1-954-727-3570 info@horizon-na.com

In the yachting industry, a typical approach for refits is “Ready, Aim, Fire!” instead of  “Plan your work, Work your plan.” The success of a yacht refit is based on which approach is taken, the latter being the best strategy to avoid the common pitfalls. Headaches, time delays, wasted dollars, and a whole lot of stress are the results of the decisions made prior to and during a refit.

There are a wide variety of reasons why a yacht undergoes a refit, ranging from normal wear & tear to change of ownership. Often, new owners are enthusiastic about customizing their super yacht to meet their own wants and needs. It could be changing décor or adding functionality. It could also be updating outdated systems, replacing old parts such as the engine, or other updates to stay in compliance with industry requirements. Whether it’s routine maintenance, electrical, structural, mechanical or interior work – or the combination of all– it’s common for yachts to go through refits every so often.

Not to worry, we have you covered with the following refit advice. Here is what we consider to be the TOP THREE pitfalls to avoid and how to steer clear of them for a positive yacht refit experience:


The single most important aspect of a refit is proper planning. It’s all too common to see the oversimplification of a refit and in our professional opinion, it is the primary reason for why so many refit projects go south.

The planning should include the scope of work, schedule, and budget, resulting in a project baseline. Additionally, a work breakdown structure (WBS) is also necessary because it organizes and defines the total scope of the project. It’s a wise decision to meticulously plan the project as this will decrease your costs and time spent in the long haul. Particularly with superyachts, a refit requires significantly more planning.

Yacht refit project planning is similar to making a layered cake. Some tasks can’t be done until others are completed. Other tasks are performed at the same time. Each refit is like a different cake recipe calling for its own set of ingredients. In essence, the intricate details matter to the overall success of the refit. The order of operations or sequencing is crucial to planning. Make sure this aspect is not excluded from the process and diligently plan everything out prior to the start of the refit.


Once a proper plan is devised, it’s now time to start implementing the plan. It is noteworthy to share that planning is still very much alive throughout the refit project. During the execution phase of a refit, tracking the project baseline is central to effective project management. The need to quickly recognize when to adjust the project schedule or change the scope of work is priceless. For example, if something unexpected is uncovered in the middle of the refit, it’s important to make those adjustments right then and there. Furthermore, while doing the actual work, it’s imperative to monitor and control the project milestones. Effective communication is a hallmark of a great project. Making sure that everything is done to plan is key to avoid big scheduling delays and overbudget scenarios.

What makes for a productive refit execution? It’s when timelines are adhered to, tasks are completed properly, and the steps are done in the right sequence. When this happens, unexpected roadblocks can be identified early on.  The chances of more expenses and delays drastically decreases when this happens. Refits that can’t be completed due to projects going over budget is like an epidemic in the industry. Don’t let this happen to you. This can be bypassed with the right plan and seamless implementation of the plan during the execution of the refit.


Hiring an engineering firm for a yacht refit would give you peace of mind in dodging these common pitfalls, including choosing the wrong materials. One factor that will help with this process is to have someone involved in the project who has a thorough understanding of material properties. Someone who has knowledge of different types of strength properties, as well as their respective corrosion resistance levels, is an asset to any project.

For example, a concerning practice and growing trend in the yacht industry is the use of stainless steel for hull shell plates. The thought behind doing this is that stainless steel doesn’t rust. When stainless steel is deprived of oxygen, it loses its corrosion resistance properties. Because of this, stainless steel rusts when submerged in sea water. This is why stainless steel is inadequate for sea water piping and hull construction. It’s also not the right material because stainless steel is heavier than mild steel. As a result, this adds unnecessary weight to the vessel.

Likewise, the use of dissimilar piping materials in the same systems is another problem. Using dissimilar metals will cause galvanic corrosion among the less noble metal. The less noble metal will start to work as a sacrificial anode. The bottom line is that you will need to prematurely re-do the piping systems and spend more money along the way. Doing it properly the first time will have your piping systems last for years. In addition, if material corrodes, it could be dangerous to the vessel and bigger problems can develop.

Knowledge is Power

In closing, avoiding these top pitfalls provides you with the foundation needed for the sometimes stressful yet rewarding process of undergoing a yacht refit. Knowledge is power and once you know how to approach a refit, the rest is easy.

Want to learn more about Refit Services?

If you are interested in learning more about yacht refit services, our experienced team here at Horizon Naval Architects would be happy to assist. We are located at 760 Taylor Ln. #2, Dania Beach, FL 33004. You can also reach us at 954-727-3570 or can reach us via email at info@horizon-na.com