We hear the question, “How much does a yacht cost?” on a regular basis, and it’s a difficult one to answer. Much the same as with houses, the prices vary in a surprising way depending on size, style, age, and finish (not to mention location). We’re talking millions of dollars in price difference for yachts, as well, because there are yachts of many different sizes with all the same variations. But first, let’s tackle the more fundamental question, “What is a yacht?’
What Classifies as a Yacht?
To begin with, a yacht can be a sailing yacht or a motor-powered yacht. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “any of various recreational watercraft: such as a) a sailboat used for racing; b) a large usually motor-drive craft used for pleasure cruising.” Size is not technically part of the definition, but in modern practice, size has a whole lot to do with it.
Many in the industry classify a boat as a ‘yacht’ from 40 feet up to 70 feet, although there are others who will include vessels as short as 33 feet. Not too many years ago, yachts as small as 80 feet (24 meters) were considered superyachts, but with the proliferation of much larger yachts, 130 feet (40 meters) is a more common yardstick. Beyond that are megayachts, variously defined as beginning at 165 feet (50 meters) or 200 feet (60 meters).
The point is, there are no hard-and-fast rules, and what may be one person’s pretty little 20-foot sailboat may be another’s luxury sailing yacht. And any shiny, private vessel 40 feet and up will be called a yacht by almost everyone.
While size is the main determining factor in labeling boats as yachts, amenities aboard also play a role. For example, yachts frequently have cabins and heads below allowing for overnight stays, as well as a galley, and plenty of deck space for leisure.
The term ‘yacht’ has become synonymous with luxury, especially with the boom in huge superyachts across the world. But a yacht doesn’t have to be fancy. A sprightly 30-foot trawler yacht might look to some like a luxury palace, but Jeff Bezos and the guests aboard his brand new $500 million sailing yacht Koru would probably see it differently.
Cost of Buying a Yacht
Looking for an average price across all types of yachts isn’t helpful either, with sizes of yachts varying from 30 to 300 feet. And that doesn’t take into account whether a boat is new or used. Broadly speaking, in the United States you can often buy a small used sailing yacht for $15,000 or less, and you can expect that figure to go up to $50,000 or $100,000 for a small motor yacht. A larger motor yacht, or even a new 40-foot day boat, can easily run up to $1 million or more. Superyachts, of course, will cost multiple millions of dollars.
Cost of Owning a Yacht
The cost of owning a yacht goes far beyond the initial purchase price, and even if you’re in the market for a small yacht, you’ll need to factor in the annual costs which include:
- Marina fees: These will vary depending on your location and the size of the boat. Expect to pay from $5,000 for a yacht at the smallest end of the scale up to tens of thousands for larger yachts.
- Insurance: As a general rule, you can expect to pay around 0.5 percent of the value of the boat annually. Check out our guide to boat insurance for more information.
- Maintenance and repairs: As a rough estimation you can expect to spend around 10 percent of the value of the boat on upkeep each year. This might be lower if it’s a new yacht.
- Fuel: This will vary depending on how far you cruise and how large the yacht is.
- Crew: Yachts up to 70 or 80 feet often don’t require a crew, but the larger the yacht, the more crew it will need. Crew salaries range from $3,200 per month for junior crew to $10,500 per month for captains and chief engineers. In general, a yacht of 80 to 100 feet in size will require a crew of between two and eight, while yachts between 100 to 200 feet will require between 8 and 20 crew members.
- Depreciation: Brand new boats depreciate the most and the quickest, with most depreciating by 40 to 50 percent of their initial price over the first 8 to 10 years.
Types of Yachts per Cost
When we talk about yachts and their values, we usually refer mostly to the length of the yacht as that tends to be the identifying factor, but the style, engine size, and finish also play a huge role in determining how much they cost. Here we take a look at the average price differences between new and used yachts in the United States at varying sizes.
How much is a small yacht? (25 to 40 feet)
A small yacht around 40 feet (often referred to as a cabin cruiser) is often considered an entry-level yacht, but a big step up from much smaller day boats. These are likely to have cabins, heads, and a small galley, and most offer the chance to spend weekends onboard. Prices will vary widely depending on whether it’s a used or new boat, and depending on the model, finish, and engines. New and recent-model yachts around 38 to 40 feet may cost anywhere from $250,000 to over $1 million, while the price of older models is often substantially lower. The average price in the United States for all new and used yachts sold between 36 feet to 45 feet was $238,000 according to the Boats Group Market Index of 2022.
