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Short term deregulation aims to stimulate the motor yacht sector


The motor yacht sector in China is still a fledgling industry that Lacks infrastructure and regulations, and consumers are never actually able to enjoy the real fun of boating even if they have enough money to buy a yacht. In Shanghai, yachts have almost become ornaments rather than delivering any practical value.
Owners or pilots need to report their course and sailing time to the Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) many hours prior to sailing, and even when you do set off, your speed must below 8 Knots that wastes fuel and is no fun.

Recognising the problem and as a means to promote yacht usage in Shanghai and other high-end leisure and tourism economic developments, the Shanghai MSA has begun to relax the restrictions on yachts.

After a pilot test run in September, Shanghai Huangpu MSA organized a ‘Yacht open day’ on 22th October. Although it was called an open day, the relaxation of the regulations only applied to a one hour period when other traffic on the river was expected to be low. 15 yachts from various yacht clubs in Shanghai were allowed to motor freely between Nanou and Lupu Bridge’s on the Huangpu River, and the speed limit was raised from 8 to 18 Knots. All those sailing in that hour don’t need to apply for approval or to report the route to the MSA before setting sail. The general response to the relaxation was that this event should be allowed once a month if possible.

According to Huo Yaohua, Deputy Secretary of Shanghai cruise ships and yacht Industry Association, “The yacht industry has no unified planning and structure across the Mainland, and is subject to restrictions for yacht berthing or sailing. The worst, and also the most common thing for yachts in China is to become a decoration to show the owner’s wealth, rather than being of entertainment value”.

Openning up the water areas will not only benefit yacht owners but also yacht clubs, and even ordinary consumers as well. At present many yacht clubs have launched yacht experience cards, costing approximately 50,000 RMB per year. These clubs also provide yacht charter services to the public, and a small or medium sized motor yacht for 8 people, costs a minimum of 2,000 RMB per hour, which is ideal for small gatherings. Yacht weddings are now one of the most popular services offered, and the currently many weddings aboard a yacht are scheduled for next year.

In order to support the Shanghai yacht industry, a 1.6 km long coastline for a yacht wharf is under planning near Pudong, and the first yacht 4S dealership in Shanghai will be located there, together with public yacht moorings.

The ‘Yacht open day’ may sound too little and possibly too late for some readers, but it is a small step forward. The PR surrounding it has not only reached the HNW yacht owners, but also the general public who have taken more interest in boating as a result. China will become a very important global boating market, but the culture and infrastructure are still much under developed, and time is the only remedy for this. Taking the brakes off even slightly for an hour may not seem much, but we expect this action to trigger similar activities elsewhere in the country in future.


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