BY Nick Walton on 25 Jun 2024

We talk growing markets, boat show successes and the changing tastes of boat owners with Boat Lagoon Yachting's Vrit Yongsakul 

Business is booming for Boat Lagoon Yachting as the company celebrates three decades at the forefront of the region’s yachting scene, and at the helm is Vrit Yongsakul, Group Managing Director.

As Boat Lagoon Yachting celebrates 30 years, what is your outlook for Southeast Asia’s yachting industry in the next decade, in terms of shipbuilding, brokerage and charters?

Celebrating 30 years in 2024 is a significant milestone for the Boat Lagoon Yachting family, symbolising three decades of our dedication, growth and success in the yachting industry. This anniversary is not just a celebration of our past achievements, but also a testament to our enduring commitment to service excellence and innovation in serving our yacht owners and partners.

This milestone also reaffirms our commitment to providing exceptional service and high-quality complete to all lifestyle products: Princess, Jeanneau, Sacs and Burgess in the market. It motivates us to continue leading the market with innovative solutions and to maintain the high standards that have defined Boat Lagoon Yachting over the years.

The yacht brokerage sector is poised for expansion as increasing wealth and interest in leisure boating drive more people to discover yachting. Enhanced brokerage services will cater to a diverse clientele with a wide range of yachts for different preferences and budgets, including various berthing locations not only in Asia but including Europe.

We talk growing markets, boat show successes and the changing tastes of boat owners with Boat Lagoon Yachting's Vrit Yongsakul

Yacht charters are also likely to see substantial growth, driven by the appeal of exploring Southeast Asia’s stunning cruising destinations, and chartering offers a flexible and luxurious way to experience yachting without the commitment of ownership. The development of charter services will include more tailored memorable experiences, catering to the unique desires of clients.

The industry will also increasingly focus on sustainability, with Princess Yachts shipyards adopting eco-friendly practices and technologies. Innovations in design and engineering will lead to more efficient and environmentally friendly yachts, aligning with global trends towards sustainability.

You were recently the largest exhibitor at the Singapore Yachting Festival. What are your thoughts on the new show?

The Singapore Yachting Festival, now in its second year, has proven to be a significant platform for us. As the largest exhibitor at the event, we had the opportunity to showcase the complete range of Princess Yachts, which greatly enhanced our visibility and reach in the Asian market.

The debut of our flagship models, the Princess X95 and Y95, was a major highlight. Both yachts, exceeding 95 feet, captured substantial attention from visitors. Additionally, this was the first time in Asia that the X95 and its sister ship, the X80, were displayed side by side, offering a unique opportunity for attendees to directly compare these two impressive superyachts.

Our popular F Class range also drew significant interest, particularly the Princess F55 and F45 models. The inclusion of Jeanneau day boats, with the Merry Fisher 1295 Fly making its Asian debut alongside the Cap Camarat 7.5 CC, added variety and attracted a diverse audience.

We talk growing markets, boat show successes and the changing tastes of boat owners with Boat Lagoon Yachting's Vrit Yongsakul

How is the brand recognition for Princess and Jeanneau in Singapore and how does that compare to the rest of the region? Do you see growth potential for the two brands?

Brand recognition for Princess and Jeanneau in Singapore is strong and continues to grow, reflecting a positive trend across our key markets, particularly Singapore and Thailand. Both brands received excellent feedback, underscoring their appeal to distinct segments of the boating community.

Princess Yachts, known for its luxury and custom superyachts, resonates well with individuals who lead a luxurious lifestyle. The recent showcase at the Singapore Yachting Festival further solidified our reputation among high-end clientele.

In contrast, Jeanneau boats, particularly suited for fun day boat activities, have garnered significant interest from boaters looking for versatility and enjoyment on the water.

Comparatively, the recognition and reception of both brands in Singapore align with trends observed in the broader region, including Thailand. This consistent positive response indicates robust growth potential for both Princess and Jeanneau.