When we’re looking at smaller yachts around 25 to 30 feet, these are unlikely to have cabins and so are considered day cruisers. Motor cruisers between 25 and 30 feet range from $70,000 for an almost-new model to well over $100,000 for a brand new one. Of course, yachts with smaller engines and simpler layouts will have considerably lower price tags, but those with premium finish and accommodations may cost much more—for example, a new Ranger 29 (pocket trawler) starts at over $350,000. See our guide to the different types of boats for a better understanding of what is available and what might be right for you.
How much is a medium-sized yacht? (40 to 70 feet)
Mid-sized yachts that fall within the 40- to 70-foot category vary in price from around $250,000 to well beyond $4 million, a figure that depends on the size, model, finish, engines, and extras, as well as whether it’s a brand new boat or used. According to the Boats Group Market Index of 2022, the average yacht price in the United States of vessels 46 to 55 feet was $467,899 with 2,273 boats sold, while the average price for yachts in the 56 to 79 foot category was $1.18m with 997 sold in 2022.
Yacht prices vary a lot depending on whether the yacht is new or used. As an example, the base price for a new Viking 58 is $4.1 million, a three-year-old model can be purchased for $3.5 million for, and a 10-year-old model for $600,000. Check out our new and used luxury yachts for sale on Rightboat for more comparisons.
How much is a sailing yacht?
Long before the combustion engine was invented, yachts (or sailboats) graced our oceans for centuries. While these days we tend to think of yachts as the luxurious motor vessels that far outnumber their sailing counterparts, sailing yachts have their own class. As we’ve seen with motor yachts, the size, age, and finish of a sailing yacht will determine the price tag, with prices ranging from $5,000 to several million dollars—and much more for superyachts. The largest sailing yacht in the world is Sailing Yacht A, which cost an estimated $600 million and measures 470 feet in overall length.
When referring to larger sailing yachts—and by larger we are talking about 100-foot yacht prices—there is a “rule of thumb” estimate of $1 million per 3 feet in length. So a 100-foot yacht may cost in the region of $30 million. But sliding back down the length ladder, it’s possible to pick up a small, used sailing yacht for a fraction of that. A 55-foot yacht that has been sailing for a few years may sell for around $700,000, whereas a new one could easily retail for $2 million or more. An older (30 to 40 years) sailing yacht of 30 to 35 feet might cost only about $25,000 while a brand new one might cost $250,000 and more. See what you can get for your money with our sailing yachts for sale on Rightboat.
How much is a luxury yacht or superyacht?
Superyachts are some of the most luxurious vessels on the sea, and they don’t come cheap. As mentioned, yachts above 78 feet (24 meters) are accepted by many as superyachts; when they range up over 165 or 200 feet, some in the industry refer to them as megayachts. This term is still debated in some quarters, so you may hear yachts over 300 feet referred to as superyachts too.
Superyachts require a full time crew to manage them, and this adds considerably to the overall cost of running such a large vessel. Given that, how much does a superyacht cost? The costs vary, with some estimates of up to $1 million per foot of length to build a new top-of-the-line custom superyacht. Used superyachts will cost less than a new build, and you may be able to buy a 10-year-old, 90-foot superyacht for around $2.5 million—although most owners will engage in a significant and costly refit every 10 years. Models less than five years old will be closer to the $4 million mark, while a brand new one will cost around $9 million. Check out our listings for superyachts for sale all across the world.
How much is a megayacht?
When we reach megayacht status, prices skyrocket along with the length of the vessels and the volume of the interiors. The largest megayacht in the world is currently Azzam, 590 feet long at a cost of $600 million to build. Yachts in this class are the most luxurious in the world, and feature large swimming pools, helicopter pads, huge guest and crew accommodations, beach clubs, and much more. The upkeep of vessels of this size can run to $20 million or more for the crew fees, fuel, mooring fees, insurance, food, and maintenance. If you want to set eyes on the world’s most astounding superyachts and megayachts check out our superyacht travel guide to where you might find them, or use our search to discover megayachts for sale.
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