Iness Miller, head of research and development at MarineGuard Systems Limited, says the company’s top tip is the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tag systems. In brief, tags are attached to items on board (and can measure movement, being tampered with and even temperature changes) and data signals are sent back to a single interface from where a crewmember can keep track of the relevant items. Additional beacons can be installed at entry and exit points, and alarms can be set up so the yacht is alerted immediately should an item be tampered with, moved or pass an entry or exit point. “The asset-tracking system provides the long-awaited answer to the protection of moveable assets against first and third-party actions aboard superyachts,” explains Miller. (More information on this system can be found on TheSuperyachtOwner.com.)
Securing a high-value item is one thing, but knowing how to clean it is quite another. Using the wrong cleaning product on a superyacht’s brand new carpet or bed linen may not go down too well on board – consider the same scenario when applied to owners’ high-value artwork present on some superyachts.
Theresa Manwaring, chief stewardess on board motoryacht Lady Linda, remembers one experience where these questions had to be considered, to the point where an art expert even came on board to advise the crew. “In my eight years in the industry I have had one experience on a yacht with original and expensive pieces from the artists like Monet, Renoir and Degas. The most memorable thing from that experience was that the pieces were each armed with an alarm. We had to be very careful cleaning around them so as not to set it off,” explains Manwaring.
"I remember that the best suggestion was for us to do nothing, as even dusting with a light cloth could damage it if we didn’t know what we were doing or what medium was used on the painting."
Understanding the products that can and should be used to clean these high-value assets is integral, and it was for this reason the art expert came on board the yacht. “[He] had a look at [the artwork] and explained to us a bit about the maintenance and what not to do,” says Manwaring. And while for most interior crew the thought of cleaning every aspect of the interior is a given, the art expert, in fact, advised to avoid cleaning the art altogether. “I remember that the best suggestion was for us to do nothing, as even dusting with a light cloth could damage it if we didn’t know what we were doing or what medium was used on the painting,” recollects Manwaring.
The responsibility of crew with regards to looking after a yacht’s on-board environment rises considerably when expensive artwork is on board and with more and more ultra-high-net-worth individuals manifesting their wealth via superyachts it could be that in the future more crew have to deal with these sorts of issues and understand the importance of properly preserving such items. “I think if I were responsible for original and expensive pieces in the future,” poses Manwaring, “my first priority would be to consult the right expert on the proper maintenance in order to preserve and protect the items for the owner.”