• Paddle Board

Boating Beast

A Complete Guide to Motor Yachts & Power Cruisers: All You Need to Know!

John Sampson

If you’re looking for a luxury experience out on the water, a motor yacht or power cruiser is the best choice of vessel. It offers you a combination of performance, features, and amenities. While these boats come in a wide variety of lengths, styles, and models, they have something to suit any budget and needs out on the open ocean.

The motor yacht is a status symbol, and there’s a reason why billionaires purchase high-end motor yachts because no other form of transport, except for maybe a private jet, showcases wealth. In this post, we’ll look at the features and design of motor yachts and power cruisers, and we’ll make a few suggestions for top-performing models.

Motor Yachts

What are Motor Yachts & Power Cruisers?

If you’re looking for an ocean-faring vessel for longer seafaring trips, you can’t beat the luxury accommodations and performance offered by motor yachts and power cruisers. These boats can stay out on the water for days or even weeks at a time. They allow for island-hopping in the Caribbean or travel through the South Pacific with ease.

These boats are the pinnacle of class and luxury, making all other vessels, even top-end models like cabin cruisers , look inferior in comparison. Typically, motor yachts and power cruisers have extended lengths compared to other boats, with the smallest models starting at around 40-feet.

Every foot adds thousands of dollars to the price tag of these boats, and a 90-foot model can cost hundreds of thousands if not, millions of dollars. These boats come fully equipped with everything you need to live the life aquatic.

There are purpose-built decks, plenty of cabin space, luxury accommodations for several people, and all the amenities you would find in luxury hotel rooms. There’s a full bathroom and shower, and some models come with hot tubs built into the deck.

The motor yacht is the entertainer’s dream, providing you with TVs, satellite communications, Wi-Fi, and more. There are several categories of motor yachts, including pilothouse, flybridge, sedan bridge, aft cabin, and express-style boats.

The bridge boat is the most popular style in motor yachts and power cruisers. You get plenty of space for overnight accommodations, plenty of deck space, and a helm on the bridge and in the cabin. As a result of the design, these boats fare well in all seasons and all ocean conditions.

A motor yacht or power cruiser relies on its design to categorize the vessel, with elements like cockpits or flybridges and outdoor areas defining the boat. You have plenty of options for diesel and petrol motors, and different hull designs, from planning to full-displacement, determining the speed and handling of the vessel.

Motor Yachts

Benefits of Motor Yachts

There are several benefits to owning a motor yacht or power cruiser. These boats come with so many features that you have everything you need for life out on the water.

International Sailing

The motor yacht or power cruiser offers you all the luxuries and amenities you need to spend days or weeks out on the water. The larger models can handle long international trips through the South Pacific or the Caribbean, and they have enough fuel capacity for very long journeys.

Suitable for Offshore Sailing

Power cruisers and motor yachts are great choices for offshore sailing. Due to the length and stability of these boats, they can withstand rough ocean conditions in storms. The powerful motors, extra width, and deep hulls on these vessels make them exceptionally stable on the water.

Power and Handling

The power cruiser and motor yacht come with huge engines offering you exceptional power and cruising capability. The long hull on the boat means that they turn slowly and lack the maneuverability of smaller models. However, they have enough power to cut through large swells with ease, and the handling is smooth and steady.

Dynamic Cruising Experiences

These boats are cruisers, offering excellent performance for slow, steady cruising through the islands. The longer models feel effortless to drive, gliding through the water with ease.

Plenty of Storage

The motor yacht and power cruiser come with plenty of storage facilities for all your gear. These boats can accommodate everything you need for your time out on the water, from watersports equipment like skis and tubes to dive gear and fishing equipment. The accommodations come with cabinets and wardrobes, and the kitchen features a full fridge and freezer on most models, with plenty of room for food storage.

Sunseeker Cabin

Luxury Living Accommodations

The yacht and power cruiser offers you the best liveaboard accommodations. The longer the boat, the more luxurious the fittings and finishes. Most models over 60-feet in length will come with multiple bedrooms, featuring queen-size beds. The decks and lounge areas feature plush couches and seating, with split-level designs allowing for shaded dining areas. Some of the largest models offer you an experience that’s more like a floating hotel.

Entertainment Paradise

The motor yacht and power cruiser are entertainers’ dreams. They feature full electronic setups, including TVs, audio systems, plenty of speakers, and loads of deck space to start the party on the water.

Comes with Smaller Boats or Skis for Watersports

Since most power yachts and cruisers are large boats, they are not suitable for getting close to shore. As a result, many of these boats, especially the luxury models, come with jet skis or inflatable dinghy boats that let you get to the beach or take fishing or diving excursions away from the boat.

Full Amenities

Motor yachts and power cruisers feature every amenity you could possibly imagine in a watercraft. As mentioned, the larger models are more akin to floating boutique hotels than a boat. You get full kitchens, refrigerators and freezers, sinks, and some models even have dishwashers. These boats come with the widest range of customizations available for any setup you want.

Multiple Sizing Options

Typically, motor yachts and power cruisers come in lengths from 40 to 90-feet. Models over this length will cost a fortune, and every foot adds thousands of dollars to the price tag of these luxury vessels.

Disadvantages of Motor Yachts

While the power cruiser and yacht offer you the best luxury boating experience possible, they come with a few drawbacks.

Expensive Price Tags

As mentioned, the power cruiser and yacht are the most expensive watercraft available. These boats have starting price tags of around $500,000, with high-end models fetching $10,000,000 or more. They are truly the best boat option for the wealthy elite.

Not Suitable for Water Sports

Due to the vessel’s size and lack of maneuverability, these boats are not suitable for water sports . However, nay models come with smaller boats or jet skis included, allowing for watersports like wakeboarding and skiing. The vessel does serve as a wonderful dive boat, allowing for liveaboard trips through popular dive destinations like the Red Sea and the Caribbean.

Motor Yachts

Expensive to Maintain

Motor yachts and power cruisers come with expensive price tags, and they also cost a fortune to maintain. You’ll also pay a significant sum in annual marina fees to dock your boat.

High Fuel Consumption

Power cruisers and motor yachts have high-powered motors to propel the heavy vessel. As a result, they drink plenty of fuel. Diesel models are available for better economy, while petrol-based models are more for performance. Some manufacturing brands offer green tech motors offering you excellent fuel economy for long trips at sea.

Not Trailerable

Due to the sheer size of these boats, you can’t fit them on a standard trailer. You’ll need to hire a specialist yacht transport service if you need to remove it from the water for repairs.

Top Motor Yacht and Power Cruiser Brands

There are dozens of premium motor yacht and power cruiser brands and hundreds of models available in various lengths. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to look at all of the best models and brands available, regardless of the astronomical price tags associated with these vessels. Here are our top choices for the best power cruisers and motor yachts available.

Benetti is the world leader in superyacht design and construction. Lorenzo Benetti founded the company in 1873, with Azimut purchasing the brand in 1984. The Benetti range is exclusive, with opulent features and luxuries, giving you everything you would expect in a premium model.


Relax in luxury and enjoy your time out on the water. Benetti offers you seven models, starting at 95-feet. These boats are custom-built to order, with a long list of customizable options allowing you to set up your boat to your requirements.

Benetti offers custom-made motor yachts in its Mega and Giga ranges, with the “Lionheart” model being one of its most popular luxury models. If you have the budget, and money isn’t a problem, Benetti brings you one of the best ranges of motor yachts available.

As one of the leading brands in luxury motor yachts, Feadship is an acronym for “First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders.” This elite shipyard produces some of the most sought-after models for society’s elite.


Feadship has a reputation for being the best motor yacht brand in the world when it comes to custom-built watercraft. Purchasing a motor yacht from this brand is like buying a home; you’ll work with the company to design your ideal boat, fitted with any customization you want in the vessel.

Our choice for the top models in the range is the “M/Y Faith.” This beautiful watercraft is a superyacht for the rich, giving you a 5-star experience out on the water.

This brand is another well-known company with an established reputation in the superyacht market. Founded in 1987, this brand has more industry awards than any other manufacturer, despite its relatively short time in business.


Oceanco makes superyachts for the elite, with some models reaching up to a colossal 420-feet, with onboard jet skis and dinghies, luxury accommodations, and full electronics for navigating the world’s oceans. Oceanco also utilizes green technology in its builds, giving you a motor yacht that reduces your environmental impact on the sea.

This motor yacht company is also the owner of the Benetti brand. While Benetti is the more famous choice, Azimut also designs and builds some excellent watercraft for ocean-going experiences. The recognizable Italian design on these vessels shines through in the build quality, with impressive finishes and styling aesthetics that just scream high-end luxury when looking at the boat.


Most of the Azimut range of motor yachts includes cutting-edge electronics and technology. They also offer you a range of hybrid engines for economy and power. The manufacturer also uses nanotechnology in the boat’s coating, giving you a long-lasting vessel that looks fantastic, even after decades of service.

If you’re looking for the best entry-level brand for motor yachts and power cruisers, check out the range offered by Sunseeker. Sunseeker is a recognizable brand in boats, producing a lineup of many models.


The motor yacht and power cruiser range from Sunseeker offer you smaller lengths, from 50-feet up, with more affordable price tags than the other brands mentioned in this review.

While they may be more affordable than boats from the other brands, you get excellent design and build quality, with materials like carbon fiber on the hull for added strength and lightweight design.

Wrapping Up

If money isn’t an object, and you want the best luxury experience out on the water, a motor yacht or power cruiser offers you the ideal model for your aquatic adventure. You get a boat loaded with every amenity you can think of and full functionality for anything you want to do on the water.

Sail through international seas, visit islands, take long dive trips, or just enjoy a cruise down the coastline. While these boats come with heavy price tags, they are worth every penny if you have the budget and you want a premium experience out on the water.

Avatar photo

John is an experienced journalist and veteran boater. He heads up the content team at BoatingBeast and aims to share his many years experience of the marine world with our readers.

A Complete Guide to Micro Skiffs: All You Need to Know!

A complete guide to narrow boats: all you need to know, a guide to aluminum fishing boats.

Comments are closed.

Type above and press Enter to search. Press Esc to cancel.

Boating.Guide - Everything you want to know about boating.

A Trusted Source For Boating Information Since 2019

Catamaran vs. motor yacht (4 powerful differences explained).

  • Post Written By: Boater Jer
  • Published: July 13, 2022
  • Updated: September 25, 2022

Catamaran vs. motor yacht explained at Boating.guide.

Disclaimer: You might notice that we recommend products in some articles. We may earn a commission for referring you if you click the link and buy a product.

We only recommend products we’ve tried/tested/own (that’s why you won’t find thousands of affiliate links on my site). If you have experience with one of the products we’ve mentioned, please share your experiences in the comments at the end.


Top-rated trolling motors on Amazon

The Catamaran Vs. motor yacht, a comparison that has lasted for ages, is one we will finally put to rest in this article. We promise to make spotting their differences easy. 

