The Boat Shop Asia Makes Boating Lifestyle, A Reality!
A sense of adventure, the sea breeze in your hair or just taking in the vast blues of the region; there’s something about owning or renting a boat. It’s also an expensive proposition or so we thought until we met the team at The Boat Shop Asia.
The Boat Shop Asia, the latest innovative marine hub in Singapore, is making boating lifestyle accessible and affordable to anyone who loves the sea and offshore activities. We spoke to Elliot Homan, General Manager for The Boat Shop Asia on sailing courses, yacht charters and everything ‘boat’!
Vanilla Luxury: Hi Elliot! Tell us about yourself, where are you from and how did this journey with The Boat Shop Asia start?
Elliot: I'm originally from the UK, moved here in 2013 to start up and run the APAC division of a global software company. My parents are both originally from Liverpool in north-west England which has a very long marine history. My great grandfather used to sail through the Malacca Straits on the trade routes and I grew up racing boats with my father. So boats have always been a part of my life and it was only a matter of time before I got back to doing what I loved most!
Vanilla Luxury: The Boat Shop Asia. How did the business start and what sparked the idea?
Elliot: The Boat Shop Asia was started in 2013 to sell and charter small pleasure boats imported from overseas as despite the growing popularity of boating in Singapore, there were no self-drive boats available at that time. The company was founded on the principle of making boating affordable and accessible for everyone.
When I bought my own boat here in 2014 I joined The Boat Shop Asia's community, met lots of people and started joining some of their group events, parties and cruises out to different islands. I liked it so much, I joined the company in 2015 when we started a yacht management division and started to market some larger, more luxurious yachts. Over the last year, we have added over 120 yachts to our charter fleet, started running training courses from the Singaporean legal requirement "PPCDL" boat driving license, basic sailing courses and a wide range of boating competency courses all aimed at helping people make the most of having a good time at sea.
Vanilla Luxury: Who is your typical customer?
Elliot: We have no typical customer! We have around 2,000 members of what we call our boating community. Members come from all walks of life and all nationalities. We have students, lawyers, pilots, restaurant owners, IT workers, bankers, entertainers and a whole lot more. The thing that links them together is a love of being out on the water, having a good time with their friends and seeing a different side of Singapore.
Vanilla Luxury: What is the top advice you would give to anyone looking to buy a boat?
Elliot: At The Boat Shop Asia, we take people right through the whole life-cycle of boating. We get people coming to our events and parties who have never been on a boat before, the next month they register for our training course and soon after that they are renting our boats out. When our members or other customers decide they want to buy a boat we help them by either sourcing locally or we ship one in through our overseas network. Typically, we then run their boat as a charter yacht when they are not using it so that helps cover their running costs, then we tend to see them sell and buy a bigger yacht after a while - in boating you never have a big enough boat!
There can be large and unplanned costs to run a boat properly, so our charter business is designed to take this away - why buy a boat when you can rent one and let someone else take care of the costs? If you do own a boat, charter it out and bring some extra revenue in to help cover those costs.
Vanilla Luxury: I don't know how to ride a boat or cruiser. Can you help with courses?
Elliot: For powerboats or sailboats, we have courses to take you from absolute beginner to expert. Novices are taught by our team of professional, certified instructors who typically have at least 30 years of maritime experience. The first step is the PPCDL course, this is the legal requirement to drive a power boat in Singapore, we run these most weeks. Our following competency course are run by our team of trainers who are all experienced members of our community, and run these courses in their free time. Basically, at The Boat Shop Asia we take people that have never set foot on a boat before, train them how to drive or sail properly, help them to pass the required national license, then take it a few steps further and teach them where to go to enjoy themselves, how to get there safely and most importantly, how to get back safely!
Vanilla Luxury: What’s next on the cards?
Elliot: The excitement doesn't stop at The Boat Shop Asia. In June this year we expanded our charter fleet to include yachts in Thailand and Hong Kong. Boating is hugely popular in both these places and now our customers can add in a yacht charter to their holidays in Phuket or business trips in Hong Kong. We have some great partnerships here in Singapore and are running regular boat parties and events as well as our usual charters. We are always working to add destinations and yachts to our fleet, and aim to be the one-stop-shop and Asian market leader for all boating and lifestyle needs. If you have ever wondered what it's like to spend a few hours on a boat with your friends, take a look at our website or Facebook page, or better still come and try for yourself!
The Boat Shop Asia's vision is to introduce boating to the regular community making it affordable, and thereby allowing proliferation of a boating lifestyle through a tightly knitted boating community. Apart from owning a boat, there are always alternative ways to a boating lifestyle which could include chartering, co-ownership, leasing etc. For more details, visit www.theboatshopasia.com
Wordsmith and marketer by day, Natasha is your go-to girl on all things beauty, travel and family. This mommy to two loves her cheese, a fab read and crooning to Ping Fong (don't we all?). Natasha also heads Communications at Expatgiving and helps volunteers find their dream non-profit role! Reach her at email or via her Instagram @sonattymama
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