New figures from Superyacht UK, an association within British Marine, show that the UK superyacht industry experienced its fifth consecutive year of growth in 2016/17, with its highest revenue figures yet.

Despite continued uncertainty that followed the EU referendum and recent general election, the sector remains buoyant, contributing £450m in Gross Value Added to UK GDP while generating an estimated £186m in taxes for the UK exchequer. Exports also grew in 2016 at their fastest rate for seven years.

The statistics show that:

  • Industry revenue has grown 1.7% to £615m
  • Superyacht sector exports to both the EU and the rest of the world have grown at their fastest rate in the last seven years, with supply chain businesses finding a particularly buoyant market for their products outside of the EU
  • Three in five businesses trading in the sector are confident about the future
  • The UK’s superyacht service and support businesses continue to be world leaders
  • Full-time employment figures have risen 3.3% to 4,244

The report indicates that a period of transition is shaping the UK superyacht sector as motoryacht builders look to shift into larger custom new-build projects to compete with Europe’s largest builders.

As international owners look to update the yachts they already own, UK refit activity has also increased, accounting for 58% of the manufacturing market, with UK shipyards benefitting from sterling’s depreciation and improved cost competitiveness.

Howard Pridding, chief executive officer at British Marine, says: “Confidence in the sector is high and we expect to see further growth into 2018, despite the ongoing political uncertainty. Our sector is primarily driven by a customer base that is less exposed to economic risk, be it in the UK or the EU, meaning the UK market remains strong.”

Commenting on the UK’s position as a hub for both owners and maritime businesses seeking quality, expertise and efficiency, Pridding says: “UK designers and builders continue to be in global demand, but we must also celebrate the supply chain and support services, which really set the UK apart from its competitors.”

On rising production costs versus UK currency depreciation, he adds: “The EU is the primary supplier of marine raw materials and components for UK boat manufacturers. While costs of manufacturing have risen 5.98% between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017 due to the weakened pound, Sterling’s depreciation is a net benefit for exporting manufacturers – foreign customers’ purchasing power is stronger than ever.”