Differences Distinguishing the Catamaran Vs. Motor Yacht

At the end of this section, everything that distinguishes these two sailing boats from each other will be at your fingertips.

The Shape And Number Of Hulls

As you must be aware, motor yachts have mono hulls, while catamarans (CATS) have multi-hulls. 

But what does this mean? 

Top-rated fish finders on Amazon

First, you need to understand that a boat’s hull refers to the body of the watercraft. It sits on top and also lies below the water. 

The mono hull takes a V-shape, and most of the bottom of the hull will be underwater. However, when dealing with CATs (multi-hull) systems, you’d notice a planning or displacement hull system. ( source )

Only a tiny section of the hull’s bottom will be below the water with these hulls. It makes the catamaran perfect for shallow water sailing. ( source )

The presence of the multi-hull system in the catamaran is the basis for most of its advantages. Some of which include; 

  • Better stability when docked and when underway
  • Saving fuel costs when the weather is favorable

Number Of Engines 

The number of engines in the catamaran and motor boat is another crucial player that determines the difference in performance.

Cats often feature twin engines which translate to higher speed and better maneuverability. Not to mention that if one engine fails, you have a backup engine. ( source )

These Catamarans and their dual engines are also known to sail faster downwind. It is traceable to the shallow immersion of the hulls, which means less drag. ( source )

Top-rated boat gps on Amazon

However, when placed in an upwind sailing showdown, the motor yacht wins. It is because the undercarriage will experience pounding and slapping. ( source )

Available Space And Comfort

The difference in available space is as clear as day. It is because of the difference in the hull shape.

The catamaran has ample space in areas like the salon, galley, and flybridge. Even its cabins are more comfortable, and you’d be able to sit upright. Also, unlike the motor yacht, several cabins in a catamaran are ensuite. 

Additionally, comfort is a priority on the catamaran. It can fit larger electronic appliances like fridges, dishwashers, and freezers. Besides, you can finally say goodbye to sea sickness caused by wave impact with the CAT. Accelerometer tests show that catamarans have a 25% reduction in G forces. ( source )

Pricing And Cost

Also quite clear is the margin in the cost of purchasing or chartering a catamaran . Compared to a motor yacht, you’d find that you’d be spending more on the catamaran. 

Additionally, since catamarans are larger, you’d spend more to get a berthing space in the marina. But you also should know that the catamaran is not all cons and no pros in terms of cost and pricing. After all, it suffers only a slight reduction in resell value.

Final Thoughts

We’ve informed you about the differences between a catamaran and a motor yacht. Ensure you consider the time of the year you plan sailing, your budget, and the number of people on board before opting for either of these sailing choices.

Top-rated boat seats on Amazon

  • Latest Articles
  • Article Sources
  • Crab Island by Pontoon: A Fun Watery Boating Guide Destination in 2024
  • Upgrade Your Boating Experience: Adding a Third Pontoon Made Easy!
  • How Long Does It Take A Canoe To Go… (Canoe Calculator Here)
  • In-Depth Review of the Pelican Sentinel 100X Fishing Kayak: Pros, Cons, and Performance
  • How To Put A Kayak In The Water – The Ultimate Guide For New Kayakers
  • What are the main differences between sailing a yacht and a catamaran? https://plainsailing.com/blog/yacht-v-catamaran
  • Catamarans versus Monohull yachts – why the popularity of catamarans is growing https://yachtharbour.com/news/catamarans-versus-monohull-yachts—why-popularity-of-catamarans-is-growing-4152?src=news_view_page_bar
  • Powered Catamarans Vs. Monohull Motor Yachts  https://infinityyachtsales.com/2021/10/powered-catamarans-vs-monohull-motor-yachts/
  • Sailing Catamaran Vs. Sailing A Monohull Yacht, https://www.sailingeurope.com/en/sailing-tips/sailing-catamaran-vs-sailing-monohull-yacht
  • POWER CATAMARAN vs. MOTOR YACHT https://makaiyachts.com/power-catamaran-vs-monohull/
  • The Best Type of Yacht to Charter https://www.212-yachts.com/the-best-type-of-yacht-to-charter-guide/
  • Learn The Difference Between a Catamaran vs. Yacht Charter https://sailchecker.com/catamaran-vs-yacht/
  • Boat Hull Types & Designs https://www.boaterexam.com/boating-resources/boat-hull-types-designs/#:~:text=%22V%2Dshaped%22%20hulls%20are,flat%20or%20round%2Dbottomed%20boats .

panerai replica

Top-rated kayak accessories on Amazon

Share this post with your friends

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join us in our love for all things water. And Adventure.

snow damage kayak

Can Snow Damage A Kayak

Advertisement Asking ‘Can snow damage a kayak?’ is a good idea when selecting a location for kayak winter storage. However, kayak outside storage for winter may not be the best solution, at least not for your kayak’s hull integrity. Snow can cause significant damage to your kayak. However, it is not just snow that can

Who Makes Each Brand of Catamaran and Where They’re Built by Boating.guide

Who Makes Each Brand of Catamaran and Where They’re Built

Advertisement Boating Guide Presents: Who Makes Each Brand of Catamaran and Where They’re Built. Catamarans are gaining popularity among seasoned sailors. Their speed and reliability made them the top choice for family cruises and long distances voyages. Let’s dig deeper into their fabrication, shall we? Among the acclaimed Catamaran brands is Lagoon, Privilege, Gemini, Bali,

motor yacht meaning

Semi V-Bottom Boats Explained – Hull Design, Where To Use And Avoid

Advertisement The main image is brought to you courtesy of Tracker boats and White River Marine Group for this article about semi v-bottom boat hull design. The image is of a 2021 Tracker Targa™ V-18 Combo V-Hull Boat. Boats are the most convenient mode of transportation in a water body. Based on the users’ requirements

Trawler vs catamaran

Comparison Between Trawler Vs Catamaran Boats  

Advertisement Looking for answers about trawler vs catamaran boats? You’re in the right place. Trawlers and catamarans are ideal sailing vessels for various use in terms of commercial transport, fisheries, sea patrols, research, and more. The distinct feature between the two boats is the hull composition. Trawlers consist of a single hull or monohull, while

A v-hulled small boat sits peacefully at sunset in this photo.

How To Make A V-hull Boat More Stable – Increasing Watercraft Stability

Advertisement Sometimes running a V-Hull boat can feel like the boat just isn’t stable.  It’s true when it comes to high-speed deep planing v-hulled boats that only really feel stable when at speed.  Semi-planing hulls may be more suited to stability at lower speeds than the deep planers, but there must be a way to

A bass boat driven up onto the beach from shallow water is shown in this file photo

Are Bass Boats Good For Shallow Water?

As fishermen, we know the importance of being able to navigate your boat in shallow waters. After all, the shallows will present a lot of opportunities to make a nice catch. But it’s essential to know the limitations of your boat. If you get too engrossed in fighting the fish, you can quickly bring the vessel too close to the shore.

motor yacht meaning

Boat Information By Type

© 2023 Boating.Guide, A Hyperwave Media Group Ltd. Publication.

Privacy Overview


Yacht : modern meaning of the term and types of boats

Minimal Logo

The etymology of the term yacht comes from the Dutch word ‘jacht’, which was used in the past to define the fast sailing vessels used to hunt down pirates along the coasts of northern Europe.

Today, the term ‘yacht’ is used to describe all recreational vessels, whether sailing or motor-powered, with at least one cabin that allows the crew to sleep on board.

There is no established definition for the length of this family of boats, but common usage tends to define a yacht as a vessel longer than 33 feet, or about 10 meters.

As mentioned above, a yacht may be equipped with sailing, motor or mixed propulsion. It can have more than one hull, and if it exceeds 25 meters it also deserves the definition of superyacht . When a yacht is over 50 meters it is called a megayacht and, more and more frequently, when it exceeds 100 meters it becomes a gigayacht.

A yacht normally flies a flag that corresponds to the country where the vessel is registered, not least because, if it does not, it may be captured and taken to the nearest port for ‘flag survey’. As far as international maritime law is concerned, the yacht is considered in all respects to be the territory of the country of the flag it flies, to whose sovereignty the crew is subject.

A yacht flying the flag of a country, unless there is well-founded suspicion of illegal activity, can only be stopped for inspection by the military vessels of that country. When a yacht enters the territorial waters of a country other than that of its flag, it is obliged to fly a courtesy flag.

This is tantamount to a declaration of submission to the navigational laws of the country in which it is sailing.

Sailing and motor-powered yachts

The first major distinction is between sailing yachts and motoryachts. The current worldwide spread of these two families has shifted decisively towards motor yachts, which make up about 75% of the total sailing fleet.

Progress and design have produced many different categories of motor yachts, so let’s discover them together.


Seen from the stern, a flybridge yacht is often equipped with a “beach club”, a platform that facilitates access to the sea and on which water toys are placed or simply used for diving. A staircase, or even two symmetrical staircases, leads from this platform to the main deck. Sometimes there is a “garage” between these two staircases to house the engine room, a tender and other on-board equipment.

The main deck is characterized by the presence of a helm station, inside of which a large open-space salon houses settees and a galley. The helm station often leads below deck, also known as the lower deck, where the sleeping quarters, or cabins, are normally located.


The foredeck often has a large sundeck bordered by a “bowplate” for hauling anchor. The bow is often “fenced in” by the handrails, which are vital grips for safety at sea.

Let’s get to why a yacht is called a flybridge. The flybridge is an upper deck, open 360 degrees and often covered by a hard-top, a roof usually made of fibreglass. The flybridge usually has an additional helm station to steer from a more panoramic position. An additional galley is often located on the flybridge, as well as additional lounge seating and sun decks.

Open Yachts

An open yacht has no flybridge and its main deck is commonly all open. The helm station can frequently be sheltered by a T-Top. Below deck, depending on the length of the yacht, there are living spaces for the crew which may include dinette, cabins and facilities. Open yachts can be walk-around, i.e. with the possibility for passengers of walking freely around the perimeter of the boat, or they can have an enclosed bow and thus have a raised deck.

yacht 1

A coupe yacht is a yacht without a flybridge, characterized by a sporty design, with the main deck open aft. Very often it has a sunroof and is always equipped with side-decks connecting the stern to the bow. It is a vessel that, depending on its size, is suitable for medium to long-distance cruising.

coupe yacht

This is an important type of yacht, which has its origins on the American East Coast where it was used to catch lobsters. It has a romantic, sometimes vintage aesthetic, and is endowed with sinuous lines that, for some, are evocative of the 1950s. Very suitable for cruising and conviviality, thanks also to a large sofa in the cockpit, the lobster is an iconic boat that offers plenty of comfort and space below deck for at least one cabin and one head.


The trawler is essentially a yacht for owners who want to spend a lot of time on board. This is why interior volumes are maximized and the upper deck is always present. Also part of the trawler family are the famous Menorcan boats, inspired by the llaüts of the Menorca island..

