Editorial

2012 YachtWorld Yacht Brokerage University Liveblog! by Trevor

YBU Handouts
YBU Handouts
YBU Handouts

[liveblog] Coffee is being consumed, and things are about to kick off here!

Please bear with us as we figure out this liveblog! It is not letting me correct my typos....

[liveblog]

Spring Bling by Ryan

  Craft-Revival - Grand Rapids, MI

For those of you in Michigan, it's time to start pulling boats out of storage and hitting the water! Those following us here at First Mate are obviously of the most discriminating taste. We know you have have spent much time, money, and energy getting your boat looking tip-top. A fresh buff, wax, and detailing doesn't come cheap, but it makes the ride all the more enjoyable and pride-filled. There's nothing better than seeing the sun glisten off the shining white hulls for the first time in that glowing spring sunshine.

Of course, all that money spent on blingin' your ride is for nothing if you don't look good yourself! That's why I suggest you reward yourself for your hard work by swinging in and talking to the artisan jewelers at Craft-Revival in Grand Rapids, MI. These guys will help you stand out on the docks by putting some custom made shine on for the season! They can also help you give a truly unique and amazing gift for your boating friend, lover, or partner.

Specializing in high quality hand made pieces in almost any metal you can think of, these guys are truly at the top of their game. I have personally had a couple of rings made by Jason & the guys and their attention to detail is absolutely stellar. Nothing will match the shine of your yacht like the sparkle of a couple fresh diamonds and some white gold!

From their website...

"We create jewelry that is made for you, not sold to you. Mix any of our available precious metals with any stone or pearl from around the world and create a one of a kind ring or pendant. Other products include a wide variety of bridal sets and engagement rings, cuff links, belt buckles and broaches. Aside from our constantly evolving Craft-Revival signature selection, we are able to create finished custom pieces made just for you. If you do not see exactly what you are looking for, present your idea and challenge us!"

Jason at Craft-Revival is also a licensed importer of rare animal pelts and skins. I personally drool over the amazing selection of stingray wallets and clutches, gator skin briefcases, eel money clips, and custom iPad cases on display. Nothing would make your dock-mates more jealous than a custom gator skin fighting chair!

So go ahead and let your imagination run wild this spring. Match a cocktail ring to your sweet new hull pin-striping, protect your teak aft cockpit dining table with hand sewn stingray coasters (Steve Irwin will thank you), or get your boat's name engraved into a new custom platinum ring inset with any stone or pearl you desire. Custom cuff-links to match would be perfect! Whatever you do, tell the guys at Craft-Revival that First Mate sent you!

You can find Craft-Revival in their convenient downtown location in the historic Tannery-Row district on Ionia Ave in Grand Rapids, MI. A map and other contact information is available on their website. Go ahead and give them a call. Your deserve to look as good as your yacht!

www.Craft-Revival.com

16 ionia ave sw suite 2

grand rapids, mi 49503

P. 616.678.3650

F. 616.678.3650

EMAIL. jayson@craft-revival.com

 

If you like FirstMateYachtCare.com, You Might Like These by Trevor

We are pretty good, but we know that we cannot cover ALL the news in the exciting yachting and boating world. We try though! Take a look at some of these other sites to keep informed on some different aspects of the marine world: LASER Advertising http://laseradvertising.com/blog/ http://www.laseradblog.com/watercooler/ LASER Advertising takes care of promotional materials for luxury destinations and brokerages, but also for individual megayachts for sale or charter. Their site and blog(s) are full of industry happenings and amazing pictures and videos. It is often difficult to get an idea of a what a megayacht looks like inside (especially when they won't let you up the passerelle!), but Laser has full video tours of many of the boats they have made materials for.

 

WoodyBoater.com

http://woodyboater.com/

Woody Boater is focused on the smaller, vintage.....wooden boats! This site is the most popular I know of in its niche, and has hilarious posts as well as amazing media to go with it. For the guys out there, they always have "Woody Boater Babes", and right now "Woodies for Boobies" to support breast cancer awareness. The gentleman who runs it is in advertising himself, so he knows how to write some copy. Definitely worth checking for the beautiful boats. Makes me want a Sea Skiff! If you are trying to learn your classic boats, to tell a Centrury from a Chris from a Truscott from a Greavette from a Hacker,  start here.

 

Scuttlefish

http://thescuttlefish.com/

Scuttlefish is run by Brian Lam, who has a strong pedidgree building Gizmodo.com, a technology blog. Scuttlefish has lots of science posts, about new finds, records being broken, and a 'little' technology. Also, there is plenty of maritime art, and great pictures of exotic destinations in their "Wish you were here" posts. Amazing and obscure oceanic historical finds are "Salty Stories", "Sea Monster Monday" and "Water Wench Wednesdays are great too! More Ocean/nature than strictly boating, but still great.

