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Yacht Agents... Are they worth the money?
faybion
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 6:33 AM
Joined: 18/11/2008
Posts: 66


Yacht Agents... Are they really worth the money or is it just a rip off merchant?

From the experiences I have had so far I can not say much for Yacht Agents except for One that we use in French Ploynesia and that's only beacasue we have had such bad Agents in other places I realised the guy we used in FP was actually doing a great job.

They charge you either 10 percent or even 25 percent in some south pacific islands on everyting they do for you, or a flat rate. And that of course is if you even get to see the orginal invoice from the sub contractors so they may have slapped on a bit more.

One Island we were in was arranging our fuel and water at the shipping dock, we were told we needed a letter from customs and immigration to allow us on the dock which of course the agents were arranging after a long 2 days of nothing happening I called the top guys myself and sorted out this so called 'letter' and was on the dock within 20 mins once there the agent did not even arrange the fuel for a boat and we even had to say to him why don't you give the station a call and ask if they can come now....? he say 'oh yes that is a good idea' are these people complete idiots? Why do we pay a 500 USD agent fee and have to do the ringing round ourselves.

Our latest agent lied to us telling us they had sent away a part for repair outside the country and infact sat on the part and had it reapired locally which turned out to be bodge job and the part is no better than when it was sent away.

Once you have contracted an agent what are the legal obligations and where do we stand on disbuting the bill asking to see sub contractor's invoices, time sheets and cost breakdowns etc?

What are other peoples finding's with agents have you had one good agent or had bad experiences?


Henning
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:47 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Discovering the joys of captaincy I see.... Agents are like the rest of the human race, 80% of them are worthless, 20% can do their jobs. Out of the 20%, 15% of those are crooks, so you have to watch everything until you have a well established relationship, then you still have to audit 30% of what they do. I find I can usually manage without an agent pretty well just by asking around a bit and walking into a few offices with a smile and give gratuities directly to the dock master/ harbor master where ever I am. Usually it's a lot cheaper and you get better service than from many agents.

junior
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 10:09 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Henning is correct, best to do without agents. Many times I watch yacht captains pacing back and forth on the quay, frantically dialing agents , endevouring to accomplish simple tasks that only need a walk across the street and five minutes of your time. Most tasks can be accomplished by you or your crew . Always ask around other yachts, particularly the Mom and Pop world cruiser types for "how to get it done " info. Those guys don't waste money and have an excellent grapevine with other cruisers. Many times a Grapevine such as Noonsite http://www.noonsite.com/Members/doina/R2006-08-05-4 can pass on valuable advice. One of the reasons why a resume and seatime is so important is that it infers "how to get it done " experience. You re young so Id suggest to avoid agents, get your boots on the ground and do things yourself...in person. Always personally go to the port captains office when seeking clearance, always personally go to the fuel depot when organizing delivery, always go to the customs office when importing a piece of equipment. Meet the people. 90 percent of the time its simply a signature, insurance documents and copy of ships papers that gets the fuel mini tanker authorization to fuel you at the public dock. As you now begin to see, the profile of a good crew is not a stack of yacht certificates operating an Iphone.. The best crew are street smart, have a pleasant "can do" attitude and inevitably get the best out of any local infrastructure. Find these crew, hire them and give them responsibilties. The best agents are the ones back home in the marine industry ,working in the background, forwarding spare parts and solving logistical problems for you as you move. They cost little extra as they typically purchase wholesale , sell to you retail . These agents are very worthwhile since they have a past track record with both you and your owner. At the moment I have an agent sourcing a spare part, a dimmer switch in the owners cabin, then shipping it to a guest so that he may personally carry it as luggage when he travels to the yacht in two weeks.
faybion
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 11:49 PM
Joined: 18/11/2008
Posts: 66


I just setteled the bill with one agent who wacked on a 25% that i did not even agree to when i altered the bill i decided i would give them 10% to be fair as the first day when the scouted us they did say it was 10% theiving agents trying to add on extras if you wont notice, once paid the lady did not even say anything to me just 'ok thats fine'!

I have tried to adviod them like the plague but for some reason they end up 'doing' things for us. This one agent who approched us about some engineering help said he could help it took a few days to actualy realise he was working for an agent, when he approched us we thought he was an independant guy just making some money on the side, ( he was not wearing a uniform) so we thought yeh sounds like he can help us get some things sorted we then find out he works for the agent! WTF? sorry for the language but please!

 Being new to the game and  learning everyday, espically when wanting to get things done cut out the agent, the middle man the sub man and get to the top your self, its quicker less painful and at least you know where you stand. I just hate getting ripped off whether its my moey or the bosses I cant stand it!!!