Increasingly popular among motor yachts, too, is the multihull, due to its inherent features of stability and capacity. In most cases it is a catamaran designed for long stays at sea.

Sailing yacht

Sailing yachts are vessels where propulsion should mainly rely on the power transmitted by the wind. In the past, sailing yacht engines were low-powered and mainly used for entering and leaving ports, but today, for obvious reasons of practicality and ease of use, they have enough power to make the sailing yacht cruise at a speed at least equal to its theoretical hull speed. This means that sailing yachts can be used efficiently even in the total absence of wind.

A sailing yacht can be rigged in many different ways, these being the most common in modern times:

Sloop : this is the most common rigging on modern boats, characterized by the presence of a single mast with a mainsail and a jib or genoa. Sloop rigging has become popular over the years because it is the easiest to handle with a small crew and also offers the best ease of use/sailing performance ratio.

Cutter : Widely used for long distance sailing, it is characterized by the presence of a mainsail and two jibs rigged on a single mast. Normally the two jibs are a genoa and foresail that are used individually, depending on the weather conditions.

Ketch : this is the most commonly used rig on two-masted sailing yachts, with a mainmast, rigged with a mainsail and genoa, and a mizzenmast, forward of the rudder shaft, rigged with a single mainsail. The splitting of the sails makes this type of yacht suitable for sailing in bad weather.

Yawl : exactly the same as a ketch but with the mizzen mast located aft of the rudder shaft.

Sailing yachts can be monohulls or multihulls, i.e. catamarans or trimarans, but in all cases they can be divided into these categories:

sailing yacht

Easy to handle and with plenty of space above and below deck, this type of yacht is normally characterized by an unbalanced length/width ratio favouring the latter, a small sail area and more powerful than average engines.

The interiors are fully equipped and sophisticated, with each cabin often having its own en-suite head.

The deck plan and sailing equipment are simplified, often electrified and minimal.


sail-powered yacht

This yacht, while still featuring a luxurious and complete interior, also has all the equipment needed for sail fine-tuning and a generous sail area.

This is a category where special attention is paid to both the overall weight of the boat and the hull shape.

The hull lines are in fact designed to enhance performance and, inevitably, this results in a slightly smaller interior than that of pure cruising yachts of the same length.



The owner who buys this type of yacht has already competed in club competitions and now wants to engage in higher level racing. The hulls are light and can sometimes be made of carbon, and all the sail adjustments are fine-tuned to achieve maximum performance.

The deck plan is definitely designed for crewed racing and the sail area/displacement ratio is unbalanced in favour of the former, making this yacht more difficult to handle with a smaller crew but, conversely, capable of performance similar to a pure racing yacht.

A pure racing yacht is a sailing yacht built exclusively for racing. Free from any commercial constraints, it is built according to the type of race to be competed in and, above all, the rating to be obtained. The interiors of this boat are minimal. This yacht is capable of planing and sailing upwind at very low wind angles, but is almost never used for recreational purposes.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

You might be interested in

boat filler

Boat filler: what characteristics for the best product

boat engine maintenance

Boat Engine Maintenance: complete guide and useful tips for DIY

boat propellers

Boat Propellers, the ultimate guide to choosing the right model

excercising on a boat

Exercising on a boat: a brief guide to staying fit without setting foot on land

Selva C.7.1 Cabin Plus

Selva C.7.1 Cabin Plus: comfort combines with practicality

Dubai International Boat Show

All set for the Dubai International Boat Show 2023

Yachting News

To provide the best experiences, we and our partners use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us and our partners to process personal data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site and show (non-) personalized ads. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.

Click below to consent to the above or make granular choices. Your choices will be applied to this site only. You can change your settings at any time, including withdrawing your consent, by using the toggles on the Cookie Policy, or by clicking on the manage consent button at the bottom of the screen.

Subscribe For Latest Updates

Sign up to receive the best of Yachting News, sea trials, boat review and world premieres .

The only ADVERTISING FREE newsletter

motor yacht meaning

  • Subscribe Now
  • Digital Editions

hero profile

Yacht definitions: What is a yacht? And does it need to have sails?

  • Top stories

By far the most common question we get asked here at Motor Boat & Yachting is ‘how can you call that a yacht if it doesn’t have sails?’ Here we explain why a boat doesn’t need sails to be called a yacht...

What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you’re a yacht! Not only are the names of yachts a source of endless amusement, but by defining your boat as a yacht in the first place, you’re setting up certain expectations.

Yacht definitions: A brief history

Whilst boating for fun dates back to Ancient Egypt and possibly even further than that, the word yacht comes from the Dutch ‘jachtschip’, which means hunting ship. Jachts were originally a class of sailboat used in the 16th century to hunt down enemies of the Dutch Republic.

However by the 19th century the term ‘yachting’ had developed to mean recreational boating in general, and with the advent of steam boats, sails were no longer the only method of propulsion available to Victorian yachtsmen.

Article continues below…

World’s largest superyacht: Everything you need to know about 183m REV

Hemingway’s boat reborn: how pilar was recreated in meticulous detail, recommended videos for you.

In the early 20th century (1904 to be precise), our humble magazine was launched under its original title The Motor Boat , but by the 1950s the ‘& Yachting’ suffix had been added to refer to the general pastime enjoyed by motorboat owners. We even reviewed the occasional motorsailer for those who liked to enjoy the benefits of both power and sail.

Today’s Motor Boat & Yachting is dedicated purely to powered leisure vessels from 25-125ft with the occasional foray above and below that when interest dictates. Current editor Hugo Andreae insists that he is ‘terminology agnostic’ saying, “I’m not bothered whether people refer to their boats as yachts, cruisers, power boats or gin palaces just so long as they enjoy using them. But for the record my 22ft Karnic is definitely a gigayacht!”


Editor Hugo’s Karnic 2250 is his family’s pride and joy, but should it be called a yacht?

What makes a yacht, a yacht?

Some would argue that a yacht has to have sails, and as we’ve seen, that was originally the case, but we here at Motor Boat & Yachting beg to differ, as its common to refer to large motorboats as motoryachts, superyachts or even megayachts without any expectation that they would have sails.

Others assert that a yacht should have to have a cabin in order for it to be fully considered a yacht, or that it has to measure at least 10m in length. If that’s the case then some longer narrowboats could be technically considered as yachts, although you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who agrees with that definition.

The final test for something to be considered a yacht is harder to pin down, but it is generally accepted that all yachts have to have a certain aesthetic or architectural appeal in order to earn this haughty moniker.

motor yacht meaning

The advent of internal combustion in the 19th Century allowed motor yachts, like this fine example from Camper & Nicholsons, to be launched. Photo: Getty Images

Whether a boat is worthy of being called a yacht is clearly subjective, but there’s one thing we won’t budge over – it certainly doesn’t have to have sails!

If it’s sailing yachts specifically that you’re interested in, you won’t find many of them here, but we can heartily recommend our sister titles Yachting Monthly and Yachting World , who know much more about them than we do.

Bigger yacht definitions: Superyacht, megayacht or gigayacht?

Beyond the simple term yacht, there are a few other yacht definitions worth clarifying. The most commonly used of which is superyacht .

The debate still rages over what constitutes a superyacht. Any pleasure yacht with a load line length of 24m or more (not length overall or waterline length as is often misquoted) and a gross tonnage of 80GT is classified as a Large Yacht under MCA coding rules, causing a number of additional regulations to kick in, most crucially the requirement for the skipper to hold a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate. This is the closest thing to a technical definition of a superyacht.

Azzam - the world's largest superyacht on of many belonging to Middle Eastern owners

At 180m Azzam is currently the largest yacht in the world, but an 183m gigayacht called REV is currently under construction in Norway. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

However, while this used to mean most leisure boats with an overall length (LOA) of 80ft or more fell into the Large Yacht category, yards have become so adept at designing bigger boats with a load line length of just under 24m that many craft with an LOA of 90ft or more still count as regular pleasure vessels.

For that reason some people prefer to use the simpler definition of a superyacht being any privately owned vessel with an LOA of 100ft or more. Even then some would argue that a true superyacht should be a custom built yacht of at least 35m or 120ft.

Such is the inflationary pressure on yacht sizes and terminology that the term superyacht itself has begun to lose currency among the yachting elite. Owners of craft over 50m now use the term megayacht to categorise their larger vessels, while the lesser-spotted gigayacht is reserved for yachts over 100m.

Fewer than 100 gigayachts have been built to date, making this the rarest of rare breeds. That said with the world’s largest yacht now measuring over 183m, it’s surely only a matter of time before the 200m mark will be broken and yet another term will be needed. Got any suggestions? Drop us an e-mail: [email protected]

New Cauldwell outboard motor: Petrol performance & diesel reliability?

The new ‘transformer’ megayacht concept that expands at anchor, wallypower 50 tour: italian beauty with a cool interior trick, latest videos, fairline targa tour: sensational new british sportscruiser, navan s30 & c30 tour: exceptional new axopar rival, galeon 440 fly sea trial: you won’t believe how much they’ve packed in, parker sorrento yacht tour: 50-knot cruiser with a killer aft cabin.



The Free Boating Encyclopedia

Definitions   Guidelines   Resources Forms   Databases   Blogs   Profiles

Participate   Donations Advertise Translate   About Link   Terms   Privacy   Contact

--- WikiTags ---


The nation's premier boat history report with a full compliment of title search resources. Includes eight maritime databases all rolled into one convenient interface. A must-have service for any prospective buyer, marine lender, or maritime professional.

Owner Background Search

Criminal Records Assets - Properties Personal Details

Know your seller!

Sponsored by


Motor Yacht

WikiTags   WikiShare

BoatWiki - Definitions

A motor yacht can be defined as a luxury watercraft that is propelled by mechanical means. It generally measures over 40 feet in length and is equipped with living quarters.

Although motor yachts are defined in various terms, they are often distinguished by a means of propulsion. There are accordingly such references as motor yachts, sailing yachts, and motor sailers.

Although motor yachts are typically used for recreational purposes, they may qualify for other types of operations. This includes bareboat chartering, skipper chartering, and carrying passengers for hire. Most motor yachts are Coast Guard documented, although this is not actually required unless skipper chartered or used for carrying passengers.

That which constitutes a motor yacht is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. However, such terminology may have implications when it comes to certain regulations, insurance, and financing.

Credits and References

5/10/2022 - Page initiated by Team BoatWiki.

Vessel Title Services

Float Your BoatWiki

Learn about the role you can play in supporting the internet's most reliable source of free boating information.

Stay informed about urgent matters of boater fraud and the latest changes in  boat registration or safety regulations.


Share your voice on legislative and regulatory issues that are of vital interest to the boating community.


Can't find the information you are looking for. Send your question to Team BoatWiki and we will do our best to find an answer.


A Division of Maritime Partners, LLC State of Washington  USA © Copyright 1998 - 2024 All rights reserved.


