Following the creation of Watermark Yacht Management and its subsequent acquisition of Rosemont Yacht Management, SuperyachtNews speaks with Jacqueline Lyne and Feargus Bryan, co-directors of Watermark Yacht Management, about what makes their business model unique and how the requirements of yacht management have evolved over time.
“I truly believe that there is space in the industry for an independent service company offering management, with an additional focus on HR and crew support,” explains Lyne. “We provide a coaching and mentoring service for our Captains and crews, as well as undertaking annual crew reviews and assessments. We want to be able to talk to our crews and get to know them, both personally and professionally. It is extremely important to us that all stakeholders are involved in the process of management. It is about ensuring that everybody is onside, communicating and that their requirements are considered.”
Central to Watermark Yacht Management’s business model is the belief that, as the superyacht market continues to evolve and professionalise, a far greater onus must be placed on the development of impartial and efficient communications channels, whether that be during a new build/refit or during the continued operation of a vessel. Invariably, where breakdowns in relationships between stakeholders occur, the source of the issue can often be traced back to a simple breakdown in communication.
“We see a management company’s role in all of this is to serve as a central point, both from a decision-making point of view, and in many cases as an impartial mediator between the stakeholders,” comments Bryan. “The heart of the industry lies in pleasure. The owners do not need to buy yachts, or operate them. In many cases, the clients have a clear idea of what they want, but perhaps they do not have an in-depth understanding of the forces that are driving all of the other stakeholders. Our job is to safeguard the owner’s asset in all forms and to provide him or her with unbiased advice and guidance on the challenges of yacht operations and ownership. If ownership ceases to be a pleasure, they will have no compunction about exiting the industry.”
There still exists, according to Lyne and Bryan, a gap between the owner’s side, such as crew, management and so on, and the side of the suppliers, contractors and various other stakeholders during a build project, especially where it relates to the management of complex contracts.
“There has to be one binding force in the centre of all of this,” continues Bryan. “They don’t necessarily have to be a tyrannical decision-making force. That person or entity needs to be able to have visibility over everything and needs to understand the bigger picture and this goes for yacht operations as well. There are very few elements in the whole operation that actually need to see the big picture. Our job is to mediate how we get people to work efficiently and confidently without necessarily seeing the full image.”
Perhaps unlike certain other management factions, both Lyne and Bryan are adamant that they have no desire to try and manage the world’s largest superyacht fleet. In fact, they see unbridled growth as having an almost unavoidably detrimental effect on their business model that places long-term relationships at its foundation. The move, according to Lyne, is one that refocuses the role of yacht management on service quality rather than profit margin. Naturally, the business exists to make money, but having both spent long careers in the superyacht market, both Bryan and Lyne agree that their primary motivation is to try and drive forward what is expected of the management fraternity by showcasing the levels of service that the wider industry should be aspiring to.
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