Stephenson Harwood's superyacht team has extensive experience advising in respect of the law applicable to the construction of superyachts.

Superyacht construction is a unique area of ship construction. When it comes to superyachts, aesthetic appearance, comfort and luxury are just as important as the technical construction of the yacht.

It is important that the construction contract accurately reflects all of the requirements unique to superyachts, as well as covering all of the usual issues you would expect to see in a shipbuilding contract.  The shipbuilding contract should protect both the owner and the builder:

  • Owners expect a vessel to be constructed as per the specification and for the final product to reflect the standard expected of a superyacht. It is also important that the contract provides the buyer with protection in respect of items such as performance warranties - aspects of a superyacht such as noise and vibration are key to ensuring the superyacht performs as intended.
  • Builders want to ensure that they will be paid on time and in full for their work. Payment may be made during the course of the project, in the form of milestones, so the builder has assurance that it will not be left out of pocket.

Stephenson Harwood's superyacht team regularly advise on all aspects of superyacht construction – our clients include superyacht builders, owners (including high net worth individuals) and banks.

Our team has strong understanding of the issues important to both an owner and a builder and can offer assistance throughout the entire course of the superyacht construction project. We are able to assist with reviewing, advising on and negotiating the yacht construction contract, assisting the parties during the course of the project to ensure a smooth working relationship and supporting the parties through delivery of the yacht.

Our assistance does not necessarily end there - we are also able to offer support after the superyacht has been constructed. Whilst it is hoped that nothing goes wrong after construction is complete, it is possible that owners will need to make warranty claims in the months or years after delivery. Our team is skilled in advising on post-delivery warranty claims.

It is also common for some form of security to be provided to the owner to protect their pre-delivery instalments. We are able to review and advise on key issues in the refund guarantees - and also regularly act for banks in this regard – as well as transfer of title arrangements.  In the event that an owner does need to make a claim under a refund guarantee or repossess a partly built yacht, we are able to assist owners in making such a claim.

Superyachts also sometimes require maintenance and upgrades – Stephenson Harwood are well placed to also advise on refit and refurbishment contracts.