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Featured Yacht Broker Spotlight: Aaron Leatherwood

By Robert Bowman | Posted On Jan 19, 2024
Updated On Jan 23, 2024

As his bio says, "There is not a time in Aaron's life where he wasn't messing about in boats." At United Yacht Sales, those are the type of professional yacht brokers we love to recruit. "Our team is passionate about boating from the start," says Captain Jeff Palmer, President of UYS. "You have to be if you work in this industry. Whether they came from college, started as a captain, professional angler, whatever, there is a common theme among our team - everyone loves to be on the water. If you're a customer thinking about buying a boat, you want someone with that love of boating helping you. It creates a trust and a bond between everyone involved. Aaron genuinely wants to see you enjoy your free time boating and is going to do his absolute best to help you navigate through every detail."

"I enjoy helping others get what they want out of boating," says Aaron. "I put my skills and experience to work so my clients can safely enjoy their experiences on the water.” Before joining United Yacht Sales, Aaron oversaw a vessel repair facility making him uniquely suited to guide you through inspections, surveys, maintenance, and repairs.

If you'd like to talk with Aaron Leatherwood about selling or buying a yacht, please contact him at or 561-313-4922.


Here are a few fun 'Quick Facts' about Aaron:

  • Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va
  • Retirement Plans: Boating and snow skiing
  • Favorite Restaurant: Traditional Colombian cuisine
  • Favorite Thing To Do On The Weekend: I am a travel junkie. I love to explore and make memories with my beautiful wife and family.
  • Favorite Concert: Jazz Fest, New Orleans
  • Dogs Or Cats?: Dogs
  • Pineapple On Pizza?: Pineapple goes with everything!
  • Favorite Boat Show?: I enjoy the atmosphere and size of the Palm Beach Show most.
  • Dream Car: This is variable: At the moment, I am dreaming about the next RV I will buy to travel more of the USA.
  • If you could own one boat, it would be: Everyone needs more than one boat!


Q. What were your earliest memories of being on a boat?

A. I began sailing with my father and grandfather around age seven. It was always one of my favorite things to do and always looked forward to it every time we got to go out. I still love sailing today along with power boating too.

aaron and family on sailboat

Q. What has been the most fulfilling part about helping people buy or sell their boat?

A. As the old saying goes: The two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day he/she buys the boat, and the day they sell the boat. Of course, the latter is only true when they are buying the next boat! I enjoy the process of the hunt, and I love to watch that dream become a reality.

Q. What lessons did you learn being in the Coast Guard that has helped you in your career?

A. There is far too much to list here. My Coast Guard career was very complimentary to my career as a marine engineer and vessel operator. In addition to the extraordinary education and training, the Coast Guard instilled in me the life-long desire to help and support others in any capacity that I can.

aaron as part of the coast guard

Q. What has been the most memorable boat you have sold or the family you've sold it to?

A. While we celebrate all purchases, those that are some kind of gift or surprise are quite memorable. I enjoy the friendships that are forged with each family that buys a boat with me and the trust and confidence that carries forward throughout the boat ownership.

Q. What advice would you give to someone looking to buy their first yacht but are brand new to boating?

A. Ask lots of questions. Find a knowledgeable broker that you really enjoy working with and ask lots of questions. Take educational courses on boat handling and safety. Get second opinions. Most of all, find a broker you're comfortable with and you can trust. And take their advice!

aaron delivering a boat for a customer

Q. How do you set yourself apart from other brokers in how you build a relationship with a client, as well as the job you do for them?

A. There is no secret formula. This is a relationship-based business. I simply love to "talk boats" with everyone. I enjoy sharing my technical knowledge and helping others get the most out of the boating experience.

Q. How has your experience as a marine engineer and re-fit manager helped you with your clients?

A. I have the unique benefit of having repaired many different kinds of vessels worldwide. Combined with my personal experiences of being on a boat since I was in elementary school, my background in the Coast Guard, as a marine engineer, and re-fit manager gives me a level of understanding about how boats are made that many brokers may not have. My clients appreciate this when trying to go over a survey report, for example.

I have sailed and managed repair projects of everything from small recreational boats, to superyachts, military craft, and large commercial ships. I have been Project Manager for shipyard and terminal upgrades, General Manager of a ship repair facility, CEO of a yacht repair yard, and President of a yacht sales company. I enjoy assisting clients with vessels of all sizes!

Q. What destination is on your bucket list to visit?

A. I have been fortunate to have explored quite a lot of this beautiful planet as a merchant marine and travel buff and I am always planning the next trip. I have been exploring Colombia extensively lately, and Argentina and Chile are currently on the shortlist. I am looking forward to snow skiing the Alps of South America.

aaron leatherwood snow skiing

Q. Who has been your biggest mentor in your career in the boating industry?nbsp;

A. I have been fortunate to have a few great mentors, all of whom became great friends. My father was also an engineer and avid boater; I learned a lot from several memorable senior officers in the Coast Guard, and one of my first Chief Engineers (a true hawspiper), are all at the top of the list.

Q. Has social media changed how you interact with previous customers and prospective customers? Favorite social media?

A. I use social media for networking, but more productive interaction with clients is through direct communication. As mentioned, the yachting business is primarily based on personal relationships. Still, it's hard to ignore the relevancy of social media when it comes to marketing yachts. Luckily, United Yacht Sales has one of the best social media teams in the industry which helps my listings sell faster.

Q. What are some of the reasons you decided to 'hang your hat' with UYS? How has the company changed in recent years?

A. I am new to UYS, I chose to align with this brokerage company for the unique business model. I am afforded the freedom of an independent broker and still have a robust and reliable administrative support team, combined with the nation's largest network of buyers and sellers.

Aaron - yacht broker at united yacht sales

Q. How is the level of support you receive at United Yacht Sales? Do you feel like there is a team behind you and your clients helping to get your boat sold?

A. The clients have the benefit of a tremendous amount of support from team UYS. This is truly motivating for the broker and helps to propel an exceptional level of customer service. Having a support team to handle the details gives me the free time I need to work with buyers and sellers, see boats coming on the market, and focus more on my customers' needs instead of dealing with paperwork.

Q. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

A. I plan to be doing the same thing I am doing now. Enjoying life with friends and family, messing about on boats.

aaron with mahi mahi

Q. How would you describe the boat market right now?

A. The yacht brokerage market is not the aggressive seller's market of recent years. The market is healthy and active for both buyers and sellers at this time. We are seeing some more price reductions than we have in past years. If you're looking to sell your yacht, the best practices still apply;  keep your service records, fix the glaring issues before it hits the market, seek the advice of a professional yacht broker for pricing, and hire a firm with a substantial marketing platform to help it sell.


With over 250 yacht brokers worldwide, United Yacht Sales has the largest network of boat buyers and sellers in the industry. We focus 100% of our efforts and marketing budget on our clients' listings, not new boat inventory or trade-ins we own. The result is a personal experience with our expert sales and support teams that will leave you excited to get on the water and satisfied with your experience. United Yacht Sales welcomes Aaron Leatherwood to our team and we look forward to many years of a successful relationship.

If you'd like to talk with Aaron about selling oy buying a yacht, please contact him at or 561-313-4922.