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The Brokerage Scene

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2014 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show Special

We spoke to three major players on the yacht brokerage scene and discovered that there’s plenty going on in the market now and into the fall. Here’s what they have to say about the upcoming fall boat-show season.

Steve Moynihan

Steve Moynihan, Founder and President, HMY

“The market is very active and has continued to be active even through the traditionally slower months of summer, business has been very good. Our particular segment of the market has been predominantly confined to the U.S. with a smattering of international sales here recently. In our particular instance, it’s a combination of continued pent-up demand and the continuing success in people’s individual businesses and the stock market. This has just carried over from the spring right through this summer. We are already making space reservations for customers to exhibit their existing pre-owned product in anticipation of them purchasing something else. Our boat-show slips are completely full. We’re way ahead of where we were last year as far as people

calling us...and without any push from us, people are calling us and saying, ‘I want to make sure my boat is in that show.’

I would tell you that by and large a lot of product has been sold and that we are working doubly hard to list fresh product going into the fall season after people have used their boat for the summer. But we’re way ahead of last year in units or yachts sold and we’re anticipating good participation and a fresh inventory of brokerage boats after people get finished using them in the summer season. I always encourage people to be ready to make a decision because there are going to be buying opportunities, and if you have your financing or your funds lined up in advance, it’s always good to be a step ahead. There will be buying opportunities and the more prepared you are to act quickly the better your chances are of getting the boat you want.”

Jon Burkard, President, Allied Marine Brokerage

“Going into the fourth quarter, it’s great that we are on track to enjoy quite a bit a growth for 2014. Combined with three prior years of good solid growth, I think we can finally say that the boating industry is back to good health! I think one of the keys to our growth and success has been not to rest on our laurels and to really make sure that we are closely aligned with our goals of being an industry leader in the sale of yachts in the 50- to 150-foot market range. Staying on task to reach and maintain this goal has been a big effort, in that it has caused us to not only rethink our business operationally, but culturally as well. I equate it to turning a large ship: it takes direction, time, and advanced planning.

With these new goals and focus, great change has come to our company. One of the bigger changes has been to expand our footprint and work to keep ourselves ahead of the great technological challenges facing all businesses today. This has included the opening of five new store locations with new sales operations at Miami Beach Marina, Bahia Mar Yachting Center (Ft. Lauderdale), Huntington, New York, Newport Beach, California, and Mexico City. While challenging, we are thrilled to announce they are all open and operating, and are easily some of the nicest facilities in the yachting industry. Technologically we are moving to being a “paperless” company. Besides conquering the storage and access issues this is providing a great deal of customer convenience in that they can now sign documents electronically from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Jon Burkard

We will have quite a bit larger display at the upcoming Ft. Lauderdale Boat show, virtually doubling the number of brokerage boats we will have on display to 17 yachts. This will offer our clients a larger number of options to find the boat that best fits their yachting needs. Along with the addition of several new brokers and staff to operate these new locations, we have a serious list of other projects already underway that will take us into 2015 and beyond.”

Bob Denison, President, Denison Yacht Sales

“The brokerage market has been pretty solid most of the summer. Our office in Ft. Lauderdale has been a tiny bit slower than the spring season, but the team up in our New York office has been absolutely slammed. Same goes for our office in Seattle.

Planning for the fall boat-show season really starts about a few weeks after the Palm Beach Show. Sometimes I feel like we’re painting the Golden Gate Bridge, as soon as you’re done with one side, you start on the other. The amount of coordination and planning on the marketing side is pretty intense. Luckily, and I really mean this, we have an amazing marketing and events team that helps support this effort. Without them we would have zero boats in any of these shows, and I’d likely have to resort to passing out orange Denison koozies in the parking lot.

At Ft. Lauderdale we’ll have a mix of 35 new and brokerage boats, including several sportfish, motoryachts, tenders, express boats, and trawlers. We’ll also have a few superyachts, including a yacht my father built, News. She’s a 121-foot aluminum motoryacht in amazing condition, ready for sale and/or charter. She was built right here in Ft. Lauderdale at Denison Marine, back when people actually still built big boats here. She’s an all-time favorite and is an amazing value.

Bob Denison

I would give anyone seriously shopping at a fall boat show four bits of advice. First, find the right broker. Make sure they know the yacht they’re selling. Too many brokers try to sell whatever boat you’re in the market for, not necessarily the type of boat they specialize in. Ask lots of questions. It’s also important to make sure that your broker is licensed and bonded, and is a member of a well-respected association, like the FYBA. I would also recommend working with a broker you personally like. If you find the right broker, you’ll likely be spending a lot of time with them. Make sure you’re spending your time with someone you actually want to have over for dinner. 

Second, treat FLIBS like visiting the Louvre. Take your time. Don’t rush any part of your weekend. Plan on visiting as many boats as possible. Take a ton of pictures. Don’t let anyone hurry you off a boat. The show is about you. If you meet a broker that tries to hurry you or pressure you, find someone else to work with.

Third, if you’re looking to buy, bring your checkbook. An offer with a check in hand weighs more than an offer with a “check in the mail.”

And last, if you’re coming into town for the show, try to get a hotel close to the docks and avoid the traffic. Explore the city, walk Las Olas, and make the entire experience a fun one. Ft. Lauderdale is a great town that’s become a great place of culture. As a local kid, I’m a little biased, but I really believe Ft. Lauderdale to be the best boating town.”

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2014 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show Special ▶

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.