So again what are the legal obligations to yacht agents?

faybion
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 11:53 PM
Joined: 18/11/2008
Posts: 66


Henning and Junior Thank you for your response! Oh and Yes Noonsite is a good website someone told me about this last month had much advise from it

Faye

Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C inc San Diego
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 6:03 AM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 63


Hi, my name is Mark Drewelow, C2C San Diego. We are a Yacht Agent. I spent 20 years at sea around the world on yachts prior to starting C2C in 2003. I worked as deckhand, steward, cook, first officer, engineer and Captain. Agents are not for all operations and if you need one, make sure you are using the best. The Association of Yacht Support Services ( AYSS ) is a world wide network of yacht agents that we are part of. I also chair the Ethics and Grievances working group of AYSS , and previously spent 3 years on the governing council. C2C works with 2-3 dozen high profile yachts every year, large and small operations. We do very little advertising and all our clients have come to us by word of mouth from other happy clients. We sort out a great variety of issues that yachts are in with pilotage, USCG, CBP, visa issues, etc etc. Our client list includes yachts like Ice, Princess Mariana, Rosehearty, April Fool, Slojo, Lady Christine, Tatoosh, Atlantide, Apoise, Attessa, Seljm, Perseus, Zenji, and many more. When we engage a new client, we release a rate sheet that explains exactly what we charge for various tasks. We receive confirmation that the Captain understands the rate sheet and our billing does not deviate from the rate sheet. We are transparent in how we operate. We give out a lot of free usefull information to clients and to operations that are not clients. The overriding factor is we want every large yacht visit to the west coast to be outstanding. We work behind the scenes with the pilotage organizations, USCG, CBP, and other regulatory type entities to make sure they understand yachts and what they bring to the communities they visit. We are also exercise corporate responsibility in that we donate part of our profits to fund our charity YachtAid Global. We coordinate delivery of school supplies and medical equipment by yacht to remote locations around the world. There are good agents and bad agents. There are also good yachts to have as clients and bad yachts. We are a hard working company and hope that our efforts have a positive affect on the larger image of the yacht agent. This thread should be a call to action to all agents to stand up and write something positive.
junior
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 8:36 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Legal obligations towards agents ? I have no idea. I don't often use agents and when I do I always pay what is asked, if I didn't like the work or bill I never use them again. Normally the work they organize for your costs little more than if you organized the work yourself. Agents bargain their profit from the sub contractors and suppliers . When you ask agents to do pain in the ass, run around work they typically charge time and materials. Best to keep agents working for their profit in the wholesale retail supply cycle. Dockage and marina berths are the big problem around the west med. At present an agent manages a berth that we own. If your a charter yacht and would like to stay in this berth expect to pay 50 to 100 percent over the normal rate. Agents , management are at their best when you are on your way to a maintenance cycle. They organize things on the ground for you before you arrive and are worth their weight in gold. The problem is that many agents are simply not deeply connected to the marine industry. These days it seems like every retired yacht captain on earth morphs into an agent or manager . Beware of these types. The best agents are senior marine industry people who break off from their paint company or shipyard and work with private clients. These agents know every one in the marine industry and can call in favours owed to your advantage. If you find a good one stick to them and dont worry to much about the extra cost...agents also have to make a living ...just make sure they get the job done and represent good value. And don't worry to much about money wasting mistakes you may make. Your owner has plenty of money... sometimes you waste it. Ive never run into a conflict with an owner over honest mistakes Ive made while representing his interests.
Nick Coombes
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 11:12 AM
Joined: 06/05/2010
Posts: 9


I have been a Superyacht Captain for the past 15 years, and have had the pleasure of completing several global circumnavigations.
 The Captain is NOT legally obligated to use an agent, or even to keep an agent once he has appointed one.  He is obligated to provide the best possible service to his Vessel and its owners/charterer's, as well as complete his port visit in the most economical time frame possible. This is where a good yacht agent is indispensable.
 A good agent spends considerable time behind the scenes securing the services of the very best subcontractors, garnering favor with Customs, Immigration and Harbormaster, Limo drivers, Produce Suppliers etc, so when you have those crazy last minute requests, they can make the captain look like a hero.
 Throughout the years i have come across many bad and many good agents, which thankfully led me to the AYSS, or Association Of Yacht Support Services.  Founded by a few select members, it has grown over the years to include the very best agents spread throughout the globe. They have a very strict membership criteria, as well as a dedicated ethics and grevance's committee to handle any concerns raised by Yacht Captains.
 In addition, their members understand transparent accounting, and have always produced copies of any receipts i have asked for.
 There are many out there who see shiny white yachts as a way to make a quick dollar, but there are also dedicated professionals who have made it their life's work to provided a quality service to vessels visiting their region.
 Do not take unnecessary risks, check out www.ayss.org today and deal with the very best.

