The calendar says it's springtime, which means it's also time for the annual migration of luxury yachts from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean.
And for yacht owners who don't want to bother with the time and hassle of an ocean crossing — and have the financial means to avoid one — there's an alternative: shipping the yacht by boat.
A growing number of companies are offering "yacht shipping" services, where yachts are loaded and carried on giant cargo ships to distant locations. Most of the boats being carried are charter boats on the seasonal migrations between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Industry executives estimate that more than 4,000 yachts will be transported by boat this year.
"For a lot of owners, time is of the essence," said Catalina Bujor, spokesperson for Dockwise Yacht Transport, the largest of the yacht transporters. Dockwise also runs a "yacht shuttle" between Newport, Rhode Island and St. Thomas.
Shipping a yacht isn't cheap. The cost of shipping a 120-foot yacht would be about $175,000, according to Dockwise.
"We've managed to do well despite the economy," aid Catalina Bujor, spokeswoman for Dockwise Yacht Transport.