Published in the PARK Magazine Edition December 2021.
Large Yachting Database with $50+ Billion Worth in Yachts
“Do what you love” is the recipe for success cited by some of the world’s most accomplished people, from Maya Angelou to Steve Jobs. That’s how Steven Myers turned his lifelong passion for boating into YATCO, the official MLS and sole online service dedicated exclusively to yacht and boat listings by qualified professionals.
A digital marketplace for more than 20 years, YATCO has over $50 billion in new and used yachts always listed for sale at all times and supports more than 2,000 professional brokers around the globe.
Think of it as the Zillow or Realtor.com of the boating industry. “We’re offering the same thing for the boathing industry.
“We’re offering the same thing for the yachting industry,” says Myers. “We are the only platform dedicated to true central listings. The moment any big yacht in the world goes up for sale, it will go into our system.”
Then all the professionals in the industry will get alerts that that vessel is now for sale, and they can present that inventory to their client base. Link: https://www.yatco.com/
Expanded Offerings: Builders and Yachts for Charter
The company has expanded and now allows boat builders to present their offerings.
“On our platform, you can see, for example, who is building a vessel between $10 and $20 million, in a certain category and region, Europe, Asia, or the U.S.,” Myers says.
They’ve also recently expanded the service to offer yachts for charter globally, an area that has never had a central source provided by the industry.
“Previously, you had to go to one representative to find any charter for sale, and we’re now opening that up so that you can find, in real-time, what’s available, with a calendaring system, so that you can say, ‘I want these two weeks on the Italian Riviera. What’s available?’”
A Trusted, Accurate, and User-Friendly Platform for Consumers Worldwide
Traditionally a source for industry professionals, YATCO has now opened its platform to consumers. The site gets millions of visits and already has about 150,000 registered users. As with real estate, if you inquire about a listing, you are contacting a licensed broker who has been contracted to sell the vessel. A recent acquisition in Australia, YachtandBoat.com, has doubled the company’s inventory, and encompassed the Asia Pacific region. That site also focuses on smaller boats, not only yachts.
“With that combination, it allows us to really expand our reach worldwide and cover from the smallest boat, whether it’s a tender or a little runabout, all the way up to the world’s biggest superyachts,” says Myers.
The New Yacht Boom
Yacht sales worldwide have boomed during the pandemic; prices are up and inventory is way down.
“It’s one of the best family activities you could do throughout Covid; you get on your boat, you’re isolated, you’re contained,” says Myers.
As a result, private ownership has exploded, as has private use of vessels, because people are apprehensive about being in a hotel, while a yacht provides an isolated environment with a dedicated crew.
Myers grew up boating on the Chesapeake Bay in his family’s small Sea Ray-style boat. Over the years, he got jobs cleaning boats and sport fishing on charters out of the Maryland coastline. After graduating from Penn State, followed by a program at the University of Nice in France, and another at Wharton, Myers worked for Habitat for Humanity. “I was interested in saving the world, so to speak, as a fresh college grad,” he says.
Early Years in the Yachting Industry
He soon realized that his passion for yachting had been displaced and, at age 22, accepted an offer from the Viking Yacht Company to take over their inventory in Nice, France. Because of a 10% luxury tax that was later repealed, Myers saw Viking go from 1,400 employees to 40 and eventually back to over 1,000. Viking grew exponentially, and it seemed like every time he sold a boat, he saw another hundred cars in the parking lot. Providing jobs, Myers realized, is another way of helping people; he could make a difference doing what he loves.
“I never looked back and have been building my career around the yachting industry ever since.”
Traveling to boat shows around the world, he eventually saw the inefficiencies in the market and decided to create an online platform to connect retailers. Industry associations were supportive, and he launched YATCO in 2000.
Through charity events involving the yachting industry, he attended Elton John’s Oscars party and met VIPS like Bill Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington, and Brad Pitt. A big proponent of international travel, Myers tries to expose his two college-age children to different cultures as often as possible. A recent trip took them to 11 countries, including China, Singapore, Tokyo, New Zealand, and Australia. They did not travel by yacht, but they managed to go boating in just about every place on their itinerary.
“That’s one of the advantages of having been in the yachting industry for 30 years,” he says, laughing. “Any port in the world I go to, I know someone with a boat that I can go on.”