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Owners' guide to yacht management companies

Moving up from a yacht of less than 30m to 40m, 50m or more, increases the complexity of the yacht orders of magnitude. The owner of a large yacht likely will find he or she no longer has the time, the will, or the administrative resources to navigate a jungle of yard contracts, legal hurdles, insurance options, regulations, crew management, charter management, logistics or the myriad other details associated with building, repairing or ownership.

A yacht owner going it alone may find what once was a pleasant escape from the stress and pressures of the workaday world is now a surly beast in constant need of attention.

‘As yachts increase in tonnage, so do the demands on the owner. A management company takes the day-to-day burden and responsibility of running the yacht away from the owner,’ says a member of the Burgess Yachts management team. ‘More importantly, [managers] are there to respond to urgent situations and emergencies around the clock, and to provide advice to the owner and crew in all areas.’

Running a yacht is a full-time job

Boats are inherently needy machines. Quality time on the water rarely comes without at least a modicum of thought for their care and feeding.

Owning a superyacht can take on characteristics of running an international business. For some, a competent corporate accountant and a talented captain may be able to manage the program, but for many, at least some level of professional shore-based yacht management can be a welcome relief.

‘Administration of a yacht, managing its safety, paying suppliers, managing crew and charter agents is a full-time job,’ says Barbara Jolly, yacht and aircraft manager of Abacus Trust Company Ltd. ‘The larger the yacht, the more likely it is for such services to be contracted out. This will allow the captain to focus on its safe and smooth operation.’

Yacht management comes in many shapes and sizes depending on an owner’s individual requirements. Owners may decide to hire a small firm or individual expert to handle one element. such as regulatory compliance, and another for charter management.

'Administration of a yacht, managing its safety, paying suppliers, managing crew and charter agents is a full-time job

Barbara Jolly, yacht and aircraft manager, Abacus Trust Company'

A number of firms, large and small, offer ‘full lifecycle’ management for every aspect of ownership, beginning with an owner’s decision to build a new yacht and end with its sale.

‘Our yacht management services,’ says the Burgess manager, ‘are tailored to each owner’s specific needs and can include operations support, technical management, safety management, security management, crew administration, emergency response, insurance administration, creation of a robust offshore crew employment structure, financial management and technical consultancy.

‘We also can be used as an on-call advisor for any of the owner’s yachting needs.’

Other large companies offer similar menus covering a broad range of services from which owners can choose a full or partial package or take the services à la carte. Burgess says 90 per cent of its fleet is under what is termed ‘full management’.

Edmiston & Company says 80 per cent of its fleet is under full management, with the remainder having contracts for some, but not all, of the services the firm offers.

‘We have been asked for many other services and are always happy to support a client in any way,’ says a senior manager at Edmiston. ‘This has included making all necessary arrangements for three tigers to attend a party for 300 people on board a 60m yacht in a US marina.’

Administration of a yacht, managing its safety, paying suppliers, managing crew and charter agents is a full-time job

Barbara Jolly, yacht and aircraft manager, Abacus Trust Company

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