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Five refit tips from a yacht refit management specialist

Sailun Tires

Refits are rising in popularity, offering multiple advantages to owners.

One of the primary benefits is that a refit enables you to significantly upgrade an existing vessel, tailoring it to meet your needs. Refitting an existing yacht is far quicker and more cost-effective than building a new boat from scratch. 

When carrying out a yacht refit project, it’s imperative that you work with the right shipyard, one that is aligned with your vision and goal and has demonstrable experience managing similar-classed superyacht refits. However, choosing the right superyacht refit shipyard can be complex, and getting it wrong can cost time and money.


Working with an experienced yacht refit management company can help remove pain points and streamline the process. The best yacht refit project managers will boast extensive experience supporting owners and captains on refit projects, from major interior upgrades to complete exterior transformations and complex works to engines and onboard technology.  

If you’re thinking about a yacht refit and wondering how to select the best refit shipyard, read on. Here, yacht refit managers explore five key aspects you should consider when choosing the best refit shipyard for your project.

Yacht Refit Management: How to Choose the Right Yard

1 – Practicality

Key practicalities include the shipyard’s location and ability to handle the type and size of vessel you have in mind. In order to do this, you will first need to document the scope of work involved in the yacht refit and then see which shipyards have the capabilities to align with your desired vision. For example, if you want to do a complete overhaul of the yacht’s hull, you will require a shipyard with a trustworthy drydocking infrastructure. Conversely, if you want to overhaul a yacht’s generators, you will need a shipyard with a high level of in-house engineering capabilities.

2 – Staffing levels

Assess the refit shipyard’s staffing levels and check whether they have sufficient staff with the required technical knowledge. Don’t be tempted to work with a superyacht refit shipyard that outsources major works, as this can cause complex issues, especially if the works are not carried out to a satisfactory standard. If contractors are used, check their proximity to the shipyard to ensure travel costs do not eat into the refit budget. The best superyacht refit shipyards should be able to manage the majority of the scope of work in-house, working with external contractors only for very technical work.

3 – Ownership

Understanding the ownership of the shipyard’s facilities is a point that is often overlooked; however, should a dispute arise, it can lead to an extra layer of complexity. For example, if work is carried out at a drydock facility that the shipyard does not own, careful consideration will need to be given as to what rights the yacht owner has if there is a dispute between the shipyard and the drydock facility. Checking aspects such as pass-through rights and locking these into a refit contract ensures the yacht owner stays in control of their asset, even in the event of a dispute. It’s important to remember that the devil is in the detail, and working with an experienced yacht refit manager can help ensure no details, even micro ones, are missed.

4 – Capacity

As well as staffing levels, your due diligence should extend to the refit shipyard’s capacity. Refits are rising in popularity, with some superyacht refit shipyards working at capacity. Many shipyards are reluctant to turn down major refit works, which may lead them to agree to take on a project when they are already overstretched. This can lead to a less than favourable scenario where works are not delivered to specified timelines. When searching for the best refit shipyard, it’s essential to have honest and transparent conversations with your shortlisted shipyards to ensure they can deliver on what you want within your desired timeframes.

5 – Price

Price is always an important factor, but looking beyond the bottom line is important. Shipyards are eager to win work, and industry practice often means they will quote low without including the full scope of work. It’s essential to get quotes that include the full extent of the work and to look beyond the price and instead at value for money. Working with an experienced yacht refit manager can help you navigate this complex area, locking in a quote for the entire scope of work so you have a complete understanding of the total cost. This can also help with budget forecasting and cash flow to finance the project.  

How can a yacht refit management company help? 

There is no question about it; a superyacht refit is a major undertaking and a significant investment, and much of the success of a refit project is due to in-depth pre-planning. An experienced yacht refit management company can help you select the best superyacht refit shipyard and then guide you through the process, ensuring your rights are protected and that the refit build remains on schedule, on budget, and within scope.



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