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Small Luxury Boats with a Difference

Traditionally, the term “luxury boat” can mean many things, from glittering superyachts to sleek sports boats and a whole lot in between. But today there’s a whole new breed of small luxury boat on the market, and they are coming from surprising new angles. A few years ago, the idea of an ultra-luxurious pontoon boat was almost comical, for example, but today you can find double-deckers with water slides, wet bars, and absurdly potent stereo systems. The trusty workhorse RIB has also had a five star makeover. And the latest hybrid and electric boats get a healthy dose of luxury, too. Before we dive in for a closer look at these and other new small luxury boats, let’s take a look at what we’re comparing them to.

 

The Top Small Luxury Yachts

Luxury yacht manufacturers from Beneteau to Ferretti Yachts, Princess Yachts to Azimut to Mangusta, might draw global press attention with their largest builds, but their ranges of smaller yachts push innovation and luxury, too. Whether it’s a 38-foot Sunseeker Hawk 38, perfect for summertime cruising, or a 30-foot wooden Riva Aquariva steeped in elegance and artistry, you can guarantee a superyacht flavor among these smaller yachts. But what other types of small luxury boats are there? From jazzed up trawlers to beautiful catamarans, sleek sailing yachts, futuristic daysailers, center console boats, and express cruisers reminiscent of luxury limousines, the market is a very different place in 2023.

 

small luxury boat

 

Luxury Pontoon Boats: The Trusty Float Boat gets a Hollywood Makeover

The idea of a pontoon boat being a small luxury yacht may seem like an oxymoron. But a whole new generation of fast, well-equipped, and downright sexy pontoon boats are making their way onto the market, with some of them priced as high as half a million dollars. These boats, which are popular throughout the U.S. but are particularly popular in the Midwestern Lakes, are now equipped with full galleys, joystick docking, towsports packages, and engines that can propel them to speeds of up to and sometimes even beyond 70 mph. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

Bennington 25 QX Sport

When you look at a pontoon boat and think James Bond would look cool driving it, you know we’ve entered a whole new era of pontoons. This futuristic-looking design screams cool, with an edgy color palette of silvers, blacks, and red, capped off with a powerful Yamaha F425 outboard. With an interior that rivals any sport boat and luxuries such as an integrated fridge and full-range sound system, the Bennington 25 QX Sport is most certainly a head-turner.

 

Bennington 25 QX Sport

Photo credit: Bennington Marine

 

Barletta Pontoon Boats

Barletta’s range of pontoon boats cover all budgets, and at their most luxurious end they offer the Sport Luxury Corsa and the Premium Luxury Lusso. Offering beautiful classic styling, swanky and ultra-comfortable seating, and a sleek helm packed with technology, it’s much more than your average pontoon boat. Versatile floor plans offer plenty of lounging areas, there’s a push button Bimini top for instant shade, and no shortage of features and luxury accessories.

 

Barletta Pontoon Boat

Photo credit: Barletta Pontoon Boat

 

Premier Escalante

It makes you do a double take to see a pontoon boat with two 450 hp outboards on the back and a waterslide curling down from a second story deck. The Escalante 330 is rip-roaringly fun, luxurious, and powerful, with a huge amount of deck space for entertaining, a well-equipped galley, and joystick control. For many this will prove to be the ultimate luxury family boat.

 

Premier Escalante

Photo credit: Premier

 

Luxury RIBs: Speed and Toughness Combined with Ultra-Luxe

The hardy RIB (rigid inflatable boat) has long been used for its ability to withstand harsh sea conditions. Used widely in the commercial sector for everything from rescue boats to dive boats, they are also available as day boats and tenders. But the RIB world has had a facelift in recent years, and while the powerful workhorses are still as widely used as ever, a new breed of luxury RIB is emerging too: Maxi RIBs and luxury open cruisers.

