Vessel Rating Guide

Vessel Rating Guide

Buying a used trawler or motor yacht can be difficult. Interpreting the listing specifications can be confusing as to the actual condition and operational status of the vessel; most listing yacht brokers would rather not tell you the exact shortcomings of a boat. The reason for this? Most yacht sellers take a dim view of their broker saying anything negative about their boat; the listing is supposed to attract a buyer, not turn them away.

But we think a bit differently. We had rather you know what you are going to look at up front; after all, you will discover the issues upon inspection anyway. But when we disclose shortcomings upfront, we can validate the asking price of the vessel.

This vessel rating guide has been developed to give you a summary of the vessel’s overall condition as it relates to what you might need to do to prepare her for use. Each boat is rated based upon the reported condition, available equipment and/or the listing broker’s personal inspection of vessel. The vessel rating guide is not to be confused with a rating given by a surveyor to establish value.


Bristol Condition

is given to a vessel that has been maintained in a mint or bristol condition, with many extras, the boat is better than factory new. All electronics and equipment are new, hull and interior is blemish free. All equipment has been continually updated. Everything works. Nothing needs to be done or added for immediate use. Turn key! This boat is rare.

Above Average

is given to a vessel that has had above average care and is equipped with recent electronics and equipment; numerous extras are present. Written maintenance records show continual upgrading and servicing by her owner. Everything works. Boat has no mechanical or structural issues and few if any cosmetic issues. Interior and exterior surfaces shine and canvas is like new. Engine room is very clean and tidy. This boat is turn key, ready to cruise!


is given to a boat that has had average type of care. Her electronics and equipment are dated but are useable. Most of equipment is original and boat shows normal wear. Canvas is functional but may need replacing soon. Interior and exterior surfaces may need attention to restore their shine. The boat will need some minor servicing, detailing and polishing before it is ready to cruise.


is given to a boat that needs some significant attention to prepare her for use. Some equipment may not work. She needs a number of upgrades such as electronics, canvas, bottom work, interior wood work and fiberglass repairs. She will likely require substantial yard work to allow worry-free cruising.


is given to a boat that is deemed a “project boat”. There is enough of the hull and machinery left to restore her to usable condition.

Sure hope this vessel rating guide helped clear things up for you.

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