Managing Your Yacht
You bought your first yacht. Congratulations, how exciting!
With all the fun of finally using your new yacht, now it’s also time for superyacht management and daily yacht operations.
Your team will have to take care of the whole bunch of things to keep your new boat in good shape.
In this article, we explain which activities come with yacht ownership, is and which superyacht management tasks are there.
If you are a first-time yacht owner, prepare for a steep learning curve. Time to understand what being a superyacht owner really is like!
We prepared a summary of different points which you will come across sooner or later on your ownership journey. Dive right in:
Superyacht Management & Daily Yacht Operations
Good crew makes or breaks your experience on a yacht. Unless you choose to buy a smaller yacht which you can operate yourself, you will need to find at least a captain.
Typically, a superyacht crew will consist of several members depending on the size of the boat.
The core of the crew will stay all year round, whereas some of the members might be hired only for the high season or during particular trips.
We cannot talk enough about how important crew is!
Not only their professionalism will decide over the condition your yacht in kept in, but also the mood and well-being onboard will depend on how well crew members’ personalities match.
Choose people wisely.
What you want is low crew turnover. Many charters get recurring bookings from same guests because of a particularly friendly crew!
Also, who wants to deal with finding and constantly training new crew members, who will then leave the boat?
Much better is to keep same people long-term.
There are several ways to hire yacht crew.
We recommend using one of specialised yacht crew agencies, which help with crew placement against commission. A crew agency will make a pre-selection of suitable candidates and make sure that they meet all necessary qualifications and requirements.
The key person on a yacht is the captain. He or she is in charge of everything that happens on the boat.
Yacht captain’s job and its complexity differs depending on the size of a yacht very much.
That’s why there are different requirements and examinations that captains need to achieve in order to work on a yacht of a certain size.
Most often captains start on smaller boats and grow the size of yachts as their career unfolds. Thus, the larger your yacht, the harder it might get to find a suitable captain!
One of the largest cost factors in yacht operations is fuel.
There is nothing like an approximate amount of fuel you are likely to be burning, since obviously it depends on how actively you use your yacht.
Fueling is done at marinas, most of which have special fuel stations.
There are also some international yacht fuel brokers, which might be interesting to look at to get better pricing for yacht fuel.
Nobody really wants to deal with it, but sadly there is no way to escape maintenance works.
If you want your yacht to stay operational, it is best to plan maintenance sessions well in advance. Availability of shipyards can be limited.
By planning maintenance breaks ahead, you will be able to fit them between your scheduled trips.
You do not want to have to skip your next vacation, because the yacht is at maintenance dock just during these days!
REFIT & REPAIR
Refit & repair works have to be considered if you decided to buy a pre-owned yacht. As well as if you have been holding your yacht for several years and would like to give a new twist to its looks.
Superyacht refit is like a reconstruction of a flat – it can include any types of work on refurbishing and renovating the boat.
Yacht refits differ in scale a complexity, taking anywhere from a couple of weeks until several months or even longer than a year.
It is your chance to give your yacht that personal touch and to increase its resale and charter value.
Any yacht, just like a small hotel, cannot function without proper provisioning.
On daily basis, you will need quite a few different things: water to run the showers, food, drinks, flowers, toiletries…to name only a few.
Most often, it is task of interior crew to manage provisions and place new orders on time.
Then there are crew uniforms, oil and lubricants, and diverse technical parts which might need to be exchanged.
Around major yachting spots with good infrastructure it is relatively easy to get high-quality supplies, but what if you are cruising far away from any civilization?
Even for these cases there are specialized yacht provisioning companies which might deliver directly to the yacht for an extra buck.
MARINA & DOCKING
A big thing to consider before purchasing a yacht is where you are going to keep it during both warm and cold seasons.
Surely anyone of us wants to rent the best dock at the local marina, but guess what? The places are VERY limited.
To any one marina dock there are around 10 yachts which did not get any!
This is especially true for larger well-known marinas at major yachting locations, not to speak about docking during popular yacht shows.
Pricing for yacht marina dockage is normally charged by size of your boat and length of your visit.
If possible, also book it online to make sure you get your marina spot.
Most yachts will have their home marina, where the yacht will be docked most of the time. Ideally this is somewhere you live or spend a lot of time in.
Depending on the climate, you might be able to keep your boat on the water the whole year round.
In colder climates, you will have to lift the yacht out of the water and place it in a dry storage over winter.
Another widely used practice, especially with larger yachts, is to transport them between Mediterranean and Caribbean regions each half year.
Yachting season in the Mediterranean is between April and October, and in the Caribbean between late November and May.
You can enjoy your yacht nearly all year round by switching regions!
Larger yachts will make the Atlantic crossing on own power; smaller yachts will most probably be transported on one of the larger ships used especially for superyacht transport.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Maybe not so obvious for yachting newbies, safety and security actually make up significant part of yacht management tasks.
There are numerous safety standards issued by international maritime organizations that require yachts of different size and tonnage adhere to certain rules & procedures.
