Traditionally, one of the major factors that has slowed the progress of the superyacht industry in Georgia, United States, has been its inability to financially compete with the south Floridian superyachting stalwarts that benefit from taxation incentives for superyacht owners. The state of Georgia has now implemented its own legislation to provide taxation incentives and begin competing with Florida for superyacht business. The tax credit for superyacht owners will take the form non-taxation for purchases over $500,000.

The tax break for superyacht owners was considered rather controversial, as it has widely been heralded as a tax cut for the world’s wealthiest individuals. However, the reasoning behind cut was to aid in the growth of Savannah Yacht Center, a new refit yard that is hoping to compete with Florida for 60m-plus refit work.

“What we are trying to do a Savannah Yacht Center is to create a shipyard for larger superyachts, we are geared entirely towards superyachts that are above 50m,” starts Jim Berulis, vice president of Savannah Yacht Center. “If we are to attract the largest refits, we needed to be on a more balanced financial footing with the yards in Florida.”

An economic impact study conducted by Armstrong State University on behalf of Colonial Group, Savannah Yacht Center’s parent company, concluded that, when fully operational, the centre will support around 800 jobs, directly and indirectly, as well as wages of $50 million, tax revenue of $5.5 million and $171 million in economic activity.

“We believe this taxation relief is really going to help us to develop our business in the long run and to be competitive,” continues Berulis. “A modest refit on a vessel over 60m will easily exceed the 500,000 boundary, thus saving a significant amount of money.”

Savannah Yacht Center has recently opened its 137m graving dock for small servicing works and is expecting its first superyacht in two week. The conclusion of the $50 million investment to convert Savannah Yacht Center is expected to occur at the tail end of 2017, or the beginning of 2018.


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