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Dockwalk’s 20th Year: Yachting in 20 Years

Sep 22nd 16
By Hillary Hoffower


In the first installment of “Dockwalk’s 20th Year,” captains, crew, and industry veterans weighed in on the most important changes they’ve seen in yachting during their 20-plus year tenure in honor of our 20th year of publication. In this installment, they flip the perspective and ponder the future. 


Where do you see the yachting industry in 20 years? 


New Yachting Hubs 

“Not too different from the yachting industry of today. I think that we may see a bigger geographical spread, with new cruising locations and hubs continuing to develop in areas beyond the traditional Med/Caribbean circuit.” — Capt. Greg Butler-Davis, S/Y Victoria 


“The trend for bigger and better will continue, but there will be more owners from emerging economies, which will drive development of yachting facilities and cruising grounds in their own countries.” — Danny and Lisa Robinson, S/Y Meari 


Enhanced Technology 

“Technology is moving forward so rapidly I can only imagine the changes we will see. I don’t think its impact will reduce crew sizes because yacht owners ultimately enjoy the services we provide. It will, however, require even more training to keep crew up to speed on changes in onboard systems, particularly the I.T. and engineer positions.” — Capt. Chas Donahoe, M/Y Tera-Byte 


“Larger and larger yachts with fewer crew as the robots take over menial tasks — the Roomba teak sander and varnish applier drone. Air yachts will become the new normal.” — Capt. Tedd Greenwald, M/Y Pilgrim 


“If the past is a good judge of the future, I see great technological advances in the industry across the board. Hopefully more so in the area of environmental consciousness and not so much in the autonomous self-driving yacht side of things.” — Capt. Karl Joyner, S/Y Columbia 


More Environmental Awareness 

“I expect we will also see an increased response to the pollution of the oceans, with yacht owners and the industry in general investing more in measures to protect the environment they spend their leisure time enjoying.” — Capt. Greg Butler-Davis, S/Y Victoria 


“I see and hope that yachting, as well as life in general, will continue on a green path of love and respect for our oceans and its dwellers and the atmosphere that all of humanity shares.” — Capt. Chris Harris, M/Y Cachee 


Similar to Other Transportation Industries 

“The yachting industry in 20 years will be just like the cruise ship industry, maybe even like the airline industry… I envision impersonal or maybe full-on plug-and-play crew. In and out just like the flight attendants. Service with a quick smile, but nothing on a personal basis. Who knows?” — John Olson


“While [the yachting industry] is suffering growing pains now, I trust it shall be as fluid and managed as the airline industry. Then again, I see more and more big boats that have chosen not to go the MCA route, and are looking for sea dogs like me, preferring experience and expertise over certification.” — Mx 


Growth Everywhere 

“I just see it getting larger — more yachts, more crew, and obviously more regulations. Yachts are going more commercial and, sadly, more remote places [are] being filled up with large yachts. I have been fortunate to see some amazing places that are now so full of yachts and tourism; I was glad I was able to see them when I did.” — Chef Polly  


“Over regulated and taxed, with fed-up owners who will move their cruising grounds to less regulated areas. The yachts will be bigger as the world’s top one percent will be even more wealthy than they are today, and the crews will be more in line with passenger ships with rotations with lesser pay and officers being of different nationality to the majority of the rest of the crew.” — Capt. Vaughan Hill, M/Y 11.11 


“We [will] never stabilize in the world we live in today. Politics [are] impacting people and you can see stock markets going up and down. The superyacht industry is actually very introverted. Whilst the industry is virtually stagnant on the one hand, the number of so-called ‘Ultra High Net Worth Individuals’ is increasing and their average wealth is also on the rise. There are several big issues; one…is that there is a severe taxation issue on the importation of yachts. There is also an issue that your yacht cannot be more than a year old for you to flag it — these are all things that inhibit a rapid…or quicker growth. I don’t think we’ll be able to change these, but we have to make everybody feel comfortable and adapt. It can be workable. The future looks bright, and I’m very optimistic!” — Capt. Baldo Gjurasic, 80-meter build project 


And Everything Else 

“As for the industry in twenty years, I hate to call it an industry but I suppose it is. It will probably get as expensive to get a master’s ticket as it is to become a lawyer or a doctor.” — Capt. Adrian Loughborough  


“Seems to me that large and small yachts will still be roaming the seas, but I see a bleak future for medium-sized vessels and poorly licensed crew.” — Capt. Jacques Maeder, M/Y Paolyre 



Photo: Capt. Baldo Gjurasic 


Where do you think the industry will be in 20 years? Share your thoughts in the comments below and check back next Tuesday for the third installment. 



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