Welcome to Lake

Discover places to stay and unique experiences around the world.

  • How It Works

listing icon

Home - Blog - Motor Yachts Unveiled: Your Ultimate Guide to Nautical Luxury

Motor Yachts Unveiled: Your Ultimate Guide to Nautical Luxury

Kristia Goodnight

Kristia Goodnight

December 15, 2023

In this article

Get started.


The Elegance of Motor Yachts

Motor yachts symbolize the pinnacle of luxury at sea, offering an unmatched combination of grandeur, performance, and comfort. They speak to a lifestyle where every detail is crafted to perfection.

Navigating the World of Luxury Afloat

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to sail the seas in your own floating palace? Motor yachts provide this very experience . Precision engineering intertwined with opulent design defines today’s luxury motor yachts . For example, the grandeur of brands like Azimut or Westport isn’t just felt; it’s seen in the meticulous craftsmanship and innovative features that command attention on the waters.

Crafting these impressive yachts is no small feat. The industry’s top names – such as Lürssen and Mariotti, are known for their state-of-the-art builds, with Lürssen’s Azzam stretching an incredible 180.61 meters in length. In fact, recent trends in yacht size show that on average, yachts now boast a remarkable volume of 341 gross tons (GT).

What does it mean for you? Owning a motor yacht offers not just a vessel but an entire lifestyle, these vessels more than mere boats — they’re a testament to the art of luxury.

With costs ranging significantly based on size and features ( prices vary from a modest $22,000 to the heights of $504,000,000) it’s clear that motor yachts cater to a wide range of preferences and budgets. Yet, despite the initial investment, enthusiasts often emphasize that the joy of owning such magnificence on the water is truly priceless. It’s a way of life that celebrates the seamless blend of freedom and finesse.

Types of Motor Yachts

The Sunseeker 65-sport-yacht.

Exploring the world of motor yachts, you’ll find a variety of models designed to meet different maritime aspirations. From the palatial mega yachts to the intrepid expedition vessels, there’s a yacht to match every seafarer’s dream.

Mega Yachts: The Epitome of Luxury on Water

Mega yachts are the floating mansions of the sea, often exceeding 60 meters (200 feet) in length. They’re custom-built havens that pair opulence with cutting-edge technology. Sunseeker and Azimut are among the renowned brands that craft these majestic vessels, ensuring a seamless blend of luxury and performance.

Iconic Mega Yacht Models

Some of the most sought-after models in the mega yacht category include the Azimut Grande and Sunseeker 155 Yacht. These models are the very definition of indulgence, with features like helicopter pads, movie theaters, and swimming pools.

Experiences Aboard Mega Yachts

“ Nothing compares to the total relaxation you find aboard your own crewed charter yacht, when you leave the worries of the world on shore and simply escape” says Jeni Tidmarsh, Director of Luxury Charter Group . “[it’s] your haven, where you and your family and friends can totally unwind, with every wish catered to – from dining to activities.”

Expedition Yachts: Combining Adventure and Comfort

Expedition yachts, also known as explorer yachts, are built for the brave and the bold. They balance ruggedness with comfort, allowing you to navigate the farthest reaches of the oceans without forgoing luxury. These yachts typically range from 24 meters (78 feet) to over 100 meters (328 feet) in length.

Notable Expedition Yacht Models

Models like the Global Explorer are synonymous with endurance and luxury. These vessels are designed to withstand harsh conditions while offering amenities that make them true homes away from home .

Adventure-Ready Features

Equipped with reinforced hulls, long-range fuel tanks, and advanced navigation systems, expedition yachts are adventure-ready. Some even come with submarines and on-deck storage for smaller boats or jet skis for those moments when you fancy a closer look at the aquatic world.

Flybridge Yachts: Luxury Elevated

Flybridge yachts are where leisure meets a panoramic view. Generally ranging from 14 meters (46 feet) to 30 meters (98 feet), these vessels sport an elevated secondary helm station that doubles as a splendid entertainment zone.

Leading Flybridge Yacht Brands

When you think of luxury in the sky, think of brands like Azimut with their Atlantis and Flybridge collections or Sunseeker’s Manhattan and Yacht ranges. These brands ensure you find the perfect balance between high-seas adventure and sky-high luxury.

Elevated Comfort and Views

Imagine yourself sipping on your favorite drink, lounging on your private flybridge, gazing at the horizon. That’s the allure of flybridge yachts, an irresistible blend of elevated comfort and unforgettable views.

Key Features and Amenities

Benetti yacht at sea.

When it comes to motor yachts, it’s not just about traveling the sea – it’s about doing it with style and grace. Let’s dive into the features and amenities that transform a simple voyage into an unforgettable luxury experience .

  • Lavish Interiors: When you step inside a motor yacht like those designed by Azimut, you’re greeted by interiors that blend elegance and functionality. Think fine leather, exquisite woodwork, and state-of-the-art entertainment systems.
  • Opulent Staterooms and Suites: Your room on a motor yacht serves as more than just a place to sleep; it’s a sanctuary. With plush bedding, panoramic windows, and often a private balcony, they offer the ultimate comfort for rejuvenation after a day’s adventure.
  • Gourmet Kitchens and Dining Areas: These yachts feature gourmet kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances and lavish dining areas. You can savor the flavors of a professional chef’s cooking or enjoy a wine-tasting session with the ocean as your backdrop.
  • High-Tech Navigation: High-precision tools make navigating a breeze. The captain can chart courses with pinpoint accuracy, thanks to the latest navigational technology.
  • Cutting-Edge Navigational Systems: With cutting-edge navigational systems, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your yacht is equipped to handle the unpredictability of open waters. These systems feature advanced radar, GPS, and even sonar to ensure safety and efficiency.
  • Onboard Entertainment and Connectivity: Stay connected with onboard Wi-Fi and enjoy endless entertainment options, from satellite TV to streaming services.
  • Water Toys and Tender: Amplify the fun with a variety of water toys. From paddle boards to inflatable slides, there’s never a dull moment at sea.
  • Jet Skis, Tenders, and More: Get your adrenaline fix with jet skis or explore nearby coves with a sleek tender, all readily available for your pleasure.
  • Watersports and Fun at Sea: Dive into the deep blue with snorkeling gear, or ride the waves on high-performance wakeboards.
  • Spa and Wellness: Retreat to a world of tranquility in your yacht’s spa With features like steam rooms , your escape to relaxation is just steps away from your suite.
  • Onboard Spa and Fitness Facilities: Maintaining your wellness routine is effortless with fully equipped fitness facilities and rejuvenating spas. Some yachts even feature personal trainers and masseuses to cater to your wellness needs.
  • Relaxation and Wellness at Sea: After a long day of sun and sea, unwind in a hot tub or relax with a therapeutic massage to the sounds of ocean waves in the background.

Luxury Yacht Builders

In the realm of luxury yachts, certain builders stand out for their exemplary craftsmanship and trailblazing designs. From Italian finesse with brands like Benetti to the Dutch mastery of Feadship , and German engineering prowess with Lürssen . These builders excel at opulence and advanced nautical performance. These exemplary brands showcase the pinnacle of yachting excellence.

Benetti Yachts

Benetti is synonymous with Italian luxury, having been a prominent figure on the seas for over 140 years. Under the Italian flag, Benetti has crafted some of the finest yachts, each a testament to intricate craftsmanship and visionary design. Their custom builds are the products of unparalleled attention to detail by skilled yacht brokers and designers.

With models like the Vision series, they’ve not only pushed the envelope in terms of aesthetics but also in performance. These yachts are more than just a floating piece of art; they are high-performance machines.

Feadship stands as a towering name in yachting, renowned for their dedication to perfection and innovation. Their commitment to excellence is evident in every yacht that sails out of their yard. Feadship closely collaborates with owners to ensure every dream is translated into a floating reality.

Each Feadship is unique, a singular blend of the owner’s vision and Feadship’s prowess. Models like the Symphony and Aquarius have set benchmarks for what a luxury yacht should be.

In the conversation of superior yacht construction, the German flag is flown proudly by Lürssen, a name that’s become a byword for custom superyachts. With over 140 years of history, Lürssen has been at the forefront of yacht building, famed for their large custom builds that never compromise on quality or luxury.

Lürssen’s portfolio showcases giants like Dilbar and Octopus , pushing boundaries in yacht size while offering impeccable performance.

Top Yachting Destinations

Whether you’re browsing through YachtWorld for the perfect vessel, planning your next vacation, or seeking yachts with adventure in mind, the destination you choose is crucial. From the sun-kissed Mediterranean to the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, every destination offers a unique escape.

Mediterranean Adventures

The Mediterranean Sea is renowned for its diverse cultures, historical significance, and azure waters, making it a top choice for yachting. With over 10,000 yachts for sale in this region, options abound for every taste and style.

  • French Riviera Glamour: The French Riviera is a spectacle of opulence and natural beauty. Glide through the waters of Cannes or St. Tropez, with their elite ambiance that has long captivated the yachting community.
  • Exploring the Greek Isles: Greece’s allure is undeniable, with an archipelago of islands each offering its own slice of paradise. Discover antiquities, savor local cuisine, and enjoy the warm hospitality that makes this a yachting haven.
  • Elegance in Amalfi: It’s hard not to fall in love with Amalfi’s dramatic cliffs and quaint towns. The Amalfi Coast is not just a destination, but a luxurious experience set against a backdrop of Italian elegance.

Caribbean Dreams

The Caribbean Sea is dotted with islands that boast white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. This region is a true island-hopping paradise, perfect for those who dream of a tropical yachting voyage.

  • Island Hopping Paradise: Venturing from one island to another, each with its vibrant culture and distinct landscapes, is a highlight for many yacht enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for a party atmosphere or secluded bays, you’ll find it here.
  • Exclusive Retreats in the BVI: The British Virgin Islands offer exclusive retreats, where hidden coves and upscale marinas are just a short sail away. The BVI’s remain a jewel for those seeking privacy with all the luxury trappings.
  • Luxury Chartering in the Bahamas: The Bahamas, with over 700 islands, is a mosaic of rich culture and aquatic splendor. Luxurious charters here promise an unrivaled blend of adventure and relaxation.

Southeast Asian Wonders

For those looking for something out of the ordinary, yachting through Southeast Asia provides a blend of exotic culture and stunning scenery. It’s an emerging market with immense potential for yachting enthusiasts.

  • Serenity in Thailand: The tranquility of Thailand’s coastal waters is legendary. Yacht guests here can indulge in serenity as they discover the natural beauty of this Southeast Asian gem.
  • Expeditions in Indonesia: Indonesia’s vast archipelago is a treasure trove of biodiversity, with thousands of islands waiting to be explored. Here, the yachting journey is as breathtaking as the destinations themselves.
  • A Tropical Paradise: The Maldives, with their picture-perfect atolls and vibrant marine life, are the epitome of a tropical paradise. Ideal for both diving aficionados and those seeking peaceful seclusion on their yacht.

