Over the past two decades, the superyacht industry has witnessed rapid growth that required it to mature and become more professional in a relatively short period.
Today, it is an industry responsible for a fleet of more than 1800 yachts over 40m in length, almost half of which were built in the last ten years. The current average annual production is around 65 yachts – a number that was below 30 at the beginning of the millennium.
The superyacht industry revolves around wealthy individuals who wish to own a superyacht and the shipyards who facilitate them in achieving this goal. A wide range of companies other than builders are also active in the superyacht industry, however, as the primary risk-takers who make continuous investments in state-of-the-art production facilities and employ thousands of skilled craftsmen, the builders deserve structural support that goes beyond national or competitive lines. By the mid-2000s, these superyacht builders found themselves increasingly squeezed between the international regulations of the commercial maritime industry and those that applied to the smaller leisure sector. It was against this backdrop that SYBAss was founded.
Since its founding in 2007, SYBAss has gone from strength to strength. A pivotal moment came in 2011 when SYBAss’ consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was granted. Since then, SYBAss has had a seat at the table, monitoring and influencing regulations, ensuring that rules are fit for purpose and developed with the superyacht industry in mind.
Today, SYBAss continues to play an active role in the regulatory field, working closely with IMO, flag states and other regulatory bodies. SYBAss played a pivotal role in the development of the Red Ensign Group Yacht Code, launched in 2017.
But regulatory work is by no means SYBAss’ only focus. Since its inception, the association has redefined how builders are exhibited at yacht shows by using its collective power to negotiate premium, central positions for its members. This led to discussions about how the industry was viewed, resulting in The Superyacht Life Foundation, a collective marketing campaign to improve the perception of superyachting. SYBAss also works to enhance the professionalism of the sector. Along with commissioning a number of key reports, SYBAss has made strides in how the industry measures its global impact, culminating in the SYBAss Economic Impact Study. The creation of the SYBAss Sustainability Committee in 2017 organically resulted in a new non-profit, Water Revolution Foundation, established in 2018 to drive sustainability in the superyacht industry.