Management services providing plain sailing for yacht owners

11 Aug 2023

Owning a yacht is, for many, a pinnacle in the wealth creation journey.

Over the almost 20 years I have spent working with yacht owners and captains one thing has always remained true: those who are in a position to take to the seas in the pursuit of adventure do not wish to be restricted by the administrative requirements that come with owning and managing a yacht.

It has therefore always been my goal to simply enable my clients to take pleasure in their craft and the open ocean.

There is nothing quite as beguiling, romantic or thrilling as weighing anchor and steering a course out towards the horizon and new discoveries.

At the same time, yachts, and their owners, are firmly in the public eye. From Koru to Azzam, the vessels of the rich and famous are often in the headlines, driving up desirability and buyer aspiration.

It is little wonder, then, that the luxury yacht market has continued to surge –  indeed, recent forecasts suggest it will be worth USD 8,812.4 million by the end of 2023, and an enormous USD 19,924.7 million by 2033.

Our role as a yacht management services provider is to help take away the burden of risk and responsibility that comes with acquiring and managing these high value assets – which, in many ways, are akin to small companies or real estate assets.

The challenges are numerous, and I have seen them evolve more so in recent years. But by delivering tailored services and focusing on long term relationships – both with my clients and network of specialist contacts – I try to provide peace of mind across all stages of vessel management.

This includes:

  • Acquisition
  • Name reservation (or change of name)
  • Vessel registration and flag state choice (and change of registration details)
  • Transfer or transmission of ownership
  • Deletion (removing a vessel from the ship registry of a flag state)
  • Demise charter (allowing for the transfer of possession, management and control of a vessel)

In addition, we support yacht owners and captains with day-to-day management requirements not least including crew staffing / supply, insurance and compliance with local and international regulations.

But whether it is navigating the challenge of supplying and coordinating crew in the post-pandemic world, or adapting vessels and operations to comply with new ESG and decarbonisation requirements, it is essential to me to remove friction for owners. Or, put another way, ensure they enjoy plain sailing.

This extends to choosing the best jurisdiction for flag registration. When exploring this with owners I look at this ‘in the round’, helping them balance factors including: the ease of the registration process (navigating bureaucracy), the crew employment regulations and requirements of a flag state, and the impact of a particular flag state on the insurance of a vessel.

Cayman has established itself as a location of choice, for good reason, with the most recent figures demonstrating the islands’ dominant position in the new build superyacht industry and strong growth in registered tonnage.

With Saffery’s longstanding expertise in acquiring and managing luxury and non-standard assets, it was a natural next step following the launch of the firm’s fiduciary offering in Cayman to expand its services to include yacht management – including for clients who own and operate vessels through a holding structure.