Refit crew: The best yards for a superyacht reboot


Orams Marine

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

superyacht refit can be a great way to give your old yacht a new lease of life. We’ve picked out some of the finest yards from around the world with the skills and expertise needed to pull off such a complicated job, starting with Orams Marine...

Founded: 1947

About: The yard specialises in painting and fabrication. Previous notable projects include two of the world’s biggest sailing yachts, the 90 metre Royal Huisman schooner Athena, 91 metre classic yacht Nahlin and the 48.5 metre Vitters ketch Thalia.


Thunderbolt Marine

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Founded: 1965

About: Thunderbolt is a full-service, 25-acre facility on the Wilmington River with capacity for sailing and motor yachts up to 60 metres and a Syncrolift with 1,000-tonne hauling capacity.


Rivergate Marina

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Founded: 2006

About: Rivergate prides itself on its wide range of on-site contractors including naval architects, manufacturers, painters and interior designers. Projects range from 20 to 80 metres, including motor and sailing yachts in steel, aluminium and GRP.

The two travelifts on site can lift up to 75 tonnes and 300 tonnes respectively and the yard enjoys access to a 600-tonne travelift and a 2500-tonne slipway. One of the most notable Rivergate refits was a 73 metre SilverYachts motor yacht that was given a complete repaint, custom galley replacement, hull plate replacement, complete carpet replacement and the installation of a beach club, all carried out to Lloyd’s class standards in a tight timeframe of just 73 days.


Newport Shipyard

Location: Newport, Rhode Island

Founded: 1834

About: The yard is equipped with hauling capacity up to 450 tonnes. Up to 300 people work there in season (including contractors) and plans are on the board for expansion. A Gunboat 66, built in South Africa, is currently undergoing its ten-year refit at the yard.


Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard

Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Founded: 2000

About: Australia’s largest refit and repair yard, Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard boasts a diverse offering, with more than 70 marine businesses on-site, employing over 600 marine contractors and covering all aspects of marine refit, maintenance and construction. The hardstanding measures more than 50,000 square metres, a 250-tonne and 50-tonne travelift are based on-site, while the eight purpose-built superyacht refit sheds compliment the dedicated superyacht basin. Metal and GRP fabrication, sailing and motor yacht refinishing are just a few of the yard’s specialities.

Sahana is one of the most notable refit projects completed at GCCM. This 37 metre was converted from a private luxury yacht into a vessel aimed squarely at the Australian charter market in 2015.


Bradford Marine

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Freeport, Bahamas

Founded: 1966

About: Bradford works mostly on motor yachts but has the deep water access suitable for sailing superyachts in Freeport, Bahamas, where its facility has a 1,000-tonne hauling capacity, and can dock yachts up to 122 metres. The Fort Lauderdale yard boasts 3,350 linear metres of covered in-water slips and multiple shops for everything from engine to propeller repair.


Marine Group Boat Works

Location: San Diego and National City, California and Los Cabos, Mexico

Founded: 1978

About: From paint to centreboard service, mast stepping/unstepping, hull extensions and custom fabrications, the yard has done it all. It now has a propeller shop to handle specialised calibration works, and National City has become the world’s first solar powered superyacht facility.


RMK Merrill Stevens

Location: Miami, Florida

Founded: 1885

About: The new ownership has invested in a new shiplift with a 2,700GT hauling capacity for yachts up to 70 metres and 2,800 square metres of new workshops and offices for project managers, adding to the 22,300 square metre facility and its 137 metre bulkhead.


Ocean Marine Yacht Center

Location: Portsmouth, Virginia

Founded: 2001

About: The centre is well equipped for work on large motor yachts with 19 acres, a 122-slip marina and a 1,130-tonne, NAVSEA certified Syncrolift capable of hauling yachts up to 71 metres.


Front Street Shipyard

Location: Belfast, Maine

Founded: 2011

About: Facilities on six acres, with deep water frontage, can accommodate motor or sailing yachts inside up to 48 metres and up to 61 metres on the docks, with a maximum weight of 440 tonnes.

Photo: Billy Black