Berkay Yilmaz is the Commercial Director for Bilgin Yachts.
Please tell us about your personal background, how long you have been at the company and what your role is.
I am a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer and I have been in the industry for almost 15 years. Prior to joining Bilgin Yachts as the Commercial Director in 2021, I had roles in production-design engineering, project management and operations management for two other shipyards. My responsibilities include new build enquiries for fully custom projects and semi-custom projects from 50m to 120m, as well as collaborating with clients, brokers and designers from around the world.
What is the ethos and/or mission of the shipyard? How would you say that sets you apart from others in the industry?
Bilgin Yacht is a company deeply rooted in tradition and has been operated by the same family for five generations. From stainless steel hulls to furniture, our yachts are built in-house, achieving the ultimate quality, customizability and fit for every part. Our impeccable references and repeat clients are examples of our success!
From stainless steel hulls to furniture, Bilgin yachts are built in-house, achieving the ultimate quality, customizability and fit for every part.
Can you describe a ‘typical’ client? What are their priorities?
I think at the level of superyacht owners it is difficult to describe a ‘typical client’. Every client has a unique personality, set of expectations and priorities. Some clients, we only know by name but have never visited the shipyard, while others need full control of the process, to feel the spaces, to touch the materials, to form a personal bond with their yacht as it is forming. What we can say is that clients like to bring their lifestyle into their yachts.
At the level of superyacht owners, it is difficult to describe a ‘typical client’. Every client has a unique personality, set of expectations and priorities.
Of course, every client values confidentiality during the design-build process, as well as transparency, support and the ability to customize the vessel to add their personal styles. Another crucial factor is to have a flawless and enjoyable collaboration with the shipyard over the whole build cycle, which can take 3-4 years.
Are you seeing any emerging trends from owners that are influencing the design and use of yachts?
Design features such as expansive halls and outdoor spaces for socializing, as well as larger windows that offer 360-degree views are becoming more popular. There is also increasing focus on the areas close to the sea, such as a beach club, an aft deck, and a swimming platform. Sustainability and environmental friendliness are another major concern among owners, builders, regulators, and the entire world around us. This affects all aspects of a yacht design and build significantly.
Sustainability and environmental friendliness are another major concern among owners, builders, regulators, and the entire world around us. This affects all aspects of a yacht design and build significantly.
As a builder, what would you like to see change in the industry?
It is the right time to accelerate innovation in the yachting industry, shifting the focus from specific parts and features to a flawless, holistic owner experience. We believe we are moving towards a future where indoor living complements and simulates the outdoor, where high technology, sustainability and environmental friendliness is invisible yet woven into every function of the yacht. Bilgin’s high level of vertical integration of processes puts us into a unique position to deliver this “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” vision more than most other companies in our market.
It is the right time to accelerate innovation in the yachting industry, shifting the focus from specific parts and features to a flawless, holistic owner experience
What challenges do shipyards and builders face, and how have you overcome these?
The superyacht industry caters to a very selective and demanding clientele. Practically every project reflects the unique vision of her owner. Ground-breaking contemporary designs, rare materials and ever-changing lifestyle desires and marine regulations, require inspired and innovative solutions.
To overcome these, we rely on our approach of building our yachts in-house, with our trusted, highly experienced, and always improving teams, as well as having direct access to the Turkish market which is large enough to be able to supply any additional needed items or materials.
Do you have any predictions for how the market will evolve in the next decade?
Despite recent events, we see the market growing for the next decade, with a minor slowdown for order books in 2025-2026. Yachts were cherished as safe yet highly engaging living environments during COVID, and many clients saw the value of upsizing their boats.
For shipyards, whoever is building the highest-quality yachts is likely to encounter growing demand. As one of the 20 best yacht builders and a SYBASS member, we see ourselves building more, larger, and better yachts!
What is your favorite yacht and why?
My favorite yacht is M/Y Tatiana, which is the first yacht of Bilgin 263 – 80-meter series. I love her exterior design, very sleek, aggressive, and unique in comparison to other 70 – 90-meter yachts in the market. She also has several unique features such as the indoor swimming pool at the beach club with two shell doors and one transom door, and a direct staircase leading to the main saloon. I have never seen any yacht in the market that integrated four different spaces – the beach club, swimming platform, main saloon, and main aft deck – so well with each other.