One consultant's story
As Managing Director of specialist security business Intrepid Risk Management, Ed Hill counts Russian oligarchs, British businessmen and A-list celebrities among his clients. With a Masters Degree in Maritime Security, Hill has been involved in superyacht security since 2008 and developed some of these skills acting as a sniper in the Royal Marines, where he completed fourteen years of military service. Today, his company is actively involved in superyacht security operations around the globe.
His CV is certainly impressive, but his success signposts a much wider demand in the industry for this kind of specialist security team. After all, superyacht security has become a billion-dollar business. It is estimated that defence and security accounts for as much as a quarter of the construction cost of a superyacht and 30 per cent of daily running costs. And no wonder; risks to UHNWI superyacht owners are substantial and cyber-threats continue to develop. There has always been the danger of theft and burglary, paparazzi, personal attacks, abduction, and even piracy, but our reliance on digital devices has significantly changed how these threats are carried out. In some cases, it has made owners even more vulnerable.
Luckily, growing security pressures have been matched by tremendous advancements in security technology. Yachts are now full to the brim with the latest military-grade security gadgets. Drones present a great threat to owner privacy with their ability to fly over and capture personal footage, however integrated security systems can detect any drone in the vicinity of the yacht and find its source. A yacht's computer systems can be hacked into and the yacht then controlled remotely by the hackers, but software can be installed to prevent this. Then, ultra-modern security sensors, CCTV, lighting, roller shutters, panic rooms can be fitted for additional protection.
Hill said: "We can now install a complete security system that gives the owner the ability to monitor and control the security of the yacht in real time from a laptop, tablet or smart phone. Similarly, once on board the yacht, the owner can monitor his/her other assets such as property, staff/employees, family members, jets and cars. This is all executed flawlessly via 3G, 4G, GSM or satellite link, which simply wouldn't have been possible twenty years ago."
A working knowledge of all this technology does not come easy, but when it's the difference between a successful or failed mission ignorance is not an option. Sometimes the old-fashioned methods can work just as well. On one operation, Hill's team were called into action in the Gulf of Aden when the 80 metre yacht that they were protecting was approached by six pirate boats. As the pirates came closer, the crew made their way to the panic room for safety. Meanwhile, the security team noticed that the pirates were armed with AK47 assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Grenades. Hill's team consisted of former Royal Marines snipers who fired warning shots in the vicinity of the pirates' boats. Upon seeing the waters around them being disturbed by precision fire, the pirates turned around, realising they had more than met their match.
Above all, managing a staff of ex-British Special Forces and Royal Marines Commandos that can be dispatched to support a superyacht crew at any time requires flawless organisation and communication. Owners are scrupulous when choosing their security concierge and so ultimate professionalism is required at all times. And working remotely from your team can be difficult, especially when they face dangerous situations daily and the ability to check-in is crucial. This kind of business requires a platform which can create a 'virtual office', allowing the team to work together wherever they are in the world. For this, Hill uses YManage, a digital yachting management platform with-a-difference. Currently breaking industry boundaries by allowing yachting professionals the freedom to work whenever and wherever suits them, YManage is utilised by a wide variety of businesses and continues to grow. As a YManage partner Hill delivers his consulting service through the platform and posts informative blogs to help others in the security community. It provides him with marketing, networking and event opportunities as well as a digital workspace.
Hill said: "There are a number of benefits of YManage, particularly for those with start-up companies. The superyacht industry can be extremely difficult to penetrate and YManage helps to alleviate some of those challenges. Communication is always vital and YManage is an easy way to share information. What I really love about YManage is the ability to connect with other members of the superyacht community whether it's crew, managers or owners and stay abreast of what's going on in this rapidly changing and dynamic industry. It really is a fantastic platform."
And now, there are new advancements on the horizon which promise even more. Try out YManage for FREE today by registering for a 14-day free trial. Visit YManage