When shopping for a new yacht, the decision of which yacht tender to choose is often overlooked until the end of the project. On new builds, especially super yachts and mega yachts; the tender must be engineered to fit the parameters of the engineering already in place for the tender garage, or deck arrangement. Not only are the beam and overall length parameters, but the working capacity of the davits, and height of the fitted tender are taken into account.
As the tenders role has changed tremendously over the last couple of decades, so has the design and engineering going into the tenders themselves. Not only is the least weight for the strongest hull a priority; form and function is now looked into as the tenders are designed, and new lines brought to market.
Not simply an inflatable boat anymore, tenders now sport full fiberglass hulls with the customer’s choice of inflatable tube, or foam collar. Knowing what your primary use is, as well as your other intended roles for your yacht tender as you are shopping the choices, will allow you to pick the purchase which will always work just as needed when put to the test.
First off, will you be storing on board, or towing behind you? If stored on board, will it be on the foredeck, the flybridge, a swim platform, or garaged? Certain storage options will necessitate custom lifting points to be installed at the time of production. If towing, the safest and strongest option is to have your tow eye package installed as the hull is laid up, and not left to a service shop merely installing backing plates before delivery.
How many passengers will you most often cruise with? How many trips to shore or the dock are you comfortable making to get all of your party ashore? Most tenders, with their inherent flotation and stability, are rated to safely carry more passengers than they have comfortable seating for. Do you mind if some of your guests have to sit on the tubes, and hold onto safety handles for stability under transit; or would you like each passenger to have their own upholstered seat with secure grab rails for safety?
Are you looking for a simple water taxi, to take you to the dinghy dock or waterfront restaurant? Or is a sport boat for watersports more in line with your yachting lifestyle? Tenders with too little length in the water, or small outboards will not work for pulling water toys and skiers. A tender with a small beam and a bimini top will not work for an avid fisherman. A Novurania is an ideal dive platform, but you need to choose a model with as much open deck space as possible to comfortably don dive gear and store dive tanks on deck.
An often overlooked part of the shopping process for yacht tenders is the service aspect. As the boats themselves are very low maintenance, the major service item will be your engine choice. Look for a tender that offers an engine package which has service and warranty centers in your preferred cruising area. There is nothing more frustrating than having a small issue turn into a major problem, due to a lack of service capability where you keep your yacht. This goes with any electronics package you may have installed at the time of purchase or after taking delivery, as well.
In conclusion, the number and variety of options for a tender is staggering in today’s market. If you go into your purchase armed with the knowledge of exactly what you need and want; you will be much more pleased with the tender you end up purchasing. If bought correctly, the yacht tender can be as much a point of enjoyment and pride, as the yacht itself.
Look carefully and choose wisely,
President – Novurania of America, Inc.