Actor Darren Lim makes a splash with private yacht service
When local actor-host Darren Lim received his work schedule for 2020 at the end of last year, he was fully booked till end-October for work trips to destinations around the Middle East and Africa.
But then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and all his acting and hosting gigs had to be postponed until further notice.
The 47-year-old, whose love for the sea and sailing was piqued when he was 15, said this was the first time in decades he has been stuck in Singapore for more than two months in a row.
But the silver lining is that demand for his private yacht service with yacht charter company Ximula Sail, which he joined three years ago, has never been higher.
Lim, his actress-host wife Evelyn Tan and their four children famously lived in their 300 square foot Lagoon 400S2 yacht for four years before moving back to land and into a condominium unit in Changi in 2017.
Currently docked at One15 Marina Sentosa Cove, the yacht - named Gracefully - can fit up to 18 people on board.
Lim told The New Paper: “The business has become one of my main sources of income. With the travel restrictions (still in place) and people feeling cooped up at home, it has improved tremendously.”
He charges $1,000 for a four-hour slot on the yacht, and he said slots have been almost fully booked till the end of the year.
Some events lined up include birthday parties and weddings, and he also offers guests overnight trips to Singapore islands like Sentosa, Lazarus Island, Pulau Ubin and Coney Island, at $500 per person a day.
He also captains the ship with a crew member when his schedule permits.
Under Covid-19 restrictions and regulations, Lim can only cater to five guests, excluding one captain and one crew per overnight booking.
As for the four-hour day trips via the four-hour slots, up to 10 guests, excluding one captain and one crew, are allowed.
A nature buff, Lim offers guests who book overnight stays on-land activities such as exploring mangroves, visiting fish farms and hiking expeditions to enjoy the sights of wildlife, marine life and flora and fauna.
There will also be water activities like diving, kayaking and swimming.
“I miss travelling, but this has given me the chance to explore Singapore, which I didn’t get to (do so) pre-Covid.
“I love the sea and nature, and Singapore has so many hidden gems in her backyard. I know there are many Singaporeans like me, and I hope to offer these experiences to them,” he said.
Lim is also providing a six-month internship to maritime students, with his first two interns from the Institute of Technical Education joining him next month coming in early-Oct.
This will be the first time students will be attached to private yachts as part of their curriculum, as the pandemic has barred merchant ships from sailing.
The six-month programme, which makes up 65 per cent of the student’s grade, will provide a hands-on experience to the basics and physics of sailing, said Lim.
“I am so excited to share my knowledge and passion for the craft. The yacht and boating life may look glamorous, but a lot of hard work goes behind it,” he said.