Buying and Owning a Motor Yacht

SILENT 62 3 Deck Open

Those thinking about diving into the world of motor yachts should consider several factors, from upfront investments to the buzz of chartering.

The Investment Aspect

The initial cost of Yacht ownership can be substantial. Purchasing a brand like Sunseeker or Ferretti can range from hundreds of thousands to several million dollars, depending on the size and model.

Consider the monthly expenses for maintenance, docking, fuel, and insurance adding hefty sums to the ownership cost. An electric motor yacht could offer significant savings in fuel costs over the long term.

When it comes time for resale, know that resale value is like the tide – it can go up or down. Typically, yachts depreciate, but choosing a well-maintained yacht from a reputable brand could help in a stronger resale value.

Yacht Maintenance and Crew

The size and type of your yacht dictate the crew size. The captain’s expertise and the crew’s service level directly affect your yachting experience and maintenance state. The ocean is your yacht’s playground and its greatest threat. Regular upkeep is critical. Costs vary depending on size and usage but expect to allocate 10% of the yacht’s value annually for maintenance.

Chartering Motor Yachts: Experiencing Luxury Without Ownership

Not quite ready to commit? No problem! Chartering a motor yacht offers all the luxury without the strings. The chartering adventure begins with selecting your yacht and itinerary. Costs hinge on the yacht’s size and the charter’s duration, including crew, fuel, and docking fees that equate to thousands per week.

In the realm of motor yachts, you’re now armed with the bare essentials to navigate your buying and ownership journey.

Safety and Regulations

When it comes to motor yachts, your safety is always the top priority. You’ll also want to stay on the right side of the law with proper licensing and compliance.

  • Yacht Safety Basics: Safety on your yacht starts with preventive measures and education. Brushing up on your boating know-how through courses offered by organizations like BoatUS can keep you informed and prepared.
  • Essential Safety Equipment: Every yacht should be equipped with personal flotation devices (PFDs), fire extinguishers, and distress signals. For boats sized between 16 ft and 65.6 ft, regulations require one approved PFD per person on board and one throwable Type IV device. Let’s make sure you meet these U.S. Coast Guard minimum requirements .
  • Safety Protocols and Guidelines : It’s not just about having the right gear; it’s about knowing what to do with it. Establishing clear emergency protocols, such as man-overboard procedures, is crucial.
  • Licensing and Compliance: Before setting sail, confirm that you have the proper licenses and permits. Depending on your location, this might include a boating license or a yacht operator certificate. Check with your local maritime authority for the specific requirements in your waters.
  • Legal Requirements for Yachts: Legalities can be as complex as the seas. From environmental rules to speed regulations, staying informed about the boating laws is your legal responsibility as a yacht owner.
  • Registering Your Yacht: Lastly, don’t forget to register your yacht. This isn’t just bureaucracy, it’s a way of legitimizing your vessel’s identity and ensuring you can get help if needed. Registration processes vary by country and state, so consult your local authority’s guidelines .

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Navigating the world of motor yachts can often raise a sea of questions, but we’ve got answers.

What Is the Cost of Owning a Motor Yacht?

Owning a motor yacht is no drop in the ocean when it comes to expenses. The initial purchase price on average can range from $22,000 to a staggering $504,000,000 depending on the size, year, and model, as reported by YachtWorld . And that’s just the beginning. It’s wise to factor in maintenance, which typically makes up about 10% of the yacht’s initial cost annually. Remember to consider operational costs such as fuel, dockage, insurance , and crew salaries as well.

Can You Charter a Motor Yacht for a Day?

Absolutely! You can enjoy the luxury of a motor yacht for a day or even a few hours. Whether it’s for a special occasion or a taste of the high seas, the option is there and prices vary based on the yacht’s size and amenities.

What Safety Measures Should I Consider When Owning a Motor Yacht?

Safety should be your anchor when owning or chartering a motor yacht. The essentials include life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and a well-stocked first-aid kit. Installing the latest navigation and communication systems is also vital.

Are There Eco-Friendly Motor Yacht Options?

In recent years, the development of eco-friendly yachts has grown. Brands like Silent Yachts are leading the wave with solar-powered options. Look out for yachts with hybrid engines, sustainable materials, and energy-efficient appliances.

How Often Should I Service My Motor Yacht?

A general rule is at least once a year or after every 100 hours of cruising, whichever comes first. For specifics, always check your yacht’s manual or consult with the manufacturer. Maintenance frequency can also depend on usage, age, and model, as highlighted by Cruisers Yachts’ FAQ .

Kristia Goodnight

Related Posts

Boating on Lake Muskoka

October 3, 2023

Boating: Your 10-Step Guide to Driving a Boat Safely


Boating is a fantastic way to take advantage of the great outdoors and create unforgettabl...

Water Skiing

October 4, 2023

Water Skiing Essentials: Tips and Tricks for a Thrilling Experience

Water skiing is an exhilarating surface water sport where individuals ride on one or two s...


Wakeboarding Fun: Tips and Techniques for Every Skill Level

Wakeboarding is a thrilling water sport that has captured the interest of adrenaline seeke...

Don't have an account yet? Register

Already have an account? Sign In

Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.

boat ship advice tips reviews

What Is a Yacht? How Is It Different from Other Boats?

Yachts come in all shapes and forms. But what really is a yacht? How will you know if you are looking at a yacht or just a boat with impressive features? In this article, I’ll describe what is a yacht and how it is different from other boats.

What is a yacht?  A yacht is a water vessel used for recreation, racing, or cruising – for private or business purposes. Yachts are powered by a motor or a sail. They are typically at least 33 feet (10 meters) long and have good aesthetic qualities.

Read on to learn more about what a yacht is, including some surprising facts about them.

What Is a Yacht?

A boat or any water vessel should be at least 33 feet (10 meters) long and have above-standard aesthetic qualities to become a yacht. That means it should offer excellent accommodations and amenities onboard. There is such a wide variety of yachts, which is why it can be difficult to give a standard definition for this type of watercraft.

What makes a boat a yacht? Generally, a yacht is an expensive boat powered by sail, gasoline, diesel engine, or a combination of these three. Yachts are mainly used for pleasure, racing, or cruising.

What size boat is considered a yacht? A yacht could have the size of a large boat or a small ship. Yachts are typically at least 33 feet (10 meters) and have good aesthetic qualities. The Commercial Yacht Code classifies large yachts a being 79 ft (24 meters) and over.

The term yacht comes from  jaght , a Dutch word meaning  light and fast sailing vessel  that the early Dutch Navy used to hunt and capture pirates.

Large yachts are at least 79 ft. (24 m) according to the Commercial Yacht Code. These large yachts often have a hired crew and are built with more expensive and stronger materials. There are commercial yachts that can carry 12 passengers. The features of a yacht are for the pleasure of the owner and their guests. Such yachts can also carry the flag of a country for official use.

Then there are the superyachts or megayachts. These vessels are usually longer than 131 ft. (40 m). Currently, there are over 15,000 yachts all over the world run by professional crews. On the smaller end are the racing yachts, which are typically not more than 33 ft. long. Their design is mainly for performance rather than comfort.

Brief History of Yachts

The word  yacht  came from  jaght , a Dutch word. Its original meaning refers to the fast and light boats that the Dutch Navy used to hunt and catch pirates during the early 1600s. King Charles the Second used one to return to England from his exile in the Netherlands in 1660. Word quickly spread out that this type of water vessel (and not just any old boat) carries very important people. 

Today, yachts are not only powered by sails but also by gasoline and diesel engines. There are still yachts that use sails to travel around the world. But most modern yachts these days are motorized and use heavy-duty gas or diesel engines to navigate the world.

What Are the Different Types of Yachts?

Yachts are classified into many different types or categories since there’s really no definitive meaning of the word. Let us discuss each classification below.

1) Royal Yachting Association Classifications

There are four categories of yachts, according to the RYA. They are designated according to the seas and wind force that they are expected to encounter.

1. Class A Yachts

The design of these yachts can withstand wind force 8 of 40 knots (21m/s) and 13-foot (4 m) maximum wave heights encountered in extended voyages and ocean passages.

2. Class B Yachts

These are the yachts that can take less than wind force 8 of 40 knots (21m/s) and 13-foot (4 m) maximum height of waves encountered in extended voyages and ocean passages.

3. Class C Yachts

These yachts can withstand wind force 6 of 27 knots (14 m/s) and 6.6-foot (2 m) maximum wave heights encountered in rivers, lakes, exposed coastal waters, and bays.

4. Class D Yachts

Yachts of this class can take wind force 4, which is 16 knots (8.2 m/s) and 1.6-foot (0.5 m) of maximum wave heights encountered in rivers, lakes, inlets, bays, and sheltered coastal waters.

2) Large Commercial Yacht Code Classifications

Great Britain has another classification called the Large Commercial Yacht Code or LY2. This code defines large yachts measuring 79 ft. (24 m) or more at the waterline. They are also used commercially for pleasure or sport and are operated by a professional crew. However, these yachts do not carry more than 12 passengers.

This code regulates the equipping of these yachts, both in port and at sea. The classification focuses on things, such as the availability of a helicopter on deck and the crew’s duty times. This code sets different standard levels for yachts below or above 500 gross tons. The bigger yachts are usually regarded as superyachts measuring 130 ft. (40 m) long. Other countries have their own versions of LY2.

3) Motor Yachts Classifications

This system is another method of classifying yachts. In this system, standard yachts are those in the range of 26 to 130 ft. (7.9 to 39.6 m) long. Once they exceed 130 ft. long, they are already considered superyachts.

There are four classes of motorboats, according to the United States Coast Guard. To the USCG, all watercrafts less than 65 ft. (20 m) and propelled by machinery are classified as:

  • Class A –  Motorboats that are less than 16 ft. (4.9 m)
  • Class 1 –   Motorboats from 16 to 26 ft. (4.9 to 7.9 m)
  • Class 2 –  Motorboats from 26 to 40 feet (7.9 to 12.2 m)
  • Class 3 –   Motorboats from 40 to 65 ft. (12 to 20 m)

what defines a yacht

4) Cruising Yachts

Yachts can also be classified as cruising yachts if they are mainly used for passage-making and near-shore trips. They are specifically designed for passengers’ comfort and have the amenities required during overnight voyages.

For a boat to become a cruising yacht, it must include features, such as ease of handling, living comfort , comfort underway, stability , performance, durability, affordability of ownership, and ease of maintenance.

Cruising yachts can be further classified into the following:

  • Offshore Yachts – These yachts are usually more than 45 ft. (14 m) long.
  • Near-shore Yachts – These are yachts that range from 33 to 45 ft. (10 to 14 m) long.
  • Small Yachts – These shorter yachts usually measure less than 33 ft. (10 m) long. Yachts that are shorter than 25 ft. (7.6 m) fall into this category. Another term for these small yachts is trailer sailers because you can easily tow them by car. Their average weight is about 5,000 pounds or 2.300 kilos.

