Getting the best from your yacht agency
Last updated: 08/06/2018
Yacht agents are located in almost any coastal town and yachting hub, and are arguably essential for any successful superyacht cruise – especially when the yacht is travelling in unchartered waters.
A yacht agent or agency offers a range of shore-support services, making sure crew and their guests get the best from their trip; they can assist with port clearances, berth bookings and itinerary planning, setting up shore-side excursions, recommending places to visit and providing the yacht with supplies and cruising advice. Having an experienced and reliable agency on hand with expert local knowledge can therefore make for a stress-free cruise.
What makes a great yacht agent?
Star Sardinia, an experienced agent in Sardinia, advised that any good yacht agency should have ample knowledge of local laws and regulations, with good, long-standing relationships with the maritime authorities. Its personnel should be proactive and well prepared for each matter that may arise.
Although few believe that a yacht agency is a middle man and avoidable investment in familiar waters, it can be that a yacht agent completes the required work quicker and more efficiently than the crew may manage itself, while taking the burden of any surprises and tough requests – they simply save a lot of work, allowing crew to focus on the job in hand.
An agent is a necessity to liaise with the local authorities or suppliers, and they should make any port visit a smooth, simple process. A good agent will make the most complicated matters seem easy – and ensure that the captain and crew receive the best support at all times.
WMS World Marine Service advisedd that, while a good yacht agent may not be able to achieve everything, they should certainly be willing to try! Close communication with the captain and his crew is vital, with prompt and efficient response to questions and requests. Above all, an agent should be ‘hands on’ and on th ground when required, and honest. Always check that your agent has good reviews and recommendations before getting in touch, and remember that there are new agencies joining the industry all the time – a new approach may therefore offer a fresh take on a favourite destination.
Experts in things to do and places to go
Ideally your chosen agent will be an expert on the most interesting tourist events and attractions nearby, therefore offering outstanding options for fun, culture and relaxation to any client who asks for it. Each yacht agent should have a highly professional and expert network of trusted local providers in order to give you the best experience.
Alessio Argiolas of Star Sardinia commented, “During the yachts stay, it is in fact quite common to offer advice on festivals occurring and on the best places to enjoy the evening or night. Many of the guests will not have visited the location before and so really appreciate this insight.”
Not only should the yacht agent know the best places to go, but should also offer advice on any unknown or more secluded and private tourist attractions. This can be useful if owners and guests wish to escape the popular places and have a more secluded or unique experience. Alessio said, “As far as we’re concerned, we also advertise the beauties of our surroundings to promote berthing in South Sardinia. Many know that the north side is a more common destination, but the south side is just as beautiful, and not yet invaded by mass tourism and large buildings.”
Variety of service
Many agents can also provide other services either in a separate department of the company, with an official partner, or should be able to recommend companies for other required services. For example, you may be able to use your agent for repairs, maintenance, engineering, interior services and more.
How to get the most from your agent
Of course, the relationship with your agent is a two-way street; crew must therefore always assist their agent in offering the best service to match expectations. This means giving a full and comprehensive brief to their guests needs, and prompt replies to any questions or requests.
Where possible, the agent should be contacted at least 24 hours prior to arrival in any port, but ideally with one to two weeks’ notice of arrival. Of course, the best agents will be able to make things happen with short to no notice, and will understand that crew likely received no notice with the request on their end either.
In Gibraltar, local authorities require advanced notification of a yachts arrival at least 24 hours prior to entry. Berths are usually hard to come by, and specialist provisions, spares and supplies can be hard to locate on short notice. Fuel is a major reason for yachts to visit Gibraltar, and if two of three big yachts call on the same, they can empty the local stocks.
So with as much notice as possible, the more likely your yacht is to be confirmed by the port, stocks reserved by the fuel supplier, provisions and spares ordered in from Spain or the UK, and a berth reserved.
Guests’ bad experiences on board are only amplified by the expectations of seamless luxury. Unless crew are sure that they can achieved the desired outcome for any request son board, a yacht agency really can help plug the holes, and ensure that owners, guests, and crew have the best possible headache-free trip.