on 27 Apr 2023
Fitness onboard a superyacht is hot. UK-based Gym Marine wants it to stay that way
A two-week superyacht charter may seem like deprivation for people who are obsessed with their fitness routines. Luckily, stylish, fully kitted out gyms and fitness rooms aboard superyachts are the hot new trend. Gym Marine, founded in 2014 by ex superyacht crew member Edward Thomas, is dedicated to making fitness dreams aboard superyachts a pumped-up reality.
Gym Marine is now coming up on ten years old and a runaway success. Thomas, who says he spent time cleaning and maintaining fitness equipment while working on a Heesen yacht, saw that there was serious demand for fitness aboard yachts.
Gym Marine is now working on 80 projects involving design and installation of gyms or fitness rooms aboard yachts, with 11 of those projects being refitting large superyachts with customised fitness rooms. Some of the yacht projects underway include charter yachts, which may look to Gym Marine for one-off equipment upgrades to match the demands of fitness-obsessed clients.
Perhaps Gym Marine’s most spectacular moment came with the recent launch of Lurssen’s 115m Ahpo, which features a palatial fitness room designed by Gym Marine in tandem with superyacht designers Nuvolari Lenard. Ahpo also has two crew gyms on board.
“Many people who are building a boat, they don’t want to cut and paste basic gym off the shelf. You know they want something which is super, just spoke to them and we are the only company on Earth that can take it to that level and no one else is hand wrapping gym equipment in here,” says Edwards.
One of the biggest indicators of how important the fitness area is becoming to superyacht owners is the place where they are now located. No longer relegated to a lower deck as an afterthought, the fitness area of a superyacht can now be found on the upper decks, enjoying sweeping views. Ahpo’s gym is off the bridge deck, a spot that Edwards says would normally be reserved for a lounge.
“Nowadays, we’ve got these amazing spaces (onboard superyachts),” says Edwards. “Some (owners) realise that you don’t really need endless saloons and TV rooms on these boats, especially if it’s a family-based, private yacht. You want a space to work out with a nice view. You can do a workout, then step outside or jump into the jacuzzi, or have the doors open with the breeze while on the treadmill or doing yoga… that’s really, really increased in popularity.”
While you may be forgiven for thinking that dedicated fitness spaces can only be found onboard megayachts of 60 metres or more, Edwards says he enjoys working on smaller superyachts. He has several clients with yachts in the 40-metre range. Solutions may include foldaway equipment, wall mounted gear, and specialised, multi-purpose equipment.
Gym Marine provides bespoke fitness equipment, including leather bound benches with the yacht’s name and logo stitched into the material. Their services can start at the design stage, when height and spacing decisions are made on the general arrangement, as well as the needs for audio-visual and IT capacity is established. Fitness areas that incorporate indoor and outdoor spaces may require specialty equipment that can be exposed to the elements. Crew also need training on maintenance and care. Edwards says a “white glove” team goes in to do the installation.
Gym Marine has also developed ways to ensure safety aboard a yacht, including a special set of patented fasteners that keep equipment in place on a moving yacht, as well as clever storage and security ideas.
Fitness equipment is normally maintained and serviced by the companies providing the equipment. However, a travelling superyacht may find that it cannot get servicing done because equipment purchased in Italy won’t be covered if the yacht is in France or Fiji. Thomas says Gym Marine has warranty support from deluxe fitness equipment makers to cover the world, in a manner similar to cruise ships.
Fitness equipment has also come a long way from a set of weights and a rowing machine. Thomas says that technology has taken over the fitness industry, with bigger screens on equipment, more applications and more content on demand.
“When I started, cross training was very popular. Now, things are driven by the Peloton revolution,” Thomas says. “I think that the biggest trend now, which is somewhat led by our sector, is with the more luxury take on gym equipment, integrating materials like wood and leather. There’s a wonderful brand that we work, Paragon Studio, which creates bespoke equipment in wood, leather and steel, and it is just absolutely beautiful stuff.”
Meanwhile, Gym Marine continues to expand. The company has 12 people employed at headquarters in the UK, supported by an office in The Netherlands and a new office in Fort Lauderdale, which opened in January 2023. Edwards plans to open another office in Dubai, and he is expanding his service offerings to include design and installation of wellness and spa areas, which are also becoming elements of a superyacht.
The company is also doing fitness areas and training for superyacht crew, who can find themselves at sea for months at a time and could benefit, mentally and physically, from regular exercise. Gym Marine has even been involved with the commercial shipping industry, fitting out tanker ships with fitness spaces for crew.
While it started with Thomas’ desire to push the boundaries of superyacht gyms and fitness areas, most of his projects are now in luxury residential spaces, typically coming from satisfied superyacht clients. With a 10th anniversary party coming up for Gym Marine, the company is looking fit indeed.