No More Superyachts

One’s rights finish where another’s rights start. When it comes to Extinction Rebellion there is no doubt that this group has conducted their protest in a civilized way. The Superyacht Forum proved to be intelligent enough to recognize the damage control in bringing them on stage at the conference. But what Extinction Rebellion preaches is a utopia, focused on an apparently easy target. In the world we live in, any legal and successful business achievement generates earnings for its owner; modest earnings for a small business; huge earnings for multinational ones. Governments rule the conditions in which those earnings can be kept – that is part of the so-called ‘Free World’.

Some people have properties and cars suited to their basic quality of living. Others (very few) can afford enormous and sometimes historical properties, cars costing hundreds of thousands (which average people find unattainable), works of art that museums cannot afford, or large yachts. Large yachts are not so many and are used not so often, and a calculation of their CO2 footprint started being possible thanks to the YETI method. The efforts being made to reduce emissions, use alternative fuels, and improve design and propulsion efficiency are certainly benefitting smaller boats, both leisure and commercial. This is similar to how Formula 1 has helped improve safety, develop steering and brake systems and reduce fuel consumption of people’s cars for many years now.

I agree that nobody needs a 130m yacht to have a holiday, but such yachts are paid 100% by private money. They also provide two of the legs of sustainability -social and economic-, including large taxes to governments. Nobody needs a €550.000 Ferrari to drive to and from work every day. Nobody needs to live in a house with 25 rooms (unless royalty) and have another two or three huge properties sitting empty most of the time. Large yachts are easy to blame for such excess. Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov (better known as Vladimir Lenin) decided in 1917 that no family had the right to live in a big house. He forced the change and filled up the houses with as many families as possible. 73 years later, the system collapsed and proved unviable as it did not work. Let’s regulate reasonably; learn from history; use our experience; and not use cheap populistic extremes to make a point.

To complain is the easiest road to take. The only valid and useful complaint is the one that also proposes feasible action to achieve the change. We, as educated human beings, should always take that route.

By Oscar Siches

Partner and manager of two marinas in Mallorca for 15 years Oscar has been designer and consultant for  marina projects in various countries, and designer of customized marina elements. He has shared his experience through more than 30 conferences in 12 countries and has written numerous articles for Marina World and other international nautical magazines.

Oscar is a Certified Marina Professional, was founder director of the Global Marina Institute, member of ICOMIA’s Marinas Committee, member of PIANC Recreational Marine Committee,  Convenor of  ISO  TC228  WG8 “Yacht Harbours”, member of the Global Marine Business Advisers  (GMBA) group  and founding member of the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association.


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