Tips for visiting a boat show

Looking to buy a yacht? Want to get inspired for your new one? are you a yachting fan? or simply love to attend boat shows?! Then this blog post is for you.

Visiting a boat show can be overwhelming if you don’t do it the right way. Therefore, here are some tips to make the best of your visit!


Yacht shows can be overwhelming, and they are usually really hot!

What to wear

Wear something light and comfortable to resist the high temperatures. You will regret forgetting your hat or sunglasses at home, as you will certainly need them!

Wear shoes that you can easily put on and off, since you will have to remove your shoes before boarding the yachts. Loafers for men and ballerinas for women are perfect! If you are a girl, the number one faux-pas is to wear high heels! I would also recommend you to wear shorts over a short skirt or a dress, as you will often be going up the narrow stair on decks, and it might be embarrassing and revealing.

There is an inside joke ‘how to find the English brokers? just look for the red faces!’ Moral of the story, do not forget to apply sunscreen! I know it sounds cliché, and usually men hate wearing sunscreen, but spending 4-5 hours yacht-hoping can burn you, and you will regret it when you get home. Try using this soft-touch non sticky sunscreen.

Get Tickets

If you are an existing yacht owner, simply call the shipyard who built your yacht, or call your preferred broker. They will be happy to arrange entrance badges for you and provide you with a bespoke luxury experience.

For example, If you are looking for production yachts like Sunseeker, they will be happy to provide you with guest day passes.

Else you can pre-buy the tickets online at a discount, or get them at the entrance of the show.

The Monaco Yacht show provides the Sapphire experience which provides VIP entrances, courtesy car (great option because it is almost impossible to get a taxi during the show!) private visits to yachts, private area for lunch, tender services, conciergerie, and more..!

This is a great option for celebrities or public figures requiring security and privacy.


Monaco is a great example where there is too much to see and too many distractions, so it is important to truly understand the intentions of what you want to buy, do or see. My tip would be to understand that everything is just a little slower at a boat show, so don’t try to do too much too quickly.

Have a chat with your broker ahead of the event, so that he can prepare and have a list already pre- identified, and line up appointments in advance and have a loose schedule. That will enable you to have immediate access when you arrive to the yacht and avoid the queues for those yachts which are in most demand. For tips on ‘how to find a yacht broker check out my other blog post here.

The magic number of yacht viewings per day is: three, never more than four, as everything blurs together after that point. 

If however you insist in doing four (or more) we reccomend you to take a quick pause for a drink or a light lunch in the middle in order to reflect on what have you seen already, and then discuss with your broker in organizing ‘one last viewing’based on the feedback from the day.

Ian sherwood from Burgess, shares his experience with us:

Time pressure at boat shows is always a challenge, so when a client is on time it is an enormous help and will ensure that you are receiving the best experience when onboard.


Often I will coordinate additional external assistance if the situation dictates.  Last year for example I was showing an explorer yacht to a couple who had very specific plans for the yacht they were looking to purchase.  During the yacht inspection I had arranged for us to be joined by a polar expedition guide and later a submarine specialist was waiting in the tender garage to discuss technical suitability because they were both points of specific interest.



This is the level of personalized experience only an experienced yacht broker will provide you!

If you are new to yachting, don’t worry I got you! For now, go ahead and read my blog post on Yachting Etiquette’ on everything you need to know before boarding a yacht.

Always ask for permission before you take a photo! Some yachts do not allow pictures on board. Some yacht owners have highly valuable pieces of art (that even if you dont mean to take a picture of it, it may show on your picture) and it can cause some privacy issues. Moreover, some owners spend hours and a lot of efforts on the interior design and they don’t want anyone else coping it.

Viewing a yacht without an appointment

You can certainly view a yacht without an appointment but you may have to wait. At the show there are many yachts, and they are being exhibited at the show for different reasons:

  1. Shipyard model: The Yacht is presented by the shipyard who built it and they are looking for a client to buy it. In some cases the yacht has been already sold, but the owner allows the shipyard to present the yacht to the brokerage industry to show its building capabilities.
  2. Charter yachts: The yacht is presented by the charter company, and they are selling charter weeks onboard. In some cases, the yacht is not for sale, only for charter.
  3. Private yacht: The yacht is a used pre-owned yacht, and the owner is looking to sell it. The yacht is presented by the CA brokerage company.

Some shipyard models, have never been used before and do not have an owner. The shipyard is presenting it in order to find a buyer. those yachts are somewhat easier to view than private yachts.

You can simply register your name with the hostess and arrange a time for a viewing on board.

Private yachts are more difficult to get access onboard. Something to remember is that a yacht can be an extension of a private home of the owner. How would you feel about having thousands of strangers going through your home recklessly? – that is why some yacht owners specifically ask the brokers to pre-qualify the viewers before going onboard. The yacht is exposed there to be sold, therefore the broker needs to pre-qualify the views to make sure they are real potential clients and not there just to browse.

Don’t take it personally if they do not allow you onboard (they are just doing their job) Exhibiting a yacht in a show can cost up to $ 100,000 or more, the time is limited, every viewing can take up to an hour and they want to ensure a proper service (not rushing and bumping into a million other people onboard)! they want to make sure they show the yacht to real qualified clients, and don’t want to waste their time. Brokers spend a lot of money and efforts on boat shows, and their biggest frustration is if they spent the day showing the yacht (and having long conversations) to 10 people who cannot afford the yacht, and that one client who could buy it, did not had time to visit it because the schedule was full!

Also, the interior materials on board are very delicate, and if you have 10000 people stepping on the carpet, touching all the delicate textiles, etc it can easily damage and ruin the yacht.

This is why it is always advised to visit the show with a broker because he will make sure to get you preferred access.

Although it might look like a lot of fun, it is also very exhausting as an exhibitor to do the viewings. I remember we had a 70 meter yacht at the MYS once, I was doing the viewings, and I can tell you, is a workout! You go up and down the stairs, on 4-5 levels, every viewing takes about 30-45mins of non-stop walking, then you go from being super hot outside to the freezing AC inside (I always get sick after a show!) you practically never sit down, and you do this for 10 hours non-stop!

Arrange your RDV’s

After you have visited some yachts and you got inspired, make sure you arrange your Rendez-vous (RDV) with shipyards, designers, naval architects, and suppliers to come around the table and share your feedback!

Boat shows are the best place to meet people and get a sense on which company you want to work with. You can visit various stands to get ideas, get contacts but most importantly ‘feel the people’ so you know the team behind the brand, and to test if there is good chemistry between you. In personal meetings, you will a lot of information and a feeling sense, that you wouldn’t get without visiting a show.


After the show’s there are mountains of brochures, glossy magazines, flyers and marketing material which end up in the bins (is actually really sad to see!) be mindful of the environment, and ask your preferred companies to send you all the details by e-mail.