Superyacht owner or superyacht crew, everyone loves superyacht toys, but usually for completely different reasons. While anyone using them will have a great time (eventually), the prep and put-away process is often a ball-ache.
We’ve ranked our top 5 superyacht toys and given them both a fun factor and pain in the a**e rating.
PAIN IN THE A**E RANKING = 9.9/10
FUN FACTOR = 7/10
Maybe one of the most common and sought-after superyacht toys, but definitely the most dreaded among deckhands, is the inflatable slide.
Any mention of slide and it’s not just the guests that sink into the clear blue waters, it’s the hearts of the crew.
Weighing more than an elephant and often stored in the furthest away location from where it needs to be deployed, it requires a complete team effort by the entire deck crew. That means nothing else on deck is getting done, setting you behind schedule for the rest of the day.
Even if you have the big Safa lads (or ladies) on hand, who all seem to have played Rugby for their province, getting the slide out and ready to use is a real workout. And if you think putting them up is hard, then taking it down can be even more time consuming, labour intensive and frustrating.
Hearing the screams of delight from the guests can momentarily make you feel like it was worth it, but that’s if they even use it at all. In true superyacht style, you can count on nobody stepping foot or rear on the slide after hours putting it up and then the boss will announce they want to move anchorage. So, you have to take it down again only to put it back up at the new anchorage.
Gas Powered Jet Surfs
PAIN IN THE A**E RANKING = 8/10
FUN FACTOR = 6/10
These can be awesome fun once up and running, but those times are few and far between – main reasons being that gas powered jet surfs are broken down more often than operational and are not kind to beginners.
The highly tuned but temperamental 2-stroke engines can be a massive pain to get going and can give the slide a run for its money in terms of set up time. Just because its gas powered, deckies seem to forget that they still need to be charged or they definitely won’t work.
The fun factor is highly dependent on the jet surf working in the first place, but also the user’s experience. Guests who haven’t used one before can very easily push the nose under the water and flood the engine. You then have to go and fetch it and start all over again to get it going.
As well as charging the batteries, crew need to remember to have a stash of 2-stroke fuel made up. If you don’t, it’s just another thing to add to your to-do list when you have an impatient boss waiting to impress guests with one of their favourite superyacht toys.
On the plus side, they are easy to carry around and store. Our recommendation would be to upgrade to a more reliable electric version.
Inflatable Sea Pool
PAIN IN THE A**E RANKING = 6/10
FUN FACTOR = 3/10
This is one of those superyacht toys that seems appealing, but once inflated and in the water, is actually pretty boring. That is unless your guests have young children and then it’s a fairly safe way to play in the sea as most with come with a safety net to keep out any jelly fish and the like (although not strong enough to deter any Great White Sharks).
Similar to the Inflatable slide, the sea pool is large, cumbersome, heavy and awkward. It will take a few deckhands to manoeuvre, but maybe not the entire crew!
If you keep it in the aft garage, you can just half inflate, push it out the door and finish pumping up once in the water. One or two deckhands will then usually swim it around to the stern or use lines from the aft deck. If you don’t keep it in the garage, or your garage is in the bow, then getting it to the swim platform can be tricky.
More annoying, however, is the clean-up. Once the safety net is wet and weighed down by kettlebells in the corners, it’s even heavier and harder to pull from the water. That said, it’s relatively easy to roll and, if vacuum packed, will tuck away in a corner or under a tender quite nicely.
One last thing to note is this – not the best superyacht toy to get out if on the stern and you plan on using the tender. Sometimes, the sea pool will prevent you from getting a tender alongside and then you need to try and embark/disembark guests via the pool itself, which is not fun when you have a nice swell hitting you up the bum.
PAIN IN THE A**E RANKING = 3/10
FUN FACTOR = 7/10
This is where we start looking at some of the easier superyacht toys for crew to get ready, but that are still guest and owner pleasing. Accessible for any age and ability, they are always a hit.
Extremely light and packed away into its own small carry bag, inflatable paddleboards can be stored and manoeuvred easily by just one person. When finished with, they just need a quick rinse and dry, let the air out and fold away back into its bag. Easy peasy.
The problem is that there will rarely be an anchorage that is nicely protected from the elements. You need calm waters and even the smallest swell or gentle breeze can throw someone off – quite literally. As a result, guests can get frustrated and soon ask for one of the more tedious superyacht toys.
We would recommend saving these for a shore day when guests are hopping on the tender to use the nearby beach.
PAIN IN THE A**E RANKING = 1/10
FUN FACTOR = 8/10
In my humble opinion, this is by far the best toy for a deckhand to manage, maintain and use and for the guests to enjoy.
Seabobs are suitable for most ages and are adaptable to varying levels of thrill-seeking, from a slow surface cruise to a deep dive discovery due to its speed and depth settings. Even when the weather is a bit crappy, you can escape just below the water line with ease.
The latest models are much lighter than the originals so can be carried around the boat from most locations – but be careful on a slippery garage floor. They come with an easily installed wall mount so they can sit up off the floor to one side and not in the way.
When all finished with, just give them a quick rinse all over and put them back on charge.
Although expensive, they are definitely worth the investment and owners can customise them too.