An Informative Guide to Proper Yacht Refit

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Walking through the stages of a proper refit

Mechanics working on a yacht

What are the first steps? 
Plan — proper upfront planning is key to a successful refit. A project plan should be developed for any refit, no matter how big or small. Make sure this plan includes a scope of work (task list), required specifications for each task, and a list of materials with lead times to source those materials. The plan should also include a list of associated risks and contingency plans. Project dependencies — those tasks that cannot be started before another task is first completed — also should be noted.

Select a Yard — there are two models for yards: full-service and marketplace-model yards. At full-service yards, the work is completed by the yard, and outside contractor invoices will be marked up by the yard. You also may face other fees, such as gate fees, for bringing in outside expertise. At marketplace-model yards, like Lauderdale Marine Center, the vessel is free to choose a preferred contractor team for the work with no additional mark-ups or fees.

Commence Work — once work begins, the project should be managed daily. Track tasks and make necessary contingency plans as needed. Be sure to check the work and verify the quality. Document the results of work inspections and, as the project goes along, sign off on completed tasks.

Communicate — constant communication between all parties ensures the success of any project. Captains, owners, crew, project management, contractors and the yard all want the project to be successful. When the entire team understands the status of the project, everyone benefits.

What is the most important aspect of a yacht refit?
Understanding the entire work list within the given time frame is first, followed closely by choosing the proper yard and vendors.

What is the most unexpected issue that comes up during the refit process?
Probably not knowing the full extent of the project that you are about to open up and finding must-do tasks that never were discussed or even thought about prior to the project.

What is the biggest pitfall of a refit?
The biggest refit pitfall usually is not understanding the size and scope of the project, which will always add time and stretch or exceed the budget.

How can owners help to ensure refits go as smoothly as possible?
The biggest component of guaranteeing a successful refit is ensuring owners are realistic about the amount of time and money that will be required to complete the scope of work. For small or large refit projects, owners should consider hiring a project manager. Project managers are able to direct all of the intricacies of a refit project — from sourcing parts and overseeing contractors to helping ensure the project stays on time and on budget. A project manager will safeguard the refit’s technical expertise as needed, especially if the scope of work includes changes to the vessel’s structure.

How can captains and crew help to ensure refits go as smoothly as possible?
Understanding the vessel on which they work plays a major part. When captains and crew have proper, up-to-date maintenance logs and are proactive with maintenance tasks every day, refits move smoothly.

What is the captain’s role during a refit?
The captain’s main role is liaison between the project manager, owner, yard and crew members on board

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