Yacht Services of Alaska
Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 6:47 PM
Joined: 06/05/2010
Posts: 2


My name is Rex Westergard.  I am a vessel agent for Yacht Services of Alaska (YSA) with head offices in Ketchikan, Alaska. We are proud members of the Association of Yacht Support Services (AYSS) a worldwide association of yacht agents.  Our agency provides seamless service to vessels over a huge geographic area which spans from the temperate rain forest of the Southeast Alaska Panhandle, to Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Kodiak, the Aleutian Islands, the Pribilof Islands, Western Alaska and on to the Northwest Passage.  We have offices and agents in most of Alaska's coastal communities and villages.  We works closely with other agencies on the west Coast of the US and Canada and beyond providing services to the maritime industry. YSA strongly feels we have not been fairly portrayed by some of the comments made in this discussion.  We have a very challenging job that is not only inherent in the yacht agency business itself,  but the expanse of our area of expertise requires a huge infrastructure to adequately provide for our vessels.  Local knowledge and good service can make the captains job easier.  Our team is extremely busy, we work long hours and don't drag our feet. Our goal is to provide exemplary service. Obviously there are "glitches" that arise and sometimes the remoteness of Alaska poses logistical difficulties.  We try to keep our yachts out of "harm's way" working with the various government entities to comply with their everchanging dictums.  Our company has been at the forefront of the maritime industry in Alaska for 56 years. Yacht Services of Alaska understands the need to be fiscally responsible as we aspire to that goal as well. We feel our rates are fair, reasonable and necessary to maintain the level of service we provide. Our billing is totally transparent as our accounting department includes copies of all service related receipts and invoices to the masters, owners or managers when we send out our bills.  Our agency does not mark up any vendor, excursion or service invoices. They are passed through directly to the yacht.  With one exception, we make our agency fees only. Yacht Services of Alaska does charge a percentage for setting up bunkering.  Within the first couple of communiques with a yacht YSA send our rates to the vessel masters giving them and their owners ample opportunity for questions regarding same. Over the past five years Yacht Services of Alaska has worked with over 150 yachts cruising the scenic waters of Alaska. Most of these have apreciated the work we performed.



.


In addition to filing crew and passenger lists YSA intercedes on your behalf
with Customs regarding your initial arrival. Alaska is very strict on
masters "reporting immediately on arrival at each manned port". Please
note this verbiage found on the front of your cruising permit.  Our policy
is to forward your cruising permit, crew list and passenger list ahead of
you to the next manned port and communicate with CBP your ETA and take
 care of any questions CBP may have. Every summer we have CBP levy fines on
vessel masters who don't follow the immediate notification procedures.



Warm regards
Rex A. Westergard
Yacht Services of Alaska


faybion
Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010 9:57 PM
Joined: 18/11/2008
Posts: 66


Hi

 

Thank you for the response, I checked out AYSS and it is a helpful website, just for intrest one of our best agents is not listed on the site and one of the troublesome ones is.

 

Faye


Marc
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 5:33 AM
Joined: 03/07/2009
Posts: 4


My only advice is that if you feel they are ripping you off, send them away to re-think the bill.  I have just had a run in with an agent in Egypt who was loading my invoice because they thought they could get away with it.  I suspect that historically, the previous captain had not questioned anything and so the agent continued with the excessive charges.  Once I had settled in, I started to look at the invoices in a little more depth and the s**t hit the proverbial fan when I received an invoice that, after investigation and a few phone calls, turned out to have nearly an 80% agency fee .  I refused to pay it and threatened the loss of any further business from my yacht unless they came up with a better price.  Two days later they tried again with a reduced bill and again, I sent them away to re-think their charges.  A few days after that, they gave me a fully itemised invoice with no agency fees.  At this point I thanked them, we came to an agreement on what was an acceptable percentage level for both of us and I hope from now on that this sort of stand off will not be necessary.  The agency concerned do a pretty good service in a country where shipping and customs formalities are less than straightforward so I  prefer to keep a good working realtionship where both sides are happy.  There is no point in alienating your support services to the point where they no longer want to help/work for you for the sake of a few Euros. 

