Boat Owning In Singapore

Most of us only ever dream of owning a boat or yacht and contrary to popular belief, these dreams can actually be turned into reality - in some cases for a fraction of the price of buying a new car in Singapore. Best of all, there is no COE required.

This article was first published in the Orient Magazine, 25 September 2017.


Most of us only ever dream of owning a boat or yacht and contrary to popular belief, these dreams can actually be turned into reality - in some cases for a fraction of the price of buying a new car in Singapore. Best of all, there is no COE required.


As with cars, you will need to do some research prior to buying a boat as there are myriad of potential pitfalls which with the right advice can be avoided. As a purchaser, there are no costs associated to viewing boats or yachts prior to making an offer and commissions are typically always paid for by the seller.


Unlike cars, you shouldn’t buy a boat or yacht if you are going to leave it moored in a marina or on a dry rack for months on end and expect it to start first time upon your return. Salt air and salt water are living organisms which need protecting against. The more you use your boat or yacht the better.


Your first point of contact will either be a yacht dealer who represents specific boat brands or a yacht brokerage who lists used boats for sale - some companies will deal with both.


In Singapore, there are two ways to register or license your pleasure craft:


1. Registration (Flagging)


By flagging or registering a new boat purchase, you will not be required to pay the 7% GST. However, you will have to comply with other rules and regulations when looking for crew, and travelling each time you wish to leave the marina.


In addition to this, you will not have to undertake your Singapore specific boat driving license, PPCDL (Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License) but will have to complete an online test, renewable every 6 months.


2. Licensing (SZ - SZH)


Licensing your new boat on the other hand means that the 7% GST will have to be added to the purchase price but will mean that cruising within Singapore waters will be much easier. One of the prerequisites for licensing or buying a boat already licensed is that you will have to do the PPCDL (Powered Pleasure Craft Driving License) which will allow you to skipper a yacht up to 24 metres in length.


It will teach you all about boating within Singapore waters and will be invaluable to anyone who has not had any prior experience of driving boats (I always recommend this to anyone wanting to purchase a boat whether licensed or flagged).


Jet skis have to be licensed either SZ/ SZH and anyone wishing to ride one can only do so with a valid PPCDL even if only chartering for a few hours.


The difference between SZ and SZH is that SZ is for private use and SZH licensing is for individuals or companies wishing to enter the boat charter business.


The above information does get updated from time to time, so please check in with your Cars and Yachts broker.


Marina Location


Singapore currently has 7 marinas and in order to berth your boat or yacht, you will be required to become a member of one. Prices will vary greatly depending on your location of choice. Some will offer term memberships and most have lifetime memberships. Consider which you will prefer - to have your boat or yacht wet berthed (lying in water) or dry stacked.


With a membership, you will benefit from preferential rates not only when paying for your berth but also at the food and beverage outlets. All the marinas usually organise various events throughout the year which all members are encouraged to join.




All boats or yachts have to be regularly maintained and cleaned to limit any issues developing over time. When lying in water, diving will also be required to clean the hull of any build-up of growth, whilst also checking that corrosion hasn’t affected any of the moving parts. A rule of thumb is that you will need to spend around 10% of the value of the boat or yacht per annum however this figure will fluctuate depending on how well it has been looked after, and how regularly it has been serviced.


Please ensure that you work with a reputable company. And once an offer has been accepted, whether you are the seller or the buyer, make sure that the company you are working with gets you to complete a Sales Contract or Memorandum of Agreement which will cover all parties concerned.


Brokerage boats, unlike cars, can have large debts associated to them and your broker will need to make sure that you do not inherit these as they tend to follow the life of the boat or yacht unless settled prior to the sale.


With this information in hand, Singapore has so much more to offer – whether you want to cruise the local waters or venture further afield into Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai waters, a boat will provide you with the freedom only boat owners can relate to.



About the Author


With a background in logistics and shipping, Benoit Ratigan worked as a yacht broker before setting up his own business consultancy focussing on developing new business for his clients. He is currently engaged with Cars and Yachts as a yacht consultant and manages all matters related to yacht owning and the yachting lifestyle.


About the Company


Cars and Yachts Pte Ltd specialises in the Sale and Purchase of new and used cars as well as brokerage yachts. They believe in breaking down the misconceptions people have when dealing with car sales companies and yacht brokerages. For more information, visit the Cars and Yachts website.