When Phillip Berman founded 5 Oceans Marine Group in 1999 he had no idea how fast it would grow. All he knew for sure was that he had a life-long passion for voyaging and racing boats and that he wanted to share that passion with others and in a manner that no one else in the marketplace had realized at the time: by offering purchasing advice to buyers exclusively. He wanted to connect with those sailors who were eager to experience the life of the water, the life of the sea and share his extensive knowledge with them by helping match the right sailor with the right yacht.
As a result, 5 Oceans Marine Group was the first to offer a buyer/broker partnership to the yachting industry, a partnership that has since been copied – with mixed results – by competitors around the globe. Berman’s vision went beyond simply working exclusively with buyers to one that focused on hiring and partnering with others who shared his work ethic, love of the sea, and experience and passion for putting the sailor first. It was a simple model: speak openly about the pros and cons of any yacht for sale with a potential buyer and those buyers will be loyal to the firm because they will come to trust that 5 Oceans would find the best boat for their needs not 5 Oceans’ needs.
Sixteen years later, 5 Oceans Marine Group’s mission has expanded along with its geography and staff, but not its core ethical mission statement: match the sailor to the yacht whether that is a service to the seller or a service to the buyer. In other words, open, transparent discussions are the heart of the transaction. Today, 5 Oceans’ represents both buyers and sellers with the same ethically driven mandate. And as a result, we have a virtuous circle of happy buyers who often become happy sellers and return to 5 Oceans’ when the time comes for them to move on to another yacht or another dream.
5 Oceans’ corporate offices are Philadelphia where we do our marketing, closings, banking and accounting. Many people often wonder why Philadelphia is our corporate home, rather than our Florida location. The simple answer is that 5 Oceans’ President Phillip Berman’s wife, Anne Gordon, is the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Media and Communications for the Philadelphia Eagles Football team. Philadelphia has been home for over fifteen years.
5 Oceans’ brokers work around the globe and include two executive brokers, four senior brokers, and five associate brokers. We realized early on that our world-traveling clients required world-wide services and so we established offices and brokers in a range of locations. We have brokers in Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, Charleston, San Francisco, Grenada, Trinidad, St. Martin, Guadelope, Tortola, and La Ciotat, France. All of this from the one-man shop Phillip Berman began in 1999.
In 2015, recognizing the need to service our customers in New Zealand, 5 Oceans Marine Group formed a partnership with the Gulf Group, the largest full service yacht brokerage firm in New Zealand.
Earning hard-won successes over the years:
- 5 Oceans Marine Group has grown in market share every year since it first opened its doors in 1999.
- In the middle of the global recession, 5 Oceans’ outperformed its competitors – selling yachts in what was easily the worst market in most of our lifetimes. While its competitors shed brokers and costs, 5 Oceans kept focused on the sailor and his or her needs. It invested in the future and did not cut costs or brokers.
- From 2009 to 2015, its gross sales remained over $20 million annually.
- 5 Oceans’ closest competitor notes it sells approximately 70 yachts a year, with an average value of $225,000. 5 Oceans Marine Group sells 70 to 75 yachts a year on average, but its average sale value is $425,000. 5 Oceans Marine Group sells larger boats and boats of a higher average value than any full-service yacht brokerage company in the world. This makes our firm the clear brokerage of choice for those sellers who wish to reach the highly educated, sophisticated buyers that can afford to own and invest in a large yacht and harbor it anywhere in the world.
The Yacht Match Makers
5 Oceans was able to earn this position in the marketplace because of its team. Consider that its brokers are among the most highly educated and trained and include graduates of Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Amherst. They are well-travelled, sophisticated, highly ethical, and most are multi-lingual, a key asset when dealing with buyers or sellers around the globe who respect that level of communication. And of course, 5 Oceans’ brokers are passionate yacht sailors with racing or voyaging experience on boats.
And because of where it started, 5 Oceans has something that few other brokerages can claim: loyal buyers who work with the company to find the right match. 5 Oceans is jokingly called the Yacht Match Makers, but no one minds because we feel good about our company and our work and in turn our clients feel very good about us.