We will not go deeper into this topic in this article, read Safety & Security Standards for Superyachts if you want to learn more.
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE ONBOARD
Medical assistance available aboard your superyacht is crucial and should be seriously taken into consideration.
What happens if someone feels sick while cruising? Is the crew trained to give first aid?
Which medications are available? What does one do in case of a more acute health incident, for instance a heart attack?
If you cruise not far from large cities, time to get into hospital from the yacht might not be so long.
But especially in remote regions, available medical care can be very limited or non-existent.
Discuss medical assistance situation with your crew and they will make sure it is always ready.
Each yacht should have a first aid kit with diverse medications, and some are even equipped with defibrillators and more advanced medical devices.
Some yachts hire specialized medical and travel assistance companies which provide training to crew and consult on best and nearest medical facilities in case of an emergency onboard.
Depending on the climate at your home port, you will need to find solutions for winter storage.
If the weather conditions are mild and allow your yacht to remain in water all year round – congratulations!
In colder climates you might need to find winter storage for your boat. There is variety of storage possibilities available, in both outside and inside facilities.
Check available storage in your area and book in advance – spaces might be limited.
Shall your yacht be based at the same marina all year round?
Or have you ever thought of spending your summers in the Mediterranean and winters in the Caribbean?
Luckily, high seasons in both these most popular yachting regions come one after another. And your yacht can follow you.
There is an opportunity to transport your yacht between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean on board of a larger specialized yacht transport vessel.
There is a number of experienced companies in the industry to choose from.
Bigger superyachts can also make the passage on their own power.
Putting together an approximate schedule for the upcoming year could be very helpful. Your captain can help you with it.
It is important to know the dates for planned repairs and refit, weeks when your yacht can be offered for charter and times that you want to use the boat yourself.
Knowing your schedule ahead will make yacht management easier and will help to avoid unnecessary additional costs: while hiring crew, dealing with potential paperwork, booking refit, storage and transport, marketing and preparing the yacht for charter.
Weather conditions will always play a big role in how you can use your yacht.
In some regions, weather can change quite fast and affect your planned route.
There is quite a number of specialized yachting weather apps and appliances, which you or your crew can install.
Just like any small company, your yacht will generate piles of invoices and money flows around its operations. Keeping track of yacht ownership costs is vital at any time.
Depending on the yacht size and transaction volume, yacht accounting can be dealt with by the captain, by an accountant at your family office or company, or by an outsourced accounting company.
There are several specialized yacht accounting software companies on the market today, which can significantly ease this task for your crew.
You buy a plan which is then streamlined between several devices that your crew uses aboard and on shore.
Your current standing with yacht financing is also something to monitor during the year.
Although you will have negotiated conditions and signed yacht financing contracts already before the yacht purchase, it is important to check once in a while that all payments have been cleared and done according to payment schedule.
Any expensive asset needs proper insurance, and your new superyacht is no exception.
Make sure your yacht stays properly insured, especially when your circumstances change.
For example, insurance might not cover damage on your yacht in case you cruise in certain regions during a hurricane season!
You will have closed your insurance contract during the yacht purchase, but making sure that all the conditions are met continuously over the years is one of superyacht management tasks. Better double check twice, mistakes can get very expensive.
CHARTERING YOUR YACHT
Do you plan to charter your yacht to other guests when you do not use it yourself?
On average, chartering your yacht for several weeks during high season will cover for a substantial part of yearly operating costs. That is why many owners opt in for chartering.
Chartering your yacht means additional planning, marketing, working with brokers or listing your yacht on yachting online platforms, paperwork, housekeeping and purchasing for your crew. Probably, your insurance policy will need to be updated as well.
As the owner, you will mostly be approving charter schedule. Normally, owner blocks specific weeks during the yachting season for own use, and the rest of the weeks is marketed for charter guests.
Surely you will be able to make amendments to your schedule in case you decide to change the dates of your vacation, but the less you do it? the better for charter bookings.
To make your yacht more appealing for potential charter bookings, make sure it is well equipped with newest exciting superyacht toys.
Who will be involved in managing your yacht? (List of industry players)
Summary: Superyacht Management
In this article, we listed main points & activities which make daily superyacht management.
As you see, there is quite a number of activities to take care of.
Smaller size yachts can be fully managed by crew: captain, interior and exterior crew, as well as technicians.
For larger yachts, it might make sense to hire a specialized yacht manager, so that the crew can focus on their core tasks.
As you see from above, superyacht management is more complex than operations of a car. It can be well compared to management of a small hotel.
Keeping this in mind when deciding upon a yacht purchase can help to plan properly, avoid unnecessary confusion and save nerves and time.
But most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the process, above all managing your own superyacht is nothing but exciting!
What in superyacht management seems most daunting to you? Comment below!
Drop us an email if you want any help with your yacht or yacht charter. We will define your needs and find the best solution together!
Article by Yachtowner.co