What’s making waves on the Chennai coast? A luxury yacht service that caters to every whim of leisure seekers

Although it boasts a vast and scenic coastline, the water tourism industry has not really picked up in Chennai. Trying to tap into this market is The Leisure Yacht Company, which recently launched its luxury yacht service in the city.

The Yacht, called Moonbeam, is custom-designed to cruise the waters along the city’s coast. Air-conditioned, with a living room, bedroom and bathroom and equipped with a DVD player and an LED TV, it can take on board groups comprising 15 members or couples wanting to celebrate their anniversary. It can also be used for birthday bashes, parties and board meetings. “We are willing to customise events according to the customer’s preference,” says Indrajit Kalidasan, CEO, Chona Property Management that has floated The Leisure Yacht Company. “These services have been around for long in Mumbai and Kochi but ours is the first such initiative in Chennai.”

Those interested can hire the yacht under three packages: three hours (Rs. 28,000), four-and-a-half hours (Rs. 36,500) and six hours (Rs. 45,000). Overnight cruises are also available on demand. “We have had a few trial runs over the eight months we have taken to launch the service. So far, the trips have been great. We have had groups of women and youngsters taking the yacht for fishing trips and overnight cruises. A lot of couples have also hired the yacht and we have even hosted an engagement party on board,” he adds.

Each cruise will have trained stewards and a yacht master as part of the crew. Sailing will begin at the Royal Madras Yacht Club in the Chennai Port Trust. “Our lifejackets, accredited by international agencies, are specifically designed for these waters. The yacht master was a fisherman recruited in 2012 and trained rigorously for eight months on this yacht. The routes are on GPS and the crew is fully trained in safety procedures as well,” Indrajit explains. The company has tied-up with resorts on the ECR and offers short trips to Mahabalipuram.

Indrajit hopes to increase the fleet and accommodate bigger yachts for larger groups very soon. They also plan to introduce individual passes. “We are introducing a lifestyle in Chennai and it will take time to know whether people accept it. We are willing to wait and find out. There is a big future in marine recreation and the tourism potential is huge. We are keen to explore this,” says E.M.C. Palaniappan, chairman, Chona Property Management.