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Superyacht usage revealed

Tim Clarke
September 1, 2021

Quay Crew research uncovers superyacht usage data - cruising trends, private use vs charter frequency and average crew tips.

A survey of over 100 Captains has revealed superyacht usage trends and how just 12% of superyachts are single season, with a growing trend towards year-round usage as two fifths (40%) claim they don’t follow seasons at all.

Our research aimed to dispel any myths and rumours surrounding superyacht usage globally by asking about actual movements right from the helm.

It found that almost half (48%) of superyachts are used privately for more than 10 weeks in the summer, including 7% of private yachts which have live aboard owners. One fifth (22%) of Captains said that ‘boss-on’ or private guest time accounts for 13 weeks or more. The average usage time during the winter is 6.5 weeks.

On average, for how many weeks in operation is your yacht used privately/for unpaying guests per summer season?

Figure 1

In comparison, 10 weeks is the most common charter use in the summer, but only 2% of paying guest usage is for more than 13 weeks and the average winter usage for dual season charter yachts is 4.5 weeks.

The average length of a charter is 10.5 days while the average tips earned per crew member each year is €16,617, with 15% of crew claiming to earn over €30,000.

Overall, 59% of yachts are reserved exclusively for private use in the summer, increasing to 64% in the winter.

Which coast has the most?

The research also found that in an average year, superyachts spend 18 weeks cruising, 16 in port, 13 at anchor and nine out the water/in the yard.

North America and the Caribbean remains the top winter cruising destination while the Med is still top choice in the summer for both private and charter superyachts. However, there is increasing worldwide cruising among private yachts, 35% of which do this at some point throughout the year.

France appears to be losing ground to Spain, with only 15% selecting a French port as home, while 24% selected a Spanish location, most notably Barcelona. Europe as a whole accounted for 65% of respondents with a home port, followed by North America and the Caribbean (24%).

Where is your home port (top 5)?

Figure 2

Speaking with crew and Captains on a daily basis, we often have informal conversations about superyacht usage and a yacht’s itinerary, but it’s all anecdotal and rarely matches up with candidate expectations. So we wanted to carry out some research to uncover how often a yacht is used, whether for private or charter use and where it goes.

Surprisingly, only 12% of yachts are actually single season, a number I would have expected to be much higher. But I think this is indicative of how yachting is changing, with ‘seasonal’ usage becoming almost old fashioned.

The fact that yachts available to charter account for just a third of respondents, and that average charter usage is around seven weeks in the summer, and even less in the winter, it also poses the question, ‘what is a busy charter’?

Perhaps most surprising, however, is that a staggering 42% of superyachts don’t specify a home port, claiming they are either always on the move, or that it changes frequently.

This ties in with the increasing number of world cruising yachts, but from a recruitment perspective, this could impact crew longevity and retention for crew members who are looking for more of a base and some sort of work-life balance.

Send me an email if you’d like to receive the full report - tim@quaycrew.com.

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