How to get the best from your yacht agency
Last updated: 13/06/2016
Yacht agents are located in almost any coastal country, usually near to the port or marina and are essential for any successful superyacht cruise. A yacht agency can offer a wide range of services, and making sure you understand how to make the most of your yacht agent can be crucial to your journey.
They will set up many of your excursions onshore, recommending places to visit, providing you with supplies and assisting you in the port; so having an experienced and reliable agency with expert local knowledge can make your trip a stress free experience.
What makes a good yacht agent?
Star Sardinia, an experienced yacht agent in Sardinia, offered advice on what they think are valuable qualities of a good yacht agency:
- The agent should have ample knowledge of local laws and regulations
- They should have long standing and good relationships with maritime authorities
- Personnel and staff should be proactive and well prepared for each matter that may arise
- The company should be financially stable and be able to advance money if needed
Three tips to bear in mind
World Marine Service (WMS), a leading yacht agent in Gibraltar, suggested some further recommendations on what a good yacht agent should offer:
- They agreed that they should have all the local contacts to assist – don’t hesitate to ask them for support. Close communication of the captain and crew to the yacht agent is important.
- A good yacht agent may not be able to achieve everything but should certainly be willing to try.
- Some ports have differing regulations and your agent will be able to provide you with the best advice.
Yacht agents are a necessity in the port
World Marine Service explained the importance of the role of a yacht agent within the ports of today. 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.
Experts in things to do and places to go
Star Sardinia explained the importance of the agent being 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 advice. 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 also commented, “As far as we are concerned, we also advertise the beauties of our surroundings to promote berthing in South Sardinia, since the North side is a far more common destination (Costa Smeralda). The South side is just as beautiful, and not yet invaded by mass tourism and large buildings.”
Making the most of your yacht agent
World Marine Service suggested some qualities to look for from your agent in order to ensure you are receiving the best service:
- Prompt, efficient responses to your requests/questions
- A “hands on” approach with the agent “on site” when needed
- Attention to detail and general quality of service
- Make sure your agent has good reviews – check the agents listing on Yachting Pages
- Ask for a recommendation from your contacts in the industry – it’s a small world
- Fuel suppliers can often point you in the direction of a good agent
- Give a chance to the new guy! If you feel that your “usual” agent could be doing better, check to see if any new agencies have opened, a fresh approach might help.
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.
When to contact the agent?
World Marine Service advised that yachts should contact an agent at least 24 hours prior to arrival at any port, but ideally with one to two weeks’ notice of intentions. Of course, the best agents will be able to make things happen with short, or no notice – and will understand that you probably didn’t get any notice when you received the request / instructions either.
As an idea of how things work in Gibraltar
World Marine Service used the example of using a yacht agent in Gibraltar to explain how smooth the process can be.
The local authorities require advanced notification of a yacht 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 in the peak periods, availability of the product can fluctuate (if 2 or 3 big yachts call on the same day 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/the UK, and a berth reserved.