SBC
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 6:46 AM
Joined: 14/10/2008
Posts: 33


I wonder why Henning thinks that 80% of the human race is worthless? What does that mean, Henning? To be enslaved, occupied, controlled, even killed, to make room for the worthy, or just ignored, humiliated, shat upon? By who? The Germans (they tried) the US? (still trying) The Brits (too busy bickering about lost empire) the French (hmmm) And other 15% are crooks.? I wonder which part he consider himself part of? The exclusive 5 % percent of the human race which are REALLY worthy of existing.
junior
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:06 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Well said Marc....keep an eye on the invoice and don't alienate the agent. Some of those agents are really family "clans" . I cant tell you how many time Ive been put in the go slow line because I didnt use the port captains brother in law as agent to file my documents. In some countries formalities and paperwork are so dense, onerous ,that its hard to escape using an agent. The USA and Alaska is a perfect example Both of the agents above seem to be held in high regard by the marine industry so Id probably also use them. The secret with using any agent is to already have a rough idea of cost and complexity or the task and only use an agent for critical details. To often I see captains hire agents to do their work !!!! Another shortcoming with using agents is that you as captain never develop a personal working relationship with the local service provider.
chrismlewis
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 7:13 AM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 118


My experience with agents has generally been excellent, but then I only use agents that have been recommended by fellow Captains.  If I can do the work myself, then I will do so, but often this is just not possible due to langauge barriers or local requirement. If we are in port on a very short time frame or need a berth in a difficult port then an agent can be a life (or job anyway) saver!

werner
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 9:32 AM
Joined: 07/05/2010
Posts: 1


Hennings sure sounds like the son of Hitler or Saddam  . Does he think he falls in the 5% category . The world is what it is today because of the greedy 5% who takes advantage of the rest of us for their own benefit . Let me remind you both the above mentioned are where they belong .
Henning
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 11:05 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


The world is in the shape it's in right now because the majority is too stupid, lazy or apathetic to do anything about it and as long as the greedy 5% promise to make their lives easier at someone else's cost, they're good with that. That's how the greedy and corrupt manage to rule. Hitler and Saddam did not come to power in a vacuum.

Anonymous
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 11:15 AM
The best agent I have found in the Med was in Croatia. I had the fortune of dealing with Luka and Petra from LP Services in Croatia. They were honest, personable and very helpful. Billing was easy as there were no discrepancies. If fellow Captains are going to Croatia, try them.
Indonesia
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2010 1:33 AM
Joined: 09/05/2010
Posts: 3


We have been running a boat in Indonesia for 2 years.
The agent we use, a guy called Richard, is very good.
We perfer to call him "boat managment support" as the term agent seems to have such
negative conitations. (as evidenced in some of these pages)
In a country where time seems to have no consequence, corruption is rife
and all the locals seem to have big boats in their sights to get rich quick, Richard
navigates us through the bevi of condracting local regulations, overally intrusive officialdom
and the plain just hard to do. And does so while invoicing fairly & transparently.
I have found in developing countries, an honest &  compentent "boat managment support"
person is invalueable and saves us time, money & stress.
If you are ever going to Indonesia look up Richard.

 
 


aeronautic1
Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 4:10 AM
Joined: 25/07/2008
Posts: 32


Agents are the modern day wreckers of lore, who would hang lanterns in the treetops to lure unsuspecting captains to their doom. Harrrghhh.

That being said, I agree with dockamsters being an excellent source of local knowledge. It is amazing what freshly caught filet of mahi or an ono steak can get you.


Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C inc San Diego
Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 5:31 AM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 63


Interesting thread going. A controversial topic as we can all see. There are some broad comments that are being made. C2C is proud to be an agent and works to an ethical standard that is proven and sound. Faye, I chair the Ethics and Grivences working group in the AYSS organization. If you are unhappy with an AYSS agent, please contact me directly or via the AYSS web site. www.ayss.org We use extractions from our Ethics and Grievences findings to guide the association into the future and make it a better organization. Captains have an obligation to the industry to provide feedback so we can all work cohesively to the ultimate goal of being ready for the owners and making sure they have a great time aboard their yacht. As a Captain, you can make a difference by engaging and providing the facts of the situation. Aeronautic1, please describe your experiences with agents that gives you a harsh position. Did the agents you use come to you by referal? Did you check on references and the reputation of the agent? Did you really need the agent? Were you running a boat where you had first position contact with the agents in question? Did you get a rate sheet in advance and approve of it before engaging in business?
Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C inc San Diego
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 2:02 PM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 63


