“Smart people can make money out of berths.” Paul Cook of Barcelona’s OneOcean Port Vell set the mood early on at the second day of The Superyacht Owner’s Summit, which today focused on the question of whether there are good investment opportunities for owners within the marina market. Alongside Paul, the panel included Splinter Fangman of YachtZoo, Aenea Hollins of Christophe Harbour and Robert Inwards of Inwards Marine.
An initial assessment of the current marina marketplace quickly established that, despite a lack of interest in berths during the recession, the last couple of years have seen this turn on its head - and indeed there is now a lack of supply of suitable berthing globally, with a finite number of large berths available for sale. With over 20 yachts over 100m currently in build, Paul Cook described how a ‘fear factor’ was leaking into buying decisions.
Although there was a general consensus that most owners buy or lease berths for reasons other than financial gain, the ability to buy a potentially profitable asset is refreshing in an industry often labeled as a financial drain. Leasing rather than rental was seen as the most sensible move for investors, thanks to the ability to sub-rent, sell and own the location.
Further advice for owners that emerged from the panel was ‘spend to save’ rather than ‘save to spend’ when it came to berth purchases and to consider the marina offering even more in terms of a lifestyle choice rather than a purely economical decision. Thinking long-term was key, and indeed it emerged that some owners are already buying bigger berths than necessary with a view to future purchases or leasing to bigger boats who may soon have limited options.
Splinter Fangman also commented that "owners should get much more involved than they have been in the past” rather than seeing berthing as an added burden further down the line. The complicated legal structures in (and within) different countries were also said to be turning off owners and buyers – all of which led to the panel questioning whether there should be a more collaborative effort between marinas, perhaps supported by an online intelligence tool, for more transparency and more rational decision-making in the marina world. Watch this space.
With thanks to our marina sponsor OneOcean Port Vell