What Is Yacht Salvage?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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A yacht salvage is a company or other entity that takes possession of damaged recreational vessels known as yachts, or facilitates sales of said yachts between the owners and potential buyers. The vessels can vary in condition, from near-perfect boats that were repossessed by creditors, to extremely damaged vessels that will require a significant amount of repair before they can be seaworthy again. A yacht salvage company will often facilitate sales or auctions to find buyers for the damaged vessels, and the buyers have the opportunity to buy a boat at a cost far below the established retail value.

A yacht can become damaged from any number of causes, from rough storms such as hurricanes or tropical storms, to incidents in storage yards such as fires or impacts. The condition of the boat, as well as the age of the vessel and the seller's wishes, will determine the starting bid of the yacht salvage auction or the established asking price for the sale. In many cases, buyers can simply place a bid, and the yacht salvage company will present the seller with that bid to see if he or she wants to accept it or deny it. If the bid is accepted, the yacht salvage company will process the paperwork to make the sale final. The vessel is almost always sold as-is, which means no warranties are included and no repairs will be done by the seller or the salvage company.


While purchasing a vessel from a yacht salvage is a great way to get a high-quality vessel at a low price, the buyer will very likely have trouble securing financing for it. Most lenders will not lend money for salvaged boats, which means the buyer will need to have enough money on hand or have other ways to secure financing before purchasing. Once the boat has been purchased, additional repair and refurbishing costs are likely, and the buyer will take a risk because the cost of repairs could drive up the overall cost of the boat.

It is entirely possible, however, to find a yacht salvage boat in pristine condition. These boats tend to cost more, and they most likely came from financial institutions that repossessed the boat. The companies will try to sell the boat to recoup losses from a defaulted loan, for example, and the cost of the boat may consequently be much lower than retail.


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