Building a new trawler that will include your own input on details and features, modifying an existing model or building an entirely new design is incredibly rewarding. Ordering a new trawler costs more and takes longer but allows you to get the latest technology and to personalize the trawler to better suit your needs. Each trawler manufacturer is primarily in the business of marketing, selling, and building new boats. The used trawler/brokerage aspect of reselling their boats is regarded by most builders as “icing on the cake”.

Building a new trawler starts with a fresh design and a yard that will create new tooling and complete the construction. There are several ways that new trawler designs come to market. Typically, they are a collaborative partnership between two firms, a design engineering/sales marketing company that owns the brand and the physical construction facility. Many builders have a dealer network or company stores to solicit orders. For example, this is how Nordhavn and Kadey-Krogen do business. It is a rare to see the boat building company also do the sales and marketing. The larger the overall size of the trawler the less likely a new hull will be built on spec. There are too many choices, and it creates a very expensive inventory situation that can be difficult to turn over.

To develop a new trawler model, the naval architect (NA) conceives a new design to meet a particular consumer profile demand with specific priorities and dimensions. The NA develops the hull form, deck plan, and interior layout as well as determines what equipment will be included. A set of standard specifications is developed so that the building yard knows can quote the design/marketing company a “wholesale price” for a completed trawler and agree on a selection of “standard” specifications. They also discuss options (Will a flybridge be included? Single or twin engine?, etc.) and a set of factory options is created to supplement the standard specs. With drawings, specifications, and pricing prepared, the new trawler model is ready to be introduced to the boating public.

Most trawler brands realize that a buyer is not likely to walk into the sales office with a checkbook and leave order a new trawler the same day. Many trawler companies work from a production schedule that shows how many of each model are under construction with start dates and yard completion dates to track progress.

If you do enter their office, a member of the sales team will sit down with you to determine which hull slot would be best for your timing  (normally it is the next available hull!). A “Letter of Intent” (LOI) along with a deposit (usually refundable) is put in place to reserve a hull number/production slot. This LOI provides a reasonable amount of time to work through the details of the order and allow for pricing quotations to be completed. The goal is to develop a purchase agreement that you are comfortable signing as the buyer, so all parties know what is included. Then you wait for the construction phase of your trawler to begin.

Bering 65 Dantonio Steel Built Trawler

Upon signing a purchase agreement, a series of payments commences.  Each builder does it differently, some ask for as little as 20% up front with the balance due upon completion. Others spread out 5 -10% payments during the build payable as progress milestones are achieved (hull completed, machinery installed, deck joined to hull, etc.).

When the trawler is done at the yard, shipping to the delivery location is scheduled and after arrival the commissioning process begins. Commissioning is the process of verifying that all selections are installed and properly working, and every piece of equipment is inspected, tested, and operated.

Once the trawler has been commissioned you close by signing the final paperwork, submitting your final payment, and a hand over occurs where you take delivery of your trawler as the new owner. The warranty clock begins when you take possession. A good warranty backed by a strong company is one of the biggest advantages of building a new trawler.

Good builders are always improving, they don’t rest on their laurels. If you study a brand and thoroughly investigate your desired model, you should see an evolution of thinking and subtle improvements based on boat use on the water. Improvements often incorporate good ideas from clients and employees. Regular price increases for the base boat and optional upgrades will help your boat hold its value even as new models come into the marketplace.

The business of building new trawlers in today’s market can get pretty top heavy in overhead: management, design, engineering, project management, accounting, administration, IT, commissioning, sales, etc. The top trawler companies have dozens of employees on the sales/marketing/administrative side and hundreds of workers at the yard to fulfill the construction side.  This is a big business that depends on new orders to keep the pipeline rolling. It is a complicated business, and navigating it alone can lead to decision overload and may prevent you from securing your perfect trawler.

Thankfully, JMYS has personal experience in the industry and can act as a great resource for you. For two decades Jeff was involved in the construction of new cruising sailboats and trawlers. Working through the details with a client to make sure everything they want is priced and included in the contract is incredibly gratifying for JMYS. Once the buyer signs on the dotted line, the emphasis shifts to communication during construction and JMYS associates have spent a lot of time on planes visiting the shipyards to check progress. Seeing the completed boat march through commissioning and ultimately take off to chase sunrises and sunsets is always satisfying. There is nothing like seeing a satisfied client finally underway for the first few hours, with the excitement of finally enjoying the finished boat balanced by the anticipation of what might happen…

After decades of experience and dozens of new builds JMYS has perfected how to work with customers, management, and the production yards. As an independent yacht broker, not aligned with any particular builder, JMYS’ unbiased services are in demand. Purchasing a new trawler can be a daunting process. Our team would love to help you embark on this exciting journey. You can learn about our team on our website.