what is yacht conveyancing?

The sale of a yacht is split into two very distinct stages. The first is the listing and marketing of the yacht with the intention of finding a buyer and agreeing an offer. The second stage involves taking both buyer and seller through the process of contracts, surveys, sea trials, subsequent negotiations, as well as all the paperwork in relation to title, registration, VAT and RCD.

The first stage, in general, is comparatively easy. However, on occasions it can be frustrating and long-winded. The second stage tends to be more challenging, fraught with potential risks and pitfalls. As a result, even if as a seller, you have the confidence to deal with the first stage yourself, the JD Yachts team offers a dedicated service to cater for this more complex second stage.

our service

Our ABYA qualified Brokers offer a bespoke and dedicated yacht conveyancing service, which includes the following features:


  • ABYA-approved legal contracts for the sale and purchase process.
  • Dedicated client holding accounts, designated by JD Yachts and identified as such by the banks.
  • Comprehensive insurance for the purposes of the yacht conveyancing and the value of yachts bought or sold through the business.
  • The provision of knowledge, guidance and administration services in respect of legal title, yacht registration, VAT and RCD matters.
  • Transfer of legal title.
  • Prompt transfer of net sale proceeds and the provision of statements and invoices to support the sale and the services of the broker.
  • Direct liaison with marine finance houses in identifying the presence of, settling, or securing a marine mortgage.
  • Direct liaison with insurers to assist purchasers with securing cover for their new purchases.
  • Close working relationships with third party marine businesses, covering all the additional logistics involved in the sale of a yacht – from refit/repair, valeting and delivery to marina berthing, tuition and charter.


We always act on behalf of the instructing party, whether this is the buyer or seller. We do, however, have a clear duty of care towards all parties involved in the sale and purchase.

Where a seller is a private individual or an entity not selling in the course of their business, no warranty will usually apply. It is important that a buyer should satisfy themselves as to the suitability and condition of the yacht through personal inspection, professional survey and/or sea trial. The costs associated with such checks will usually fall to the account of the buyer.

In respect of title, registration, VAT and RCD (Recreational Craft Directive), again, the buyer must be satisfied that these are in order. JD Yachts will request all supporting paperwork from the seller and make them available for inspection by the buyer. For more formal advice on paperwork matters, a buyer should seek further advice from qualified sources such as the relevant customs authority or in the case of RCD, a notified body.


We can act on behalf or either buyer or seller in a conveyancing capacity. Sellers looking to privately find a buyer for their yacht can instruct us in advance to deal with any subsequent agreed offers. Alternatively, a prospective buyer may instruct us to act on their behalf as soon as a suitable yacht is found, and an offer is agreed. We are further able to act on behalf of a buyer in an instance where a yacht is found through a third party yacht broker.


Our charges start from 4%+VAT* of the gross sale/purchase price for a conveyancing service. This is approximately half of the cost associated with our full service brokerage, on the logical basis that the service covers the second half of the complete yacht sales process.

We also offer a more simple documentation checking service for buyers, where we examine available title history, registration, VAT and RCD evidences and offer guidance on our findings. Charges for this service start at £250+VAT.

Our charges are always payable by the party instructing the service. Where a buyer and seller decide upon a joint instruction for the purposes of conveyancing, they must do so within their own private agreement. We require one party to formally instruct us to act on their behalf. We cannot be instructed by both parties.

*Minimum fee £1,500.00+VAT applies.


The UK government website is an excellent resource for explaining the customs requirements for private individuals who sail their boat to and from the UK. Additionally, there are further guidance notes on the ABYA website.


The RCD is a European Directive that applies to virtually all recreational craft between 2.5m and 24m brought into or offered for sale in the EU market. Take a look at the guidance notes on the ABYA website.


You can register your boat under Part 1 or Part 3 of the Registry of Shipping and Seamen. This is operated by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) at Cardiff. Visit the ABYA website for additional guidance notes.


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