Superyacht berth rates



Marinas are on the frontline of the yachting boom. More superyachts mean more superyacht berths are needed in ports around the world, particularly in evergreen yachting hubs such as the Mediterranean. According to the Superyacht Times’ State of Yachting report, by the end of 2021, the superyacht fleet stood at 5,396 and a further 608 are currently under construction as of the beginning of this year.

Tracking down metrics about marinas is tricky. But investment in existing yacht facilities and new ones is rising worldwide. Also, the astronomical mooring charges in the most popular locations at the height of the season are well documented.

A week’s stay in July for a 164ft (50m) yacht in Porto Turistico di Capri, Italy will cost around €20,000 ($20,050). Port Tarraco, Catalonia, Spain charges a more modest €3,000 for the same length of stay and season. In the US, mooring in popular locations such as Los Angeles, or Florida command higher rates, which start from $120/ft and may reach up to $240/ft.

Marc Colls, manager, Port Tarraco, highlights the significance of ports for superyachts. “Marinas are so important for the industry,” he tells Superyacht Investor (SYI). “Here, they get vital maintenance and even a refit, whilst giving the owner and all parties involved the peace of mind that their yacht is in good hands.” Marinas offer owners and crew an opportunity to rest, refuel, and explore.

The global pandemic, fuelling the boom in superyachts worldwide, has only added to the demand for marinas, as high-net-worth individuals seek protection from infection in a sea-going Covid-secure bubble.

“The last two years have been busier than ever before,” says Colls. “The number of yachts we have seen passing in and out is nothing like what we have seen pre-2019.”

As of 2019 there were 4,851 superyachts in service. Over the yachting boom, this number grown by 11.25% with 545 yachts over 98ft (30m) added to the active fleet.

With marinas in the traditional hubs of the Mediterranean becoming overpopulated, other countries are stepping up efforts to attract superyachts. In the eastern Mediterranean, Limassol Marina in Cyprus (pictured above) reached completion earlier this year. The new port hosts 70 berths for yachts over 82ft (25m), five of those for yachts over 164ft (50m).

“Superyachts are getting bigger and bigger and seemingly more of them are being released to the market than ever before,” Tom Lord, marina manager, Limassol Marina tells SYI. He says that this is the driving force behind berthing shortages and new marina projects currently in the Med and elsewhere. “Countries are looking at nautical tourism as a worthy form of investment and expansion.”

For example, last year Safe Harbor Marinas bought Lauderdale Marine Center, including its refit yard, Florida, for $340m and Rybovich marina for an undisclosed sum.

Earlier this year, Brisbane local authorities approved the proposed AUD200m (€136m) investment at the Rivergate Marina. The expansion of the site on Australia’s west coast includes the installation of a 3,000t shiplift, additional vessel maintenance sheds and 12 large service berths.

“The opportunities are here right now, the market is here right now and it’s only growing,” said Brett Bolton, project director, Rivergate Marina. “The global superyacht fleet is predicted to increase in size by more than 30% in the next 10 years.”

It is not always smooth sailing for new projects, however. Nikiforos Pampakas, general manager, Limassol Marina, tells SYI that the Cypriot government took some convincing to allow the decade-long project to go ahead.

“We needed complete cooperation with the government during every step of the process,” he said. “Building a marina is not a simple process. The initial expenditure needed, and investment is imperative to having a successful project. And of course, you need a lot of time,” Pampakas adds.

Cyprus is not the only country taking advantage of the potential superyacht tourism brings. “You are also seeing places in the Middle East, like Dubai harbour beginning to become a serious yachting destination for many new entrants to the market,” says Lord. Places like Qatar are also establishing yachting marinas ahead of hosting the FIFA World Cup in November.

Further afield, newfound wealth and travel restrictions have also played a key part in growing the Asian yachting market. Rico Stapel, general manager, Royal Phuket Marina tells SYI, “You are seeing more investment in marinas in Thailand and the south-east. We have just invested £250,000 in creating a channel for our marina to become more accessible to superyachts.”

Colls, at the port of Tarraco, reminds us that some superyachts spend 90% of their time in a marina. So, it pays to choose the right one.

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