 

The Great Lakes Cruising Club

http://www.glcclub.com

This site is likely only of interest to our Northern readers, but the GLCC is a strong organziation with quite a few events every season. Joining the GLCC is a way to make friends when you boat, and the GLCC 'chain' burgee is displayed proudly in ports all over. The member directory and designated "Port Captains" will make sure you feel welcome. In any case, look to them for interesting Great Lakes boating news, or for up to date port information.

 

Boats.com Blog

http://www.boats.com/blog/

This is the most 'technical' site I will recommend. Plenty of new boat reviews and manufacturer updates. Also, they are not afraid to write articles such as Marine Wire Markings Deciphered" and "All About Anodes". Definitely worth checking out with frequent posts. Also, this site is more focused on the 25-55ft range.

 

Well, that is all the recommendations I have for now, I left out quite a few because of such infrequent updating I didn't want to frustrate anyone. If you think I missed something, let me know in the comments!

Editorial: Brokers - Open the Floodgates by admin

First Mate spends a lot of time at all the major boat shows.  As a precursor to the shows, I do a lot of research online going into the show.  Who will be there?  What boats will be there?  What is the brokers email who is selling boat "x"?  Which of the three 50' Sea Rays listed is brokerage "y" going to have at the show?  Sure, I am looking for potential clients, but every time I hit an information dead end I find myself asking, "What if I were a customer?".  It is frustrating not to be able to find a brokers email, easily search all available listings, and well thought out photo albums.

I am barely old enough to remember a time before computers and the internet.  This was the Age of Agents.  Stacks of paper, brochures, photo copies, files, secretaries, and a Rolodex.  The Agent was the gatekeeper to this highly centralized and authoritative source of information.  The advent of the computer and internet changed this.  Now almost anyone has access to more information then they know what to do with.  I can look up the specifications for almost any boat produced in the last 10 years in under 10 seconds!  The information has flooded out of the agent's office, and has repurposed the role of the agent in the sale.

There is good news and bad news in all if you are an agent and you love your job of selling boats..  The  bad news is this, if you are a lazy broker, or want to try to be the gatekeeper of information, your clients will eventually figure it out (if they have not already).  The good news is brokers can still be the definitive source of information. There is still a human element to it.  Do customers get to talk to everyone on the docks or guys building the boats?  Do customers always have time to read all the boating forums?  The key for brokers going forward is to not be an information gatekeeper, but an information aggregater and filter.  There is so much information available today, the hard task is to filter it and present it in the best possible way to meet a clients needs.  The solution to remaining important to the sale is not to damn up the information, but to let a customer experience the flood of information and want someone to make sense of it all.

Tips to opening all the floodgates:

  • Put your cell phone and email address on every listing possible! (info@FirstMateYachtCare.com).  If you want the ability to disconnect be sure to look into a Google Voice phone number.
  • Media.  Media.  Media.  You are still one step below paid entertainment.  Make looking at a listing online enjoyable instead of a chore.
  • Engage and be active.  It will not do you much good if you have a Twitter account and after a year have less than 100 followers and rarely tweet.  If you want to be a trusted source of information, you have to be engaging with quality content.

Day Charters - Eventuality or not Feasible? by Trevor

The world of air travel is far different from getting around by boat. However, both markets have relative high costs of entry and considerable longterm upkeep costs and considerations. If you cannot afford this full price to purchase, or it simply is not feasible based on your location or lifestyle, you can still enjoy the perks by leasing or chartering. There are many timeshare styled boat clubs and rental organizations out there to cover the lower end of the market, and obviously higher end charter for the extreme top end of the market. However, there are few reputable organizations to cater to the middle of the market. Say you have a dozen business associates that you would like to take out for the day. Or, extended family who would like something different from the typical landlocked get together. A quick look at Freedom Boat Club shows their biggest boat in a few markets is a 20' bowrider. This is not large enough or comfortable enough for a large, discerning group. Not to mention that places like the Freedom club require an upfront fee, and monthly dues, and do not cater to the one-time ride.

Aviation has had these organizations, such as Netjets, which does have its dues for X hours of usage. Now there is an entry to allow people who do not want to sign up for the long term, but want to fly in style for a few occasions:

JetSuite's fleet of 4-seat Embraer Phenom 100 jets are the best, most fuel-efficient aircraft in their class with speeds up to 450 miles per hour, an operating altitude of up to 41,000 ft, a stylish interior cabin designed by BMW and the largest baggage compartment in its category. The company provides service to major cities (AKA "SuiteSpots") throughout the Western United States, Canada and Mexico. They aim to make the luxury of flying private more accessible and affordable with prices starting at just $999 for a one-way flight – for the whole plane.