We talk growing markets, boat show successes and the changing tastes of boat owners with Boat Lagoon Yachting's Vrit Yongsakul

How do you see consumer demand evolving in Southeast Asia?

In Southeast Asia, consumer demand for yachts is evolving significantly in the post-pandemic years. The region’s owners and prospective buyers are increasingly seeking yachts that offer versatility, luxury and safety.

Many consumers are now looking for yachts that can be used for a variety of activities, from leisurely day trips to extended cruises. Jeanneau’s popularity, with models like the Merry Fisher 1295 Fly and Cap Camarat 7.5 CC, highlights the demand for versatile day boats that are perfect for recreational boating and family outings.

High-net-worth individuals are gravitating towards luxury yachts that offer personalised and bespoke experiences. Princess Yachts, with models like the Princess X95 and Y95, are meeting this demand by providing high-end, customisable options that cater to the luxurious lifestyles of their owners. This segment values exclusivity, comfort and state-of-the-art features.

As Southeast Asia continues to develop its boating infrastructure, including marinas and yachting facilities, the ease of yacht ownership and maintenance improves. This development supports the growing interest in yachting and boosts consumer confidence in investing in luxury and recreational boats.  

We talk growing markets, boat show successes and the changing tastes of boat owners with Boat Lagoon Yachting's Vrit Yongsakul

The boating lifestyle is ingrained in Europe and the US; how are Asian owners incorporating boating into their lifestyles and how do their needs differ from owners in other parts of the globe?

Asian yacht owners are increasingly incorporating boating into their lifestyles in unique and culturally nuanced ways that differ from their counterparts in Europe and the US. One key trend is the focus on family and social gatherings. Asian yacht owners often use their boats for multi-generational family outings and social events with friends and business associates, contrasting with the more individual or nuclear family-centric boating culture in the West.

There is also a strong preference for larger, more luxurious yachts among Asian owners, reflecting their desire for status and exclusivity. These yachts are often equipped with extensive amenities for entertainment and relaxation, catering to a lifestyle that emphasises luxury and comfort.

Asian yacht owners also favour yachts with customisable and versatile spaces that can accommodate various activities, from formal dining and business meetings to casual relaxation and water sports. This versatility is essential to meet the diverse needs of their lifestyle and social interactions.

Unlike the longer cruising voyages popular in Europe and the US, Asian yacht owners often prefer shorter, more frequent trips due to the proximity of various attractive cruising destinations within Southeast Asia, such as the islands of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

We talk growing markets, boat show successes and the changing tastes of boat owners with Boat Lagoon Yachting's Vrit Yongsakul

Which cruising regions of Southeast Asia do you see developing and how is the development of infrastructure fuelling that growth?

Southeast Asia is witnessing significant development in several cruising regions, fuelled by improving infrastructure and the region’s diverse attractions. Key cruising areas that are developing and drawing increasing interest include Phuket, which remains a premier destination with its stunning white sands and turquoise waters. The surrounding islands, such as Ko Lanta (above), Ko Yao Yai, the Phi Phi Islands and the Similan Islands National Park offer iconic limestone cliffs and jungle-clad landscapes, making them a magnet for yacht enthusiasts.

Singapore is rapidly becoming a significant yachting destination with its strategic location and modern facilities. Pulau Ubin and Kusu Island are popular for their proximity to the city-state and natural beauty while Singapore’s advanced maritime infrastructure, including top-notch marinas like ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, supports yachting activities and serves as a convenient base for exploring nearby regions.

What impact is this growing demand having on your partnership with Burgess?

The growing demand for yachting in Southeast Asia is significantly enhancing our partnership with Burgess and its extensive charter fleet. As the global leader in superyachts, Burgess brings unparalleled expertise to our clients in Thailand and Singapore. This collaboration allows us to offer our customers the highest level of advice and service, ensuring they benefit from the best possible experience when embarking on their yacht journey.

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