Luxury yacht tender
A luxury yacht tender is a transport used to service and to provide support and entertainment to a private or charter luxury yacht. Known commonly as the 'yacht's tender' there are different luxury yacht tenders: custom (made for a special use, a special yachts or especially designed), chase boats (which can not be carried by the yacht but rather follow her), classic boats (such as Wally Yachts or VanDutch), and rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RIBs) which feature cushioned inflatable rubber inner tubes around their rigid (usually fibreglass) hull to protect the yacht when in close contact. The latest type is commonly used thanks to its light weight and easy protection given by the tubes.
Multifunction dinghies have recently become available as yacht tenders. These unsinkable dinghies can be rowed, motored, or sailed, and they also function as proactive lifeboats. Tenders are usually motor powered by outboard motor engines or inboard engines burning either petrol/gasoline or diesel. They use either propellers or more recently impellers as utilized by water jet boats.
A recent addition to luxury yacht tenders is the small personal hovercraft, such as the Hov Pod, or the amphibious boat, such as Iguana Yachts boats which can also drive onto beaches or up ramps, to carry passengers on land.
Luxury yacht tenders like other types of ship's tender, whilst often used to transport supplies and personnel, are also used for the entertainment and pleasure of the yacht's passengers. Accordingly, the tenders will be employed as pleasure craft or speed boats to drag bananas and for waterskiing, wakeboarding and also to transport and service leisure scuba set diving.
In recent years there has been increased development in the luxury yacht tender market. There is now greater importance given to whether a yacht includes a large tender which boasts all the latest features. Private yachts are being built with stern garages which house the tender and also other associated 'water toys'. Powerful davits are installed on the yacht’s decks to mechanically lift increasingly heavier tenders.
There are many companies which specialize in the design, construction and distribution of luxury yacht tenders. Some of the more established, and well known, suppliers for production and semi production tenders include Aquascan, (originator of the jet drive RIB), Xtenders, Novurania, Avon, Brandkuip, Protector, Williams, Zodiac and X-Craft. Smaller builders include American Classic Marine.
The increasing trend towards large custom tenders such as limousines, landing craft and chase boats is supported by classic boatbuilders such as Hacker-Craft and lesser known companies such as Argos Nautic and Miller Yachts. Long established custom builders such as Hodgdon Yachts and Vikal International, have carved a niche for themselves over past decades, building one-off, custom, high-end limousine tenders and specialized multi purpose tenders.
Because there is now a large and established tender industry, yacht tenders are also increasingly being used more widely by those who do not own or use yachts, but wish to enjoy their tender as an entertainment in its own right.