Selling Your Yacht with MMS

As a Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB), I understand how difficult it can be to sell a yacht in these tough economic times. Buyers and their agents are constantly prodding for information on how well a yacht was maintained and what documentation is available. While the survey provides an “as found” condition of the vessel, it does not reflect the material condition of all the yacht’s systems, equipment, and specific maintenance history.

The SeaKits Marine Maintenance System (MMS) can help a seller rise above the fleet of yachts on the market. I was so struck by the impact MMS can have on the sales process I now work with the company as a Program Manager. Here are a few ways MMS can make a difference when you buy or sell your yacht:

  •  MMS is a veritable “car fax” in the yacht industry, providing a detailed maintenance history of all the preventive and corrective maintenance performed on the yacht
  •  MMS provides an “as-built” of the yacht that is useful in developing a detailed listing or selling brochure
  • MMS identifies the onboard spare parts being conveyed with the yacht that help support the valuation
  • MMS provides an electronic library of the vessel documentation, manufacturer’s documentation, parts catalogs, data sheets, and troubleshooting guides

If you are a current MMS user, keep up with your maintenance and you will be rewarded should you decide to sell your boat. If you are buying a boat, specify MMS as part of your purchase agreement, or, buy your yacht from one of the builders that include MMS as standard equipment (visit our website for a list of partners). A modest investment in MMS will pay dividends in the safety, reliability, and value of your new vessel.

New Engine Break-in

Proper break-in of your engines is critical to a long life. Break-in requirements vary by model and manufacturer so be sure to read and understand the specifics for your engine. As a general rule, the first 100 hours are most important. During this period you should operate your engine at heavy loads with minimal idling. Also, be sure to vary your speed regularly.

Many manufacturers use a straight weight oil during break-in to control wear and allow components to properly seat which should result in maximum performance and engine life. For example, many Northern Lights engines require a break-in oil change at 50 and 100 hours while some John Deere models require it first at 100 hours. When changing your oil during this period and for the life of the engine, be sure to use oil that meets or exceeds the factory recommendations.

Other break-in service may include an initial 100 to 600 hour valve adjustment and/or injector bolt torque. Check your engine mounted zincs for accelerated wear and set up a maintenance schedule accordingly. Your transmissions may require an initial service including gear oil and filter change as well as suction filter cleaning, and linkage adjustment, tightening, and lubrication.

During break-in pay close attention to your engine, check your fluid levels regularly and look, listen, and feel for any hardware that may have vibrated loose. When planning this initial maintenance, don’t forget wing engines and tender outboards. These items may also require a proper break-in and due to their low hours are usually neglected.

Keeping Your Distribution System Safe

While many owner/operators are diligent at preventative maintenance, one item that is often overlooked is the electrical distribution system. This includes items such as shore power cables and connectors; selector switches; miles of wiring; thousands of crimps and terminals; circuit breakers; and fuses.

Salt water, humid air, and constant vibrations accelerate damage to these components. Routine inspection reduces the chance of system failure or potential fire. Because much of a vessel’s wiring is located behind panels, in bilges, and inside the helm console, we recommend a thorough annual inspection as a minimum. If any area is subject to extreme stress through high amperage draw, excessive vibration, or salt spray, it should be inspected more often.

In order to conduct a safe and thorough inspection, having a working knowledge of all of your vessel systems is important. Annual inspections should begin by de-energizing all AC/DC circuits to eliminate the chance of electrocution. Methodically inspect connections for corrosion, heat damage, tightness, and proper crimping. Don’t be afraid to wiggle connections a little as many connections appear fine until they are touched. Inspect your wiring harnesses for chafing, and pay particular attention to sharp bends and where wires enter and leave chases. Also, inspect your systems as a whole to look for any overloaded circuits or potential safety concerns. During operation, an infrared gun can be invaluable in identifying hotspots at connection points and sharp bends.

Loose connections, corrosion, and hotspots can be hard to find; an annual PM involving detailed and diligent inspection will go a long way toward preventing a dangerous electrical fire. Any items that come up should be flagged for a marine electrician to inspect if you are not comfortable completing the repair.