YATCO Broker of the Month: Mark Seaton, Yacht & Villa

Read below on what brought Mark Seaton, Yacht & Villa, to yachting, who influences him, and some of his greatest accomplishments.

YATCO’s Broker of the Month series examines the influences and catalysts that brought these brokers into the world of yachting, who influenced them, and what they seek to change in the industry.  

Mark Seaton is Managing Director at Yacht & Villa.

How did you get your start in yachting? 

I was lucky to be introduced to sailing as a young boy, at my local club in Devon, England. This progressed into years of competitive yacht racing, and until I graduated from university, I also worked as a sailing instructor. I developed a love of boats and the sea that has stayed with me throughout my life.

My first “real” job was then working at Boat International Publishing Group in London. This was a great opportunity to learn about the marketing and communication side of the superyacht industry, attending yacht shows across the world and dealing with advertising clients made up of brokers, equipment suppliers, builders, and yacht designers. 

I then joined a yacht brokerage firm in London before setting up my own company. I have been a yacht broker and dealer now for more than 20 years, starting out with importing small trawler and explorer yachts from China in the early 2000s and eventually growing into a superyacht brokerage and new construction. 

Is there anyone in particular who influences you – someone in the industry that you look up to, and why? 

I particularly admire yacht brokers who have worked from the bottom up to learn their craft, acquired expert knowledge over many years, and who keep on learning. Especially those who operate with integrity and honesty.  

What do you enjoy most about the yachting industry and what do you wish you could change?  

I particularly enjoy working on new construction projects.

Seeing a client’s dream develop from an initial brief and designs, watching as pieces of steel and aluminum are being welded in a busy shipyard, checking the quality of every detail, witnessing the launch as the finished vessel is brought to life is something that I find fascinating. 

Do you have any advice for someone wishing to join the yachting industry? 

The best advice that I can give is to learn about boats and the sea. Get sailing lessons, or work as crew, as a deckhand, as a stewardess, whatever it takes, and find out if you like it. Any eventual route that you take into the industry is likely to work out better if you have first-hand knowledge of, and a passion for, boats and the sea 

What are some of the challenges you come across at work, and how do you approach them? 

One challenge that I regularly face is that of taking over the Central Agency Sales listing of superyachts that have already been on the market for long periods of time without selling. When we take over the sales listing, we approach this challenge by identifying why the vessel has not already been sold. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a demoralized captain undertaking client viewings in the place of brokers, a maintenance issue, a conflict of interest, or a mistake in the marketing details. Sometimes the vessel has special capabilities or features and requires a very “bespoke” marketing campaign. The challenge is to identify and resolve these issues for the owner to ensure a successful sale. It is a challenge that I greatly enjoy. 

Tell us about your greatest accomplishment. 

I was at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2008 when a whisper started going around the show that Lehman brothers had collapsed. It was the realization that a Global Financial Crises was taking hold. I remember there was widespread panic. At the time, I had several yachts under order and in construction at shipyards for clients, as well as several demonstration vessels and part-exchange vessels in stock.

Through hard work, I survived that difficult time, maintaining my yacht sales business and delivering all our new construction yachts, ensuring successful outcomes for my clients and partners. I learned a lot from that period and came out of it stronger. 

What is your favorite yacht currently for sale and why?

Etoile 2023 107' 9" CUSTOM LINE Motor Yacht
Etoile 2023 107′ 9″ CUSTOM LINE Motor Yacht

I currently have listed for sale as Central Agent the 2023 Custom Line CL 106 yacht, M/Y ETOILE. She is brand new and has a very tasteful and well executed yacht interior. As hull #16, she really displays everything that is amazing about Italian series production yacht building culture and skill. 

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