What does it cost to run a super yacht?
Figures within the super yacht industry are hard to comprehend, below are a selection of expenses you should consider if you are considering buying a yacht.
I always found it hard to grasp what the yachts I worked on were spending on fuel and would often chat to our engineers about the costs involved. As an approximate guide a yacht of about 70 meters in length will consume about 500 litres of diesel fuel an hour (when the engines are running and not necessarily moving anywhere!).
To get the yacht moving you will need to spend approximately £2,000 an hour, to achieve a cruising speed of around 18 knots. Therefore an average overnight cruise of 12 hours could cost about £24,000 (note…this will be significantly higher for the larger yachts).
The next consideration of costs is berthing a yacht and this is certainly no cheap past time. Some of the top ports charge €2,000-€3,000 per night. The top six most expensive ports to berth at are:
- Capri, Italy
- Porto Cervo, Italy
- Porto Fino, Italy
- Ibiza Magna, Ibiza
- St Tropez, France
- Port Hercule, Monaco
The mooring cost is normally based on the yachts size and the popular ports are booked months in advance. A yacht needs to be moored when on standby as well and ports such as Antibes charge up to €2,000 per night - renting a permanent dock here (like some owners do) cost hundreds of thousands!
Then if you are like Roman Abramovich and you build one of the biggest yachts in the world, you are then faced with actually finding a port that can hold the size of your yacht. At one stage it was reported that he was going to pay to have a dock extended, however he eventually found a couple of ports that could actually take such a large sized pleasure vessel.
Next comes the crewing part, some captains salaries alone can exceed €20,000 per month, then add to this some chief engineers which can be on €10,000 per month …and very quickly you are looking at vast funds just to keep the yacht fully crewed. Wage bills of €100,000 are not uncommon on the larger yachts employing some 50 crew.
As well as the crew on-board you also have your shore based crew, managing agents, financial staff etc. which can be added on top of this figure. Along with this comes the costs of providing food, toiletries and all living requirements for the crews on-board; feeding 50 people on a daily basis is no cheap undertaking.
Then comes the servicing costs of these yachts. Lifting the yachts out the water is by no mean feat and to service these technological advanced super structures and engines comes with a hefty price tag. Servicing costs for the larger yachts easily run into millions of pounds.
Super Yacht Toys
Add to all these costs the need for the latest toys and gadgets on board. The best looking, most advanced tenders are frequently custom build and often exceed the £1 million price bracket. Coupled with the essential need for the latest jet skis, helicopters, submarines, diving equipment and numerous other toys to make your yacht complete.
Safety and Security
Attacks from pirates is a growing threat and owners are all too weary of ensuring their prize possession is not held to ransom in foreign waters. Equipment such as lasers that can cause temporary loss of vision cost some €70,000 from SeaLase and demand for their product is reportedly growing.
Another product is the $450,000 "SeaOwl" tracking system, which combines radar and infrared or thermal cameras to detect incoming threats as far as five kilometers away. On top of this are the panic rooms, anti-paparazzi shields and armed security staff.
To cover the running and maintenance costs of a super yacht it is recommended that you allow some 10-12% of the purchase cost, meaning a £50 million pound yacht is likely to cost around £5 million a year to run and maintain. For some of the largest yachts it has been reported that it could be costing their owners over €50 million a year to run and maintain.
It has been reported that the average yacht is used for some three to five weeks, so justifying such a purchase to your accountant as a sound financial investment may prove difficult!
With costs like this it is easy to see why some of these yachts are hired for over £1 million for a week by guest, such a cost in the grand scheme of owning a yacht could bizarrely almost be deemed value for money! Chartering the yacht also provides some income to those owners not using their yacht on a regular basis.
So you can see why owning a super yacht must be one of the ultimate statues that money can buy, because not only owning a vessel will cost many millions to buy but running it will also cost millions.
For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor