Motor Yachts and Cruisers: What you need to know

GJW Motor Yacht [Pixabay]

There’s no better way to cruise the world’s oceans than aboard a motor cruiser or yacht. Built to stay on the water for days and even weeks on end, the design and performance of a motor yacht is second to none. They are the epitome of luxury and class, dominating smaller boats with their size and status.

Generally, a motor yacht delivers significant length over a traditional vessel – often measuring between 40 to 90 feet – with cabin space and systems specifically designed for long term cruising. There’s almost always room for socialising, too, with purpose-built decks and entertainment spaces offering an ideal platform for gatherings.

There is a range of styles of motor yachts that come under the term, including flybridge, pilothouse, aft cabin, sedan bridge and large, express-style yachts. Bridge boats are the most popular style type, offering plenty of room for overnight accommodation and deck space alongside a helm on the bridge as well as in the cabin, allowing for all-season functionality. More often than not, a motor cruiser design is defined by the size of its outdoor spaces like the flybridge or cockpit – the more space to impress your guests, the better…  

Powered by either petrol or diesel engines, the range of power can depend on the original purpose of the motor yacht build. The look and feel of a motor cruiser can also vary massively, with many different styles and sizes of hulls, from full-displacements to planing hulls that can change how the yacht’s stability, speed and resistance.

Yacht Maintenance

GJW Motor Yacht [wikimedia] (1)

For many, one of the most important aspects of owning a motor cruiser or yacht will be keeping it in tip-top condition. This is where yacht maintenance and upkeep comes into consideration, both from a budget perspective and how much time it will take. If you want your motor cruiser to work for many years and enjoy stress-free sailing, putting in the time and effort for regular maintenance is well worthwhile and can potentially save you from expensive repair bills.

There is a lot to consider, with various systems and components that will require different levels of maintenance. Ideally, you’ll want to get into the habit of carrying out specific maintenance tasks throughout the year – including the below as a rough maintenance guide:

After a period of heavy usage:

  • Check the oil and coolant levels
  • Check oil pads
  • Test all batteries

Monthly checks:

  • Inspect the hull for any corrosion, leaks, peeling paintwork
  • Inspect all fittings for corrosion
  • Check all running and interior lights
  • Check for corrosion on any wire connections or terminals
  • Inspect the hull, keel and rudder for any damage and treat any scratches
  • Inspect bilge pumps (including automatic)
  • Inspect plugs and hoses for cracking
  • Check for any blockages in through-hulls and intake/discharge components

Annual checks:

  • Carry out the annual haul-out, including anti-fouling, zinc replacement and repainting if necessary
  • Check the battery’s water level

For more tips, check out our blog on How to Prep Your Motor Cruiser for Start of Season.

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How to Buy a Yacht

How to buy a yacht

If you’re thinking about buying a yacht, there’s a lot you need to consider – in particular, what you will be using your yacht for. Do you want to invite your entire extended family on a cruise around the Med? Or are you looking for something that can deliver high-speed performance? Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the things you need to think about before buying a yacht:

  • Budget (Including ongoing running costs)
  • Size restrictions (Where is the yacht going to be kept? How many people do you want to be able to have onboard?)
  • Performance capabilities (Semi-planing hull for speed or full-displacement for stability?)

Interested in buying or selling a motor cruiser? Read our blog for key things to look out for... 

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Your Motor Yacht Running Costs

GJW Motor Yacht [Unsplash]

Owning a yacht is most definitely a lifestyle choice. As a rule of thumb, the running costs of a yacht are estimated at 10% of the initial purchase price. So hypothetically, a yacht that costs £200,000 will cost you around £20,000 annually to run.

Everything from fuel, insurance, marina fees, repairs, crew salaries and ongoing maintenance will factor into the costs, though these can vary massively depending on the size of your boat and sometimes your location. The 590-foot superyacht Azzam, for example, cost around $600 million to build with annual fees of up to $75 million – though that is including a missile defence system...

For an in-depth look at some of the costs you can expect to pay, take a look at our motor cruiser costing guide…  

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Motor Yacht Insurance

GJW Motor Yacht Insurance [Unsplash]

When you’ve invested so much time and money on your motor yacht, getting the right protection is essential to avoid the financial and emotional trouble should something happen. Whilst it’s not technically a legal requirement to have yacht insurance in the UK, it is generally compulsory at most harbours, marinas and mooring areas. You will also need to have proof of insurance in order to obtain an inland waterways licence.

Most insurance policies will provide cover for fires, theft, storm damage, collisions and vandalism, though some will cover more than others. There are a number of factors that can affect how much your yacht insurance will cost, including where you keep and use your boat, as well as its size, value and age. For more information, read about how much it costs to insure a motor cruiser.

GJW’s Motor Cruiser and Power Boat Insurance is one of the best available in the market and provides fully comprehensive cover and great value, as well as a number of extra benefits. We offer an outstanding service and a fast and fair claims settlement reputation that is second to none.

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Your Motor Cruiser
Pre-Departure Checklist

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Finding the Right Yacht Club

GJW Motor Yacht [wikimedia]

Whether you’re new to the yacht boating set or looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of yacht clubs out there to suit all needs and tastes. Where you choose to spend your time with your yacht is arguably even more important than owning the yacht itself – whilst some can have very specific and exclusive membership rules for high-net-worth individuals, others are more accessible to a broader range.  

What is a yacht club?
A yacht club is different from a traditional boat club as they primarily exist for people that own a yacht, or at least someone that plans to in the near future.

How much is a yacht club?
There are some clubs that can offer very competitive rates due to not actually having a physical presence or smaller venues that provide a more niche service. Of course, there is also the opposite end of the scale, where you can expect a five-figure annual fee for the most high-end clubs. For some, like the Royal Yacht Squadron, you can’t actually buy a membership – you need to be invited by someone already in it, which is a very exclusive list, considering the patron is Queen Elizabeth II herself.  

If you're looking for a more exotic destination, why not read our pick of the best yacht clubs on the white isle of Ibiza? 

Yacht Documentation

GJW Motor Yacht documents [Unsplash 6]

Whilst it’s not a legal requirement to register your boat, it can help prove ownership when should you come to sell the vessel. Or, if you plan on travelling outside of the UK, certain documents are required. Many insurance policies also require proof of certain certifications.

Here are a few of the documents you might need:

  • Registration document (UK Ship Register)
  • Insurance documents
  • Voyage log
  • Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate
  • Passenger carrying certificate (if carrying more than 12)

Keeping on top of all of your yacht documentation can be difficult – especially when water is involved, soggy documents don’t tend to hold up to much scrutiny… To help keep all of your documents and certifications in one place, MyBoat is a free online organiser that allows you to store document copies digitally. Read more about how to store your motor cruiser documentation digitally.

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MyBoat: Your Free Digital Organiser

MyBoat is a free digital boat management system and accessory reminder service. Which means no more misplacing documents or worrying when lifejackets are due for servicing!

What are the benefits of using MyBoat?

  • You’ll have the ability to create online profiles for multiple vessels
  • Calculate running costs for each of your vessels
  • Use our national 5-day weather and tide forecast to help plan trips
  • Keep up to date with the latest news, views and more.
  • Exclusive offers
MyBoat will also offer exclusive offers for anyone who has taken out boat insurance with GJW Direct

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Create your FREE account. Simply create a username and password and you're ready to go!

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Set up your boat profiles. Add important documentation, create and customise your reminders and check out the latest boating news.

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When they are due, MyBoat will send you email reminders in plenty of time to renew your policies or arrange services.