Lauderdale Marine Center, the Fort Lauderdale-based refit facility, has recently appointed George Whitehouse, formerly business development manager at both MTN Satellite Communications and Rybovich, as business development manager. In his new role, Whitehouse is responsible for the execution of Lauderdale Marine Center’s short and long term business strategies. We speak to Whitehouse about the state of the US market and his plans for Lauderdale Marine Centre.
“All in all the US [superyacht] market is very healthy,” starts Whitehouse. “It’s supply and demand; even though the new build sector is a little sluggish, there aren’t that many places with reputable vendors that take the 30m+ yachts and more yachts continue to get built. You really have to structure your time factors if you want to get a refit in a desirable location with the right people taking care of it… we are the largest in the states and expanding.”
Whitehouse explains that Lauderdale Marine Center’s recent acquisition of the River Bend facility, the property adjacent to the marine centre, will increase its capacity in the 50m+ range to upwards of 120 berths in total. However, he also points out that development at the yard is about more than increasing capacity.
“We are going to operate on a much more professional level in order to upgrade the clientele and the size of the boats,” he continues. “The vendors at the yard have become much more professional and the facilities are getting revamped in order to allow us to communicate much better with owners and crew on a social and personal level. These changes have been brought on by everything from managerial changes, yard operations and how we engage clients.”
Being ideally placed in Fort Lauderdale - arguably the heart of superyachting in the US - and benefitting from ideal weather conditions, protection from the sea and being the largest superyacht refit facility in the states, the outlook is positive for Lauderdale Marine Center.
But, as Whitehouse rightly points out, “I guess we will see after the elections. It’s always a good time, 6 months after an election, to see where the countries going and how this will reflect on the superyacht industry.”