Market rises with luxury cruise boats

For many Greeks, getting their own boat is apparently no longer an impossible dream, judging from sales figures for pleasure craft over the past few years. Even top-of-the-range floating palaces that cost as much as 13 million euros have been selling well. The improved buying power of a segment of Greek society and a number of changes to the law have allowed more people to take the plunge on ea sier terms. According to figures made available by the firm EKKA Boats, the market leader in luxury craft and the representative in Greece of the nine boat-building firms in the Ferreti group, sales have risen in all categories. In the fly-bridge category (that is, in which the bridge is on a different level to the cabins), in which prices range from 500,000 to 8 million euros, sales have risen by 20 percent in a year. Sales of yachts of over 50 meters (some of which cost more than 20 million euros) have risen by 10 percent while sales of high-performance craft (costing 250,000 to 13 million euros) have doubled.. «Improved purchasing power has enabled people to invest in a boat that takes them anywhere they want, for as long as they want, and as fast and as comfortably as they want,» said Dimitris Kyriazakos, of the EKKA Boats marketing and sales department. Legal experts, however, observed that another major reason that boat ownership has become more accessible is because it is now possible to set up a company that enjoys tax breaks similar to those granted to shipowning firms, much in the same way that luxury cars are bought in the name of business firms. According to a lawyer with experience in shipping, a person can set up a non-commercial firm that permits ownership of a pleasure craft, thereby avoiding VAT payments and fuel tax. The owner’s only obligation is to produce an invoice indicating the boat is for business purposes.