I thought this thread would stay live. So here is some nudging. I understand all this from the crew, captain and agent perspective. A Captain has a duty to the owner to look after the best interest of the operation. There are Captains that delegate things to the agent as that is the easy thing to do and they should be doing those things internally. And there are the Captains that delegate to the agent as they really need help. Odds are that the complaints about agents are from Captains that dont really need help, but are looking for the easy out and are not looking after the best interest of the operation. The Captain that really needs help does his homework and finds the right agent to work with. As a company we take on some critically important tasking for clients. For example, the USCG NOA. Operations should do that internally but some run into issues and ask us to step in. The boat takes on dozen guests, Captain is too busy or communications issues, boat is changing captain of the port zones, we step in and take care of it. Or some issue comes up where we can use the Force Majeure clause in the NOA regs and the Captain needs our expertise to present the case to local USCG. Provisions in Easter Island to a high level that has never been done before.... we take care of it. Cruise around the Hawaiian Islands to the higest of industry standards.... we take care of it. Negotiate use of the Malibu Pier as a landing point, we take care of it. And you know what? We dont get complaints. The Captains do their homework in advance to determine who to call for help, and they end up callling C2C. There were some questions posed earlier in this thread that are left unanswered. Come on people, stepup and keep this thread alive please.
Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C inc San Diego
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 2:06 PM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 63


Faye, I chair the Ethics and Grivences working group in the AYSS organization. If you are unhappy with an AYSS agent, please contact me directly or via the AYSS web site. www.ayss.org We use extractions from our Ethics and Grievences findings to guide the association into the future and make it a better organization. Captains have an obligation to the industry to provide feedback so we can all work cohesively to the ultimate goal of being ready for the owners and making sure they have a great time aboard their yacht. As a Captain, you can make a difference by engaging and providing the facts of the situation.
Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C inc San Diego
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 2:08 PM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 63


Aeronautic1, please describe your experiences with agents that gives you a harsh position. Did the agents you use come to you by referal? Did you check on references and the reputation of the agent? Did you really need the agent? Were you running a boat where you had first position contact with the agents in question? Did you get a rate sheet in advance and approve of it before engaging in business?
Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C inc San Diego
Posted: Monday, May 24, 2010 4:42 AM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 63


Aeronautic1, please describe your experiences with agents that gives you a harsh position. Did the agents you use come to you by referal? Did you check on references and the reputation of the agent? Did you really need the agent? Were you running a boat where you had first position contact with the agents in question? Did you get a rate sheet in advance and approve of it before engaging in business?
J Norris-Saint-Jours
Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:28 PM
Joined: 25/05/2010
Posts: 1


Hi All, Sorry for those bad experiences with yacht agencies... It is something that ASK CLAIRE YACHT SERVICES in Saint Tropez has tried long and hard to overcome. We work hard to earn our captain's confidence and charging a fee that does not reflect a good value for money spent cannot make for repeat customers. The world is getting smaller and, in this business especially, reputation is everything. Our rates reflect only time spent on services to a particular yacht. Forty-five euros per hour divisible; nothing more. Our job is to make captains look good. Our vast local knowledge and speed of response is what we have to sell. NO AGENCY FEES! You get what you pay for. Try us and walk away with a smile. We are not all alike! Claire Norris-Saint-Jours ASK CLAIRE YACHT SERVICE Saint Tropez, FRANCE +33 (0)6 22 73 37 28
CaptRMorris
Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2010 2:21 PM
Joined: 11/07/2010
Posts: 2


I am an ex yacht captain and have acted as the main superyacht agent/concierge in Sydney for the last 11 years. I head up Australasian Superyacht Services; Australia's national superyacht agency. For an unbiased list of superyacht agents in every port, check out the Great Southern Route Superyacht Sailing Guide. It lists all agents in all countries between Panama and Suez. When selecting an agent, it is best to make contact well in advance of your arrival, make the agent well aware of your intentions and the level of service you require. Agree a rate for all fees, charges, mark ups, etc, and request that no charges are levied until prior permission given from yourself. There will therefore be no surprises and the expection of the service level to you will be crystal clear. Communication is the key. The agents want to give you, your owner and your crew the best time possible in their port. If you treat them right, you will get treated right in return. Captain Richard Morris
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 8:49 AM
When in Langkawi use only local agents. They charge in Local currency. Maya Projects is one of the best. Clearence in / out 300 Ringit ( 100 USD )

Never had any problems very honest company local Malaysian with good contacts in the immigration / harbour master customs departments.

Thailand inbound Clearence arrangement Langkawi out / In Koh Lipe rather than Expensive Phuket.

Parcel delivery 50 ringit. (15 USD )

Please Note That Clearance Charges DO NOT Include Port & Light Dues For Marine Department. Port & Light Dues Charges Will Be Charged As Per Authority’s Receipts.

 

 

For Any Further Information, Kindly Contact Us Through Mobile: R Munerwar +6012 237 1517


 
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