If you’re thinking of acquiring a method of conveyance on the water, first thing to ask yourself is, “why?” Is it because you want to enjoy the freedom to be Master and Commander and set your own course for adventure? To entertain family and friends in the sheltered waters off Waikiki or the Kane’ohe Bay Sand Bar, or cruise off on the high seas to a neighbor island? Or do you want to experience the rush of the wind propel you beyond Diamond Head, maybe all the way to Tahiti and beyond with dolphins swimming with you along the way? Or maybe you just need a sure way to survive the zombie apocalypse because we all know that zombies can’t swim! No matter your reason for wanting a boat, you can be assured that camaraderie with other boaters is an added benefit, as we all share these feelings and motivations.
Once you’ve decided “why” to buy a boat then you probably already have an idea about the kind of boat you want. New or used? Power or sail? Single or twin engine power? Sloop or ketch rig sailboat? The possibilities are endless, but they will all get you out on the water. Usually a boat picks her owner, not the other way around. You’ll just know it when you see her.
New or used?
A new boat has that “new boat smell” but a used boat might be exactly what you’re looking for- one that’s a classic and no longer in production. If you choose a used boat, we recommend that you consult with an independent surveyor to ensure that you’re not buying someone else’s headache or getting more than you’ve bargained for if it’s a “fixer upper.”
Sail or power?
You might want to keep in mind that a sailboat is also a powerboat- as they generally all have an auxiliary engine to get in and out of the harbor and when there’s no wind. Sailing might seem like a mystery to someone whose never tried it, but it’s fun and easy to learn! There’s also many reasons to own a powerboat, especially if you can’t leave your wristwatch on shore.
What about size?
Was Chief Brody right, are you going to need a bigger boat? That depends. If you’re planning to live aboard or cruise for extended periods with family and friends, or chase after Jaws then your boat might never seem big enough. If you just want to get out on the water to cruise for the day, or if you’re just starting out maybe a smaller boat is a better idea. With increased size comes increased amenities and capabilities but also cost. It’s up to you.
Where will you keep your boat?
That’s obvious- in the water! You might’ve heard that it’s hard to find a place to moor/ dock a boat in Hawaii. That depends, too. If there’s a will there’s a way. It’s true that some of the harbors and yacht clubs have a wait list, but some others have none or a short wait list. It might get a little more complicated if you want to live aboard, but that’s not impossible either.
Cash, credit, gold bullion…
When it comes to the purchase of your yacht, you can pay for it outright or finance it. Depending on the size and purpose of the boat, it might qualify as a home or business- check with your tax advisor. Sometimes it makes sense to finance a boat, but please consider the full cost of boat ownership: mooring (dock space), maintenance, upgrades (toys from West Marine) and insurance. The State of Hawaii requires that all boats have a minimum amount of liability coverage and if you care about your boat you might want to cover it in full.
Go it alone?
You could figure all this out on your own and maybe find a good deal on a used yacht on Craigslist- or you could work with a broker. The team of professionals at Ala Wai Yacht Brokerage are passionate about what they do and have in depth personal knowledge about the boating community in Hawaii. If you’re a buyer- we can help you avoid scams and pitfalls and provide resources to make your boating dreams a reality in Hawaii. If you’re a seller- we can help you market your boat to the world and present it in the best possible light to potential buyers.
Zachary Hughes is the head broker at Ala Wai Yacht Brokerage. He is an accomplished sailor and has crossed the Pacific Ocean numerous times. He frequently sails all around the Hawaiian Islands. A US Marine Corps veteran, Zach ensures that all members of his team meet the highest standards of integrity and accountability in their dealings with clients. As an owner of numerous boats and active sailor, Zach knows all the ins and outs of boat ownership in Hawaii. He is the guy to know to make your boating dreams happen in Hawaii.
Greg Martin is a broker with Ala Wai Yacht Brokerage and instructor and manager of Sail Hawaii International. Greg holds a USCG 100 ton Captains license and brought the pirate ship “Treasure Seeker” to Hawaii. A US Navy veteran and former school teacher, he teaches a Captains license preparatory course at Windward Community College. Greg ran a sailing school in Okinawa for several years, has done deliveries in Japan and Taiwan and still maintains contacts across the ocean. He’s always up for doing another delivery to Asia!
Ala Wai Yachts