The pandemic didn’t dampen yacht sales in 2020. While lockdown restrictions worldwide greatly affected other parts of the travel sector, superyachts proved the idea safe haven for socially distanced vacationing. This caused an uptick in first-time buyers and those looking to upgrade. Denison Yachting, Fraser Yachts and IYC were the top three brokerages respectively, last year, in global superyacht sales collectively selling 149 yachts.
“Due to stricter COVID policies and shutdowns in the Med, we’ve seen more big boats ‘stay local’ and skip the charter season in the Med. This could mean huge things for the Caribbean in 2021,” says Bob Denison, president and founder of Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based Denison Yachting.
Indeed, the global charter fleet has been growing year on year as more owners choose to issue a commercial license for their yachts. As the average size of new-build yachts increases, larger vessels that can carry more guests and more crew are entering the charter market.
“The Caribbean is the most popular winter charter destination, accounting for over 50% of winter season charters globally for yachts over 30 meters, and a healthy charter market means high yachting activity in the Caribbean,” says Michel Chryssicopoulos, global managing partner of Fort Lauderdale, FL-headquartered IYC.
Advances in new build technology, such as dynamic positioning systems and shallow drafts, alongside the experience and knowledge of charter managers and yacht captains, are helping to ensure that the environmental impact on coral reefs and surrounding islands is kept to a minimum.
Plus, adds Chryssicopoulos, “yacht charters have a direct impact on the local economies. Charter clients are typically individuals with high buying power. Apart from their personal expenses, (e.g. dining and shopping locally), a charter also entails expenses for supplies (e.g. fuel, food, transport, dockage, etc.), which directly contributes to the economies and local infrastructure of the Caribbean islands.”