By David Silverberg  |  Photo Scott Cooper


“Being on the water is a beautiful place. Those who haven’t experienced it can’t really know that feeling”

So says Derek Mader, President and co-founder of Executive Yacht Canada, which describes itself as a “yachting experience company.” Mader is enthusiastic about boating because he truly gives off an aura of someone deeply passionate about being on the water. It is that love that is encouraging him and his staff to work diligently to bring customizable yachts to Canadians.

Instead of selling to customers boats immediately in front of them, Executive Yacht Canada allows clients to customize what they want on their vessel. Mader encourages his customers to tailor their yachting experience to what fits for them and their lifestyle.

“People don’t want to invest in something that isn’t personalized,” says Mader, comparing what his firm does to a car dealer that can add or modify the purchased vehicle. “There are no cookie-cutter boats here.” He adds, “We don’t just sell customized boats. Customization is something we stand out for, and so we are different than the rest of the marine industry.”

Executive Yacht Canada, based in Toronto, has partnered with some of the leading brands in boating, such as Sunseeker, Frauscher,  Benetti, Carver, Azimut, Marquis, Everglades, Vanquish and many more.

Boat size can vary, from a 21-foot centre console up to 200 feet and beyond.

As to what can be customized on their boats, customers can modify everything from countertops to bow design to the technology embedded in the boat. “Customers want to build their boats, and it’s their dreams not ours, and we are here to help facilitate those dreams,” Mader notes.

He adds the firm has had clients personalize the living areas inside and out with different seating and lounging arrangements quite different from the normal set-up. “We’ve had clients request specific stone from particular quarries around the world,” Mader says. “We’ve painted boats to match their favourite car or personal item. On larger yachts the conversation of hot tubs comes up often. It’s a very desirable feature.”

Mader believes “A yacht purchase is an emotional experience and buyers want to match their personality to the brand of boat that fits their lifestyle.”

But even before someone steps onto a marina to gauge which boat is right for them, what makes yachting so appealing?

Mader equates boating to being a driver versus a passenger, to being mobile versus being in a fixed position. Some families invest in cottages, but Mader has noticed his clients don’t often enjoy just staying in one place, like a Muskoka cottage. Rather, they can be drivers, instead of passengers, when they vacation in a yacht. “You get to change your scenery on a whim,” Mader says.

That kind of flexibility is attractive to Ontarians who want to see more than lakes and the usual forest trails.

Also, Executive Yacht Canada yachts can be fitted with high-tech solutions ideal for boating beginners. “My kids can dock boats up to 70 feet without any training at all, thanks to what we have on board,” says Mader.

He refers to the popular Skyhook or DPS (Dynamic Positioning System) GPS technology found in the marine industry. Using a boat’s GPS system, it can pinpoint the yacht’s exact position and moves the drives independently to maintain the correct heading and it’s ideal for holding over a hot fishing spot, waiting for the locks or drawbridge to open.

Joystick controls are now common on boats, although the classic wheel mechanism is still available. “Using a joystick benefits the rookie boater immensely,” Mader says.

“Anyone who’s played Pacman can dock a boat,” he adds.

Executive Yacht Canada also offers training via an in-house captain. There is no charge to those who purchased a vessel through the company, and the training duration is a reflection of the client’s comfort level.

As expected, the company’s clientele can veer into the celebrity level, with Mader adding how some of their customers are major league athletes who often need to be mobile with their summer homes, since they may get traded from one team to the next within a year.

You might think boating is a solitary experience compared to the familial feel of cottaging, with neighbours surrounding your home, but Mader counters that argument by saying “Boating is a very social community. The marina can be a hub for many boaters. So, you’re not on an island when you get into boating.”

“We are your ambassadors to the world of yachting, as you become a member of our family”