The coronavirus pandemic has affected the global economy and industries across the board. The yachting industry is no different. With travel restrictions in the Caribbean and Mediterranean putting a pause on the season, COVID-19 has had major effects on the industry and those working in it. A few industry professionals and leading influencers have talked about the changes they see happening in the industry due to the global health crisis as well as growing yachting industry concerns.
A Decrease in Yacht Charter Bookings
What typically would be a busy charter season has been incredibly slow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many charter locations in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean are just reopening their borders to international travelers, with many still closed until late in July or August. Even as destinations open up, private yacht passengers will be required to follow strict safety and health regulations, which may scare off potential charter guests. Charter bookings may continue to be on a decline for the foreseeable future.
“I believe the whole yachting industry (…) has been hit really hard. This time last year, we were pretty much fully booked whereas at the moment, we’ve got a few charters booked with the possibility of cancellations […] What’s going to happen to the charter season, we just don’t know. Our hands are tied at the moment. We have to follow the advice and minimize contact with the outside world.” – Tristan Mortlock, Captain of M/Y AWOL 1
Shipyards Must Do Most Things In-House
The global COVID-19 outbreak forced shipyards around the globe to adapt to new social distancing guidelines and implement work-at-home initiatives for plenty of staff. Shipyards have also needed to adapt to supply line disruptions and the resulting production delays.
“We are a very vertically integrated company and, if forced, we could produce nearly everything in-house […] We still have yachts that need to be delivered as per the contract we have with the owners and thanks to our in-house capabilities, most of our production is self-sustained.” — statement by United Arab Emirates’ superyacht builder Gulf Craft2
Regardless of these new challenges, most shipyards continue to move projects forward and deliver on commitments to customers while doing their part to stop the spread of the virus.
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- Super Yacht Captain, YouTube – ALONE ONBOARD A SUPER YACHT (Captain’s Vlog 126)
- Miranda Blazeby, Boat International – How Superyacht Shipyards are Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic