Imagine building your very own superyacht, designed to your specific needs, tastes and desires. While the process of building a yacht is complex and may take years of research and planning, it will also be as exciting and fulfilling as all the future journeys you will enjoy onboard it. But if you are looking for this adventure, you may be wondering: “But where to start?”. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand each step of this process and have your own superyacht construction underway.
Every custom-built superyacht starts with a vision, based on personal preference and taste, and the type of onboard lifestyle desired. What kind of cruising is required, which luxuries would you like onboard, for example a spa or swimming pool, and is a helipad necessary? With literally a world of options to consider, the future owner will naturally be the driving force behind their own superyacht construction, giving it their own personal characteristics. To ensure the smoothest journey possible, after they envision everything they want o their dream boat, they will need to assign a team of experts to work on such a big project.
The Key Players on Your Yacht Construction
The process of building a yacht will involve a great number of decisions, so having the support of a knowledgeable and experienced team is imperative.
The owner may wish to engage a respected yacht broker to build the team, knowing that they spend a significant amount of time liaising with key players across the yachting industry. They will also ensure the owner’s interests are protected, while providing access to some of the world’s most exciting and ground-breaking yacht builders.
Key players will include a professional yacht designer and naval architect, who will be chosen depending on the type and style of superyacht construction required. An engineer will be engaged for detailed design, and an interior designer will need to work in conjunction with both, designing the layout and cabin suites to meet the owner’s requirements.
You will also need to engage an owner’s representative to oversee the superyacht construction on your behalf. In some cases, the vessel’s future captain may take this role, and offer guidance and reassurance throughout the design and construction stages. They will also negotiate the most favorable terms and protect the buyer’s interests.
Dedicated Project Management Team
In addition, when building a yacht, a project management team will be engaged to oversee the day-to-day details, from coordinating the production of the technical specs to running a tender process with shipyards, through to price and contract negotiations.
As the superyacht construction progresses, they will act as the go-between for the different parties involved, and ensure that every element of the project is handled efficiently and to the highest standard. Some will work full time, while others with short-term specialisms may be engaged during particular phases of the build.
The Shipyard – The Heart of Superyacht Construction
The shipyard is where the superyacht construction finally gets underway, using its state-of-the-art equipment, experienced representatives and skilled craftsmen. Involved from the design stage, the shipyard will work closely with the project manager and/or owner’s representative, as well as both the interior and exterior designers to ensure that the end result not only fits the owner’s specifications, but also meets marine legislation and technical requirements.
With the complexities of changing international legislation, it is the project manager’s job to liaise with all parties to ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date on any necessary design changes or alterations according to those norms.
The Legal Part
An experienced team of maritime lawyers will be engaged to write contracts that set the guidelines for the build and protect the buyer from technical issues and delays. Detailed build milestones and payment schedules will also be drawn up. On the vessel’s completion, lawyers will advise on flag registration and handle all other regulatory aspects, as well as the operational setup and ownership structure.
The Essential Sea Trial and Certification of the Vessel
After successfully building a yacht to the owner’s requirements, surveyors will be needed to establish the vessel’s performance and seaworthiness during a sea trial, an essential part of the construction of any new superyacht. During a sea trial, all parties work together to fine-tune the systems and iron out any issues.
Typically a sea trial takes place on open water and can last several days. The yacht’s crew will usually be engaged six months to a year before completion, and will play an integral part in putting the superyacht through its paces. These will include testing the vessel’s speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features.
Also present onboard will be technical representatives from the shipyard as well as those from any major systems used, the owner’s representative, and governing and certification officials.
The certification officials are employed by a classification society, a third-party service that assures the quality of construction – the nautical equivalent of an MOT. The classification certificate they issue will be required for registering the yacht and obtaining marine insurance. It may also be required before entering certain ports or waterways, and will be of interest to future charterers and potential buyers.
Time for Customization: The Owner’s Supply
Most custom yacht contracts do not include what is known as the Owner’s Supply – any additional items the owner desires after building a yacht, such as tenders and water toys, audio-visual and entertainment systems, loose furniture, tableware, and decorative objects. Each will need to be procured, insured, managed and integrated into the yacht itself before final delivery.
The Moment Everyone is Waiting For: The Final Delivery
At last the big day arrives: the superyacht is delivered to her delighted owner, and launched with much fanfare and celebration. The proud new owner is now free to enjoy their very own, truly unique superyacht out on the open water.
As you can see, the process of building a yacht might be a complex, long-term commitment and a major investment, but a custom-built vessel is limited only by the owner’s imagination and finances. For all the effort and work involved, there can be nothing more thrilling than bringing to life a newly build yacht that fulfils all your dreams and requirements, enjoying it with family and friends for many years to come.
Having spent so much time, effort and resources into a dream of this size and magnitude, you’ll of course would like to keep it in top shape at all time. That’s where Garnet Yacht Services enters the ring! Our team of specialists is ready to tackle all aspects of your yacht’s maintenance, and we strongly recommend you start doing it on day #1! Get in touch with us and we will present you with a list of services tailored to your yacht’s needs.