How much is a superyacht really worth

How much is a superyacht really worth

Honestly, what expenses await the owner of a superyacht after its purchase
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What do former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Prime Minister of the Arab Emirates and Stephen Spielberg have in common? Besides being damn rich, they are on a very small list of superyacht owners.

It is no secret that superyachts are expensive. The price tag can be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. A vivid example of this is the world's largest private vessel Azzam. This 180-meter boat has cost its owner, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, almost $611 million.

However, the cost of purchasing the vessel is not limited to: taxes, fuel, crew salary, maintenance, etc., and so on - all of this in combination can sometimes result in a seven-digit sum.

And even if we're talking about a boat much smaller than the Azzam - such as the 68-metre Triple Seven for €44.9 million - it's worth considering that it will end up costing several million more.

So how much is a superyacht really worth? Let's get this sorted out!

To begin with, the owner must pay VAT when purchasing a yacht. Depending on which country the boat will be registered, the rate will be between 15 and 25% of its value.

The largest expense item is crew salary.

It makes sense that the bigger the boat, the bigger the crew and therefore the higher the salary costs. A 30 meter superyacht usually requires at least five crew members.

Captain's Compensation ranges from $7,500 to $20,000 per month depending on his qualifications and size. The salary of other crew members - such as assistant captain, engineer, stewardess, sailor - is much lower: from $3,000 to $8,000 per month. However, if you take into account that about 50 people work for the same Azzam, the sum turns out to be huge.

Smaller boats, such as the 88-meter Maltese Falcon and 78.2-meter Venus, employ between 18 and 22 people. And the 155-meter Al Said, which belongs to the Sultan of Oman, employs as many as 154 crew members.

It is also worth understanding that a team usually has an annual contract, no matter how many months in that year the owner will enjoy his acquisition.

In addition to salary, crew expenses include: medical insurance, liability insurance, training and uniform purchase. As the captain of a 54-meter superyacht with a staff of 14 people shared with journalists from Sun Sentinel, $11,190 was spent on crew uniform alone.

Often temporary workers are required to work on board. According to the same captain, that took $14,255 in two months.

The next thing a superyacht owner has to think about is the berth space. Its cost depends on the size of the boat, geographical location, season and the need to moor directly to the marina.

According to Business Insider magazine, a budget option for a 24-meter yacht costs around $1,200 per month. While David Seal of brokerage Northrop and «Johnson»cites an example of parkingin a conveniently located marina close to the marina. Monaco, Sardinia, Portofino and other popular destinations should be prepared from €2,125 between May and October and from €3,690 between October and May.

For larger boats, the cost of parking may exceed $6,000 per month, but surely in this case the yacht will be moored just steps away from a trendy boutique and an expensive restaurant in one of your favorite port cities.

While the boat is standing in the marina, the parking bill is increasing, but as the boat reaches the open sea, the figure in the other column of fuel costs increases sharply. According to Forbes analysts' estimates, fuel for a 71-meter yacht may cost about $400,000 per year. It should be remembered that not only the boat, but also tenders and water toys such as Jet Ski require refueling.

But even this is not the limit - superyacht giants are much more voracious.

Roman Abramovich was awarded a check of one million euros for fuel for his 163-meter Eclipse.

Let's move on - insurance. As a rule, its annual cost is 0.5-0.7% of the initial price per yacht. For example, insurance of a boat built in 2016 at a cost of $10 million will cost $50,000. The older and more expensive the boat, the more money it will cost. Towergate Insurance estimates that insurance for a 71-metre yacht is approximately $240,000 on average.

Maintenance and refits are another huge cost item.

Scheduled maintenance and minor repairs are about 2% of the boat's cost after the first year of operation and an average of 7.5% if the boat is more than 10 years old.

For example, motors and generators require maintenance every 100 operating hours, i.e. approximately once a year. Each of these services will cost between $5,000-7,000.

After about five years of service, the batteries begin to run down faster, the pumps break down periodically, the seals, the protective coating of the housing and the paint break down.

Returning to the captain's story of a 54-metre yacht: his boat stops twice a year for maintenance and repair, and spending over $140,000 at a time is quite common.And if we talk about global reefs, here the size of the estimate is limited only by the imagination of the owner.

The former owner of the famous Indian Empress has invested €6.4 million in one of its full-scale upgrades.

One should not forget about other expenses - communication, administrative expenses, additional décor, purchase of products, drinks, etc. Our already mentioned captain spent $56,000 on such things in preparation for the charter season.

And this does not take into account the entertainment - the situation requires superyacht owners to regularly organize spectacular parties in their castle on the water«. This is especially true during a social event or a boat show. During the Cannes Film Festival, American entrepreneur and co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen traditionally organized a party every year on his 126-meter yacht Octopus, where actors such as Kate Moss and Jake Gyllenhaal were the guests.

Additional expenses in this case include treats for guests, a guest chef, alcohol, DJ, light effects and so on.

As a result, the owner must be prepared to spend around 10% of the initial cost of his superyacht every year.

Not surprisingly, a new generation of super-rich people are increasingly opting for charter as a personal boat owner. After all, if you take a new 50-metre yacht, for example, it will cost €250,000 to charter a week in the summer season. In addition, about 25% of this amount will be spent on food, fuel, berthing and other expenses on board.

The annual maintenance cost of such a yacht is approximately €2 million - the cost of almost six and a half weeks of charter. The owner therefore needs to spend at least two months a year on the boat in order to justify the running costs, not to mention the purchase price.

But despite all the above calculations, hundreds of superyachts are being built and many new projects are regularly launched.

According to, 249 superyachts were sold in 2017, and last year this figure exceeded 300 boats.

By the way, the largest percentage of superyacht owners among all nationalities are Americans - they own 14%, followed by Russians and then Asians, although back in 2011 their share was only 3%.

What is it that pushes super-rich people who are used to spending every cent wisely and carefully, to be so wasteful and to buy superyachts?

David Syl remarked very accurately:«They remain as careful and calculating as ever. They just realize that the time has come to direct some of the wealth that they have worked so hard to create throughout their lives, not at something that will make a profit, but at something that will give them and their families a quality of life that nothing else can match. No hotel, villa or even castle in Scotland offers as much freedom, pleasure and relaxation as a holiday on their own boat.
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