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Industry Insight

Nicholas Dean

From remote controlled FISH TANKS to bespoke WATER PARKS, Ocean independence makes its clients’ WILDEST DREAMS for their yachts a REALITY

Nicholas Dean sold his first yacht 41 years ago. Today, his experience helps Ocean Independence to offer its clients an extraordinary level of insight and knowledge when it comes to commissioning a superyacht. From the initial concept meeting with the client about their aspirations for their yacht to appointing a team of designers, naval architects and a shipyard, Nicholas and his team ensure a seamless process. 

“You could say it’s like conducting an orchestra,” he says. “The shipyard is the lead violinist, but you need all the instruments to create a symphony. The goal is to make sure the Owner gets the yacht they want – nothing else matters.” 

Currently working on a 90 metre superyacht as well as a 35 metre ‘downsizing’ yacht, Nicholas adapts to his clients’ needs. “With long standing clients, I have built up extensive lists of their likes and dislikes over time,” he says. “Most of the clients we deal with are making lifestyle decisions about what they want for themselves and their families and it’s important that we know how to interpret them. Every client will want something different and a yacht to feel proud of.”


Ocean Independence’s full customisation service goes far beyond bespoke craftsmanship, as the dramatic increase in size in yacht building in recent years demands cutting edge engineering. “When I started my career, a 30 metre yacht was regarded as a big boat. Now some of the boats have tenders of up to 20 metres. Size brings huge engineering challenges for a shipyard and requires a great number of specialists and craftsmen who push the boundaries of their skills simply because shipyards weren’t building this sort of tonnage 20 years ago”.

A recent commission saw Ocean Independence install a huge remote- controlled fish tank. “The yacht can be anywhere in the world and a gentleman in London will be adding the perfect level of salt to the water,” says Nicholas. Another client has grandchildren who love water sports so Ocean Independence created a bespoke water park for them. “It’s just over 6.5 tonnes of equipment and can’t be put on the yacht, so it’s shipped to the next destination and the crew on the support vessel put it up and take it down. The whole family absolutely loves it.”


Unsurprisingly, the most satisfying element for Nicholas is showing the Owner and their family the finished yacht for the first time. “One of my best clients sat on the first yacht he’d ever had built and said to me ‘I’ve dreamt about this since I was a teenager.’ Our job is to take our clients’ passion and turn it into a reality, and that’s what we do.”

Gold propeller on underside of yacht out of water

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