December 7th 2017. By Kim Kavin.

Luxury Support Vessels: The Latest Superyacht Must-Have

Superyachts have all the toys—including brand new luxury support vessels, allowing owners to carry everything from oversized tenders to submarines and helicopters.

The Amels shipyard in the Netherlands has long been known for building some of the world’s most magnificent luxury superyachts, while its parent company, Damen, was more involved with working ships and defense fleets. More recently, though, Damen has joined with Amels to create what both yards hope will become an entirely new class of vessel—the luxury-yacht support vessel—giving owners of even the world’s largest superyachts a way to carry a whole lot more toys for fun on the water.

226-foot Game Changer

226-foot Game Changer

Damen builds its support vessels to carry everything from oversized tenders to submarines and helicopters, along with all the staff that a yacht owner might need to run them. The idea is that the main yacht is left for guest use, with luxury spas and swimming pools, while the toys and staff cruise in tandem on the support vessel, always at the ready but neatly tucked out of the way. While support vessels have existed for yachts in the past, they’ve never been finished out in luxury style the way Damen’s are now.

The idea is spilling into the charter market, too, with Ocean Independence having recently welcomed the first Damen support vessel into the global charter fleet, for bookings alongside its more traditional yacht offerings.

“With a cruising speed of 16 knots, the crew can have all toys in the water and ready to play with before the mothership’s arrival,” the company said of the 226-foot Game Changer. “With a helideck, a selection of toys and space on board for parties of up to approximately 250 guests when alongside, Game Changer will change the way your clients charter forever.”

Damen builds various versions of its support vessels, for yacht owners who have different passions. The YS 5009 has a 2,422-square-foot deck for just about anything an owner can imagine, from shark-diving cages to seaplanes. The builder’s Dive version is laid out for things like compressors, tanks and submersibles, while the Sail version is meant to be a regatta support vessel with deck area to hoist masts of nearly 100 feet. The Heli version—you guessed it—is designed to be a floating heliport, while the Hangar version adds long-term at-sea protection to helicopter stowage.

181-foot New Frontiers

181-foot New Frontiers

This past autumn, Damen showcased its 181-foot New Frontiers support vessel at the Monaco Yacht Show, highlighting its aft “adventure center,” helipad and combination of crew quarters as well as overflow guest suites, should more be needed in tandem with the main yacht.

New Frontiers was also at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show along with Axis, another 181-foot support vessel from Damen.

“New Frontiers is ripping up the rule book,” Damen’s commercial director, Rose Damen, stated in a press release. “It’s still a yacht support vessel, but you can’t put this vessel into one category or another—and that reflects exactly the wishes of our clients. They want their holiday to be about freedom and spontaneity. New Frontiers makes that possible. Whether it’s a weekend dive adventure trip away from their superyacht or enjoying two locations at once linked by helicopter, it’s all about unforgettable experiences and freedom.”

For more information, visit Damen Yacht Support.



Kim Kavin

Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who specializes in marine travel. She is the author of 10 books including Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Vacations, and is editor of the online yacht vacation magazine www.CharterWave.com.