 

SACS Marine

One of the top manufacturers to focus their efforts on these types of luxury RIBs is SACS Marine, whose range of Maxi RIBs offers hard tops, sun decks, comfortable seating, and a sleek design. At the smaller end of the size scale is the Pocket Strider 15, with its option of outboard, sterndrive, or inboard propulsion, a stylish design, and a revolutionary look. Going up in size to the 14m Rebel 47, we see a very different looking boat to the usual RIB. Resembling more of a sport boat, this luxury cruiser of a RIB incorporates a cabin and head, sunpads, a wealth of luxury finishings, and the ability to accommodate up to 18 people in the utmost comfort.

There can be no mention of SACS Marine without discussing their industry-changing TechnoRib boats. A simple glance at the Pirelli Walkaround range tells you these are no ordinary RIBs. They boast teak wraparound decks, a sophisticated interior cabin with a galley and head, and a wide bow sunbathing area.

 

SACS Marine

 Photo credit: SACS Marine

 

Magazzù

Another manufacturer making waves in the Maxi RIB market is Italian Magazzù. With their large Gamma MX range offering luxury RIBS from the 36 feet MX-11 Spider to their flagship 57 feet MX-18 Coupè, there is plenty to choose. With a master cabin in the bow, an additional guest cabin, two heads, and a dinette, the interior of the MX-18 Coupè is as impressive as the sleek exterior, which has a stern deck large enough to accommodate a personal watercraft.

 

Magazzù

 Photo credit: Magazzù

 

Technohull

The Luxury Collection by Technohull says it all about this manufacturers’ intentions when it comes to Maxi RIBs. The Omega 45 and Omega 47 offer impressive performance and great comfort all wrapped up to create ultra- sleek luxury boats. With top-end speeds in the range of 80 knots, a deck designed to give a five-star experience, and a cozy cabin, the Omega range shows just what a small luxury yacht can be.

 

TechnoHull

Photo credit: TecnoHull

 

Hybrid Luxury Motor Boats and Sports Boats: Eco-Credentials Wrapped up in a Pretty Package

The green revolution is upon us and the yachting world is no exception. While boats are notoriously inefficient as far as fuel consumption goes, manufacturers are making huge strides in creating both greener building technologies as well as more efficient boats (read more in our article ‘Eco-Friendly Superyachts’). But it’s not just the superyacht world that is going green.

 

Greenline Yachts

As their name implies, Greenline Yachts are surging forward with innovation and technology in hybrid and electric small luxury motor boats. Take the elegant 36-foot Neo with the optional EDrive, for example, whose twin electric Torqeedo outboards give it a top speed of 16 knots. (Optional twin 300hp Mercury engines can increase that to 42 knots). Able to accommodate 14 guests, the Neo has expansive decks, a cabin, and hydraulic swim platform, creating the perfect compact luxury day boat.

 

Boesch

The Swiss manufacturer Boesch has been crafting beautiful sports boats for lake and sea use for over 100 years. Sticking with the classic silhouettes of bygone eras, they are retro, sophisticated, and downright luxurious. But they’re also very firmly in the 21st century with electric engine options offering a quieter, gentler ride as well as the assurance of doing your part for the environment. With models ranging from 20 to 25 feet, these hybrid boats can give as much as 21 knots.

 

Boesch

Photo credit: Boesch

 

Iguana Foiler

If you’re looking for a sport boat with a difference—a big difference—then look no further. Iguana is in the process of creating the world’s first fully electric amphibious boat. It will come complete with folding foils and retractable caterpillar tracks for a truly futuristic image. Measuring 33 feet, the Iguana Foiler will rise up on three retractable foils to soar across the water using its electric 300HP EVOY outboard, which can generate 30 knots of quiet, emission-free ride. If you want to turn heads on the water and on land, then the Iguana Foiler offers the ultimate in comfort, sustainability, and luxury.

 

See Boats That Point to the Future of Boating, to learn more about some of the latest and greatest electric, foiling, and futuristic boats and yachts hitting the water today.  

 

Related articles:

10 of the Best Small Motor Boat Brands in 2023

 

This article was most recently updated in August 2023 by Lenny Rudow.
 

 

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

Get in touch:Linkedin

More from: Samantha Wilson


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