Holidays aboard the Floating Town

Whether crossing the oceans in a cruise liner or exploring our planet’s island paradises in a sailing yacht, maritime wanderlust is gripping more and more of those seeking a break.

Whether young or old, cruises are in vogue. Photo: Gareth Hayman, Anthony Enciso / Getty Images.

Spending days enjoying the sun from the pool on deck in the fresh breeze, occasionally venturing onto land to discover new cultures, then dressing up to the nines for dinner: For many, this is the dream vacation. More and more of us are opting to spend our vacations on board a cruise liner. This trend has been confirmed by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). According to the CLIA, in 2017 around 25.8 million passengers worldwide embarked on a cruise, and the expectation for 2018 is for this to climb to 27.2 million passengers. The days of cruises being reserved for sprightly pensioners spending their retirement funds are long gone. Cruises are being increasingly favored by the younger generations too.

Cruises represent one of the most strictly regulated industries

Even the Costa Concordia disaster in January 2012 on the Italian island of Giglio couldn’t deter them. Such tragedies are, however, extremely rare. Merely weeks after the incident, the “Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review” was implemented to provide a new code of safety. The most important additions included making emergency drills mandatory prior to leaving port, rather than within 24 hours of setting sail, according to the previous standard.

“Cruises represent one of the most strictly regulated industries when it comes to safety,” emphasizes Helge Grammerstorf, National Director of CLIA Germany. All CLIA member carriers fulfill the requirements of the international “Safety of Life at Sea” convention. These regulations were determined by the International Maritime Organization IMO – a suborganization of the United Nations. They apply to all cruise ships, independent of flag and registration. The safety provisions are regularly tested unannounced, both by the nations under which flags the ships sail and the nations in which they berth.

Relax on your own sailing yacht

Of course, it doesn’t always need to be a round-the-world adventure when opting for a maritime journey. Sailing yachts and motorboats are also the perfect vessels for a relaxing vacation – especially for those that prefer a ­little more personal space on their holidays than is afforded aboard the floating city of modern cruise liners. More and more water enthusiasts are fulfilling their dream of owning their own boat, and often purchase them second-hand. “This presents a series of questions that the layman will not be able to answer without further investigation,” explains Jochen Becker, DEKRA Maritim test engineer in Germany. These include, for example, what the true value of the vessel is, or how it shapes up from a safety perspective. After all, one does not want to pay too much, while simultaneously, avoiding any dangerous and expensive accidents should also be a top priority.

More and more people are fulfilling the dream of their own boat. Photo: Fotolia – Andrea

It therefore makes perfect sense to bring experts such as Becker aboard, in the truest sense of the word. The specialist and his team put sailing yachts and motorboats to the acid test, inspecting the exterior skin of the hull, performing ultrasound measurements to determine the material strength, and taking oil samples from the on-board machinery. He is also of great support when it comes to thoroughly inspecting the safety of masts and rigging of sailing yachts at intervals prescribed by the insurer. The DEKRA Maritim experts also aid in ensuring that the consequences of any damage are kept as minimal as possible, allowing all subsequent voyages to be enjoyed worry-free.

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