Raul Bermudez had a lot to celebrate when MarineMax marked the first anniversary of its Vacations Yacht Charter Division in October. As vice president of the yacht charter division, Bermudez has been busy building the charter operation.
“It’s the best vacation in the world,” he claims. “There is nothing else like it.”
Clearwater, Fla.-based, MarineMax, has launched yacht charter fleets in the Caribbean, a luxury yacht charter line, and European canal boats.
The company is introducing a new luxury line of MarineMax 484 power catamarans designed and produced for the company by Sino Eagle Group in China. The charter version has a four cabin/four head layout and $150,000 of upgrades including high-volume watermakers, upgraded generators, all electric barbecues and galley stoves, refrigerators and freezers, wireless connectivity, air conditioning, autopilots and Raymarine e12 navigation systems. Power is provided by twin 330hp Volvo Penta diesel engines with a fuel capacity of 300 gallons.
Twenty of these yachts will be available for charter at a rate of one per month starting in this month. “That boat will change the industry,” Bermudez claims. He is promoting and developing the power catamaran yacht charter as something that differentiates them from the competition.
The yacht charter vessels are all for sale with owners signing a management agreement with MarineMax. The company takes care of maintenance, dockage along and other expenses, then sends the owner a fixed monthly payment each month that is expected to cover the cost of the loan for the first five years. Under this arrangement, owners are entitled to use the boats for up to 10 weeks a year.
Bermudez says this equates to five years of free vacation. At the end of the term, the owners have the option of retaining the vessel, rolling into a new one or selling the yacht through one of MarineMax’s 53 locations throughout the United States.
Before joining MarineMax, Bermudez worked at TUI Marine for 12 years, including a stint as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. After a break from the industry, recruiters approached him and brought him back to the Virgin Islands to learn about MarineMax and its entry into the charter business. It was not a hard sell, as Bermudez had purchased a boat from them in 2008 and was impressed with “their passion for the water and customer service.”
Sitting on a hotel balcony in the BVI’s (one of his favorite vacation destinations) overlooking the docks, he decided to re-enter the charter business, and has done so with drive.
Bermudez says there was no such thing as a typical day. With the charter business in its early stages, he performs a variety of functions, from meeting with the staff in the islands to working with marketing and finance at the Clearwater headquarters, and overseeing the call centers that sell the charters and boats in the charter fleet. He also attends the boat shows to help sell the new service, and was making plans for the Baltimore and Miami boat shows this month.
Bermudez exudes confidence as he says, “In the BVIs, MarineMax Vacations is better than any other vacation out there. Try it with us and you will never go back to anybody else!”