When choosing a new tender it is necessary to evaluate some important factors and avoid limiting the choice just because of exterior design or brand. While budget and size depends on the type of superyacht you are buying for, there are other essential factors that should be looked at during the purchase process. For The Superyacht Owner Tenders and Toys Guide 2015, we asked a group of captains to list the most important issues they consider when buying a new tender, and here we provide a preview.

Credit: Ivor Wilkins, courtesy of McMullen & Wing

Suitability for use
When choosing a tender it is of primary importance to identify what the tender’s primary use will be so that it first the main purpose for the ownership. “Tenders intended only for the transportation of persons ashore and tenders used for diving support or game fishing need a totally different customised design and different equipment,” explains Captain Massimo Marras. “Another important aspect to consider should be if the new tender will have to carry small children or mature people. In this case, a tender with a rigid and high freeboard is preferable.”


An owner purchasing a new tender for an existing yacht will typically find that options are limited by available space and weight restrictions on board. “Too often it is only possible to replace the old tender with the latest version of it even though there is a much wider variety of choice,” explains Captain Marras.

He suggests that one possible solution is to register an additional tender as an independent small yacht with a dedicated crewmember driving and taking care of it. “Alternatively, the tender can be towed by the main yacht, but in this case the new toy is often like a ‘ball and chain’ for the captain,” he adds.

“If the tender is complex and has a lot of buttons it will require a lot of maintenance and that is far from what I need the crew to be spending their time doing." - Captain Fernando Vallmitjana

An intelligent design

An intelligently designed tender will be comfortable, dry and safe in all weather conditions. Captain Mannie Avenia recommends a V-shaped hull, advising that a well-designed hull will ensure a comfortable ride in a choppy sea or on a longer trip.

Captain Christopher Schaefer agrees that design is one of the most important aspects of a tender. “No matter what the tender is used for, it should have sufficient freeboard, be dry and offer a comfortable ride,’ he adds. “If you are operating in remote locations in where you are primarily confronted with beach landings in poorly charted and rough terrain, then the tender cannot be too heavy and large.”


“What are you trying to achieve and where?” asks Captain Schaefer. “An Inboard Performance System (IPS) is great for fuel efficiency, improved handling and reduced maintenance but is useless for beach landings. Anyone who has tried to go up mangrove swamps in a jet tender will know for next time to take a mask with them, because you will end up diving to clear the jet pump.”

Captains are in agreement that simplicity is the key to any tender; an excess of electronic gadgets often only cause irritating problems. “If the tender is complex and has a lot of buttons it will require a lot of maintenance and that is far from what I need the crew to be spending their time doing,” says Captain Fernando Vallmitjana. “For example, a tender definitely does not need three different bilge systems.”

The ‘wow’ factor
Finally, never overlook the importance of a superyacht tender looking the part. “How cool is my tender?’ is the final question,” concludes Captain Schaefer. “Ever seen some poor soul cruise by your boat in an desperately embarrassing tender? The result is a quick look into the sky and a humble prayer: ‘Thank God that is not us.’”

To view this feature in full, and download the rest of The Superyacht Owner Tenders and Toys Guide 2015, please click here.

If you have enjoyed reading this article, you’ll love our upcoming event, The Superyacht Design Forum, taking place on 25 - 26 June 2019 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The Superyacht Design Forum provides anyone in the superyacht design world with a unique opportunity to explore new thinking and share smarter solutions for the future of superyachts. To find out more or to register, click here.