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6 Tips to Achieve a Successful Superyacht Refit

Superyacht Refit by Dean and Waters


Preparation is the first and most crucial step in any successful refit. Careful planning is essential to eliminate potential issues, delays and budget overruns. We know how important it is to make sure everyone involved is clear about the goals, understand the scope and that a comprehensive worklist is created. To make the most of shipyard time, we recommend integrating essential maintenance and any additional work. This preparation entails scheduling the Owner's calendar well in advance, typically 12 to 18 months before the yacht refit period commences. Furthermore, we emphasise budgeting ahead of time to guarantee the availability of sufficient funds for the Owner's team. 

Research is the next pivotal step in our process. We invest time and effort in researching shipyards worldwide to identify the best fit for each unique project. Technical knowledge and extensive experience are significant factors guiding our decisions. We understand that the cheapest quote isn't always the best choice; therefore, we advocate comparing quotes from different yards, defining each in terms of benefits, to avoid unpleasant surprises. 


Being organised is a fundamental part of our approach and it involves breaking down each project into well-structured, manageable steps to ensure a seamless workflow. Project management ensures clearly defined team roles and responsibilities whilst utilising cutting-edge project management software, such as Pinpoint, which facilitates a smooth operation. To further enhance clarity and efficiency, we establish well-defined processes for handling variations to contracts, ensuring that unexpected issues can be addressed swiftly and effectively. Understanding the vessel's needs realistically and preparing for unforeseen challenges are central to our approach, minimising surprises and ensuring a successful refit.


The determination of the refit budget holds a pivotal role in our project strategy. Before delving into budget assessment, our team establishes comprehensive project parameters, recognising that a clear vision is vital to precisely estimate the full scope of work. Thorough preparation and careful planning are essential steps in maintaining budget discipline, as they prevent last-minute changes and enable us to secure parts at the most favourable prices. We approach the refit budget as a separate cost centre, affording us the ability to have defined financial accounts for both operational and refit expenditures, ensuring transparency and precise financial management throughout the project. This is achieved through the industry leading Voly financial software, where Dean & Waters are the first fully certified company in the use of this technology.


We proactively prepare for potential delays, acknowledging that unforeseen issues are a common occurrence during any refit. Our proactive stance includes the implementation of robust contingency plans to reduce disruptions and we prioritise open communication and cooperation, heeding the advice and recommendations of the shipyard, which draws upon invaluable experience and knowledge. Collaboration between the Owner, project team, captain and shipyard is vital in strategically planning for potentially unexpected situations.

Our extensive refit experience equips us to anticipate and address numerous potential issues before they manifest. With a team of technical and operational experts possessing invaluable knowledge, we excel in anticipating and mitigating any potential delays. By adhering to best practices and engaging approved contractors alongside trusted shipyards, we proficiently manage all scopes of work. While unplanned matters can surface during any project, our mindful planning encompasses comprehensive contingency plans, offering solutions for every conceivable scenario.


Strong collaboration between us, the Owner, captain and crew, contractors and the shipyard is essential for a successful refit. Our commitment extends to nurturing relationships with shipyard staff, allowing us to gain invaluable insights into the yard's operations. By involving the crew in the refit process from the outset, we transform it into an invaluable experience. They play a pivotal role in identifying the superyacht's priority areas, facilitating informed decisions, enhancing work quality and carefully managing the refit's trajectory within budget and timeline constraints. Our early engagement with the crew for departmental works, modifications and improvements builds a cohesive partnership and together we collaboratively set budgets, timeframes and milestones, ensuring that we deliver to the Owner on time. Our dedicated onsite presence for project control and oversight offers support and reassurance to the crew, solidifying our role as an integral part of their team, always ready to provide assistance and expertise.


Effective communication is fundamental to all aspects of a successful superyacht refit.  It begins with the provision of clear and precise instructions and the development of a comprehensive worklist from the project's inception. Collaborating closely with an Owner or owners’ representative will enable discussions and decisions with the shipyard, ensuring a smoother and more efficient refit process. By following these best practices we pride ourselves on ensuring that every project is completed on time, within budget and to the highest standard. Superyacht refits are no longer just maintenance; they are legitimate contenders to new builds. Every step should be meticulously planned and managed to achieve the desired outcome, which is where our team delivers complete peace of mind.

Our commitment to communication extends to thorough and regular reporting to the Owner, including a detailed end-of-yard project report. We also excel in identifying cost-saving opportunities, such as exploring temporary importation for yachts and VAT exemption. Additionally, our strong relationships with surveyors, Flag State, and Classification Societies reinforce our capacity to deliver excellence. Our procurement expertise, bolstered by a robust network such as Jaymo Group, enables us to pre-order parts, mitigating delays and promoting efficient project execution. Moreover, our responsibility to the acceptance of works emphasises our dedication to ensuring that every aspect of the refit process meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

In the ever-evolving industry of superyacht refits, the team at Dean & Waters exemplify excellence, backed by over three decades of professional success. Renowned for precision, integrity and outstanding industry relationships; our refit solutions are where expertise meets the extraordinary. 

Contact us today to elevate your refit experience to new heights -

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