Launch of waterfront projects puts Dubai firmly in the spotlight of the international marine industry.
The announcement of the Dubai Harbour mega-project has stirred up a lot of excitement among the UAE’s yachting community, and has put Dubai firmly in the spotlight of the international marine industry.
The recent global financial crisis saw a rush to sell off yachts, increasing the size of the pre-owned boat market, which led to a severe price drop resulting in a market collapse. Fast forward to 2017, however, and things have dramatically changed, says Gregor Stinner, CEO at Art Marine.
“The era of cheap boats, due to the market crash, is now over and we are seeing the market mature where we have a much more educated client base requesting the latest technology, appeal, design, quality, and above all, re-sale value,” he told Khaleej Times, ahead of the 2017 Dubai International Boat Show.
With the increase in real estate water front developments each year, the opportunities for growth are very apparent, he adds. “If we take one of these mega-projects, Dubai Harbour, amongst others, it will include a 1,400 berth marina adding capacity to handle larger yachts of up to 85 metres. With projects such as Dubai Harbour and others that are ongoing across the entire region, we believe that it will attract a tremendous amount of liquidity, especially within our safe haven of the UAE, and with that we forecast a 12-15 per cent year-on-year growth.”
One of the key trends in the UAE, and around the world, is the growing demand for luxury cruising. More people are beginning to perceive boating, and more particularly, yachting, as a destination in itself, rather than as a means to an end, observes Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft.
“This trend is being propelled by new and exciting waterfront developments in Dubai that are offering yacht owners a variety of cruising sanctuaries, allowing them to enjoy their craft without having to venture out into the open seas. Combined, these factors will create a thriving yachting culture in the UAE – one that sees luxury cruising as both an experience to share with family, friends, and loved ones, as well as a non-traditional yet memorable venue for celebrating an occasion, hosting an event, or even conducting business,” he predicted.
How do I buy a yacht?
Well, owning a yacht in the UAE is a serious investment, but one which continues to get easier with time, Bamps says.
“First, decide what kind of experience you want out of your yacht or boat to narrow down your selection. Are you looking for quick day trips along the UAE coastline or a seagoing adventure? Then, consider your berthing space options. Where do you want to keep your craft? The price will often vary by location, but depending on how often you plan to set sail, you also want to ensure ease of access.”
With more than 3,000 berthing spaces being introduced across the Dubai Canal, the Dubai Harbour, and the Port Rashid Marina, finding a convenient place to berth your newly purchased yacht will soon no longer be a challenge. Bamps also advises looking into issues related to getting a license, and, depending on the size of the boat, getting a licensed crew on board; with the Dubai Maritime Authority being an excellent resource for this information.
“Also, marinas in the UAE are unlikely to accept berthing your craft without an insurance policy, so consider your coverage options,” he adds.
“Needless to say, a yacht or boat is an investment worth protecting. And finally, depending on frequency of use and the engine hours consumed, there will be annual maintenance fees, which roughly amount to 5-10 per cent the price of the purchased craft.”
Asked how many people in the UAE own yachts today, Stinner replied that to establish the number of yachts, a key indicator is to identify the number of berths that exist. “Within the UAE, we have roughly 5,000 berths which can indicate that we have roughly 5,000 yachts in the Emirates. However, we know that at least half of these are below 40ft, with 30 per cent making up the mid-range sized category and the remainder constituting the mega-yachts.”
The factor that will have an impact on the market as of now are evolving client requirements, which will be driven by an increased focus on reliability, durability, and overall cost of ownership, as opposed to an elaborate feature list, Bamps forecasts.
“By cost of ownership, I am not only referring to the physical dollars spent on owning a yacht, but also the time invested,” he clarified. “These have become key factors in the decision-making process as customers place greater emphasis on efficiency and user-friendliness from both an operational and service perspective – from low fuel consumption and economical manning costs i.e. crewing, to reduced downtime and easy maintenance. People want to spend less time managing their yacht, and more time cruising. A builder’s ability to deliver that seamless ownership experience will ultimately determine a prospective customer’s decision.