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Below Deck’s Captain Sandy: What to Know About Buying a Yacht Home

Captain Sandy Yawn may be a rare breed in the yachting world. For starters, she’s one of only a few female superyacht captains in the world. Needless to say, the 27-year industry veteran and star of Bravo’s “Below Deck Mediterranean” knows her way around large vessels. On the show, she not only successfully navigates the 154-foot Sirocco — a 2006 Heesen — but also addresses the needs of her clients, solves any unforeseen problems aboard the yacht and eases any dramas that might arise amongst her crew. Her skills and knowledge can also be applied to the art of finding a yacht home —that is, a home that can also house your boat or yacht. We caught up with the Florida-bred, no-nonsense captain to ask her about the things avid boaters and yachters should consider before purchasing a waterfront home.

Captain Sandy Yawn | Photo by Greg Endries/Bravo

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What are some of the main things you might advise your clients to look for when selecting a home for their yacht?

Captain Sandy There are many nuances to choosing the right home for your vessel. Some of the questions I would urge a client to consider might include: “Does the home have restrictions on height?” “Does the waterway to and from the house dock have sufficient water during low tide?” If not, just remember you will be reliant to have mid to high tide depending on the draft of your vessel. There are other logistical considerations as well, like “does the dock have sufficient power for your vessel?” And “does the dock have running water at the dock?”

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Let’s flip that question in reverse — are there certain kinds of yachts or vessels that are best suited for certain docks or locations?

Captain Sandy If you have a vessel and are looking for a house to keep your boat at, then yes, the dock and access to the dock is the priority. If the buyer knows the area they want to purchase a house, then the next step is to find the one with the perimeters that work for their vessel.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Are there any special considerations if a homebuyer needs to moor multiple boats in the same location?

Captain Sandy Yes, a few considerations come to mind, including: “Is the dock large enough to accommodate multiple vessels?” and “Does the dock meet power requirements?” “If any, what are the bridge restrictions?” You also have to make sure that the controlling depth to and from the dock is sufficient. And lastly, you should make sure that the HOA — if there is an HOA — allows for more than one vessel.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What if homeowners want to build their own dock? What are the top three things they should keep in mind?

Captain Sandy The first thing to consider is the size of the dock — how much length do you need and how much water depth? Power requirements for the vessel should also be a key priority — and you’ll want to make sure to add an 110V outlet to the dock, as well. I would also think about running water at the dock for wash-downs, as well as telephone and cable hook-ups and lighting on the dock.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Have you seen any recent developments in boat dock design that homeowners should take note of?

Captain Sandy I think, if anything, the vessel are becoming more power efficient and have a shallow draft, which allows the vessel to go into shallow water.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What’s the one element that you feel most boat docks are missing?

Captain Sandy Most people like to hang out after the boat ride. It’s like they don’t want it to end. I would like to see a lounging area on one end of the dock to keeping the vessel in view so people could have sundowners and chat about their day.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What has been the most innovative boat dock design for a home that you’ve seen recently?

Captain Sandy Oh my, there are many! Just take a cruise from Miami to West Palm Beach.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury We’re beginning to see more hybrid yacht design. Are sustainable considerations being made to boat docks—or not yet?

Captain Sandy Of course, the owners who purchase vessels like this require their docks to also be sustainable. It’s a mentality that is becoming a part of life in this industry.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Describe your ultimate dream home on the water.

Captain Sandy I love modern Miami style. I’m not fond of two stories, but I love tall ceilings with a balcony looking over the family room allowing for a huge watch party! My focus would be on the backyard and dock. It would have a pool like the Delano Hotel and an epic dock for a dock party!

3 Yacht-Friendly Homes to Buy Now

101 N Hibiscus Dr
Miami Beach, FL.
$ 25,900,000

Captain Sandy said she wants Miami style, and that’s what she’ll get in this sexy designer masterpiece with 120 feet of wide-open water, a 16,164 square-foot residence and water views framing the entire estate.

13 Star Island Drive
Miami Beach, FL, US

The 100-foot Ipe dock in this two-story Star Island waterfront estate is another yachter’s dream, given that it also has Atlantic access. Other perks of the property include a 40,000 square-foot lot, a total of 17,712 square feet of living space and direct Biscayne Bay and Miami skyline sunset views.

88663 Old Highway
Plantation Key, FL.
$ 7,900,000

Another oceanfront yachter’s paradise in the Keys that might catch Captain Sandy’s eye. As one of Islamorada’s exclusive ”Millionaires’ Row” properties, the “Plantation House” comes with 2.5 acres, a 5,457 square feet home (which was once the star of the Islamorada Tour of Homes), deep dockage, sandy beach, private boat ramp and endless ocean views.




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Below Deck’s Captain Sandy: What to Know About Buying a Yacht Home

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