How To Buy The Sailboat Of Your Dreams

It’s easier than you may think!

First of all, Select your dealer… and we have to compliment you for being so accurate and astute so quickly! You’re surfing the right website! South Coast Yachts! Some important things to remember about selecting your dealer:

Key Characteristics of a great dealer:

  • Honesty is number 1!
  • Friendliness. Someone who makes you feel good when you walk in.
  • Sincere care. You can see it in their eyes. This is the company and sales person that you want to help you bring your sailing dream into reality.
  • A great service department that is certified and experienced in outfitting and commissioning.
  • A good variety of models to choose from, both new and used.
  • References. We have a lot…and they will probably be your future sailing friends. Please ask for them!
  • Quick response and follow up.  How quickly did they call you back after your inquiry? We will call you back as quickly to answer any questions AFTER the purchase also! We’re all in this for the long haul and we love our jobs and love to sail. We’re in this business for the relationship with you and we’ll go to great lengths to make the experience a joyful one.


Choosing your new boat is a very personal decision. You’re looking for the boat that tugs at your heart strings and has the most of what your looking for. One mistake that boat buyers make is thinking that they’ll find the absolute perfect boat. Some do, but the time that you spend making everything absolutely perfect should be spent sailing! Here’s the big hint….Choose the boat that has the MOST of what you want. Ask your self….What am I going to be doing with this new boat? What am I going to be using it for? You’re not going to go out and buy the fastest racer on the market for cruising with your young children!…..We will be sure to ask you repeatedly..”How are you going to be using your new boat?”

Choosing the right equipment:

Most of the new Beneteaus come with a lot of great standard equipment and electronics. You can literally take a stock boat and go cruising these days. You’ll probably find something that you’d like to add, like a Chartplotter to help you navigate or an Autopilot to give you a brake at the helm every once in a while on your way to Catalina. We at South Coast Yachts have the experience and ability to install ANYTHING that you can dream of on the new boat. From Generators to SSB Radios to Custom Flat screen TV/ Starlink Systems….we can do it right for you. We do have the tendency to help you think through the equipment additions to save you money. You may not need that extra something….and we can install it anytime….why not wait, use the boat…..and see if you need that super system that you read about? We’d rather think it through with you than install anything that you don’t need.

Then all of a sudden….There she is! She’s the one that will work! How do I buy her and start this dream rolling??


There are two different scenarios to buying a new boat depending on WHERE the boat is. She is either sitting in stock at our show docks or you are going to order through your dealer from the factory. (or she may already be on order for stock and you’re the lucky one who will get her). Usually the dealer will require an earnest deposit to start the purchase process. 20% is the standard to order a boat for you.  If she is in stock, the process will be the following: 10% begins the process, you set up “closing” with the financing source* within about 10 days or if you’re just paying cash for it, you close within 10 days on 90% of the purchase price, then at delivery day, you pay the final 10%. If the plan is to order a boat, 20% starts the process and gets her ordered. You bring the deposit up to 90% of the purchase price when the boat ships from the factory.   You pay the final 10% on delivery day. We don’t start commissioning and installing equipment until she is 90%  funded (after closing).

Financing Source

The interest rates should be very important to you.  You can finance most boats over 30 years. It is easy to finance a boat.

Some people choose to pay cash or finance the new boat through a home equity loan or another source, but you should always consider the affordability of your monthly payment as well as the TAX benefit of the boat as a second home. Yes, she would probably be considered a second home, so please talk to your tax advisor to realize these benefits.  They could be substantial.

If you’d like even more tax benefits, consider placing the new boat in charter.

When will she be ready?

