Given the ever-changing safety regulations governing megayachts, ranging from the MCA Code to the ISM Code and even ISPS, it’s no wonder yacht management is a hot topic these days. And considering Americans still represent the largest yacht-owning population in the world, it’s key for firms addressing it to have a foothold on this side of the Atlantic. That’s why Europe-based Hill Robinson, founded in 2001, has just expanded its reach into the USA.
Hill Robinson USA, located in Fort Lauderdale, is headed by Michael Reardon (to right in the photo), whose career spans multiple aspects of the marine industry. Reardon served as a naval architect as well as a captain before turning to the charter and yacht-management worlds, working at Bob Saxon Associates, Fraser Yachts, and Merrill-Stevens, before founding Watermark Yacht Consulting. Joining Reardon are Cristina Addison (left) and Kyle Schmitt (middle), both of whom also worked at Watermark.
Besides addressing the safety-compliance issues, Hill Robinson USA will guide owners and their representatives on new construction as well as refits, budgets and payroll, crewing issues, dockage and berthing, and a host of other logistics.
Hill Robinson and Hill Robinson USA believe their strengths additionally come from remaining independent. Yacht management is somewhat controversial these days, as some shipyards and brokerage firms with ties to one or more yards are increasingly seeking to provide it to their clients. The yards and brokerage firms state that yacht management is just one more service they need to offer, while others believe the objective is to keep the clients within the fold for the rest of their yacht-buying and yacht-owning life.
Controversy aside, Hill Robinson’s expansion represents recognition of the continued importance of the American market. Even with the seemingly sudden emergence of Russian buyers and the renewed interest among Middle Easterners, and despite the housing market woes, Americans still buy more megayachts than any other nationality.