Florida is the yachting equivalent to the South of France for the US so has always been tight for space within refit yards, but many of them have been expanding their offerings, making Florida an ideal refit location.

Rachel Redhead reports


Dania Cut

  •  Maximum length: 91m (300ft)
  •  Maximum draft: 5m (17ft)
  •  Number of berths: 12

p50What makes Dania Cut’s superyacht yard unique is that it is owned and operated by yacht owners and captains. The yard advertises itself as ‘understanding’ captains and owner’s needs and allows for both in-house and outside contractors, should a client wish that. The yard has now increased dockage for superyachts up to 91m (300ft) from a recent expansion programme and can berth up to 12 yachts at the same time. This expansion comes from a signed agreement this year with Broward Shipyard to take over some of its slips.

The agreement lease, which lasts for 10 years, gives Dania Cut five more slips to accommodate yachts of 91m (300ft), 82m (269ft), and three up to 64m (209ft), with the largest slip facing south side to the dock. The yard will be investing around $800,000 to make all the necessary changes.

With dredging of the Dania cut-off canal completed, Dania Cut yard also carried out dredging of its own basin, allowing for 5m of draft clearance, even at low tide, for larger yachts, such as Phoenix 2, Nirvana, Air and Cakewalk, to visit. All these improvements have contributed to Dania Cut’s status as one

of the largest refit yards in the US.

Derecktor Florida

  • Maximum length: 65m (213ft)
  • Maximum lift: 900t
  • Size of yard: 17+ acres

p51_1Since 1967, Derecktor’s Florida yard has focused on refit and repair work, but now it is the mainstay of Derecktor’s whole business, following the closure of its new-build Connecticut yard. The yard in New York continues both refit and new-build work.

Despite all the difficulties the company has faced, its refit work has been going strong in Florida, with revenues continually rising each year. Because of this, Derecktor saw the need to upgrade its Florida yard with several renovations last year, which included a new lift.

The 900t mobile boat lift is the largest in Florida and is reportedly the tallest in the world. The lift allows for a minimum of eight yachts up to 55m (180ft) to be blocked ashore at one time. James Brewer, director of sales and marketing at Derecktor Florida, explained the yard’s current position, “We are consolidating and waiting for the benefits of these upgrades to kick in.”

The yard’s prime location in the south of Florida covers more than 17 acres on the north side of the Dania cut-off canal, catering mainly to motoryachts ranging in size from 30m (100ft) to 65m (213ft). Derecktor has recently begun a major refit to the classic 46m (151ft) Feadship yacht, The Highlander.


  • Maximum length: 120m (394ft)
  • Maximum Travel lift: 660t
  • Floating dry dock: 3,000t

p51_2Rybovich is now one of the largest refit yards in the US, with dockage for superyachts up to 120m (394ft) and a total of 52 slips. The yard expanded from its previous largest slip size of 90m (295ft) due to the demand from larger yachts visiting its facility. Located in West Palm Beach, the yard has a 3,000t floating dry dock capable of hauling yachts up to 75m (246ft), eight hard spaces and a travel lift of 660t for yachts up to 59m (194ft).

“Unlike many other refit, maintenance and repair yards Rybovich employs over 240 people, including tradesmen of all disciplines such as fabrication, carpentry, electricians, pipefitters, mechanics and an in-house paint team of over 60 people capable of painting four yachts at the same time. This workforce is supplemented with co-makers and subcontractors depending on the workload and special requirements. Rybovich also provides in-house project managers that are the single point of contact for each project,” said vice president Francois van Well.

Rybovich performs around 300 projects per year and seems to have become the choice of yard for many large yachts. Importantly, it has experienced steady growth both in terms of size and number of projects .

Jones Boat Yard

  • Maximum length: 91m (300ft)
  • Maximum lift: 1,600t
  • Maximum beam: 18m (60ft)

p51_3Located just minutes from Miami International Airport, Jones Boat Yard has dry dock facilities for yachts of up to 91m (300ft) in length, 18m (60ft) in beam and 1,800t displacement. The boatyard houses one of the single largest lifting capacities in south Florida and the US, which gives Jones the ability to work on vessels of all shapes and sizes. The yard has hauling capacities that reach up to 1,600t in displacement for 70m+ (230ft+) yachts, and features 1,127m (3,700ft) of dockage, as well as covered sheds for 11 61m (200ft) yachts.

The facilities have expanded from two to three dry docks specialising in non-load bearing keels, with the capacity to lift and service superyachts, offshore supply boats, coastguard cutters and patrol boats. With in-house teams that concentrate on all the needed trades — including carpentry, electrical, machinery, mechanical, paint, ship’s systems, welding

and more — the yard has the solutions and craftsmen for all refit and repair needs.

Having been established in 1917, the yard has a long history, but has made sure it is constantly up-to-date, offering services such as a crew lounge with phone and TV, 24 hour security, A/C cooling towers, and Wi-Fi access.

Spencer Boat Company

  •  Maximum length: 76m (250ft)
  •  Maximum draft: 3m (10ft)
  •  Maximum beam: 12m (40ft)

p51_4John Spencer has been operating Spencer Boat Company since 2010 on the site of the former Merrill-Stevens refit yard, which closed down in December 2009. Former Merrill-Stevens superintendent Spencer didn’t want to see the 128-year-old yard and facilities go to waste, so he leased the yard from owner Hugh Westbrook after Merrill-Stevens stopped running. With a workforce already in place from the former yard it didn’t take much time for Spencer to revive business and see some important refits arrive at the yard, including a 52m (171ft) Amels.

Since then, the Spencer Boat Company has gone from strength to strength. Today the full-service shipyard, which is dedicated solely to the refit and repair of superyachts, has extensive undercover work bays that allow for yachts up to 76m (250ft) in length with a 3m (10ft) draft and 15m (50ft) of overhead clearance. In addition, the yard has haul-out capabilities for yachts with a 3m (10ft) draft and 12m (40ft) beam that are 49m (160ft) in length, as well as dockside accommodation up to 76m (250ft). With all work at the yard meeting classification society requirements, including ABS, Lloyd’s, and US Coast Guard Regulations, the facility provides full dockside power and amenities, including water, ducted A/C, high-speed Wi-Fi and telephone access.

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