components. These problems frequently cause your engine to quit, and that usually occurs at the most inopportune time.

Those “brand new” charts were new once, and might still be okay, if you were going to the Bi-Centennial in 1976. Most delivery captains bring their own charts to ensure that they have up-to-date charts for the right areas.

The importance of a clean bottom and running gear cannot be overstated. If your sailboat prop has two inches of growth all over it, pulling out into a few knots of current can be a real treat.

Standard equipment for yacht brokers is a portable battery pack for jump-starting a boat engine. Even with the best intentions, things can happen to your battery charging system. Circuit breakers trip, power cords come loose, etc.

Do yourself, and your delivery captain, a favor. Keep your equipment and your boat is shape. It’s a cheaper and safer alternative than letting things go. But most of all, it will be likely that nobody will get injured on your boat!

Until next time, we wish you clear skies, fair winds and calm seas!


World Wide Marine Training, LLC, is a U.S. Coast Guard Approved facility authorized to give examinations for captain’s licenses up to Master 200 Tons, Able Seaman up to Unlimited, STCW Basic Training, Radar, ARPA and other Endorsements. Please visit www.worldwidemarinetraining.com or call toll-free 866-249-2135.