The sun was setting off the coast of Panama this week as the 285-foot superyacht Lonian sat securely anchored next to its spectacular 216-foot support catamaran yacht, Hodor. Among Hodor’s cargo is five tenders, including a 55-foot chase boat, Jet Skis, and quad bikes. The support yacht also prominently features its own custom hospital with a private nurse and 20-person crew for its billionaire owners.
Most yachts over 300 feet contain mini-hospitals, or secure medical rooms, and yacht nurse staffing agencies can barely keep up with the increase in demand following the coronavirus outbreak. As yacht owners find themselves virtually isolated in their foreign locations, the need for onboard medical protection is an urgent necessity.
I spoke with several experts in the industry, and they say that numerous superyachts are currently traveling to or already in secure locations near private islands far from the maddening crowds of possible infection.
“COVID-19 has impacted the yachting industry heavily,” says Alex Haubrich of Yachtie World. “Many crew members have lost their jobs and are stranded away from home and family. Some owners are using their vessels for social distancing, which is understandable, but some are running with half the crew or less, which means the demand for the remaining crew members is increasing. A lot of employed yacht crew are panicking as they don’t know whether or not their jobs or health are in jeopardy.”