The Superyacht Industry is Poised for Growth

The Superyacht Industry is Poised for Growth

The Superyacht Industry is Poised for Growth

The Superyacht Industry is Poised for Growth
May 11, 2016

There are 4,476 superyachts in the world today, of which roughly a quarter are available for charter. At the same time, there are over 200,000 Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) households, meaning there is a large opportunity for the industry to see strong growth in the coming years if it can tempt more of the Super Rich to give the yachting lifestyle a try. Superyachts are defined as being at least 100 ft. in length.
 

Wealth-X, a researcher specializing in the UHNW market and Camper & Nicholsons International, a leading yacht broker, say education is the key to attracting the new wealthy to the high seas. Speaking at a breakfast at the Core Club in New York for the release of a joint report titled, “The State of Wealth, Luxury and Yachting,” officials said, superyachts provide the perfect canvas for what the well to do want when they vacation, a combination of adventure, luxury, privacy and personalization.
 

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 21: The 140m long ‘Ocean Victory’ is seen docked on July 21, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The superyacht is owned by Russian steel billionaire Viktor Rashnikov and features six swimming pools, a jucuzzi, gym, helipad and a helicopter hanger. 
 

If your perception of the yachting life is Thurston Howell III with blue blazer sipping martinis served by white-gloved stewards, large yachts today are much more than that. Today’s superyachts enable the Super Rich to combine fun, adventure, exploration, fine dining, relaxation, partying and culture while staying in control.

It comes at a price. Northrop & Johnson, another yacht broker reports the average cost of a charter runs $212,000, and then you need to be ready to pay in advance 30 percent into an account for fuel, food, port charges and other incidentals. Tips to the crew run 10 percent more.

Camper executives say there is an opportunity to grow the yacht ownership market, something that is beyond the means of most “entry level” Super Rich, those worth between $30 and $100 million. There are 55,000 households worldwide with a net worth of over $100 million, and Wealth-X projects growth in the billionaire population, a prime driver in commissioning new build superyachts. Over 300 new superyachts were delivered in the past two years, and there are 455 new yachts on order, with time from contract to launch taking as long as four to five years. All together, Wealth-X says UHNWs spend over $20 billion a year building, chartering and sailing superyachts.
 

A dining table sits aboard the 217 feet long superyacht Natita during the Superyacht Miami boat show at Island Gardens Deep Harbour in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. A month after the harbor opened, the docks have filled with $800 million of yachts jockeying for space.


Kurt Fraser, Director of Marketing for Camper says it’s not unusual for clients to begin planning their next yacht during the launch ceremonies for their current one.

Growth in new builds and charters and optimism for the future is being driven by how the industry has evolved to keep up with the changing tastes of the experience seeking uber rich. Yachts today are more likely to have extensive fitness equipment, saunas and steam rooms. With a focus on wellness, it’s often possible to travel with personal trainers and spa therapists. Extensive wine cellars, media rooms and cinemas are popular amenities, as are an increasing amount of water toys.

“It may be that jet skis are passé, but you still have to have them. So it’s always addition, be it submarines, water slides and so on,” says Fraser, who notes that the impetus to cram as many toys as possible provides an ongoing challenge for designers. On one yacht, a helipad can be converted into a squash court. Large decks that fold out from the side of the ship provide not only a staging area for water adventures, but additional relaxation areas that can be set up with loungers or for al fresco dining. Kitchens, while small, are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, and it is possible to have chefs from your favorite restaurant join along. For the wealthy, who like to indulge, but also follow strictly regimented diets, it’s possible to eat the way you would at home or at a land-based resort, executives say. Wealth-X president David Friedman says on one yacht he was aboard, the owner had hired a former chef from Nobu in London.

And while yachting parties typically include a group of friends or family, yachts now often have master suite complexes with private sitting areas and deck space so that you can relax even when you don’t want to mingle with your guests.
 

A helicopter and furniture sit on the deck aboard the 193 feet long superyacht Skyfall during the Superyacht Miami boat show at Island Gardens Deep Harbour in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. A month after the harbor opened, the docks have filled with $800 million of yachts jockeying for space. 


Fraser says he is seeing growth opportunities with a younger generation of wealth, particularly from the U.S. West Coast where tech fortunes are often accumulated only a few years removed from the dorm room.

Friedman adds, “For the Super Rich, wasting a day is like wasting a month.” To that end, superyachts enable the Super Rich to easily personalize their experiences. If they are bored in one port, sail to the next. If they want to go to the mountains, take the helicopter and be back for dinner. The yachts are a base for adventures to remote islands, hiking to hilltops, “getting a sweaty” and then coming back to your boat anchored in the bay for a cocktail where you can discuss your day’s conquests.

While UHNWs seek thrills, the executives say they also value security and safety. Fraser said some yachts have jellyfish nets so passengers can swim without worry of getting stung.

A grand piano, sofas and furniture sit inside the skylounge aboard the 217 feet long superyacht Natita during the Superyacht Miami boat show at Island Gardens Deep Harbour in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. A month after the harbor opened, the docks have filled with $800 million of yachts jockeying for space.


Planning a superyacht vacation takes a bit of work. Since everything from dining to itinerary is customized, you’ll need to think a bit about what type of vacation you’re looking for. It begins with deciding where you want to go, and then figuring out what yachts will be positioned there when you want to go. As each yacht is different, the selection process is not something that can be delegated. In fact, after narrowing the selection, many customers go to yacht shows in Monaco, Palm Beach, Miami or Ft. Lauderdale where yachts are on display so they can view them firsthand and meet the crew before deciding which one to charter.

Friedman says most of the industry’s marketing has been word-of-mouth, however all executives agreed the big challenge is getting UHNW consumers to understand the diversity of the yachting experience. “Once you vacation on a superyacht, you’re going to do it again,” Friedman said.

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