Choosing a shipyard for your new build superyacht

Designing and building your own superyacht is the perfect opportunity to create your dream vessel. From the line of the hull to the high-tech gadgets hidden inside, creating your own vision gives you the freedom to express your imagination and change the norm.

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New Build Shipyard

Right from the go, this complex building process relies entirely on the collaboration between owner, captain, shipyard, yacht designer and naval architect for the project to be a success, as all parties will have buy into your dream. 

Yachting Pages looks into how to choose a superyacht shipyard for your new build yacht, with insight into shortlisting yards and working with semi-custom designs.

How to choose a superyacht shipyard

With over 400 new build shipyards worldwide, how do you know you’re choosing the right one?

Ensuring you pick the right shipyard to work with is imperative. If the shipyard’s vision doesn’t match your own then there will be problems during the project. Making sure that the shipyard is confident in the design you have chosen and that they have experience in producing similar vessels is paramount.

Each shipyard has its own style, its own production parameters and engineering limitations that all need to be taken in to account.

Shortlisting the shipyards

You will likely begin with shortlisting the suitable yards to realise your superyacht build. When shortlisting shipyards, ensure to look at their reputation for completing work to the standard you require, on time and within budget, and be sure to ask captains and owners for their first-hand experiences. 

Similarly, if you have a preferred designer, broker or architect that you know will be part of your team, then listening to their recommendations is always a good place to start. 

Gareth Twist, managing director of Yacht Solutions explained, “Usually yards are found and approached through a brokerage or dedicated owner’s representative. The yard will usually get a brief on what the client wants and will then submit a number of suitable designs. These designs will be discussed and evaluated by the broker, owner’s representative and/or captain. Once a shortlist has been made, these yards will be contacted for costs and details.”

Gareth also gave these suggestions on things to consider when choosing a shipyard to work with:

  • Employ a knowledgeable and qualified representative to work with the yard
  • Do your research: Check the yard’s history, references and capability
  • Ensure they are solvent and can manage the finances
  • Use a reputable lawyer to ensure a proper contract is drawn up

New Build Shipyard

Semi or full-custom build?

For those who do decide to press on with their new build, there are two options: Buy and build on an existing superyacht platform with a semi-custom design, or create a fully customised design to create a vessel fit for purpose.

Semi-custom superyacht construction

Many major yacht builders facilitate semi-custom projects, allowing new owner’s to select from a range of pre-designed models in various sizes, lengths and styles with the option for substantial customisation.

In following this route, owners are able to add length, and set interior and exterior features and styling to create a superyacht fit for their needs, without the long production timescales and additional expense associated with full-custom superyachts.

Custom-build superyacht construction

Custom construction is a more time-consuming and all-encompassing approach to buying a superyacht, with owners able to approach the shipyard of their choice to bring the design to life, working on its design with their desired yacht designers and architects.

Commissioning a custom superyacht gives owners great flexibility and great choice, plus it is an exciting and interesting journey to travel.

Gareth of Yacht Solutions went on to explain, “The market has recently been more cost conscious, with more refits and conversions being considered over custom builds. As a result, many new-build yards are now also offering refit services to accommodate this. However, there are always clients who want to build new yachts, especially in the 80m plus market.” 

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