Miami boat repair shops buoyed by megayachts

From the pace of business at Dania Cut Super Yacht Repair Facility, you would never guess there's a recession going on.

Chip MacPherson, who has been president of the company since 2007, is overseeing a $2 million expansion project that will enable the shipyard to work on ships up to 300 feet long. Right now, the largest yacht it can handle is 230 feet long.

``A lot of the businesses in this industry got hit hard,'' MacPherson said. ``We were fortunate to have the capacity to service the bigger ships.''

South Florida yacht repair yards like MacPherson's are expanding to accommodate an influx of megayachts built during a shipbuilding boom that spanned the last decade. Rybovich, a West Palm Beach repair yard increased its capacity about 50 percent last year. While expansion during the recession might seem counterintuitive, in the megayacht repair business, it makes perfect sense, according to Richard Thiel, executive editor of Power Motor Yacht Magazine.

``It's very rare to see a megayacht with deferred maintenance,'' Thiel said. That's because owners who have spent millions of dollars on luxury yachts aren't likely to skimp on upkeep, since it is in their own best interest to protect their investments.

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