So, rather than a Netjets Membership with a $100-$250k commitment, you can have plane ready to go, on a whim, at an affordable price (airfare for 4 one way is often close to $999). Also $999 is the base rate, it does get more expensive the farther you travel.

Let's see this with some boats! An equivalent to this would be somebody wanting to take out a million dollar boat for the day, with no long-term commitment, and no necessary worries other than showing up on time. Typical charter prices establish a base rate, with incidentals (fuel, food, tip) being tacked on top. I don't think it is unimaginable for a flat-rate package to be assembled.

Trevor's boating packages:

  • The large trip. A 60ft motoryacht, with a captain and 1 stew. Capable of entertaining a dozen executives, or a family gathering. Capabilities of the boat allow extended trips, anchorages for the day, and plenty of toys on board. Also, a full galley allows great flexibility with meals.
  • Mid Size. A 40-50 Express. Still with range and comfort, but for a smaller group. A Captain would be all the crew required. Lunch trips, dinner trips, or certain destinations could be offer, such as a remote sandbar, or a lake/home tour.
  • "Picnic" boat. Not saying this has to be a certain manufacturer's Picnic boat, but a well laid out day boat is far more luxurious and appealing than the idea of renting a white fiberglass bowrider. A Captain would still be provided, and could serve appetizers and wine on sunset cruises.

What else would make these packages more attractive? Well suited boats for the roles? Suggested locales? Let's hear it in the comments!

Editorial - How Brokers and Boat Shows are Missing The Boat by admin

Brokers, listen up, this post is for YOU!  We KNOW the following:

  • Online content is more important than ever.
  • Boat shows help generate leads.
  • Buyers are doing more and more research about the boats they look at before coming to shows.
  • Traffic at sites, such as YachtWorld, goes up prior to boat shows.

Given all of this knowledge, it seems like you should be acting on it!  Have brokers been at putting this puzzle together?  No!!!  Brokers are failing buyers and sellers alike.  I can not do either of the following:

1.  Easily go to a show website, search for a certain boat ("63' Hatteras"), and within 2-3 clicks be at a brokers full blown listing with pictures and discription.

2.  Easily find out from a broker's listing description a certain boat will be on display at a show (ie. "This 63' Hatteras "Maderia" will be at the Miami Brokerage Show").

When I do use the built in search engines on a show website I can get semi-usable results.

Notice however not all the boats have pictures included with them (and I have do to an extra click to view the 1 picture).  So with one more click I can make it to the most in depth view of the boat from the show website.

Now what happens?  What if I am marginally interested in the boat and want to see a price (which is not included in any boat show website search) and more pictures?  I have to go to the brokers individual site and start the search all over again!  Now if brokerage "Q" is well known for selling Hatteras, I might have trouble finding the exact boat which is scheduled to be at the show out of the 5+ they have listed.  Online shoppers have a short attention span, so why of these extra steps!  The contact usually listed on the boat show website is rarely the listing broker.  What does this mean for the online shopper?  It means a phone call, being put on hold, forwarded, and then you may or may not end up with the right person, or get their voicemail.  All of this just to see a few extra pictures?  No thanks.

However, when I do try to track down which broker is bringing which boat to a certain show, there is almost NEVER any mention the boat will be at the "X" boat show.  Instead, I'm left to wonder which of eight 56' Vikings brokerage "Y" is going to bring to the show.

Does the blame lie entirely with the brokers?  No, some of it has to site with the show websites.  To be fair, they could rethink some of their layout.

What do I want?  EASY AND QUICK.  It would be great if a show website was just a repackaged version of Yachtworld/Broker sites with show info and relevant ads.  For this there has to be a demand from brokers.  Even more important is brokers need to be putting the show site to its fullest/best use.  Brokers should always upload pictures for the show website, and keep their listings updated with information on which shows a boat will be at (I still visit broker listings and can not find their email address!).  I would also love to see brokerages highlight which boats they will have on display at shows.  A special landing website specifically designed to highlight the boats brokers are taking to shows would be an easy work around in the current system.

At the end of the day, I do not care how it is done, I just want it to be better.  The multiple steps of search, click, click, click, search, click, guess, just to find one boat needs to end.  Given how much time and money is spent on renting dock space, detailing, manning the booth, electricity, it seems like giving a lot of buyers (and sellers!) easier access to the information they care about before they get to the show seems like some easy to grab low hanging fruit.