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What happens when a superyacht is in dry dock?

Let’s talk about what a yacht crew does when the boat is in dry dock. If you're a seafarer, yachtie or part of the yachting industry, you know the drill. And if you're not, well, let us help you..

CREW! Before reading on, you might be interested to read this:

Wild Truths You Must Know About Superyacht Crew

What is a Dry Dock?

A dry dock is a facility that lifts ships out of the water and into a specially designed basin so that repairs and maintenance work can be carried out. This process is essential for all boats and ships, including superyachts. When the boat is in dry dock, it's not moving. That means there are no waves, and no motion sickness. Can I get a hallelujah? The crew definitely takes advantage of this. They catch up on sleep, watch movies, and generally try to relax and switch off. Of course, there's always a bit of work to be done. Crew must make sure everything is clean and organised so that when the boat is back in the water, it's seaworthy.

Why Is Dry Dock Important?

Dry dock is important for superyachts because it allows for comprehensive inspections and maintenance work that can extend the life of the vessel. In addition, some repair work can only be done on land, such as replacing corroded metal plates or repairing the hull.

What Happens to Superyachts in Dry Dock?

Once a superyacht is lifted out of the water and into dry dock, it is placed on stands and secured. The hull is then cleaned, inspected, and any necessary repairs are made. This can include repainting the bottom of the hull, replacing the zinc anodes, and repairing any damage to the propellers or steering gear. But let's be real. Sometimes, there are some strange requests from the captain or owner during dry dock. As an example, you may be asked to repaint the entire engine room in the owner's favourite shade of blue. Another time, you might be asked to move a hot tub from one deck to another. It's all in a day's work, right? 

What Do Crew Get Up To During Dry Dock?

Crew members who choose to remain onboard during Dry-Dock will receive a basic salary and will be responsible for assigned duties, such as Fire Patrol, bar service for contractors, and cleaning tasks. As numerous contractors will be onboard completing various projects, restrictions will be in place regarding where crew members may be on the ship, their duties, and dining locations.

During Dry-Dock, the workload is typically lighter without passengers on board, but requires a high level of flexibility and the ability to be on call. With multiple workers present, caution must be exercised while moving around the ship due to ongoing tasks such as welding, electrical work, and sanding of the teak floors. These activities can result in sparks, hanging cables, and restricted areas. 

How Long Does a Superyacht Stay in Dry Dock?

The length of time a superyacht stays in dry dock can vary depending on the scope of work needed. Minor repairs can take only a few days, while major overhauls can take several months.

How Do You Choose the Right Dry Dock for Your Superyacht?

Choosing the right dry dock for your superyacht is essential to ensure that the work is done properly. Factors to consider include the facility's location, capabilities, and reputation. It's recommended to choose a dry dock with experience working on superyachts and those with proven safety records.

Of course, dry dock isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It can be a stressful time for the captain and owner, who are eager to get back on the water. Captains and heads of department make sure to keep the crew informed about the boat's progress and try to keep the staff’s spirits up. It can be difficult, but it's all part of the job.

Interested to know how vessels are keeping up with technological advancements? Have a read of our previous blog: ‘How Technology Is Improving Boat Operations

In conclusion, taking the superyacht to a dry dock is an essential part of superyacht ownership and maintenance. Dry dock allows for the comprehensive inspection and repair of superyachts, which in turn ensures a longer lifespan. It's important to choose the right dry dock for your vessel to be certain that the work is done correctly and safely. By understanding the importance and process of dry dock, superyacht owners can ensure their vessels continue to provide them with a luxurious and enjoyable experience.