5) Racing Yachts

What is considered a yacht for racing ? Racing yachts put more emphasis on performance instead of comfort. They have high-performance rigs that provide aerodynamic efficiency. The hulls of these yachts are very hydro-dynamically efficient in minimizing sideways motion and drag through the water.

According to the World Sailing Newsletter, there are 11 classes of racing yachts. They are as follows:

  • Farr 30 – 30.9 ft. (9.4 m) long
  • X-35 – 34.0 ft. (10.36 m)
  • J/111 – 36.4 ft. (11.1 m)
  • Class40 – 39 ft. (11.9 m)
  • Soto 40 – 40 ft. (12.3 m)
  • X-41 – 40.5 ft. (12.3 m)
  • Swan 45 – 45.4 ft. (13.83 m)
  • Transpac 52 – 52.0 ft. (15.85 m)
  • IMOCA 60 – 60 ft. (18 m)
  • Swan 60 – 61.8 ft. (18.85 m)
  • Maxi Yacht – 70 ft. (21 m)

The classification of yachts also includes yacht style. The following are the styles of yachts you can see berthed in a typical marina:

  • Cruiser – This yacht has a displacement hull in its design for long-distance and economical boating trips.
  • Expedition – Like the cruiser, this   yacht also has a displacement hull for long-distance and economical trips to remote places. Another term for this type of yacht is the explorer yacht .
  • Trawler – This yacht has a traditional and conservative design built with a regular displacement hull for inexpensive and medium-distance boating trips.
  • Sports Fisherman – This yacht has a semi-displacement hull called a planing hull. It is suitable for quick trips and typically carries fishing gear for catching big fish.
  • Lobster – This yacht is similar to Maine’s lobster boat built with a semi-displacement or planing hull for quick trips.
  • Sports Cruiser – This yacht is suitable for quick trips due to its semi-displacement hull. 

What Are Yachts Made Of?

Gone were the days when boats were wholly made of wood. Aside from wood, you can now see watercraft built with fiberglass, aluminum, iron, stainless steel, or a combination of these materials.

During the 1990s, fiberglass became a popular material for building boats. Today, most yachts measuring 79 ft. (24 m) long and below are built using fiberglass. Aluminum, steel, or composite plastic reinforced by fiber are the materials often used in bigger yachts. The yachts that you see resting in marinas today are more likely made of the following materials:

definition of a yacht

1) Fiberglass

One of the things that made fiberglass a popular material for building boats is that it is best for mass production. By utilizing a mold, boat builders can make a boat faster than using wood or steel. This material also offers strength and durability. Repairing a fiberglass boat is not very difficult as well. The hulls of these types of boats have layers or plies of fiberglass skins and matting soaked in high-strength resin.

Bigger yachts have metal hulls made of steel, aluminum, or a combination of both and other materials. Aluminum is lighter, which equates to less fuel consumption to move it forward. Steel is also easy to repair since boatyards have extensive knowledge of using it a long time ago.

Traditional types of boats are most likely made of wood. The usual method used in boat building is planks over ribs. In the WEST system, plies of wood strips are soaked in epoxy and applied or attached to the boat’s wooden frame. Wood is supremely buoyant in water. That is why it is still being used in boat building today.

What Makes a Boat a Yacht?

In general, there are two types of yachts sailing the rivers and seas of the world now. They are sailing yachts and motor-powered yachts. What makes a boat a yacht? You have a yacht when it reaches a size wherein you need a crew to operate it safely. Those who operate and sail yachts are called yachtsmen.

You also have a yacht if your boat is of the minimum size and equipped with luxurious comfort and hotel-like amenities. If your boat doesn’t have these minimum qualities, it is still just a boat.

Is a Yacht Different from a Boat?

What is the difference between a boat and a yacht? The main difference between the two is that a yacht will always look and feel fancier than a boat or regular ship. If it appears and smells luxurious, given its minimum size, it is a yacht. Boats can be built for many things. But yachts are built mainly for fun and leisure.

How Much Does an Average Yacht Cost?

The factors that determine the price of a yacht are its size, age, and brand. According to current sales data, the average cost of a yacht is $8.4 million, all factors considered.

What Is the Most Expensive Yacht Operating Today?

The Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, owns the most expensive yacht in the world today. He owns the Eclipse, a 528 feet superyacht launched in 2009. Its development cost is more than $1 billion.

Seventy crew members operate this small ship. They have to be that many because of the state-of-the-art communication equipment, electronics, and all the trappings of a super luxurious sea craft. This boat even has its own defense system.

Conclusion – What Is a Yacht?

So, to recap, what is a yacht? A yacht is a water vessel used for recreation, racing, or cruising, powered by sail or motor. A yacht can be a medium-sized water vessel or a small ship used for private and official purposes.

However, there is really no standard definition because you can use this term for any watercraft with cabins, accommodations, and amenities for overnight use.

Related reading:

Types of Boats – Full List of 20 Different Types

How Much Does a Yacht Cost to Own?

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Yacht? Day, Week, and Party Rate

How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Yacht?

Related posts:.


  • Post category: Maintenance and Boating
  • Post author: Drew S.

You Might Also Like

Read more about the article Best Marine Battery for Recreational Boating in 2023

Best Marine Battery for Recreational Boating in 2023

Read more about the article How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Yacht?

Parts of a Boat [Motorboat, Sailboat, Fishing Boat]

Go to the homepage

Example sentences motor yacht

It provided the length of the private dock, for speedboats, and the size of the jetty, and tide tables for arrivals by motor yacht .
The hotel also has a luxury motor yacht for guests to use.
The motor yacht , for example, to say nothing of the cars.
Lean it against a wall and sashay up and down it as if you're on a motor yacht .
Less cruise ship, more private motor yacht , with 109 friends along for the voyage.

Definition of 'motor' motor

IPA Pronunciation Guide

Definition of 'yacht' yacht

Related word partners motor yacht, browse alphabetically motor yacht.

  • motor vehicle accident
  • motor vessel
  • motor voter law
  • motor yacht
  • motor-assisted
  • motor-driven
  • motor-minded
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'M'

Quick word challenge

Quiz Review

Score: 0 / 5


Wordle Helper


Scrabble Tools

Van Isle Marina

When is a Boat a Yacht?

Types of yachts – sizes, styles, & categories.

With so many different types of yachts to choose from, it can be hard to know your Flybridges from your Tri-Decks if you’re just starting your search. Although there is a growing number of terms used to describe the different types of yachts out there, many of the terms overlap or are used interchangeably.

If you’re on the market for a yacht, the team here at Van Isle Marina has compiled a review of the different terms you’ll likely come across when cruising through yachts for sale .

definition of a yacht - megayacht

a luxury motoryacht

Below is our brief guide to understanding the different terms the boating community has been known to use to describe yachts.

Definition of a Yacht

What exactly makes a yacht a yacht, and not just a big boat? There is no nailed down definition of what makes a yacht a yacht, but most boaters consider a yacht to be any type of sea vessel that is used strictly for recreational or pleasure purposes like cruising , entertaining, water sports, fishing , or year-round accommodations.

Yachts are usually large enough to have some form of sleeping quarters (cabin) on board for overnight trips as well as a kitchen (galley) and a bathroom (head). They are also large enough that they require more than human inputs (i.e rowing) to propel forward.

Yachts are classed by many things, including their mode of propulsion, size, style, amenities, and function.

General Types of Yachts

Definition of a Yacht - Sailing Yacht

a sailing yacht

A yacht is first defined either as a sailing yacht, motor yacht, or gulet yacht, and then as a sports or luxury yacht.

  • Sailing Yacht: a yacht mainly propelled via wind and sails
  • Motor Yacht: a yacht propelled via one or more motors
  • Gulet Yacht: a hybrid yacht with both sails and motors
  • Open Yacht, Cruiser, Cabin Cruiser, Express Cruiser: an otherwise uncategorized standard yacht for cruising and entertaining
  • Luxury Yacht: a yacht that includes high-end finishes and features and the latest in modern performance technology. The term ‘luxury’ can precede any type of yacht, i.e. “luxury motor yacht”, “luxury sailing yacht”, etc.
  • Sports Yacht: a yacht geared towards fishing, water sports, or cruising with a sleeker design and more powerful motor for faster cruising speeds. The term ‘sports’ can precede other types of yachts as well, i.e. “sports motor yacht”.

Definition of a yacht - Catamaran

a catamaran

Yacht Sizes

Yachts can further be defined as a superyacht or megayacht, depending on their size.

  • Super Yachts are typically 24 meters (78 feet) and above.
  • Mega Yachts are typically over 80 meters (260 feet).

Most motor yachts on the market are typically 24 meters (78 feet) or less.  There are only a handful of megayachts in the world due to their extravagant price tag.

Yacht Style Categories

Yachts can further be grouped or defined according to their form and function, such as with flybridge, sedan, pilot house, and sportfish yachts, for example.

  • Classic Motor Yacht: a yacht that was built between the 1920s and 1970s (before today’s modern technology began dominating modern yacht manufacturing). A modern yacht can be built based on the classic motor yacht style.
  • Sedan: a popular yacht style with deck space above the hull and living quarters below. The living quarters of a sedan yacht are enclosed and single-level.
  • Flybridge: a sedan-style yacht with an open deck and more comfortable living space above the main bridge of a vessel.
  • Daybridge: a multi-level yacht that is even more open than a flybridge. Belize Motoryachts are known for creating this distinctive style of yacht.
  • Open or Enclosed: a term used to describe the layout of and access to the flybridge. In an enclosed flybridge, access to the above flybridge is enclosed inside the living space. In an open flybridge, access to the flybridge above is open to the elements.
  • Downeast Style: a low-profile yacht with a large working cockpit and small helm station. This highly recognizable style is inspired by the mid-1900s traditional Maine lobster boat. Back Cove yachts are a shining example of downeast-style inspired yachts.
  • Pilothouse: A multi-deck yacht like a flybridge with a larger interior main deck.
  • Sky Lounge: an enclosed area at the top of the vessel that provides the benefits of the view but with several amenities, protection from the elements, expansive windows and sometimes a sunroof.
  • Cockpit Motor Yacht: a yacht with more cockpit space than deck space.
  • Sportfish or Sport Fishing Yacht: A yacht used for fishing with a large cockpit, storage space, and the ability to handle rougher seas. These can also be referred to as Flybridge Sportfish or Sportfish Express and are built for longer durations out on the water.
  • Convertible: a yacht that combines features of a standard motor yacht with a sportfish yacht to have entertaining space when you need it, and also fishing space when you need it.
  • SUV: a yacht that combines features of a standard motor yacht and sport yacht.
  • Tri-Decks : a superyacht with three levels of staggered, enclosed living space.
  • Expedition Yachts: a large yacht with a deeper displacement hull for more stability and comfort during longer-range trips.

