Choosing your refit yard - the 10 point plan
With an enormous number of refit yards dotted around Europe and the Mediterranean, ONBOARD with the help of Captain Michael Howorth looks at the top ten things you need to look for when choosing a yard for your next refit project
Regardless of size or age, every superyacht will, at some stage in its life, need to be repaired, maintained, or refitted according to its applicable regulation. This means that, from a shipyards point of view, there is a never-ending stream of business waiting around the corner. Where it not for the fact that superyacht repair and refit is a profitable business, none of them would bother to compete with the other. Fortunately for the yacht owner, there are too many superyacht specialist shipyards for them to become complacent and therefore health rivalry ensures they stay on their toes when it comes to acquiring new business.
So, superyacht refit and repair shipyards market are setting themselves up to meet not only the increase in number and size of superyachts seeking to attend in the coming years, but also, they are being forced into meeting the new complexities that superyachts present when they enter the yard. Privately and off the record I cannot find a single yard that does not acknowledge that the people they most have to impress, when seeking new business, are the yacht’s Captain and the Chief Engineer. On the record, they deny this, claiming that it is the owner or the yacht’s manager who are the more important party. Whatever the truth, there remains a powerful element of choice that rests with the yachts crew members when choosing the yard to complete the work. This means that crew need to have a grasp on which factors they must consider when they require repair shipyard services
Commercial shipyards traditionally fall into two distinct types and these depend on the workload for which they are designed. The two comprise of construction shipyards and repair and maintenance shipyards. But superyacht yards tend to fudge the lines of distinction somewhat and builders the likes of Azimut Benetti are actively attracting refit work. The big boy builders have got reputation and marketing might on their side but offer little else to the visiting yacht. The repair and maintenance shipyards have got geography on their side. This type of yard is characterised by its infrastructure and available facilities. Each have landside and seaside elements. The seaside is used for repairs afloat or inside floating docks. While ashore their space is used to store and work on superyachts lifted from the water by travel lift, crane or slipway. The area ashore is also used for support areas such as warehouses, workshops, stores and offices.
Having established which type of yard is the most appropriate the next task is to consider the other factors. Here, the background history, facilities, reputation and geography all play major roles. It is important to look at the benefits one yard offers when compared to others and it is prudent to check on references while considering the yards reputation and specialities. The attitude staff show and their approach to problem solving and future proofing their structures are all equally important.