What does it cost to run a super yacht?

The Cost of Running a Super Yacht


Figures within the super yacht industry are hard to comprehend. Below is a guide that will give you an introduction into the world you could soon be entering.


Fuel:
I always found it hard to come to terms with the cost of the fuel used by these huge vessels. As an approximate guide a yacht of 70 meters will consume about 500 litres of diesel an hour when the engines are running but not moving! The cost of a yacht moving will be approximately £2,000 an hour to achieve cruising of around 18 knots. With this in mind the average overnight cruise of 12 hours could cost around £24,000 (this will be significantly higher for the larger yachts). 


Berthing:
Berthing is certainly no cheap feat. Some top ports charge €2,000-€3,000 per night. The six most expensive are 1) Capri, Italy 2) Porto Cervo, Italy 3) Portofino, Italy 4) Ibiza Magna, Ibiza 5) St Tropez, France 6) Port Hercule, Monaco. The mooring cost is normally based on the yacht’s size and popular ports are booked months in advance in peak season. A yacht also needs to be moored when on standby. Ports such as Antibes charge up to €2,000 per night, or renting a permanent dock here (as some owners do) costs hundreds of thousands. If like Roman Abramovich you build one of the biggest super yachts in the world, it is then difficult to actually find a port that can accommodate this size. At one stage it was reported he was to pay to have a dock extended, however he eventually found a couple of ports that could take it. 


Crew:
Captains salaries alone can exceed €20, 000 per month, and some chief engineers may earn €10, 000 per month …very quickly vast funds mount up just to keep the yacht fully crewed. Wage bills of €100,000 per month are not uncommon on the larger yachts. As well as the crew on board there may also be shore based crew, managing agents, financial staff etc. to add to this figure. There is also the cost of providing food, toiletries and all living requirements for the crew. Feeding 50 people on a daily basis is no cheap undertaking.


Servicing:
The servicing costs of these yachts are huge. Lifting them out the water is not cheap and to service these technological advanced super structures and engines there is a hefty price tag. Servicing costs for the larger yachts easily run into millions of pounds annually. 


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 built and often exceed the £1 million 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 to weary of ensuring their pride possession is not held 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 these 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 some 10-12% of the purchase cost is allowed. Therefore a £50 million yacht is likely to cost around £5 million a year to run and maintain. The largest yachts have been reported to be costing their owners over €50 million a year. 


It has been estimated that the average yacht is used for some three to five weeks a year, 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 a week by guests. Such a cost in the grand scheme of owning a yacht could almost be deemed value for money. Chartering the yacht also provides some income to those owners not using theirs on a regular basis.


Owning a super yacht must be one of the ultimate distinguishing marks of achievement that money can buy, but once purchased it can be seen that the costs will continue into the millions to run and maintain one.

Below is a brilliant illustration by Towergate Insurance that highlights brilliantly some of the costs

Image Courtesy of Towergate Insurance

Image Courtesy of Towergate Insurance

Next blog: The cost of super yachts....does this make them bad...?

Written by Ben Proctor

For more information read Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide by Ben Proctor
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