When it comes to safe, efficient and on-time global yacht transportation, there are few more prominent names than DYT. Transporting thousands of yachts and superyachts across the globe every year, quality, high standards and an unwavering dedication to flawless customer service, says Ana Santana, the company’s longest-serving employee, has always been the key to standing out from the crowd.
Here we sit down with DYT Sales Representative Ana Santana, who explores the evolution of the company’s most unique innovations over the past two decades and reveals exciting details of DYT’s latest yacht carrier vessel. Named Yacht Servant, DYT’s new yacht carrier is set to become the world’s largest semi-submersible vessel carrier upon completion later this year.
Joining the company in 2004, you are the longest-serving employee of DYT. Tell us about your journey through the business.
I’m originally from the coast of Colombia, where I studied Business Management. I moved to Florida with my family in 2002, and I started at DYT as a booking assistant just a year after getting married. I had worked in marinas previously, so I knew a little about the industry, but when I was offered this job, I knew it was something unique. Yacht transportation is like a jigsaw puzzle - I instantly loved it.
Within three months, I was offered a promotion to booking agent for west coast yacht carriers. I was honoured to take on that role of overseeing a challenging route, stopping at several ports along the way with different needs for each client. The routes went from Florida down to Mexico, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, and all the way up to Canada, too.
I can tell you that after more than 17 years of working here, I have never been bored! Every single client is unique, every single client has a different need, and I think that diversity is the beauty of it and what keeps it interesting for me.
How have you seen DYT evolve over the years?
DYT opened its doors in 1987, so it was already doing very well when I joined the company 15 years later. A lot of our business was generated through repeat clients and word of mouth recommendations and continues to be developed this way today. Clients of DYT know that we deliver excellent customer support and trusted services. We as a company know that our clients are paying for much more than just yacht transportation. In this way, the essence of DYT has not changed - though our fleet, workforce and capabilities have definitely expanded.
Have there been many changes to the yacht transportation sector?
The market has certainly grown, and we see more companies offering these kinds of services. Over the years, I would have said that there was no competition for DYT. In the past 5-10 years, we see a lot of people following in our footsteps. It’s made it a little more challenging for us, but at the same time, I see it as a positive development. There is a renewed energy at DYT. It means that we have the opportunity to reach out and connect with our clientele and to promote ourselves and our high-quality services.
How do you stand out in an expanding market?
Quality has always been at the heart of our business - and this is what makes us stand out as the global leader. We have passion, we have decades of experience, and we make good on our promises. If we say your yacht will be in a particular destination on specific dates in April, it is set in stone. Clients trust us and don’t think twice before returning for their next shipment. We also have an excellent fleet of purpose-built carriers, each equipped with unique features to ensure safer and quick loading.
All DYT’s carriers are semi-submersible. What makes this float-on-float-off system unique in yacht transport?
All of our carriers have the ability to partially submerge the deck to a certain draft for each operation. That way, each yacht is loaded under its own power - you drive in the yacht, just as you would mooring it at the marina. It’s a lot safer - and a lot quicker. During the booking process, we ask clients for the exact specs of the hull of their yacht. We then build the cradle specifically for each yacht. This means that when DYT transports yachts, they will be sitting on their own pre-built cradle.
After all the yachts are loaded, these carriers raise the deck and pump the water out. Once the deck is completely dry, the welders come in to secure each cradle. We then transport the yacht to its destination and when it arrives the same thing happens again. Divers go in, take the supports out and, one by one, the yachts leave - safe and on time.
What are the benefits of this system over lifting?
The first is that it is much safer than lifting because the risk of damage to the yacht is much less. We custom-make each cradle and have a team of loadmasters who triple check everything. Secondly, the loading process takes a couple of hours, whereas lifting could take up to three days on either side.
DYT’s latest carrier vessel is currently in build and scheduled for delivery later this year. Tell us more about Yacht Servant.
Yacht Servant is a fantastic semi-submersible vessel that will increase our capacity and capability to visit more ports worldwide. She measures over 213 metres and will be the largest semi-submersible vessel ever built. It’s an exciting project, and it brings me back to when the 208 metre Yacht Express, one of DYT’s other carriers, was being built in 2006/7. Witnessing both of these projects being built is incredible - it’s amazing how much excitement having a new yacht carrier in our fleet generates. Yacht Servant opens new avenues of service and will be completed in October. We’ll see her over here in Florida at the beginning of next year. I can’t wait!
What else is in store at DYT for the future?
Last year with the pandemic, even though people could not travel to different countries, we saw more and more people spending time on their yachts as a great way to create their own private space free of COVID and in complete isolation. It shows you that this business is a business that will not die. There are always going to be people who love yachting. There are always going to be new ways or reasons to use yachts, and there will always be a market. The future is what you make of it, and I believe it’s a great future.