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Buy a boat in France

What do you need to know about buying a boat in France: it takes a long time, … months!

There are a lot of boats for sail in France because France has a long coast, on Mediterranean see and the Atlantic Ocean and a lot of private persons own a boat. When they get older or need a different one, they sale it.

There are 2 main possibilities to sell a boat:

Private transaction

I bought Tatooine through a broker so I can’t tell much about private transaction. An important point is nevertheless to check with the customs (Douanes maritimes) where the boat is registered that there is no mortgage on the boat. For this you just need to send them an email with the name and registration number of the boat. For more information:

Broker transaction

What you need to know is that the yacht broker will get a fee. The fee is usually already included in the advertised price of the boat. The fee is about 5-10% of the price.

He also offers services included in the price like : organize the visit, write the contracts, get an evaluation of the costs for the repair, immatriculate the boat on your name…

There are more costs you need to take into account. You may need to get an expert to check the boat. This will cost for am 43 feet about 800-2000 euro. The expert will check it in dry dock and on the see. So you will need to pay the harbor for handling with the travelift.

The Pre-Contract

The Pre- contract, called compromise de vente, is very useful to do bevor you engage in the cost for the expertise. This contract will avoid that the seller sells the boat to someone else while you are taking care of the expertise.

On the other hand, with this pre-contract, you except to buy the boat if there are no huge defects.


With the pre-contract you will also pay 10% of the price on the broker’s account. You will get this amount back if don’t buy the boat.

The seller will get the money of the transaction after the boat is registered on your name. Like this you have the safety of the transaction if there are problems with the public administration on this boat.

Time is needed

For these of you working in the industry, you may be surprising how much time it takes to buy a boat in France. Just du get an answer to an email or phone call it takes days.

You will need some weeks bevor you get the appointment with the expert and the broker. I think it is a good idea to be there during the expertise wo you get also a lot of information on the boat and the state of the equipment. It will take a day (6h) to evaluate the boat.

Then it will take weeks to discuss the price through the broker with the seller, get the contract (called acte de vente) and det the boat papers changed to your name. from the moment a sign the pre-contract until the papers were sent to the French administration for the immatriculation it took us 3,5 months.

This is my experience with an well-established company called AYC Yachtbroker. What are your experiences, let me know!

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