SeaNet: Own More Boat For Less Money
SeaNet is a company that started just under 20 years ago to offer Fractional Ownership of yachts ranging from 32’ to 131’ (9.75 m to 40 m). It offers full management of the vessel including maintenance and concierge-level service for no more than four owners per boat. Want to spend a couple of days on board at the last minute? Call ahead or book them on the app and the yacht will be ready to go on the reserved day.
BoatTEST caught up with SeaNet’s Founder and CEO, Michael Costa, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to get the lowdown on SeaNet on board one of the company’s offerings, a 95’ (28.9 m) Benetti Delfino. In 2003, the company started with a Sunseeker 46 Portofino and now has a fleet with offers ranging up to a Benetti 34 M megayacht. The majority of the boats that are available for ownership are in the 60’ to 121’ (18 m to 37 m) range.
“The biggest challenge for most boat owners is not cost, it’s time,” Costa told Capt. Steve. “This is designed for individuals who can’t justify the amount of time that they have and can’t utilize these expensive assets.”
While it's impressive to cruise the waterfront in South Florida, California or other areas and ooh and ah when passing all those yachts tied up in their berths, Costa points out what many of their owners already know. “It’s not good for the boats to sit unused,” he said. “It’s not a good use of the asset.”
SeaNet is based in Newport Beach, Calif., and has offices in Seattle, Fort Lauderdale and Malta. The European operation opened about five years ago when Costa took on a partner. That let the company expand overseas. There are boats available for Fractional Ownership on both coasts of the United States, Europe and the Bahamas.
Crunching the Numbers
We all know that owning a boat of any size is not inexpensive. Taking a closer look at an Absolute 60 Fly, SeaNet estimates the initial purchase price at $2.8 million including options, outfitting and transportation. The management company estimates yearly operating costs including having a crew of two aboard, high-end service, general operating expenses and designed itinerary at about 280,000 Euros based on a state’s ID.
SeaNet says that the average owner uses their luxury boat for about five weeks per year with a maximum of nine weeks. Fractional yacht ownership lets an owner enjoy being aboard those five to nine weeks for a fraction of the cost as detailed in the graphic below. Additionally, because SeaNet manages the vessel, the owners don’t worry about any of the headaches of ownership like the management of the crew, yacht and maintenance.
Try It Out
A potential SeaNet customer can log onto SeaNetCo.com, view the inventory and request a sea trial. For a fee, the SeaNet Sea Trial Program lets a buyer spend the night on a boat and see if it’s the right one, and even include the family. If the trial is a success, the fee is applied to the purchase of a share. If not, the deposit is treated as a charter with no further obligations.
How It Works
SeaNet limits the owners of a given yacht to four to limit possible scheduling conflicts. The company manages all aspects of ownership including crew coordination, maintenance, service logistics and accounting. An estimated operating budget is established for each vessel. Owners are billed quarterly and reconciled with actual expenses incurred. An owner is responsible for his/her personal variable expenses like fuel and provisions.
Included in the concierge service are all meals, special provisioning requests, storage of personal items, laundry, assistance with scheduling an upcoming trip and the aforementioned administration. Each can select personalized linen packages and family photos can even be switched out in digital frames depending on the family taking a given trip.
Scheduling is done via the website, by calling in to the concierge service or via the SeaNet app. Costa says the app is intuitive and easy to pick up and we agree. Once the boat is on the water, if an owner has the required experience and can obtain insurance, he/she can run the boat or choose to have a captain at the helm.
If an owner wants to step up in size, their shares in a given boat can be sold and he/she can then step up to a larger boat. If a client wants to check out different boats in the SeaNet fleet, he/she can book time on it through the company network. Finally, if an owner wants to opt out, that can be done as well. There are exit points written into the initial sales contract that start after the first three years of ownership and then every two years after that.
Boats aren’t getting cheaper and time to use them continues to become harder to come by, especially if we want to get the family together for some quality time. Fractional ownership offered by a company like SeaNet requires less of a financial or time investment and certainly looks attractive. That’s because all the negatives like making sure the vessel is properly maintained and serviced are taken care of. It’s not for everyone, but for the time-restricted businessperson who doesn’t mind paying for the convenience, SeaNet could be a worthwhile consideration. Moreover, for someone who is considering buying a yacht outright, by moving to an option like SeaNet, that same money can purchase a much larger vessel, that will be used for the same amount of time. That’s smart management of both time and money. That’s the foundation that SeaNet is built on.