How on Earth are we supposed to make the governments of developed nations take stock of the superyacht industry and care, if we lack a unified voice? In an adroitly apt metaphorical sense, superyachts are small fish in a big pond. There has been no shortage of legal developments that have imposed themselves upon the industry, after which the superyacht industry has thrown up its hands and exclaimed that it ‘didn’t understand how it would affect the superyacht market’.
I find it almost inconceivable that politicians with genuine clout are unable to ‘understand’ the implications of their decisions, especially when those decisions will affect whole markets, albeit small ones. Far more likely a scenario, I believe, is that they understand the implications and continue to act regardless.
From a political perspective, is it not far easier to fix the big problems and let the little guys figure it out for themselves? It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission after all, so why not just claim ignorance and let the superyachting world believe it was a lack of understanding that drove change.
As an industry, we are eager to preach economic benefit to anyone who will listen, but, how large is that benefit when compared with, for example, the commercial shipping world or the larger tourism industry? The quick answer is, not a lot. Why then do we continue to be shocked when yachting is not taken into consideration in the greater pantheons of political and economic progress?
To believe that the superyachting voice is going to be taken into consideration seems naïve. However, invariably, we end up being reactive in light of chance, falsely assuming that we will be listened to. A far more prudent solution would be to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Let’s take the Manila Amendments for example. We were made aware, well in advance, that STCWs would need updating and, yet, we allowed many of the schools available to administer the updates, to be booked up by commercial shipping companies, and then complained. It is time to accept that we don’t have, and likely will never have the desired levels of control, unless we can find a unified voice the represents the industry as a whole industry, not just the sum of its parts.