Choosing the best yacht tender
Last updated: 29/07/2016
Today’s yacht tenders come in all shapes and sizes, from large luxurious mahogany tenders to compact but powerful watersport tenders. However, a question we hear a lot is, ‘Which yacht tender should we buy?’ Yachting Pages Media Group has spoke with leading superyacht tender companies to try and answer this question once and for all.
So what is the best yacht tender?
The answer to this question, will differ from yacht to yacht, because it all depends on what the yacht needs. To help you figure out exactly what that is, simply answer the below questions.
- Capacity - how many people will need to board the tender?
- Fuel capacity - how far will the tender be travelling?
- Lifting/stowage - how will the tender be lifted onto the yacht and where will it be stored?
- Main purpose – what is the tender’s primary purpose i.e. transportation, watersports etc…
Josh Richardson from Superyacht Tenders & Toys, added, “The tender is one of the items where 100% reliability is needed, each guest uses it and it is the first and last thing they see or ride on when going to or from the yacht. A wet uncomfortable tender ride does not go down well with guests.
The answer to this question will have the biggest affect on the tender and you would be surprised how many owners and captains get it wrong. Depending on how many people need to fit on the tender, will determine its size, power consumption, storage, lifting needs, weight and cost.
Many yacht owners think a tender needs to have the capacity to transport the maximum number of guests their yacht can fit. However most tenders often run ashore with only one, two or three on board.
On the odd occasion, where the number of guests outweighs the capacity of the tender, it may be worth weighing up if the increase in size, cost and weight is more important than simply running two trips.
Tender lifting and storage
It goes without saying, that whatever method is used to lift and store the tender, the safe working load (SWL) should always be adhered to. For example, if you have a built-in davit that has a SWL of one ton, the tender, engine and all equipment on board, needs to weigh less than this. Most yacht davit or crane manufactures do not build a lot of spare margin into their equipment. So before you buy any tender make sure it can be lifted out of the water.
Marc Jacquot from Mike Marine commented, “Another common mistake made when choosing a tender is with regards to measurements. It is important to measure the space where the tender will be stored correctly, especially the head height of the enclosed area. The heights of the tender, plus lifting slings can often catch crew out.”
The range the yacht tender will need to travel will also make a big difference to which tender is best suited. A tender that is primarily used for watersports for example will need to have a fairly large fuel tank due to the speeds needed and also to keep guests entertained.
Another scenario is if the yacht will be chartered in unfamiliar waters. Often the yacht will need to be anchored a fair distance from shore to avoid rocks/sandbanks. This situation will often require a tender with high speed and long range.
What is the main purpose of the tender?
After thinking about all the practicalities, it’s now time to think about what will be the main use of the tender. The most common uses for a superyacht tender are, exploration, transportation, watersport and for crew duties. Below are the key features each tender should have for each particular purpose.
Key features for an exploration tender
If the tender will be used primarily for excursions, safety should be one of the top priorities as more than likely the tender will be venturing into unfamiliar waters. Long range, fast and a sturdy hull should be top of this list. However other key features to consider include a decent amount of storage and comfortable seating.
Key features for a transportation tender
Transportation tenders will often carry VIP guests to and from the shore. They will need to be luxurious, large, comfortable and give a lasting impression.
Josh Richardson commented, “Some owners love to go fast, however most guest transfers are under 30 knots and speed is not especially important. Limousine tenders typically do between 16-25 knots, otherwise guests are rattling around in the cabin like a can of bake beans.”
Key features for a watersport tender
Most tenders can be used to tow someone along but a specialised watersport tender takes this to a whole new level. The priorities for ultimate fun are large fuel capacity, speed and hull design. A perfect example of a watersport tender is the MasterCraft UK range. These are especially made to create a perfect wake behind the tender.
Michael Hardicker, MD at MasterCraft Boats UK commented, “The age profile of owners is changing and many captains now need to ensure that they can offer entertainment and fun on the water for a very wide age range, from the owner’s children or grandchildren, to their friends and colleagues. For charter captains the ‘fun on the water’ requirement goes without saying.”
Key features for a crew tender
There are many jobs around the yacht that may require a tender, such as hull cleaning and maintenance and these areas may only be accessible via a tender. It would not be wise to use a specialist tender such as a limo tender or watersports tender and run the risk of damaging it. A small but stable RIB tender would suit this purpose perfectly.