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Yacht Maintenance Cost. The Real Costs of Owning a Superyacht

The superyacht industry has seen an unprecedented boom. While superyachts were always highly sought after commodities, the idea of escaping the crowds, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and having a private holiday have never been more popular. But superyacht holidays are one of the most extravagant luxuries there is, and left to a small percentage of UHNWIs. In fact, luxury yachts top the list of the 10 most expensive asset purchases ever recorded (see our Superyacht FAQs for the largest and most expensive superyachts in the world). The cost of superyacht ownership is no small undertaking and, as for all boat owners, the purchase price is just the beginning.

Here we take a look at average superyacht operating costs: (for something a bit smaller, check out our guide to creating a boat buying budget.)


Yacht maintenance cost

As a general rule, superyacht owners can expect to spend roughly 10-12% of the initial purchase price on upkeep and running of their yacht. Of course superyachts come in all shapes and sizes ranging from 24 metres to well over 100 metres, and purchase prices will be reflected in the size, age and finish. The average sale price for a superyacht is around $8 million, however a 24 metre yacht could be around $1 million (or less for used superyachts), $11 million in the 40m-50m category, $24 million in the 50m-70m category and around $80 million for yachts of 70m or more. Some of the largest yachts in the world (those over 100 metres in length) can go for up to as $175 million. So a $50 million yacht is likely to cost around $5 million a year to run and maintain, while the largest yachts could run to over $50 million a year. So what is it that costs all the extra every year?


Yacht fuel costs

One of the biggest outgoings in the running of a superyacht is the cost of diesel. To put this into context, a 70 metre-long superyacht will use around 500 litres of diesel an hour just to run the generators. A moving yacht will be using approximately $2,000 per hour whilst underway at a speed of around 18 knots. A smaller yacht will obviously use much less, so a 45 metre yacht will use around 560 litres per hour whilst underway at a rough cost of around $500/hour. Based on around 500 hours of cruising time per year that is approximately $250,000, plus all the time spent at anchor and any fuel used for tenders. 


Berthing and mooring costs

As with all boats big and small, berthing costs are one of the highest expenditures. Marinas vary hugely in price, with the most sought after incurring the highest price tags. The most exclusive marinas can cost around $3,000 per night and be booked up long in advance. 

In general however, dockage is usually priced by the length of the yacht and per night, although long-term contracts are also possible. Berthing fees will not usually include electricity, water and waste removal, which need to be factored in too. When winter sets in, if the yacht isn’t travelling to warmer climes, some yachts opt for dry dock, especially if they’re looking to get maintenance and repairs done. This involves lifting the yacht out of the water with specially designed cranes. 


Owner-on-board costs

Of course the whole point of having a beautiful superyacht is to use it and enjoy it. Costs when the owner is on board go up as a full crew, food, alcohol, flowers and any other entertainment costs such as parties and events need to be accounted for. With most yachts able to accommodate up to 12 guests, a yacht in full cruising and entertaining mode could include everything from helicopters and land transfers, to  


Super yachts crew salaries

Superyacht crews vary in size from three or four members to in excess of 70 members on the largest yachts. When you consider that their salaries, taxes, recruitment fees, food and travel for holiday time and repatriation need to be taken into account, the superyacht crew costs are some of the highest expenditures. A captain’s salary alone can be in excess of $20,000, with some chief engineers on $10,000 and chefs around $5,000-$8,000. Crew wages can easily be around $100,000 per month for larger yachts, while a crew of 8 on a 45 metre yacht could be in the region of $600,000 per year. Add to that figure management agencies, shore based crew, specialist part-time crew such as helicopter pilots and food to feed them all and it’s easy to see why this figure is one of the highest outgoings.  


Super yacht repairs

Superyachts need constant upkeep and maintenance which could include everything from maintenance of the engines, to the thrusters, sails, swimming pool/hot tub, decks, electronics, safety equipment, hull, interior and much more. Superyacht maintenance costs are on-going, but winter is usually the time for major projects in shipyards, and costs can vary hugely depending on the level of work being done. Lifting the yacht out of the water, wrapping it for a re-paint or having a new interior refit are big undertakings. 


Super yachts taxes and insurances

Superyacht taxes and insurances must be factored into the cost of owning a superyacht, with import tax on new vessels up to 20% (see our article on VAT and Brexit) and insurance policies around 0.8% and 1.2% of the boat’s purchase price each year. 


Communication Costs

An often under looked outgoing in the running of a superyacht is the communication costs. With the internet a must-have on board for both guests and crew, packages for satellite and broadband communications can start from around of $4,000 to $5,000 per month. 


Super yachts tenders and toys

One of the highlights of a superyacht charter or holiday are the amazing array of water toys. From classic Jet skis and scuba gear to new-fangled jet packs and sea bobs, the choice is incredible but not cheap. Tenders too are a must for allowing guests and crew to get to shore, for exploring and for water sports. Some of the custom built models can cost $1 million alone. Add to all this James Bond-style additions such as helicopters and submersibles and the sky is the limit when it comes to spending on amazing tenders and toys. 


Superyachts are some of the most incredible and prestigious machines on the planet, and owning one is an incomparable experience. Whether you’re in a position to buy a superyacht or looking to buy a boat of a smaller length, then Rightboat.com should be your first port of call. With thousands of boats and superyachts represented by the top brokers in the industry, you will be in safe, private and experienced hands. 

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.

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