Read a few descriptions of yachts for sale and you’ll soon realize the boating community sometimes seems to have its own language. To accompany this roundup of yacht types, check out our Parts of a Boat post for more information, or jump right into checking out some of the models we at Van Isle Marina have for sale right now.

Blog Headlines

lighthouse with mountain in background

  • What is a Yacht? (History, Types of Yachts, Styles and Sizes) January 15, 2024 - 10:35 am

winter conditions in forest

  • Essential Off-Season Haul-Out Services for Your Boat August 10, 2023 - 4:34 pm

Media and Galleries

Click HERE for more videos and photo galleries including our Historic Galleries .

Click HERE for a photo tour of our marina.

Birdwatching - common seabirds of Vancouver Island

  • More from M-W
  • To save this word, you'll need to log in. Log In

Definition of yacht

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of yacht  (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

Examples of yacht in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'yacht.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

obsolete Dutch jaght , from Middle Low German jacht , short for jachtschip , literally, hunting ship

1557, in the meaning defined above

1836, in the meaning defined above

Phrases Containing yacht

Articles related to yacht.

man sitting in a chair looking confused

Why does English have so many silent...

Why does English have so many silent letters?

Inexplicable silent letters, explained

march 4 calendar icon

Words of the Week - March 4

The words that defined the week ending March 4th, 2022

Dictionary Entries Near yacht

yacht chair

Cite this Entry

“Yacht.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yacht. Accessed 29 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of yacht.

Kids Definition of yacht  (Entry 2 of 2)

from obsolete Dutch jaght (now jacht ), short for jachtschip, literally, "hunting ship"

More from Merriam-Webster on yacht

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yacht

Nglish: Translation of yacht for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yacht for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about yacht

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Play Quordle: Guess all four words in a limited number of tries.  Each of your guesses must be a real 5-letter word.

Can you solve 4 words at once?

Word of the day, braggadocio.

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Popular in Grammar & Usage

The tangled history of 'it's' and 'its', more commonly misspelled words, commonly misspelled words, how to use em dashes (—), en dashes (–) , and hyphens (-), absent letters that are heard anyway, popular in wordplay, the words of the week - mar. 29, 9 superb owl words, 'gaslighting,' 'woke,' 'democracy,' and other top lookups, 10 words for lesser-known games and sports, your favorite band is in the dictionary, games & quizzes.

Play Blossom: Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

  • Pontoon Boats
  • Personal Watercraft
  • nauticalknowhow
  • Nautical Knots
  • Tools and Calculators

What is a Yacht?

Ian Fortey

A yacht does not have to meet any specific requirements to be considered a yacht. For our purposes a yacht is any recreational boat of around 30 feet or more that includes at least one cabin and is used for cruising or racing. This definition is not a hard and fast rule to go by as there is no settled definition for the word at all or what specifically makes a boat into a yacht.

Because a yacht is not a specific type of easily identified vessel like a pontoon boat or a fishing boat, we’ll cover the features of what makes a yacht worthy of the name so make it easier for you to identify one in the wild.

Defining What a Yacht Is

motor yacht meaning

The difficulty in defining the term “yacht” is that, unlike the specific vessels mentioned above, a yacht is more of a description than a type. Yachts can be sailboats or motorboats, center console boats, house boats or any other kind of vessel that meets the generally accepted size and feature expectations of a yacht.

The definition I gave above includes a few key points:

  • A yacht is a recreational boat
  • A yacht is 30 feet long or more
  • A yacht has at least one cabin
  • A yacht is used for cruising or racing

This description allows you to weed out some things such as:

  • Boats under 30 feet which most recreational boats are
  • Specific purpose boats like commercial fishing vessels, barges, tugboats
  • Most pontoon boats, speed boats for racing, jon boats and recreational fishing boats

Reaching a Definition

Usually when people think of yachts they’re thinking of a medium to large vessel that is well appointed and higher end with a lot of luxury features. The word evokes a sense of value and expense. We consider a yacht to be an expensive boat.

Yachts can be very similar to a cabin cruiser or day sailing boats , but the difference seems to be in size and what may be included above and beyond a “normal” boat. For these reasons, “yacht” as a term is sometimes hard to define and definitions will not be consistent from one source to another.

Motor Yacht Vs. Sailing Yacht

V-Series by Destination Yachts

The initial definition of yacht that we provided doesn’t specify if a yacht is a boat that requires wind power to move or an engine. But the fact is that a yacht can be a sailing vessel or a powered vessel and either one can still qualify as a yacht.

Motor Yacht

The power source for a motor yacht is an engine. Some yachts are hybrid vessels which can run under sail but also have a backup engine in case of emergencies or if the wind is not reliable. These are sometimes called motorsailers.

Motor yachts are considered leisure vessels more often than sailing yachts due to how they work. A motor yacht takes less skill to operate than a sailing yacht.

Sailing Yacht

Sailing yachts run strictly on wind power. Most larger sail boats with cabins could be considered yachts. Many boaters still consider a sailing yacht a boat for people who are more adventurous and a little wild as they represent that idea of cutting loose at sea.  A sailing yacht is harder to operate than a motor yacht and requires more skill.

motor yacht meaning

A motor yacht is going to get you where you want to go faster than a sailing yacht. That’s not to say these aren’t fast sailing vessels as modern yachts can reach great speeds, but they are still at the mercy of the wind. For that reason you’ll often see far more motor yachts around than sailing yachts as they tend to be more convenient for most boaters.

Motor yachts have no concrete average speed thanks to numerous factors that go into what makes a yacht. The largest yacht in the world is nearly 600 feet long. Obviously a boat of this size has many variables that will affect its speed compared to a 60 foot yacht. That said, yachts of any size tend to have cruising speeds that range from 20 mph to 30 mph.

Because a sailing yacht is powered by wind only it will be slower, on average, than a motor yacht. Sailing yachts often reach speeds of just 5 mph to around 10 mph. The size and construction of the vessel, its weight, and the skill of the captain can all affect these numbers.

motor yacht meaning

A motor yacht has to make space for an engine room, which can get quite huge especially on large yachts. Space is also needed for fuel tanks. On some mega yachts they have fuel tanks that can hold over a million liters of fuel, which is absolutely staggering and requires a large portion of the vessel.

Motor yachts are more likely to devote space to luxury amenities like hot tubs or even swimming pools. The largest motor yachts have multiple luxury cabins, helipads, tenders, gyms and more. Some motor yachts can have up to 8 decks. You can expect a motor yacht at 150 feet to have around 50% or more space available than the exact same length in a sailing yacht. 

Sailing yachts can be designed smaller than motor yachts because they don’t need engine or fuel space. So a smaller sailing yacht can hold as many passengers as a larger motor yacht without sacrificing comfort or luxury. A sailing yacht is going to have a smaller and probably narrower structure than a motor yacht.

Sailing yachts often offer comfortable cabins but usually have few hotel-like luxuries on board.  A sailing yacht needs a lower profile to function properly. They will have fewer decks as well.

motor yacht meaning

Motor yachts lend themselves more towards really having fun at sea. These are true recreational vessels. This is owing to the fact motor yachts are more likely to have tender garages and include jet skis and other equipment for getting out and having fun. 

Motor yachts also tend to be the ones that are more outfitted like small resorts. You can find dance floors, bars, swimming pools, jacuzzi tubs, gyms and more on some big luxury yachts. At some point they really start to look like small cruise ships. With the extra decks and of course because they don’t have masts in the way, there’s a lot more space for this kind of thing. 

Modern sailing yachts have been designed with more luxury features than older models and it’s not unheard of to find a jacuzzi on a sailing yacht or even a cinema on some, but it’s still a rarity when compared to motor yachts.

Sailing yachts can be used for some more limited type fun at sea – lots of snorkeling, swimming, fishing and so on, just not to the extreme that a motor yacht will do. A lot of the appeal of a sailing yacht is the fact that it’s for sailing, so the act of sailing itself is the draw. Usually people who own and operate sailing yachts want to engage in the activity of sailing, rather than the extra things you might enjoy on a motor yacht.

Cost of Motor Yachts vs Sailing Yachts

Gibson Cabin Yacht 5000

Motor yachts are more expensive than sailing yachts. The initial cost can vary widely but it’s the long term costs that nail you. Fuel and maintenance costs over time for a motor yacht will always keep raising the price. The largest motor yachts may cost millions of dollars to buy outright and also have yearly operating costs in the hundreds of thousands or even millions if they are fully crewed. The highest priced yacht in the world has a $1.5 billion price tag.

A sailing yacht continues to coast along at a much lower cost in terms of necessary maintenance. After all, you never need to refuel your sailing yacht. Some smaller yachts may cost under $30,000. 

Yacht Classifications

Yachts are often classified by size. As we defined early, any vessel over 30 feet can potentially be a yacht. But if you are talking about a vessel that is over 400 feet in length, it’s not an accurate picture to use the same term. 

We often classify yachts using common size or metric prefixes. You may have heard the terms “superyacht” and “megayacht.” These are ways of attempting to differentiate between the sizes of yachts because some of these vessels can get massive. The world’s largest yacht, the Azzam, is about 600 feet long. 

Large Yacht

According to the Commercial Yacht Code, a large yacht is any yacht that has reached 79 feet or more. At this size the boat needs to have an actual crew to keep it running. Anything under 79 feet would just be a standard yacht.

Super Yacht

To qualify as a super yacht, a vessel has to be at least 131 feet in length. Obviously this size means it needs a fairly extensive crew and, if it’s not a commercial vessel, it’s probably owned by someone extremely wealthy in order to maintain it. 

motor yacht meaning

The term mega yacht is a bit sketchy which is no surprise given how there’s only a loose definition for the word “yacht” in the first place. Mega yacht and superyacht are often used synonymously. However, for some people, the term mega yacht can only be applied when the vessel reaches at least 200 feet. This doesn’t seem to be a definite rule though so if you hear the term it’s still best to look at the specs of the boat to see what’s being referred to. 

You hear this term a lot less frequently but it’s been tossed around to account for those yachts that would even leave a mega yacht in the dust. After all, if a super yacht is 131 feet and a mega yacht is 200 feet then a yacht like Azzam, at 600 feet, should probably be known by a different term since it’s so much bigger.

Giga yacht is sometimes used to represent these largest yachts. But again, this is an informal label for such a large boat and there are no hard and fast rules about what size a boat has to be in order to be called a giga yacht. In general it just means the biggest of the big. 

Racing Yachts

If the point of the yacht is specifically to be involved in racing, then it will likely be stripped down of many of the more luxurious but unnecessary amenities seen in recreational and cruising yachts. Usually a racing yacht has less space for relaxing or sleeping, for instance, but there are definitely yachts being built that offer a lot of nice features while still being designed to race.

