Why You Should Consider a Custom Superyacht Builder for Your Next Refit

By George Bains

Choosing a shipyard for refit, maintenance, or survey work is a significant decision for yacht captains and owners, and one which often boils down to reputation and trust. When iconic 84m trimaran superyacht M/Y White Rabbit returned to the Echo Yachts facility this year for survey work, it epitomised the trusting relationships that have driven the shipyard’s expansion into the refit sector. As an award-winning builder of custom superyachts, Echo Yachts’ in-house capability and expertise provide a unique opportunity for refit projects in the Australasian region.

Trusting relationships have been a cornerstone of Echo Yachts since its inception. In fact, it was one client’s relationship with Echo Marine Group owner Mark Stothard which first led to the formation of the shipyard. Having previous experience of working together, the Singaporean client entrusted the build of custom superyachts White Rabbit and Charley to Stothard, and so the Echo Yachts brand was born.  

During the build of these superyachts, news soon spread to Captains and Owners of a new custom superyacht manufacturer in Western Australia equipped to deliver high quality refit and maintenance services, with the benefit of multidisciplinary in-house experts and large-scale infrastructure.  The first refit and maintenance project enquiries came naturally on the back of Echo Yachts’ capabilities and proximity to key cruising areas like the Maldives, including a full respray of the 51m Codecasa superyacht Atlas among other early projects taken on.

As is the case with European shipyards of the mould of Lürssen and Feadship, superyachts see many benefits in pursuing refit and maintenance projects with a newbuild yard. Driven by client demand, Echo Yachts is providing this complete newbuild and maintenance option in the Southern Hemisphere, benefitting from remarkable infrastructure, multidisciplinary in-house experts, and the enticing West Australian crusing grounds nearby to Asia.

Purpose-Built Shipyard

The purpose-built Echo Yachts shipyard in Fremantle, Western Australia, provides a comprehensive facility for superyacht refit, maintenance and repair projects. In particular, the shipyard offers something that has been scarce in the Southern Hemisphere – a fully equipped refit destination with a leading builder of large custom superyachts.

There is a great reassurance that Captains will feel in visiting a shipyard known for manufacturing award-winning superyachts from scratch, and this certainly increases the scope of work Echo Yachts is able to take on.

For large superyachts cruising in the South East Asia, the Indian Ocean or the South Pacific, Echo Yachts is the go-to for out-of-water works, boasting an impressive array of haul-out options.

Not only does Echo Yachts have its own world-class facility, but it is situation in the Australian Marine Complex, granting access to large-scale infrastructure designed to accommodate huge naval vessels.

The docking options comprise of an 800t slipway with transfer trolley system, 8,000t Syncrolift, and 12,000t floating dock with transfers via state-of-the-art SMPT remote control trailers. Superyachts can then complete extensive projects inside 103m and 80m shipbuilding halls with dedicated Design and Project offices, mderen CNC and 5 axis NC machining, fabrication, engineering, electrical and fitout workshops.

Multidisciplinary In-House Experts

The infrastructure noted above is only worth as much as the teams working on it, and Echo Yachts’ in-house experts cover all disciplines and importantly can work seamlessly across the 3 main material of steel, aluminium and composite.

Having a multi-disciplined in-house team of highly skilled designers, trades, and craftspeople, Echo Yachts minimises reliance on outside contractors enabling its refit and maintenance projects are executed by the same personnel responsible for the build of award-winning superyachts.

The shipyard can also be flexible to the requirements of Captains and Owners and can mobilise renowned superyacht-specific service providers to collaborate on projects. All of this together ensures that Echo Yachts has the flexibility and scope to deliver innovative upgrades with the delicate touch required by superyachts.

Since its expansion into the refit and maintenance sphere, Echo Yachts has worked on a wide range of superyachts from 40m up to 85m, including; full vessel re-painting, 5, 10 & 20 year special survey programs, new structural works and conversions (such as hull extentions, manufacture and addition of a helipad), hull replating, engineering & electrical refurbishment, engine replacement and rebuild, and full interior and exterior fitouts.

Captain Endorsements

Trust is certainly not bought, but earned, and the evidence of that with Echo Yachts is clear in the testimonials given by Captains of world-renowned superyachts.

Jamie Anderson, Captain of 88.5m Oceanco superyacht Barbara, brought his vessel to Fremantle from March to September 2020. “During that time,” he says, “Echo Marine Group provided assistance with Engineering, Deck and Interior – repairs and maintenance. The Echo team were extremely helpful and no task was ever too much trouble. The pricing was good and the quality of work was very good. I would happily recommend them and without a doubt, would use them again.”

This is also reflected in the experience of Tanguy Adriaenssen, Captain of 51m Codecasa yacht Atlas. “Echo Marine Group managed to deliver on time and on budget accommodating us in all possible ways,” explains Adriaenssen. “Their strengths certainly lie with their in-house engineering and manufacturing team able to tackle any job we required from them. I would recommend this facility for anyone in the Indian Ocean looking for a clean and ‘Yacht Suitable’ facility to perform maintenance at a competitive price.”

A New Destination to Discover

Before shipyard periods are even considered, the prestige of Australia as a superyacht destination is ever-growing. The country provides an infinite source of inspiration for all-year-round cruising, from the majestic Great Barrier Reef to the rugged terrains of the remote Kimberley in Western Australia’s northwest region and down along the west coast cruising and diving grounds before arriving in the States beautiful south west forrest and winery region.

With new foreign flagged charter regulations confirmed by the Australian Government in December 2019, this is very much an exiting new frontier for adventurous superyacht owners and charterers looking for a change from the traditional Mediterranean and Caribbean cruising grounds.

Superyachts heading to or from the Echo Yachts facility in Fremantle can take advantage of some of the thrilling experiences along the West Coast. Using Perth as a city base, yachts can stop off for unforgettable experiences like swimming with whale sharks at Exmouth’s Ningaloo Reef, as they head back up towards the unique Kimberley region and into Asia, west to the Maldives or across the southern route to Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand.

The completion of White Rabbit’s survey and maintenance program was swiftly followed by the arrival of 55.7m Perini Navi yacht Galileo G at the Echo Yachts premises. The prowess of Australia’s custom superyacht expert is being recognised by Captains looking to undertake innovative refit and maintenance projects in the Southern Hemisphere, and never has there been a better time to relocate a yacht to the adventure-playground of Australia and surrounds.

"I would happily recommend Echo Yachts and without a doubt, would use them again."

Jamie Anderson, Captain of 88.5m Oceanco superyacht Barbara


"I would happily recommend Echo Yachts and without a doubt, would use them again."

Jamie Anderson, Captain of 88.5m Oceanco superyacht Barbara
By George Bains
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