If we had to install a ton of equipment for you, the most it should take is 6 weeks from the point that she arrives on our docks or  at our yard. (For boats above 50′, plan 10 weeks.) You should use this time to plan. When she arrives, we do everything from “building” the rig, to  commissioning all of the systems, to putting the bottom paint on…to completely detailing her, dressing her teak, and making her beautiful for delivery day. We take the right amount of time to do it right. It is our responsibility to make  her as perfect as possible for you and we’re very serious about doing it right. Your safety and enjoyment of your new vessel is the focus of our certified service team. If you plan and expect that a proper commissioning and outfitting takes this amount of time, you won’t be disappointed.

Delivery Day is here!

This is the event that we’ve all been waiting for. You’ll go through a thorough “Walk Through” which will take about 2-3 hours. We will go over everything from where your thru-hulls are to how to plot a course on the new chartplotter. We’ll go over all of your warranty paperwork. Beyond all of the extra time that we are willing  to spend with you teaching you how to enjoy your boat, you’ll get 8 free hours with a licensed CG captain aboard to secure your comfort level. We give you as much time as you need to get to know the boat. (you may eventually have to kick us off, because believe us, being on your boat is MUCH more fun than sitting in our office!)

Possible Tax Benefits to buying a boat

1. Will a boat qualify for a second home deduction? Yes, if a boat has a place to sleep, a head and a galley it will qualify as a second home deduction.

2.  What does this give me? You can write off all your interest expenses related to the boat, just as you do your primary residence.

3. What restrictions apply?  The IRS only entitles you to one 2nd home deduction, so if you already own a home, it might benefit you to finance your boat through the equity in one of your homes.

Can I write my boat off as a business expense?

Many of our clients do write off their boats through their business; however you would want to meet with your own accountant to be sure you followed IRS guidelines.

What advantage does placing a boat in an ongoing charter company?

There are many tax and cash flow advantages to this technique.

    1. You are able to depreciate the boat (10 year accelerated depreciation MACRS)
    2. Section 179 expense deduction in the year of acquisition
    3. You are able to deduct all ordinary and necessary charter related expense (berthing, insurance, maintenance, interest etc.)
    4. The boat will receive the care and management by a professional staff (varies with charter company)
    5. You receive the income from Charter.
    6. You and those that charter your boat will receive good training using the American Sailing Association (ASA) Training Program.
    7. You will have the opportunity to dramatically reduce the time it takes to pay off your boat.
    8. There will be a dramatic reduction in ownership expenses.
    9. There may be an easier access to slips, an increasingly  scarce commodity. What is an Offshore Delivery all about?

What is an Offshore Delivery?

For many years clients have chosen to take delivery of their boat in a location outside of California, in order to use it in a location outside of California.  One of the advantages of this practice is that the dealership is not required to collect sales or use tax (approximately 9% of the purchase price, depending on the county in which you purchase the boat).  California requires that a retailer collect or a buyer of a brokerage boat pay a sales tax on the purchase. The only exception is when a client requests, and takes delivery outside of the state.

This will keep them from paying the sales tax, but they will be liable for a Use Tax (coincidently the same amount as a sales tax) unless they follow very specific rules and did not “intend” to bring it back or to keep it out for the purpose of avoiding sales/use tax.  Below you will find a list of 8 key summary points to consider. We highly recommend using an attorney to insure you follow the  intent and letter of this tax code. This list is meant as a general guideline and should not be solely relied on to make your decision to take an offshore/out of state delivery.

    1. The Purchase contracts (new or brokerage) must state that the offshore delivery as a contingency.
    2. The purpose is not to avoid sales tax.
    3. You should not keep your current slips or anything that could be argued that you intend to return to California.
    4. California buyers must keep the boat out a minimum 365 days.
    5. The client must keep all records of usage out of the  state to verify it has been used not stored. There is no specific usage amount required by the state; however we suggest you use it as much as possible.
    6. The owner can not use the boat or put equipment on it until he has taken delivery out of the state.
    7. California Attorney’s who are experts in this tax code and others relating to your boat purchase.

Thank you very much for reading this important information. We’re sure that your choice of South Coast Yachts will be gratifying. Thanks for coming aboard!