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‘There’s growing signs of clients looking to do refits in the US’

Following his appointment at Derecktor, a conversation with Derek Wagner about the current dynamics within US refit…

Recently appointed director of sales, Derik Wagner has joined Derecktor during a time of expansion as the company commences operations at its new Fort Pierce site this summer. Upon completion, the shipyard will be a significant addition to the refit and service provider’s portfolio, featuring a new haul-out basin and 1,500-tonne mobile boat hoist.

In his new role, Wagner will lead the Derecktor Florida sales team from Derecktor’s Dania Beach superyacht facility. “Derecktor is a well-respected name within the superyacht industry, most recognised for integrity and quality workmanship,” says Wagner. “With Dania Beach and Fort Pierce operating in unison, we are positioning Derecktor as the go-to service destination for the world’s largest motor and sailing yachts.”

Wagnar adds that the development of Derecktor Fort Pierce comes as a reaction to the growth of the superyacht fleet: “Many superyachts have outgrown the capacity of Dania Beach. We have a 900-tonne mobile boat hoist there, but there’s quite a lot of boats over that size range looking to do refit or repair works in the US. So, with the 1500-tonne hoist at Fort Pierce, we will be able to lift boats of up to around 250ft.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen sales within the yachting market surge, with reports of booming new-build and secondhand brokerage activity within both the superyacht and smaller boat sectors. And Wagner believes this trend is particularly true of the US market, which in turn represents significant opportunity for Derecktor.

“Everyone wants to get on the water, particularly Americans.”

“There’s growing signs of clients looking to do refits in the US,” he explains. “COVID-19 has shaken the industry up, from companies having to deal with a pandemic internally to vessels hunkering down. And because Derecktor was able to continue operations as an essential business in the US, we did more business last summer than we typically do during that period when the big boats are usually headed over to the Mediterranean.

“This summer, however, everyone wants to get on the water, particularly Americans. And there’s record sales of yachts right now all the way down the line, with no inventory for boats of any size in the new-build market and even in the secondhand market. So, I think people are going to be using their boats hard this summer and then, guess what, they are going to be looking to do refit and repair work.”

Another important dynamic in the US refit market currently is Safe Harbor Marinas’ ongoing expansion into the superyacht refit sector, with recent acquisitions including Lauderdale Marine Center and Rybovich Superyacht Marina. While Wagner is conscious of Safe Harbor’s growing presence in the market, he does not feel it will impact Derecktor in business terms.

“Safe Habor has now stepped in to pick up three major refit shipyards in the US, stretching only the East Coast, which is a pretty big move. And there’s challenges that come with that for competing yards due to economies of scale,” he concludes. “But Derecktor is a private, family-run company and the superyacht industry has always proven that it's a lot more about the people than it is about certain business aspects. I think there's plenty of business for all of us to be successful.”

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