I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime in the past five years, towed tenders became all the rage aboard megayachts. It is no longer enough to have a RIB as a dinghy. Yes, a “rubber duck” will get you from the aft deck to shore, but it’s of little use for serious exploring. The trend toward towed tenders has become so profound that in locations such as the Bahamas and Caribbean, where fishing and scuba diving are primary activities, megayachts as “small” as 100 feet are losing charter business if a towed tender is not included as part of the weekly rate.

The Grady-White Canyon 366 is a favorite for towing behind megayachts.

And I don’t blame the clients one bit for seeking out towed tenders. I’ve been aboard a few megayachts recently with serious towed tenders, and in every worldwide location, the tender was a major asset to the cruising. In Fiji, the 111-foot Alloy VvS1 towed a 21-foot Protector that was ideal for snorkeling amid manta rays with 10-foot wingspans. In the British Virgin Islands, the 135-foot Christensen Atlantica tows a 37-foot Intrepid whose drop-down swim platform made scuba diving a breeze. In the Western Mediterranean, the 183-foot Benetti Four Aces tows a 33-foot Intrepid that made exploring villages ashore a comfortable delight.

Intrepid, actually, has become a favorite brand in the towed tender market, with its 30- to 37-foot center consoles regularly popping up at megayacht marinas worldwide. I also am seeing more and more center consoles built by Grady-White, in particular its 30- to 36-foot Canyon series.

Thus, my attention was piqued when Grady-White announced that until November 8, the company is offering incentives of as much as $10,000 above any dealer discounts on the purchase of a new boat. All of the brand’s center consoles are included in the promotion, which the company says will not be repeated at any time during the 2011 model year.

Megayacht owners are first and foremost business owners, and they tend to know a good thing when they see it. This five-figure discount fits that bill, especially for any owner who has been on the fence about joining the towed tender revolution.

kim_kavin-headshotEditor's Note: Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who specializes in marine travel. She is the author of six books including Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Vacations, is editor of the online yacht vacation magazine www.CharterWave.com, and writes the blog at www.BrokerageBoss.com.