Really, yachts are just floating money. R_Pilguj/Shutterstock
I spent 3 years writing about yachts, and owning one takes way more money than you think
- A yacht costs a lot more than the price its owner bought it for.
- There are additional expenses, like yacht crew, dockage, fuel, and maintenance, that many people don’t think about.
- Even many yacht crew wouldn’t own a superyacht if they could afford it because they’re so much money and work.
If there’s one thing I took away from spending three years writing for the yachting industry and attending the Monaco Yacht Show, it’s that buying a superyacht is the absolute pinnacle of indulgence for the 1%.
TFI Translater: …it’s that buying a superyacht is the absolute pinnacle of indulgence for YOU.
You see, these behemoths of the sea cost a lot more than the price tag they come with thanks to the upkeep they require — it’s a series of neverending expenses. There’s what I like to call the Big Four that will easily wear down an owner’s black AmEx: yacht crew, dockage, fuel, and maintenance, among a host of other eye-popping costs.*
Just ask the crew who work on yachts.
I once spent a day running up and down the docks at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show asking crew one question: Would you buy a boat if you were rich? The answer, overwhelmingly, was no. Those that said yes were new to the industry — my guess is that they just didn’t know better yet.**
Because, really, yachts are just floating money.
Here’s how much it really costs to own a superyacht, which is generally defined as a boat at least 80 feet in length.
Generally, yachts over 100 feet cost $1 million per 3.3 feet — and that’s not counting costs for upkeep.
But that’s just the beginning — owners can expect to spend about 10% of the purchase price annually on operating and maintaining a yacht. That’s $1 million a year for a $10 million superyacht, although it varies.
Yachts in Florida’s Broward County, a hub for for yachting, account for $3 billion yearly in wages and earnings, reported Kate Lardy of the Sun Sentinel, citing a survey by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. That’s not counting yachts based internationally.
There are also other crew costs, like medical and liability insurance, training, and uniforms, the latter of which the captain told Lardy he spent $11,190 on over two months.
In the two-month span, the captain also spent $50,000 on provisioning for the upcoming charter season, including bounty for the yacht’s wine cellar.
When owners aren’t busy yachting in the Maldives or cruising to the Seychelles, they need a place to dock the boat — and fuel to get there. The captain also told Lardy he spent more than $100,000 on fuel and dockage during the two-month visit.
Fuel and docking can get even more expensive during an event like the Monaco Grand Prix.
Fuel can cost roughly $400,000 a year — and that’s not just for the boat, but the toys that go along with it, like Jet Skis.