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Pantaenius discusses the pros and cons of buying an older superyacht…

Pantaenius discusses the impact of the pandemic on the superyacht market

A year ago, the idea of ​​a superyacht boom would have seemed like a work of fiction. Yet the pandemic has supercharged yacht sales from smaller boats to larger superyachts as people seek private space, travel and family time on the water.

The superyacht market has become so hot that brokers are experiencing a shortage of inventory. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association of the United States, the recovery in the United States led to a 9% increase in sales last year – and there is no sign of slowing down. The frenzy of the American market is having repercussions in Europe, where there is now also a shortage of brokerage boats.

Anyone planning to build a new yacht is looking at delivery times as far as 2026. Faced with such a long wait, many new owners are buying older yachts instead, either by choice or as an interim vessel. Research by Boat International shows that the average age of yachts sold has increased this year to 13 years. Among yachts dating from further afield, there are some great bargains to be had: Yachts 30-40m are known to have changed hands for less than $ 2 million.

This wave of new owners is a boom for the industry. He introduces many new people to the pleasures of yacht ownership, and some of them will be commissioning a new build. But there are also concerns that less experienced homeowners may not be well informed about the true costs of ownership.

An older yacht may require an expensive overhaul or be more expensive to operate. It also results in many of the same fixed costs as a new boat. Some costs, such as insurance, can be higher and represent a larger percentage of the purchase price. “A new owner should be fully aware of the running and maintenance costs, as well as the general upkeep of the yacht,” explains Michelle Van der Merwe, Pantaenius superyacht account manager.

In addition to fuel, marina and mooring costs, there are crew salaries and regular routine repairs and maintenance, as well as scheduled overhauls or renovations. There is also the annual insurance premium to protect the owner’s assets, his responsibilities related to the operation of the yacht and the welfare of the crew and guests.

“As an insurance company, we are also interested in the long-term operation of the yacht, where the yacht’s home port will be located, who will be the crew of the yacht when the yacht is not in use and s ‘there is sufficient crew during this period, as well as the planned maintenance regime, ”adds Van der Merwe.

Mike Wimbridge, Managing Director of Pantaenius UK, says: “The first thing to note is that any yacht can be insured. We understand that there are people who don’t want to wait two, three, or five years when they could be on the water this year or next, and many people who buy these assets are well aware of the costs – and understand that they can stay the same as they move up the value ladder. “

However, Wimbridge points out that older boats can be more expensive in some ways. “You may need ten times [the purchase price] to get things done, ”he comments. “We always say that as a rule of thumb, operating costs are around 10 percent of a yacht’s value each year, but not with an older boat – you may have to spend at least what you want. ‘paid in a year. “

“From an insurance perspective, one concern we have is that some owners may not be aware of the costs of owning an asset like this and may be looking to keep costs down. Older yachts may not have been refitted for a few years, they may have aging machinery, equipment that expires and requires more specialized work. This is the underlying story.

Wimbridge says those who are well advised by brokers and agents understand the tradeoffs that are made, but admits, “Sometimes it’s a difficult discussion. You’re trying to explain why there’s a reason for a $ 50,000 deductible, because that’s what a very minor claim could be. The numbers get bigger as a percentage of the risk. “

“If a yacht is to be used for charter, this must also be taken into consideration,” explains Michelle Van der Merwe. There are insurance considerations for commercially registered yachts including higher premiums for third party liability insurance, medical and accidental rental guest coverage, medical coverage for race crews or day laborers. and if the owner wishes to insure the named loss of the charter, this can be very expensive coverage depending on the cost of weekly charters.

“All of this needs to be discussed with an insurance partner, and it really underscores the importance of having a good provider who can be there at all times to answer questions, make sure coverage is adequate and respond quickly. disaster. We offer a full coverage package and make recommendations.

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Is age just a number when buying a superyacht?


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