Med cruising: ownership frustrations
Is bureaucracy in the Mediterranean hampering the enjoyment of yacht ownership?
During a recent interview with SuperyachtNews, the experienced owners of a busy 30m+ charter motoryacht raised certain issues pertaining to operating a commercial yacht in the Mediterranean. These owners, let’s call them Mr and Mrs X, voiced frustration with the increasing difficulty they have with planning their yacht’s summer season due to varying levels of bureaucracy throughout the region.
“Most of the conversation we have about the boat focuses on where we can go cruising next year without a lot of red tape and officialdom breathing down our necks,” explains Mrs X. “It is very frustrating for us that this continues to dominate any planning we do and dictates any decisions we make with regards to itineraries.”
“We are a conspicuously compliant boat, and we want to be that way, so we have to be very alert to different nations changing their minds about how they treat yachts,” adds Mr X. “Each spring we have to sit down and look at what the Mediterranean regulatory map looks like for the season. While it is interesting to find out where you can go and under what circumstances you can go there, it’s a very inharmonious situation and we would like to have a bit more freedom.”
The south of France is one yachting region in the Med to have recently fallen victim to changes in regulations, in this case regarding bunkering and social security, and its these types of developments and changes that these owners take note of. “Lots of governments are changing their minds on a repeated basis, and some probably with good intentions but often with poor outcomes,” continues Mr X. “France, for example, is seeing far fewer boats this year and I don’t think that is quite what the government had in mind.”
In light of the variable fiscal and regulatory climate in the Med, however, Mr and Mrs X have found increased value in the role that the yacht’s charter agents play. “We have seen a shift in our charter agents going from being solely our sales force to being our regulators and tax collectors,” Mr X points out. “The authorities have realised that the agents are the median through which they can get to the boats and this has helped the situation a lot.”
While admittedly Mr and Mrs X are very hands-on yacht owners, and so likely to be more involved with the planning and regulatory side of their yacht operations than most, it is still negative for the industry that any owner should feel this way about the most popular yachting region in the world. The fact that owners do take note of regulatory and fiscal burdens is a point that governments should seriously consider if they want to seek the benefits that a high number of superyacht visitations bring.
The Superyacht Annual Report 2017: Marinas & Migration offers key insights into the perceptions, logjams and the things that are and aren’t working in the Mediterranean. Pre-order your copy of the here.
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