Ward’s Marine Electric (WME), an industry leader in maximizing the efficiency of superyacht power generation and distribution, considers what ‘Building for the Next Generation’ means to the future of its business and the wider superyacht community.

“For WME, several generations of company owners and employees are in the front of our minds,” Kristina Hebert, COO, commented. “The development of the next generation of tradesmen and skilled workers is a key component of our vision for the next ten years. We also see a growth regarding the importance of environmental stewardship as one of the driving forces in our industry, and we believe that improvements in automation, generator emissions control, and on-board energy storage are going to be key decision points for equipping the next generation of superyachts."

“The development of the next generation of tradesmen and skilled workers is a key component of our vision for the next ten years" - Kristina Herbert, COO - Ward's Marine Electric

“Superyacht owners will be looking to this group as the source of the most significant gains in reliability, systems availability, safety and the environmental efficiency of superyachts. Advances in these areas allow owners to venture out and cruise in far-flung areas. In addition to striving for improvements in response times for service requests, we are expected to continue to raise the bar for the quality and consistency of services delivered. The trusted core of service providers to superyacht owners is always expected to perform at a higher level. New superyacht owners will seek the counsel of their peers when choosing service providers that allow them the freedom to cruise wherever they like. It will be up to us to continue to earn that trust,” said Luis Lopez, service manager - WME.

"The importance of a clean, safe and reliable electrical power generation and distribution system cannot be overstated” - Luis Lopez, Service Manager - WME

There are many innovations and technologies that must be explored in line with the Building for the Next Generation theme, and many of these innovations go hand in hand with the wider theme of sustainability and future-proofing the industry. “With a constant, watchful eye on safety as the highest priority, the next round of reliability and efficiency in superyacht systems will be centred around improvements in automation and increased use of advanced sustainability technologies (IMO Tier III, etc…). The importance of a clean, safe and reliable electrical power generation and distribution system cannot be overstated,” Lopez continued.

Regarding the improvements required for Captains and Crew in the coming years of the superyacht industry, a WME spokesperson commented, “Captains need to regain control over the decisions that affect the vessels under their responsibility. We have seen the authority to make decisions about a superyacht’s spending priorities gradually slip from the yacht’s captain to the owner’s or manager’s accounting team. This situation has led to compromises that impact the reliability of key systems which can affect passenger and crew safety. Following that same theme, engineers must be given an adequate budget, and the authority to determine the priority of how that money is spent.”

WME also believes that this group of superyacht industry leaders needs to be the driving force for change within the superyacht sector and the wider industry. “We as a group need to be the leaders and implementers of a shift in our industry to the highest levels of professionalism, ethics, and technological skill. The example that the forum delegates set has a cascading effect on the yachting industry as a whole."

A key, but sensitive, topic that WME would like delegates to consider while at The Superyacht Forum this year, is whether the pace of development and enforcement of service provider standards is hampering improvements in the perception of superyacht repair facilities…? Click below to join the debate.

When discussing next-generation technologies, WME has seen an increase in the use of stored energy systems that use advanced lithium-ion battery technology, and an increase in the use of ancillary and aftermarket emissions control systems on new generator refit projects.

“Refits and new construction in this sector place an emphasis on high-reliability systems. Our switchboard designs incorporate the use of advanced automation and power management, but not at the expense of fundamental reliability,” said Herbert. “Our design philosophy is to start with a simple manual system, enhanced by increasing layers of automation capability. This approach has proven useful as yacht owners seek class certifications that allow for a far greater operational envelope,” she concluded.

Continuously seeking the highest kW produced by the lowest number of gallons burned, WME “strives for the cleanest possible power on a yacht’s main bus from both an environmental and technical perspective,” commented Lopez. “We lead the field with efficient load management software and active harmonics filters in our switchboards, and we always take a step above when making decisions about safety and reliability,” – two core values for the next generation.

Remaining tickets to The Superyacht Forum, in association with METSTRADE, are available here. We look forward to seeing you at the RAI, Amsterdam, in just two weeks!

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