Expert tips for family offices adding a yacht infrastructure to their private island

Every one of us dreams to be the proud owner of a tropical island, a heaven on earth. So once you located and acquired the island, there is probably something mission… a place to embark your yacht and you require help. So here are the tips to do it properly (and in chronological order):

1)    Call in a real Marina-expert

Adding a yacht infrastructure is always complicated and it even becomes more complicated on a private island as you will lack necessary data and logistics will be more complicates so it is easy to cheat and invoice family offices high prices. Only go with the best as in the end, it will save you time and money.

2)    Figure out the regulations.

First mission of the experts is to find out the legal aspects and regulations. Almost all islands have environmental concerns on-shore and off-shore including usage concerns so the expert has to understand if you as a family office are getting a clear title to the land and its surrounding. Only then you can start imagining the development process. Hopefully, you did this before the purchase of your island but even so, you have to know all as regulations, restrictions, building permits and processes can be updated over time. Having accurate, actualized confirmation off all of this can take up to six months.

3)    Take in account all possible environmental conditions

Being surrounded by water, your island engineer need to know in detail following elements:

  • Wind direction and forces, including presence of possible hurricane paths.
  • Average and maximum wave heights (that can vary from the different sides of the island)
  • Water levels and depth
  • Currents
  • Possible presence of ice
  • Seismic (nobody want to experience a Tsunami)
  • Maritime traffic

4)    Yacht constraints (or not)

With the environmental study in hand, you now know what is possible and what not. If your superyacht is too large, you have to keep it “outside the island waters” meaning you are obliged considering a 55” tender like solution between your island and the yacht. It isn’t really what you wanted in the beginning but the reality is always hard to accept. By now you know how the size of boat you can anchor.

5)    Location based studies

To install your yacht infrastructure, you need to find the most appropriate spot on the island covering:

  • Installing it in a non-protected ecological area,
  • Knowing the existing geotechnical conditions,
  • Take in account existing close-to-land streams and sedimentations,
  • Access to the land facilities (for example, how going from the landing peer to your house)
  • Access to utilities (for example, your yacht could require access to drinkable water, electricity, but also onshore fire extinguishers)
  • Amenities (for example, if you arrive with your yacht, knowing how to handle your waste and waste water).

6)    Dockage Layout

With all these different data-sets in hand, the engineers can now start the classical design works on the dockage based on:

  • Vertical criteria like all dead loads (like the weight of the dock and all permanent loads) and live loads (pedestrian only or small vehicle access).
  • Horizontal loads like the vessel loads (mooring & impact) and environmental (like possible wind forces, water levels, waves, currents…).
  • Berthing systems (with or without piles) based on all previous elements but also considering aesthetic preferences.
  • Pontoon Anchorage systems (piles & guides, stiff arms & slides..)
  • Utilities (electrical, fresh water access, lighting, waste water/sewer, solid waste, eventual fuel access…)
  • Emergency equipment (alarms and detectors, onshore life buoys, eventual spill containment…)

7)    Additional facilities

In case of a superyacht, don’t forget that you have a crew wanting to stretch from time to time their legs. Provide them some onshore space and facilities. It makes life easier for everyone.

8)    Wait (and wait) as there is no business but yacht business

When any construction takes time, everything will even take more time as all is happening on a remote island so strong logistic coordination is key to manage costs and delays. As mentioned above under point 1, only rely on real experts as they won’t promise things that won’t work. Fake experts always promise to do things faster, cheaper and better while in reality, you only collect worries and overpayments. Yachting should always be a “Joy of Ownership” experience!