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Yacht Support Charts a New Course

Yacht builders are responding to the demand for yacht support vessels. Dutch shipbuilder DAMEN released its first yacht support vessel in 2010. Until then, the market featured a few conversions of old offshore vessels. Today, the trend is toward advanced technologies and a variety of vessel sizes.

Advanced solutions

DAMEN is an established leader in large yacht support vessels—from 43 to 90 meters. Designs are based on a their proven Sea Axe bow which lowers drag through the water and delivers faster offshore operation. John Gauldie, communications manager at AMELS, a DAMEN group company, told NauticExpo e-magazine that:

The company focus is on larger vessels that can carry tenders and toys that superyachts can’t.

DAMEN yacht 6911 in bay

The SEA AXE 6911 is the first in the Yacht Support range to feature the ultimate technical area for serious superyacht helicopter operations … (2015)

A support vessel should be faster than the yacht, and must have a range of at least 5000 nautical miles. It usually offers abundant deck space, extensive below- deck stowage, and space for additional guests. It might even include a hospital. A recent innovation is a fully-certified helideck and hangar with a high-tech lift system, compared to the touch-and-go helipads which are not certified for commercial/charter use. And for safe helicopter operations, Gauldie explained:

Our yacht support vessels have zero-speed stabilizers.

Although DAMEN is an established leader, the company recognizes the importance of its competitors:

“There are certainly many more players entering the market as it continues to grow.”

Transatlantic versatility

French yacht builder PIRIOU also endorses the benefits of larger vessels. Last year they announced a complete range of support vessels ranging from 40 to 63 meters. Their YSV support vessels are based on proven hull design used in the offshore oil industry. Their fast, versatile transatlantic yacht support vessels take over logistics tasks and relieve stowage constraints previously limiting yacht use.

Entry level version

Dutch yacht builder Lynx Yachts prefers to concentrate on smaller craft— from 20 to 36 meters. The Yacht X Tender (YXT) offers huge storage capacity on a low aft deck, a car garage and additional accommodations for crew and guests. The YXT is designed to support super-yachts between 30 and 70 meters. First launched in 2014, the smallest version costs 1.95 million euros.


Various sizes fit the different needs of yachts from 30 to over 100 meters. Both DAMEN and PIRIOU build very seaworthy, long-range vessels, while Lynx Yachts offers an entry level version. A fantastic example of a larger yacht support vessel is the GAME CHANGER YS 6911 from DAMEN. It will be berthed at the Monaco Yacht Show 2017. See featured image.