When you are sitting on the beach, or at your favorite waterfront restaurant and you look out and see a yacht…(Not a 30 foot sailboat, I mean a proper 120+ foot yacht) it’s not uncommon to think some less-than-pleasant thoughts about that boat, the owner and everyone who owns a boat like that.You might think they are, “Fouling up the sea”…”Destroying the environment”…”Damn Yachties blocking my sunset view” etc.

Well aside from blocking your sunset view (sorry, not sorry) it’s important to understand just what a superyacht or a megayacht can bring to a local economy, even for a short time.

If you take a look at the operational costs of a boat over 30 meters, you basically figure 10- 15% of the value for annual operating costs. Some places a little more, some a little less… but that’s a good number to start with.

So let’s put some numbers on it. If we’re talking about a new 120 foot / 37 meter yacht, we are talking approximately $10 million USD. That puts annual operation in the $1M to $1.5M range. That’s how much the boat spends. And most of it is local. Oh, there’s Champagne, caviar, and fancy parties, sure… but beyond that, there’s a crew of 4-5 that need to eat every day, too. Fuel, laundry, provisions of every sort, fresh flowers and fruit and haircuts and teeth-cleanings and everything that needs to get done on land, when you’ve been out to sea for months at a time. That all needs to be purchased locally.

Then the fees to the marinas, which employ hundreds of locals. Expenses like berthing fee, fuel, electricity, water, garbage disposal. But they also have to feed the crew at restaurants and bars in the area…and sailors have CASH. They’ve been trapped on a boat where they couldn’t spend anything for weeks or months. There is a saying, “Spending money like a drunken sailor.” because as a group, they tend to drop a lot of cash wherever they hit land.

That means it finds its way into the pockets of local businesses, and not corporate giants.

Then there’s the money that the boat spends… the spare parts and tools if there’s something that needs to be fixed or replaced (and something always does) plus shipping and delivery and local hardware and engineers to assist.

Today’s yachts are not the dirty polluters of the last century. Clean and efficient engines with cutting edge technology drive the new generation of Superyachts. Thanks to companies like Torqeedo, many yachts are going electric for their tenders. Additionally, almost all the major manufacturers have some sort of ocean protection plan in place and donate generously to the charities and NGO’s doing the hard work.

So when you see 30 or 40 big boats circling your island, it’s ok to be jealous, but save the vitriol. Those are big floating ATMs, spending millions of dollars per month and unlike the hoards of tourists on tour-buses who abuse the infrastructure and barely spend anything into the local economy, these vessels pour that cash directly into the local’s pockets.

So the next time you see a superyacht on the horizon from the beach club, be glad that it’s in your neighborhood.

This article was originally published on the 31st December 2018 on Linkedin and has been re-posted here on AYC Superyacht Recruitment with permission from the author.

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