From never stepping on a boat to buying one: UAE residents reveal how they became vessel owners

They are now looking to invest in yachts that are bigger and 'super convenient'


Nasreen Abdulla

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Image used for illustrative purposes only
Image used for illustrative purposes only

Published: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 5:50 PM

When Indian entrepreneur Dr Harshad moved to the UAE eight years ago, the last thing on his mind was to buy a boat. He had never even stepped on a vessel until he came to the country.

However, new friendships meant new experiences. “Some friends took me out fishing and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “What was supposed to be a one-off experience soon became one of my favourite pastimes.”

He soon encountered one issue – there weren’t enough boats on rent which meant he had to book weeks in advance to be able to go fishing. That is when he decided to take a leap of faith and buy his own boat in Dubai. “I searched on the market for a second-hand boat and eventually found one that I liked,” he said.

According to him, the process of buying the boat was a huge learning curve for him. “For example, I never knew that you don’t get a loan for buying a boat,” he said. “You have to pay the lump sum in ready cash. Also, figuring out the parking, getting the license, understanding the maintenance was all new to me.”

Once he bought the boat and started fishing regularly, there was no stopping Dr Harshad. He went on to buy a yacht very shortly. “Going out into the waters is a very calming activity,” he said.

“It takes you out of the hustle and bustle [of the city] and reconnects with nature. It is such a peaceful way to spend your free time after you have spent a busy week at work. So now, at least twice a month, I go out in the yacht with my family. I also go out fishing with my friends in the boat. I think the vessels are some of the best investments I made.” Last week, the Indian expat took his employees out on a ride.

In the family

For Emirati Marwan Mohammad Al Haj, boats have been a passion growing up. “My father and grandfather were both avid fishermen,” he said. “We live in Jumeirah, and I think anyone who grows up in Jumeirah has a keen interest in boats. It is almost like a way of life.”

Some of his favourite memories were made on the family boat. “It is a 28 feet boat and my brothers and I used to go out on it a lot,” he said. However, ten years ago Marwan decided to invest in his own boat. “I started to feel like the family boat was a little cramped for my friends and me, so I bought my own vessel which is 43 feet,” he said. “The best part about it is that each of us friends can get a corner for fishing without our lines getting tangled.”

Marwan says he goes out fishing every weekend with his friends. “During holidays, we go out in the boat every day,” he said. “Every trip brings back a lot of fresh fish which we divide among ourselves. At home, we cook this fresh fish for our meals.”

According to Marwan, he is now contemplating buying a yacht so that he can take his family out as well. “Having a yacht is super convenient,” he said. “It has its own washrooms which is a lifesaver when you are taking the kids out.”


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