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There’s no denying it – megayacht owners love their toys and gadgets. If it’s new and trendy in 2011, you’ll find it on a luxury yacht charter vessel – everything from Mercedes Benz-styled helicopters to the latest Crestron touchpad-controlled CD/DVD players, and video game consoles.
Deep pockets and a zest for staying ahead of the pack keeps these owners in the hunt for the hottest gadgets on the market. That same quest for the newest gadgets also means the owner’s yachts are the perfect barometer for not only what is new, but also what gadgets are destined to go the way of the dinosaur.
If the purchasing whims of the owners of some of the largest Caribbean yacht charter vessels are any indication, expect to see these three tech gadgets phased out this decade:
Standalone GPS Systems
At sea, megayacht skippers rely on radar and a whole host of maritime equipment to navigate. But when the yachts arrive in a new port of call, the crews use standalone GPS navigation systems to use for shore excursions. “Fewer yachts are carrying portable navigation devices like those sold by TomTom and Garmin,” says Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters and 1-800 Yacht Charters.
“Every crewmember has a mobile phone and many skippers have smartphones provided by yacht owner. These modern phones all feature interactive maps and built-in navigational systems.”
Digital cameras are common on yachts. While at seas, crews use the cameras to take photos of mechanical issues, which can be downloaded and emailed to a shore-based engineer for analysis. With the recent unveiling of the Apple iPhone 4S, digital camera makers have much to be worried about. Apple’s newest phone has an impressive 8-megapixel camera that takes in more light than earlier models and records HD video at 1080p. Until recently, such impressive specs were unique to digital cameras. Increasingly, smartphones are taking over the low-end camera market.
Captain Peter Vasquez and his 118-foot motoryacht ISLAND TIME are regulars on the Bahama yacht charters circuit. Vasquez points out the appeal of one device that can perform multiple tasks.
“Camera functions are being taken over by smartphones,” says Vasquez.
“There’s little incentive to carry around a camera when I already have a phone in my pocket that takes quality pictures.”
Video Game Consoles
From the largest yachts like Steven Spielberg owned 282′ motor yacht SEVEN SEAS, to the newest yachts like 2011 motor yacht NUMPTIA, popular video game systems such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation® and Microsoft Xbox are installed in many of the staterooms for the use of onboard guests.
In the near future analysts predict consumers will forgo game consoles and instead buy smart televisions with a gaming system built into it, or tablets with gaming apps and options
“We’ve already witnessed the emergence of an iPad controlled boat app on motor yacht HUNTRESS,” says Sheeder.
“The captain hands each guest their own iPad when they board. These tablets offer control of all shipboard entertainment systems. Yacht owners tell us they plan on shifting from video gaming consoles to more comprehensive systems with other entertainment options such as movies.”