When Jack Robertson walks the docks of a show, he carries with him 29 years of experience in the marine industry, 17 of them spent pairing up boaters with the right vessel as a broker for HMY. Through the good years and bad, Robertson has advised clients on how to get boats with strong resale value, which is what he’s doing here now.
What are some of the hot new must-haves in the larger yacht segment?
The buzz on boats 60 feet and up is stabilization. Zero speed stabilization is exploding to a point where people are having gyros retrofitted to their older boats. Previous to that people were looking for the toys and the beach club. We were seeing European-style garages rise in popularity versus having all the toys, such as seabobs, paddleboards, Jet-Skis, etc., on deck.
The full-beam master is also something that’s in demand on boats both less than 100 feet and more than 100 feet. And we’re looking at a rise of the on-deck master. So on larger boats what’s popular is stabilization, toys and beach clubs, and full-beam masters.
What types of trends are you seeing among your big-boat buyers?
One trend we’re seeing is our clients are growing into larger boats more rapidly, 40 to 50, 50 to 60, 76 to 112. And they’re doing that every couple years! And they’re doing that because they’re enjoying the new features so much. And on larger boats we’re seeing our clients stay on the boats for 10 to 12 days at a time and really enjoying their large staterooms. People are enjoying the extra volume in larger boat accommodations.
What advice would you give to someone shopping for a larger motoryacht at Miami?
It’s much more rewarding if you have a broker of your own to consult about all your boating interests. It’s all in the prep work before the show. We learn how they’re going to use the boat right down to the water toys and the relatives they’re going to be inviting. Then we can represent them in all their inquiries and we can try to get them into the best value. There can be compromises then, based on size, quality, and newness. We need to keep value in mind for them.
And what can really save them time in their search is by having them start at a macro level and working down to the micro level and then getting them on some boats whether that be a Princess motoryacht or a more traditional Hatteras or Westport. Then once you know their styling we can help them understand the history of the brand they’re looking at.
Also, when it comes to purchasing a boat we can help them understand market conditions and exchange rates.
How do you help a new boater find the right boat?
There’s only 52 weekends in a year; I ask them, “How many of those are you going to spend on the boat?” Because what happens is someone comes to a show to see a 50-footer and they finish the day looking at a boat up to 100 feet and then they ask, “Why did I spend the whole day looking at boats we can’t afford?” Understand how you’re going to use a boat. And then start the show by looking at a name-brand boat so you have a basis. So if you wanted a sportfish I would take you to Viking first to set a benchmark and work my way to more affordable options. Then you’ll have a better understanding of costs.