You’re looking at $154 million worth of yachts heading out of Fort Lauderdale for the Mediterranean. The trip itself isn’t so remarkable, but the vessel carrying these yachts and megayachts is: the nearly 688-foot Yacht Express, the newest and largest carrier in Dockwise Yacht Transport’s (DYT) fleet. Not only that, but she’s the largest such vessel in the world.
This next photo gives you a better idea of how the dozen or so yachts–among the 9,000-plus that DYT has transported since 1987–got aboard and will offload when Yacht Express arrives in Europe next week. The float-on, float-off process is exclusive to the company (other transport firms use cranes to place each yacht). But don’t think captains simply show up on the appointed loading day and drive right on into the semisubmersible bay; it still takes a lot of prior planning to direct the process, since DYT carries everything from 50-footers to 150-footers (and beyond).
Speaking of captains, get a load of this photo, a lounge bar onboard Yacht Express. The vessel, 130 feet longer than DYT’s other three carriers, was built with this and other amenities (including staterooms more like yacht guest staterooms, a gym, conference room, pool, and movie theater) so that captains and crew who were accompanying their yachts would be comfortable. In fact, they’re so comfortable that John Walsey, the owner of the 121-foot Broward Java, which is on her first voyage overseas, says, “I’m half tempted to come back across on the ship myself in the fall.” If he does, he’ll be in good company: His first mate is onboard now and will return after the summer season is over. Walsey jokes, “Or maybe I should just charge my crewmembers for the ride, since this is like being on a cruise ship.”
On a serious note, Walsey, who has used DYT’s services six times, figures that compared to the ever-increasing cost of diesel fuel, the yacht-transport bill actually saves him money in the long run. Many other owners agree, as it saves wear and tear on the boat and her systems. “It also allows the rest of the crew some time off,” Walsey says.
Now that’s the best savings of all.