A reader has alerted SuperyachtNews.com to a column published in the Miami Herald in May by columnist, Fred Grimm. Rising to his misanthropic moniker it seems, Grimm uses the proposed Watson Island development in Miami to attack the superyacht industry and to highlight the damage he predicts an influx of superyacht owners and crew will do to the integrity of the city.

‘We’ve not only come to terms with the stark inequities of wealth distribution, we’ve made it into a growth industry. We fawn, we grovel, we see to the whims of the super-rich’, Grimm says. ‘A super-yacht marina will fit in nicely in a city enjoying a boom in luxury real estate, even as middle class ZIP codes remain mired in recession prices’, he adds.

Conversely, Grimm points to a 2001 PriceWaterhouseCoopers report that put an estimate of 41 per cent of a superyacht’s annual operating budget as being spent when in port.

A 2014 Superyacht Intelligence survey went further by quantifying the spending of winterised yachts and charter yachts on a weekly basis in a specific region. SuperyachtNews.com converted these figures into US Dollars and, at the time of writing, a wintering yacht would spend between $9,482 (30m) to $64,201 per week in port. An active charter yacht would spend between $21,202 (30m) and $163,075 per week; a welcome boost to any local economy, one would assume.

And the development itself - a major infrastructure project for the city that could provide a $600 million injection into the state coffers, in addition to all of the secondary and tertiary employment benefits a project of such a scale encumbers – will have direct benefits for the city of Miami.

According to a Superyacht Intelligence Western European Marina Report, published in 2010, the USA could claim a 20 per cent share of the global fleet’s homeports. The report stated that, Finding a homeport that has all the right characteristics in terms of fashion and location, as well as all the practical amenities and services, is the key motivation of the owner or the management company.

So in reality, a development of the scale, pomp and ceremony that the Watson Island project represents is necessary to attract custom and retain it, in what is a fiercely competitive sector.

In the aforementioned 2014 Superyacht Intelligence survey, the proportion of the fleet intending to spend their winter season cruising America’s East Coast and down to the Caribbean had increased from 27 per cent to 34 per cent to the ‘detriment of Northern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean’. According to the survey this is the only significant global shift and therefore, if this renewed interest in this region were to sustain itself, a development in the mould of Watson Island would stand to benefit from increased traffic and a large capital injection into the local vicinity.

These considerations, coupled with Grimm’s own observation about the spending potential of incumbent yachts and their owners, would suggest that once completed,the Watson Island project stands to benefit the local economy, rather than transform the face of the city for the worse.

What Island Gardens would look like by night.

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