CHOOSING A CARPENTER OR JOINER FOR YOUR SUPERYACHT
Last updated: 22/10/2019
When it becomes apparent that your superyacht requires carpentry work, you’re then faced with the stressful task of identifying a trustworthy and reliable yacht carpenter.
This isn’t always easy. The market is saturated and every carpentry business you come across will claim it can do the work, regardless of its past experience.
Who can you trust? Can every carpentry firm offer a similar standard of work, or should you commission a marine carpentry specialist?
To help you navigate your way through the process, we explain how you can source the best carpenter for your needs. With the help of industry experts Carpinser Yacht Carpentry, Ocean Refit Yacht Carpentry and TW Joinery, we talk you through all the things you need to consider.
Sourcing the best yacht carpenters for your superyacht
Do I need a carpenter with specific qualifications?
As obvious as it sounds, it’s imperative that you choose a carpenter with the correct carpentry and joinery qualifications as an absolute bare minimum. You won’t believe how many people panic and choose the first carpenter they stumble across in their search. To avoid the embarrassment and added expense of having to get a job re-done, finding a carpenter with up-to-date qualifications is non-negotiable.
Generally speaking, those who qualify in the UK via City & Guilds or NVQ’s are very well trained. Training schemes for carpenters in both the Netherlands and Germany are also very highly regarded, as they consist of five years of mixed study and work experience. Subsequently, it’s widely accepted within the industry that choosing a carpenter from one of these locations minimises the chances of landing someone who does a bad job.
Not every country invests sufficiently in carpentry training courses, however, so it’s sensible to exercise caution. To distinguish who is and is not reliable, ask about past experience – a portfolio maybe. This offers an insight into the standard of the work they have completed previously, which can help you to determine if they are suitable for your project.
Does a carpenter need to have superyacht experience?
Theoretically no, but carpenters or joiners who have demonstrable, first-hand experience of working aboard superyachts should move straight to the top of your wish list. They represent, without doubt, your best chance of having the job completed fuss-free and to a high standard.
It isn’t vital for a carpenter to have yacht experience when work is carried out in the workshop, but when it comes to the fitting stage it can be invaluable – especially if the boat is on water rather than in dry dock.
If you have colleagues or friends in the superyacht world who have enlisted the services of carpenters before, it is definitely worth asking them for their recommendations. As in any industry, word of mouth is a good gauge of which firms you can rely on.
You can find a list of carpenters working in the superyacht industry in our Carpenters & Joiners category.
Are smaller carpentry businesses as good as larger ones?
Contrary to popular belief, larger carpentry businesses are not necessarily better than smaller ones.
As most work on board is bespoke and hand-made, smaller companies are just as well equipped. In fact, it can be argued that they offer a more personalised service.
One of the advantages is that when a smaller business meets the owners to establish a good working relationship, there’s a higher chance that a senior employee (director for example) will be involved, which is always a good sign that the business is committed to doing the best it possibly can.
That’s not to say this can’t happen with larger businesses, or that they are incapable of offering a personalised service too, but it’s by no means a given.
All things considered, there is absolutely no disadvantage to working with a small carpentry or joinery firm; it could actually prove to be better.
Should a carpenter offer project management as part of the job?
While a carpentry firm must be punctual and efficient, they generally do not offer project management services as part of their work.
For smaller carpentry jobs, the yacht’s captain will normally assume responsibility and co-ordinate the project, and generally this works well. For larger jobs – such as refits – a captain is unlikely to have enough time to effectively manage the project and everyone involved, it’s advisable to contract external project management.
Who are the best yacht carpenters?
The best yacht carpenters are those with a proven track record in producing high-quality work and discernible on-board experience. You can never guarantee that anyone will carry out a job perfectly, but you minimise the risk of it going horribly wrong if you commission a firm that knows how to operate on a superyacht.