A Comprehensive Guide to Shipyard Refits: Part 1 – Pre-Arrival Yard Period

A Comprehensive Guide to Shipyard Refits: Part 1 – Pre-Arrival Yard Period

So, it’s refit time,  are you ready? There are so many moving parts, both internal and external, that can make the process a bit tricky. From coordinating different teams, getting department heads to work together, managing the supply chain and contractors, dealing with changing owner’s plans, and ensuring timely communication among many other challenges. But fear not, we’ve got you covered! We’ve gathered some top tips from industry experts at Pesto Sea Group and Amico & Co on how to avoid costly mistakes and make the most out of your shipyard period. In this three-part blog series, we will share tips for pre-arrival, at the shipyard, and post-refit, with a touch of humour along the way.

Part 1 – Pre-Arrival Yard Period:

Ah, the pre-arrival yard period, where the excitement of the upcoming refit collides with the reality of planning and decision-making. First things first, you need to know what type of refit you’re going in for – maintenance, repairs, paint jobs, major overhaul, or something else entirely. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s time to choose your refit partner wisely.

Choosing the right shipyard can be a bit like finding your soulmate – it’s all about compatibility! Consider factors like in-house employees vs subcontractors, location, availability, craftsmanship, expertise, delivery time, reliability, reputation, currency, VAT, equipment and facilities, insurance, privacy, security, yachting cluster (network of suppliers), financial security, yard certification, sufficient human resources, weather, crew offices, housing for crew, visas and work permits, and crew life. Phew, that’s a lot to consider, but hey, finding “the one” takes effort, right?

Once you’ve found your perfect match, it’s time to sign the contract. But hold your horses, there are a few things to keep in mind. Define the scope of work, create a work list, plan a shipyard visit, align brand values, check references, discuss timing and estimates, decide on crew onboard or not, ensure quality control of external subcontractors, and go through the tender and bidding process. Just like dating, it’s important to get to know each other and set expectations before taking the plunge.

But wait, there’s more! With so many parties involved – crew, contractors, captain, project manager, owner’s rep, class/flag, and more – it’s crucial to get everyone on the same page. Plan the yard period out, set expectations, and establish communication lines. After all, communication is key in any relationship, even with shipyards!

Knowing the main driver of the refit and your priorities is like having a compass in this journey. Make sure to build time into your year planner for planned maintenance, prepare detailed specifications, create a clear schedule of work, assign jobs to the crew, check slot availability, manage the supply chain, and create a comprehensive work list. Think of it as creating a to-do list for your yacht – and we all know how satisfying it is to tick off items from a to-do list!

Now, let’s talk about the dreaded “F” word – forecasting problems and risk management. From global supply chain issues to weather, travel restrictions for crew, financial guarantees, and miscellaneous costs like rental cars and housing, there are plenty of potential roadblocks. But fear not, being proactive and prepared is the key. Document the process correctly, use software to streamline and share information with the shipyard, put detail into your lists to minimize back-and-forth, set reminders and book appointments in advance for simpler tasks, and avoid last-minute scrambling at the end of the yard period

Find your technical dream team, including the right shipyard that aligns with your needs and priorities. Create work lists, crew lists, and wish lists to ensure clear communication and expectations. Establish effective communication channels, such as regular progress meetings, to keep everyone on the same page. Ensure all necessary documentation is signed and in place, including pre-payments and import/export requirements. Understand VAT implications for your vessel and make necessary arrangements. Arrange a kick-off meeting with the shipyard to discuss the scope of work and set expectations. Get to know the shipyard casually and build a good relationship with them. Contact your agent to assist with any logistics or paperwork. Understand visas and stamps requirements for non-EU crew and apply for temporary residence cards if needed. Arrange for crew housing and miscellaneous needs in advance.


With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a smooth pre-arrival yard period and a successful yacht refit!