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Buying a yacht? Here are some things you need to know

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Singapore  /  Fri, May 10, 2019  /  03:01 pm
Buying a yacht? Here are some things you need to know

Full house: The Singapore Yacht Show 2019 has brought a total of 87 yachts to Singapore's ONEĀ°15 Marina Sentosa Cove. (Courtesy of Verventia/-)

Select members of media, including The Jakarta Post, were invited to the Singapore Yacht Show by the organizer Verventia to view the showcase. Here is the report.

When looking for your next cruiser of the seas, your bank account is the only limit when it comes to custom yachts – but plenty of models across the price and size range are available.

The wide selection of builders and models mean your personal taste and needs can and will dictate your options. 

Those into fishing might consider Florida-based Boston Whaler’s lineup, claimed to be unsinkable in even the roughest waters, while those feeling opulent might opt for Sanlorenzo’s 126, with a fully customizable cabin furnished by high-end Italian brands.

If you plan for your yacht to match your supercar, there’s the Pininfarina-designed Princess R35, with its twin 430-horsepower Volvo V8 engines and full carbon fiber hull optimized for performance.

However, there are certain trends that come into factor within the Asia Pacific region.

Alister Brunskill, Singapore country head of yacht dealer network Boat Lagoon Yachting, said more experienced buyers tended to look for functionality, practicality and size, along with more technical specifications.

“But Asia’s still very much a new market, so some clients will be looking more at the visuals, the aesthetics. ‘Does the boat look nice? Has it got the right feel of material I’m used to?’” Brunskill explained.

With production vessels, customization tends to be relatively restricted compared to full-custom yachts, but customers can easily rack up six-figure sums for customization alone for the larger vessels.

But certain factors also come into play. Ferretti Group sales manager Fabiomassimo Discoli said marble furnishings, for example, could affect the overall weight and performance.

“With reduced performance, you also have extra fuel consumption. So it’s a tradeoff, you can have marble floor, marble walls, but it’s still a boat, so it’s okay to bring home into a boat, but there is a certain level to it,” Discoli said.

For the Southeast Asia market, Brunskill said the most popular yachts tended to be in the 50 feet (15.24 meters) to 80 feet range – meaning a price bracket from £1 million (US$1.31 million) to £5 million.

Big announcement: The yacht show in Singapore also marks several debuts and yacht launches.Big announcement: The yacht show in Singapore also marks several debuts and yacht launches. (Courtesy of Verventia/-)

Prospective owners, however, should also bear in mind the running costs of the yachts, which can also be quite substantial.

“Usually, as a guide we say here in Southeast Asia, you’re looking at annual fees. This includes a captain, services, maintenance, berthing fees, of around 5 to 6 percent of the boat value per year.”

With prices ranging from subcompact cars up to luxury waterfront estates, yachts seem to transcend categories from vehicle to property, what with ensuite bathrooms with his-and-hers marble sinks or dedicated karaoke rooms. 

But with that in mind, Andy Treadwell, CEO of the Singapore Yacht Show (SYS) organizer Verventia Pte. Ltd., said that investing in a yacht was an investment in passion and leisure, as opposed to investing for profits.

“It’s not an investment in terms of money because it’s a very expensive pursuit. The bigger the boat, the more expensive it is to run, and a big superyacht would cost typically 10 or 15 percent of its value to run every year. So you have to be very passionate about it, and you have to have the money to spend and not get back,” he said.

He noted that owners should get as much revenue as possible from chartering the vessels to offset the costs.

“There are plenty that are not interested, are totally private, don’t want anybody else to go on the boats and happy to spend the money, but the vast majority of people want to share it with others and get some of that yearly expenditure back.”

Also part of the prospective yacht owner’s to-do list is the vessel’s flag state or country of registry. This decision is vital as it factors in taxation and freedom of travel.

With more than 8,000 ships registered and flying their flag in 2018, Panama currently holds the world’s largest ship registry. In Asia, the prime destination for ship registry is Hong Kong, followed closely by Singapore.

Taxation rates for yachts can vary by country. For example, Indonesia slaps on a 75 percent luxury tax, while China puts the import tax at 43 percent. On the other hand, Singapore allows pleasure boats to be relieved of the 7 percent goods and services tax (GST), provided the vessel enters the country by its own power and must depart after its purpose has been completed, with no time limit. (ste)

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