Boats and Yachts
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A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries.
In modern use the term designates two rather different classes of watercraft, sailing and power boats. Yachts are different from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose, and it was not until the rise of the steamboat and other types of powerboat that sailing vessels in general came to be perceived as luxury, or recreational vessels. Later the term came to encompass motor boats for primarily private pleasure purposes as well.
Yacht lengths generally range from 8 metres (26 ft) up to dozens of metres (hundreds of feet). A luxury craft smaller than 12 metres (39 ft) is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply "cruisers." A mega yacht generally refers to any yacht (sail or power) above 30 m (98 ft) and a super yacht generally refers to any yacht over 50 metres (164 ft). This size is small in relation to typical cruise liners and oil tankers.
Yacht transport is the shipping of a yacht to a destination instead of sailing or motoring it. Yacht transport is an alternative to the traditional passaging (sailing or motoring) to reach desired destinations around the globe. Transport when compared to passaging is cost effective, safer and improves availability.
For many dedicated sailors, passaging or an ocean crossing is a rite of passage, but it comes with many risks and expenses. For many serious cruisers, financial, business and family considerations argue against the long-term full-time dedication that ocean crossings require. Yacht transport becomes an alternative when the destination and cruising (maritime) is more important than the passaging.
Yacht transport generally eliminates costly, time consuming, and dangerous difficult ocean crossings, opening up cruising to more people. Container cruising, one approach to yacht transport, is significantly less expensive and has greater flexibility with respect to timing and destinations. The drawback to container cruising is that there are a limited number of yachts that have the necessary 7.5 ft beam (2.3 m) to fit in the 8-foot-wide (2.4 m) standard container.
Shipment / Storage / Risk factors
Boats/Yachts can be offered for shipment in different ways, the smaller ones in ordinary DC (Dry Cargo), the bigger ones as OOG (Out Of Gauge cargo) and the real big ones as Break Bulk. If stowed on deck either as OOG or Break-bulk it is recommended that they are properly covered by the shipper to withstand an ordinary sea passage, which is variable, depending on the time of the year and the routing of course.
The traditional way is that the boats/yachts have to be protected by tarpaulins which have to be secured by nets in order to avoid shifting and damage by the wind.
If boats/yachts are to be stowed aft of the funnel it is recommended, especially on older ships without so-called "Spark arresters" in their funnel, boats must be protected from scorching from the funnel by GLOW RESISTANT tarpaulins. As an example such an acceptable Tarpaulin should have resistance to temperature range of -30° C to +70° C or more. Base fabric Polyester 110 d tex, 9 threads per cm. in warp & weft direction. Tensile strength approx 300 kgs in warp & weft. Tear propagation approx 30 kgs in warp & weft.
Note: Newer ships are not "Spark" risky as the older ones.
Additionally there are much more modern modes of protecting the boats/yachts, examples are shrink foil and fibre sheets. In the mode of packing there is a lot of revolutionary development with modern light and better protecting material, even some "sprayed" wax protection today is possible or special protective coating.
When loading a boat/yacht as break-bulk there should always be an "independent qualified cargo surveyor" present, (appointed on account of the shipper) and a survey report with some photo's including a statement certifying that all is in seaworthy status is to be made out.
Duly bear in mind that especially when sailing yachts are involved the L.O.A. (Length Over All) is not only the hull of the yacht but must include the bowsprit and stern measures. Further as well is very important to duly check the length of the mast as often being longer than the yacht itself.
When masts are handled "loose" care to be taken that they are not "deforming" due lifting slings are added at the wrong place.
For some shipments a so-called Letter of Indemnity can be asked for from the shipper but please note that this is a "Gentlemen's Agreement" only.
Loading and discharging directly from/to the water side by a floating crane can be done, however may only be arranged on special application and in close consultation with the Break-bulk desk, to relevant Stowage Coordination and Port Desks.
For boats/yachts equipped with an engine, please refer to the rules set forth in the IMDG-code. (e.g. one of them is that batteries should be disconnected and the fuel tanks be emptied as far as possible).
Engines, internal combustion, including when fitted in machinery or vehicles. (US regulated only)
Related to all above it is of utmost importance that some drawings and information related to the lifting possibilities is duly supplied by the shipper or his representative.
All masts to be loaded on deck and subject to the master’s approval. The hatch coamings are considered part of the carrying vessel and can be factored into the utilization of loading masts and or belongings/appendages.
As well athwart stowage can be considered depending on vessels hatch layout and possible terminal handling limits. To be noted that most commercial terminals are familiar with handling of masts etc.
Vessel utilization should not be limited to 20'/40' slots as long as the items are stowed in a safe manner as per the master and cargo surveyor’s agreement.
All masts will require the following before acceptance:
a. The accompanying boat must be loaded at the same time.
b. The lift and stow is subject to a (independent) cargo surveyor’s approval.
c. The lift and stow is subject to the Masters approval.
Note:This above only pertains to masts and appendages that accompany a yacht/boat.
Small boats being transported short distances are often moved using private or commercial trailers. As the boat size and the over-land distances increase, commercial trailer services are typically employed by boat owners to move vessels. Insurance coverage, transport permits, trailer safety and proper preparation and loading of the vessel and contents are aspects commercial boat/yacht services provide.
Semi-submersible ships (SSS)
Semi-submersible ships were developed to move large (project) cargoes, but have now been adapted for yacht shipping. These ships are semi-submersible. This means that by ballasting, they can submerge their cargo holds. Yachts motor under their own power into the flooded cargo holds to load. Once all the yachts are in position and secured, divers weld hull supports into place. The ship deballasts and sails away. At discharge port arrival, the process is reversed, with the ship ballasting, allowing the yachts to exit. Semi-submersible shipping is arranged by the owners.
Yachts can be shipped as deck cargo. Yachts are loaded directly from the water or from shore. Yachts are loaded by ship or by shore cranes in cradles either supplied by the carrier or the owner. For conventional deck cargo shipping, the rigging is left intact. Deck cargo shipping is normally arranged directly with the shipping lines or with brokers who specialize in yacht deck cargo shipping.
Yachts are also transported by container ships. Because container freight is sold on the basis of total enclosed volume, efforts are made to decrease that volume, including derigging the boat. If a yacht meets the restrictions imposed by container sizing, typically 39 ft. (11.9 m.) x 7.5 ft. (2.3 m.) x 9.3 ft (2.8 m.), container shipping is an alternative. Container shipping is arranged through freight forwarders.
Costs include the cost of preparation, cradles, documentation, and customs and other government fees. Container shipment costs are almost independent of distance shipped and depend more on imbalances in container locations.
The Semi-submersible ships travel on fixed schedules over popular routes such as to and from the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and Pacific Ocean destinations.
While in theory, deck cargoes can be arranged between any two ports and at any time, costs are reduced if a number of yachts are shipped together. Because most ships are non-US flag carriers, they are forbidden by law to transport cargoes between US ports. To comply with the law, they load or discharge in Canada, the Bahamas or Mexico. Container shipping offers complete flexibility with respect to ports and timing.
The locked and sealed container provides the best overall security. Since the semi-submersible ships are dedicated to yacht transport, they also offer a secure environment. In addition to theft, another potential problem is partial or total losses at sea. Probability of losses is low, reflected by the lower cost of insurance.
The increasing cost of fuel, the convenience, and the ability to go anywhere make yacht transport an attractive alternative.