Water, Wealth and Wanderlust

By Mandy Johnson


Derek Mader, president and CEO of Executive Yacht, provides the alchemy to turn dreams into reality for his Canadian and international clients. As an industry leader in the sales and resale of luxury yachts and superyachts, EY is providing full-service education, consultation, management and acquisition of a signature boating experience.  For busy executives, investors and business owners, Derek and his team work to exceed his client’s expectations while tailoring a vessel that fully represents a mark of achievement for its owners.

A genuine enthusiasm for boating was always part of Derek’s DNA and, even as a young boy, boats were very much a part of his joy and focus.  “My passion with boats goes back a long way. I started boating as a kid with my family and I built my first boat with my dad before I had a driver’s licence. It was something that I was invested in at a young age and I just never really left the business. I got hanging around boats and marinas and that bug just never left.  It stuck with me forever.”  This early interest speaks to the passion at the core of his business and his understanding of a very specialized industry of luxury watercraft.

Photography Scott Cooper


Those early years provided the foundation for lifelong passion that led to Executive Yacht’s special place in the yachting market.  These boats are far beyond the utility vessels that the mainstream recreational enthusiast would enjoy. The product lines that Executive Yacht represent, speak to the affluent client that is investing in a bespoke yacht or superyacht that often marks a reward for them personally and professionally.  That “trophy” often personifies the accomplishments of the client and it is a symbol of success and “arrival”.

So, who is the typical investor in luxury watercrafts? Executive Yacht’s Head Office may be in the heart of Toronto but that does not mean that the reach is limited to the Canadian borders.  EY primarily works with the Canadian consumer but also works with clients in the US and European markets as well.

“We meet the client where they are,” Derek emphasizes.  These consumers are busy with business, travel and family so they do not depend on the physical office in Toronto only. EY will travel to meet them directly.  Technology also plays a big part in the process and our world today can facilitate the exchange of information and continue to move the process along when physical meetings are impossible.  True to our domestic roots, the Canadian investor is surprisingly modest when it comes to “visible wealth”.  As of 2019, North America represented approximately 43% of the global collective of affluent purchasers so EY is, very much, well positioned to service this discriminating group. The yachting industry has always been part of this culture but what is interesting to note is that the clients accessing this market typically have not come from a boating background.  Derek points out that over 85% have never owned a boat previously.

So, entry is not exclusive to the experienced boater. Some will use the craft for personal use, some will enter into a charter program and others will do both. There is much flexibility in ownership and EY is connected to facilitate how the vessel is used.  Charter programs are helpful to assist with carrying charges when the yacht is not being used for personal enjoyment.  All these options carry different financial and opportunity costs and a full understanding of the ownership picture is tantamount to the patron motivation. Clients today view the investment in a yacht much like a real estate investor would view purchasing a cottage. What has changed in recent years have is that it is not an “either” “or” choice between a vacation home and yacht – these investors will probably have both. Let’s talk products…..Executive Yacht is working with some of the world’s signature brands and shipyards in the Industry.

The Ferretti Group represents a product line of Italian distinction and mastery that includes:  Ferretti, Riva, Pershing, Wally, Custom Line and CRN. Ferrari, who is also a stakeholder in the manufacturer, aligns their brand with this signature company and further defines the exclusivity that translates to couture crafts.  In this arena, anything is possible. Executive Yacht is the conduit to “make real” the contemplations of his clients. How the crafts will be used is one of the first conversations. Other parts of the macro conversation may be:  how many guests, what features are important (eg. Hot tubs, beach clubs, etc), will there be a need for a crew, where will the vessel be used, etc.

Likewise, the details can be as specific as matching the stitching to that of their sportscar seating or the colour palette of the interior design. Oh, and let us talk size. The typical yacht ranges in size up to 100ft and the superyacht starts at 100ft plus. It all depends on the dream. And when you have the ability to enter this market, your dream is both limitless… and very short lived. Surprisingly, the yachting investor will replace this purchase with new yacht every 1.5-2 years. Once bitten though, the possibilities are endless, and clients are usually discussing the next purchase on delivery day of the current yacht.

As Derek points out, exceeding the client’s expectations is the fulcrum of Executive Yacht.  From face to face meetings at the Italian shipyards, consultations at private homes or zoom meetings across continents, the task of building “the vision” is an exciting process. Creating a product experience that is tailored and custom every step of the way is the cornerstone of Executive Yacht. It is an exciting business that is never passive. The desires of the client, the changing technology and manufacture of the yachts themselves and the ability to create synthesis and integrated collaboration, where vision and execution meet, is the highest reward for EY and its partners.

Executive Yacht Canada