Yacht Management’s Many Values: By Frankie Chau, NextWave
Frankie Chau questioned his partners’ proposal to add yacht management to NextWave’s services. Now, he sees why it makes sense – for boat owners, too.
When my friends and I decided to give up our jobs and start a yachting company, we followed a typical route, by taking on the dealership for a well-known European brand, in our case Sealine.
Over time, the range of yacht builders that we represented grew. We also started selling luxury water toys, following our personal passions, as we entered this business because of our love of life on the water and wanting to share this enjoyment.
As with most yachting companies, we eventually started charter and yacht management divisions. I remember the day we first discussed yacht management three years ago. I have to admit, I was the first to question it.
Growing up around boats in Hong Kong, I never saw the benefits of hiring a yacht management service. I thought it didn’t make sense as the common practice was to hire a full-time Captain and boat boy who look after the yacht for you.
We started in 2016 because a client wanted us to manage a boat he bought from us. Hesitant at first, we agreed to manage it due to the saying, ‘never say no to a client’. From that point, the number of boats and our yacht-management team grew rapidly, and I started to realise the value of the service.
As the team developed, we started to hire specialists in key areas to build a strong team who can diagnose and solve any problem on a boat, which in turn made it more cost-efficient and productive.
We hired mechanical engineers, electricians and gel-coat specialists, which helped solve problems in-house. These processes can become expensive, but with the quantity of boats we manage, it makes sense to have such highly specialised people. We also realised that many of the Captains are not mechanics or electricians by trade, so are unable to fix or detect problems.
As such, we set a high standard when training new employees and expect all of our staff to maintain the highest level of professionalism. Training service staff is very important because having a boat maintained properly will make a huge difference over time and play a major role in the resale value.
With direct access to all these specialists, we have the ability to run routine checks on all the major equipment, which prolongs a boat’s life as well as preventing and diagnosing problems before they become so severe that a boat isn’t functional.
The method and frequency you clean and wax the boat is important, as are using the right materials, but there are many different steps to maintaining a boat’s condition. Many boat owners look at the exterior to check if it has been properly cleaned and managed, but this only amounts to roughly a third of what needs to be done to correctly maintain a boat.
The majority of maintenance should be done below and consists of systems that are not easily accessible such as the hydraulic system, cooling system, engine, air-con and generators. We ensure these are all checked routinely through our trained Captains and in-house professionals to keep all our boats in good condition and prevent problems before they occur.
Furthermore, with 22 yachts currently under our management, we have built strong relationships with suppliers, so when there’s a spare part that needs to be replaced, we know exactly who to contact.
Owners of boats under our management have complete control over who their Captain and boat boy are. We hire them under our own professionals, who make sure they’re doing the right tasks properly. If for any reason the primary Captain is unavailable, he will be replaced by a secondary Captain who’s familiar with the boat and who has already met the owner.
Furthermore, to provide assistance when problems occur out on the water, we have created the NextWave Express Service, having bought a 50-knot speedboat to provide assistance 24/7 anywhere in Hong Kong. This saves owners from being stranded out in the ocean and having to figure out their own way back to shore.
Having your boat maintained at a top level by a team of specialists ensures you and your guests have an enjoyable and safe time on the water each time you use your boat, while improving its potential resale value. I certainly don’t need convincing any more.
The original article appears in Yacht Style Issue 47. Email [email protected] for print subscription enquiries or subscribe to the Magzter version at: www.magzter.com/SG/Lux-Inc-Media/Yacht-Style/Fashion/