The Bottom Line

There are no distinct rules for the size of a yacht or what it can even do. A yacht can operate under motor power or under sailing and you can use it to race, to just have fun, or for cruising. They can range in size from just 30 feet all the way up to the massive 600 foot Azzam. 

A yacht is a vessel that is fairly luxurious and used recreationally for a variety of purposes. A luxury yacht may be chartered for business or events and come with a full crew while smaller motor powered yachts and sailing yachts tend to be used for pleasure cruising.

' src=

My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.

Categories : Yachts

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

More in Yachts

motor yacht meaning

Lonian Yacht: An Insider's Guide

motor yacht meaning

A Closer Look at the Madsummer Yacht

motor yacht meaning

Your Insider’s Look at Steve Jobs’ Yacht Venus

motor yacht meaning

Your Insider’s Guide to the Aviva Yacht

motor yacht meaning

The People’s Poncho Review and Ratings 

motor yacht meaning

Oru Lake Kayak Review

motor yacht meaning

What Is A Gunwale?

Best Snorkeling in Maui

131 of the Best Hawaiian Boat Names

motor yacht meaning

167 Patriotic Boat Names

About boatsafe.

Established in 1998, BoatSafe is your independent guide into the world of boating, fishing, and watersports. We provide expert insights and detailed guides to help you find products tailored to your needs and budget.

Contact Boatsafe

  • Address: 4021 West Walnut Street. Rogers, AR 72756
  • Phone:  (479)339-4795
  • Email: [email protected]

Site Navigation

  • How We Test
  • Corrections Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Editorial Policy
  • Affiliate Disclosure

Our Reviews

Boat Safe BBB Business Review

All content is © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.

Make an Enquiry

motor yacht meaning

  • Yacht Sales
  • Destinations
  • About Ahoy Club

21 Common Yachting Terms Explained

Does it ever feel like yacht enthusiasts speak a whole other language? We get it. Everyone was new to yachting once and we all had to learn what different terms mean. Luckily, you have Ahoy Club to show you the ropes. Brush up on your sea vocabulary with some common definitions in our glossary below.


Essentially, parking your yacht so that you can hop over to shore and explore. It also refers to the literal anchor which holds your yacht in place.

APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance)

A deposit paid by charterers to cover expenses during their trip. Expenses may include taxes, harbour fees, food and alcohol.

Base charter rate

The rate that you pay for the hire of your yacht and its crew. This does not include on board expenses and taxes which are covered by your APA (see above).

The total width of the yacht at its widest point.

The bedrooms on your yacht.

A type of yacht with two hulls. It was designed this way for increased stability on the water.

Explorer yacht

A yacht that is built to go to the farthest corners of the globe and into rough terrains. See examples in our past blog .

The territory under which a yacht is registered. The yacht’s flag state will govern the laws and regulations which it must follow.

A traditional motorised sailing yacht typically found in Turkey.

The main body of the yacht floating in the water; covers the front, sides, back and underside.

A boat or yacht’s speed measured in nautical miles per hour (see below).

A large luxury yacht typically measuring over 70m.

A boat with a single hull. May be a sailing yacht, motor yacht, luxury super- or megayacht. See Catamaran above for comparison.

Motor yacht (or M/Y)

A yacht which is powered with engines. 

Nautical mile

A measure of distance on the water. One nautical mile is equal to 1852 metres or 1-minute of latitude on a navigational chart.

Preference sheet

The questionnaire that guests fill out before beginning their charter. It is meant to provide as much information as possible to the captain, crew and chef so that they may meet your preferences for an excellent trip.

Sailing yacht (or S/Y)

A yacht which is primarily powered with wind sails. Most also have motors as a backup.

The main living or lounge area on your yacht. Pronounced ‘sal-on’ not ‘sal-oon’.

A luxury yacht measuring between 24-69m.

A smaller boat housed on your yacht which can be used for transfers to shore, with your watertoys or on short day trips.

VAT (Value Added Tax)

A compulsory consumption tax set out by the countries you are visiting. See our blogs on the recent changes in Italy and France to learn more.

Yachting from A to Z with Ahoy Club

With Ahoy Club, you can expect everything about yacht chartering to be simpler. From our digital platform allowing you to browse thousands of yachts to our concierge team here to help with any questions. Check out our yachts for charter and test out your new yachting lingo ASAP.

Cambridge Dictionary

  • Cambridge Dictionary +Plus

Meaning of yacht in English

Your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio

  • They spent their annual vacation on a chartered yacht in the Caribbean .
  • He spent three days adrift on his yacht.
  • His eyes were fixed on the distant yacht.
  • If they can afford a yacht, they must be rolling in it.
  • She sailed around the world single-handed in her yacht.
  • cabin cruiser
  • dragon boat
  • rubber dinghy

yacht | Intermediate English

Examples of yacht, collocations with yacht.

These are words often used in combination with yacht .

Click on a collocation to see more examples of it.

Translations of yacht

Get a quick, free translation!


Word of the Day

to change a document in order to deceive people

Sitting on the fence (Newspaper idioms)

Sitting on the fence (Newspaper idioms)

motor yacht meaning

Learn more with +Plus

  • Recent and Recommended {{#preferredDictionaries}} {{name}} {{/preferredDictionaries}}
  • Definitions Clear explanations of natural written and spoken English English Learner’s Dictionary Essential British English Essential American English
  • Grammar and thesaurus Usage explanations of natural written and spoken English Grammar Thesaurus
  • Pronunciation British and American pronunciations with audio English Pronunciation
  • English–Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified)–English
  • English–Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional)–English
  • English–Dutch Dutch–English
  • English–French French–English
  • English–German German–English
  • English–Indonesian Indonesian–English
  • English–Italian Italian–English
  • English–Japanese Japanese–English
  • English–Norwegian Norwegian–English
  • English–Polish Polish–English
  • English–Portuguese Portuguese–English
  • English–Spanish Spanish–English
  • English–Swedish Swedish–English
  • Dictionary +Plus Word Lists
  • English    Noun
  • Intermediate    Noun
  • Collocations
  • Translations
  • All translations

Add yacht to one of your lists below, or create a new one.


Something went wrong.

There was a problem sending your report.

Billionaires are getting ready for summer with wildly spectacular superyachts

  • Superyachts, the most expensive asset  a billionaire can own, are pushing the boundaries of luxury.
  • The boats, which cost eight or nine figures, are getting larger and include more features than ever.
  • From massage rooms to basketball courts, here's what the world's richest want on board.

Insider Today

For many wealthy boat owners, a private spa is a must-have on board. A sauna is a nice touch. A Jet Ski or two makes days at sea way more fun. And if you don't have someone on board who can whip up a Michelin-star-worthy meal , you might as well stay on land.

In the world of massive yachts , there's no such thing as too much. After all, if someone spends eight or nine figures to design the vessel of their dreams — or at least $500,000 a week to charter one — more is more.

"Yachting. It's not rational; it's emotional," Ralph Dazert, the head of intelligence at SuperYacht Times, told Business Insider at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, where dozens of superyachts — often defined as vessels over 30 meters in length — were on display.

And while there are certain classic features, such as jacuzzis and bars, what superyacht owners want is evolving, insiders at the show said. That might mean more crew members, more space for helicopters, or more water toys, but might also include manicure salons and putting greens.

"The bar of what is the baseline expectation has increased exponentially just over the last four or five years," Anders Kurtén, the CEO of brokerage Fraser Yachts, said. Clients are "spending more time on the boat and really wanting to extend the lifestyle they lead on the shore."

A lot of this can be chalked up to the pandemic. Superyacht purchases and charters spiked as life and luxury travel on land screeched to a halt. While the market has moderated slightly, the number of superyachts on order — 1,166 as of September, according to Boat International's Global Order Book — is still above pre-pandemic norms.

"What the pandemic really showed is that the appetite for being out there at sea, sort of living the marine lifestyle, is still as valid as ever," Kurtén said.

That means there's a lot of money on the water. The total value of the 203 superyachts over 30 meters delivered last year was $6.4 billion, according to data from SuperYacht Times. New custom builds from the world's most prestigious shipyards — Lurssen, Feadship, Oceanco , Benetti — can run into the hundreds of millions. Even used superyachts at the Palm Beach show cost as much as $75 million.

And it's not just traditional buyers like retired wealthy couples looking for a place to relax or celebrities looking for a place to party away from the paparazzi. New clients are often younger and have families, so want areas to work and watch movies . They also want pricey water toys, access to fitness equipment, or even pizza ovens for picky eaters.

"This would've never happened in the nineties," said Giovanna Vitelli, the vice president of the Azimut Benetti Group, the world's biggest producer of superyachts. "You would go with your beautiful woman, Champagne — the idea of yachting was much more showing off with your jacuzzi and things like that."

Pure opulence has made room for function.

When Benetti's Nabila set sail in 1980, its 50-person crew, gold-and-diamond-encrusted interiors, and lavish parties captured headlines and even inspired the Queen song "Kashoggi's Ship."(Seven years later, Donald Trump bought Nabila for $30 million , renaming her the Trump Princess.)

"Life on board was considered very formal — big formal dining rooms, boats were high on the water, you would be segregated from the rest of the world," Vitelli said, remembering another client who insisted on a replica of the Sistine Chapel above the dining table.

But the ostentatious, palatial-like interiors that used to be highlighted in yacht brochures have made way for lists of more functional features .

Related stories

Rather than esoteric novelties like an extra-large safe for rifles that one builder had to construct per a Russian yacht owner's request , the superyachts on display at the Palm Beach show featured basketball courts, saunas, and ice baths.

Owners want elevators and luxury gyms. Pampering options, be it a massage room, manicure station, or a professional-grade facial machine, are a dime a dozen. Some bathrooms have fancy Toto toilets, which can cost around $20,000.

Sterns (that's the back of the boat) used to be built high to guard guests' privacy. Now, they're built as "beach clubs" — an open swim platform.

And what good is a massage room if no one on board can give one? Many superyachts can hold twice as many crew members as guests, if not more. One broker, representing a boat that didn't have a masseuse, said it could be quite a "tricky" issue because if a charter wants one, they have to find someone who can massage guests and "pull their weight with the crew."

"It's not uncommon to look for a deckhand who can also mix a martini, play an instrument, maybe entertain the guests with singing, and ideally even give a massage," Kurtén said.

Of course, a crew comes at a cost . Most are considered full-time employees, requiring salaries and benefits like health insurance. Captains, first mates, and chief engineers often make six figures a year. That's without tips; a charter guest will typically spend six figures on gratuities for the crew who worked during a weeklong vacation.

For the superrich, there must be room for toys.

It's not just the onboard amenities that count. What's known as "toys" in the industry — water slides, eFoils, Jet Skis, and underwater scuba diving jets — are popular, and costs range from merely hundreds of dollars (banana boats) to millions ( submersibles , which are still popular despite the recent tragedy).

" Tenders and toys, the sky seems to be the limit," Kurtén said. "More is more."

Of course, if you can't fit all those toys in the yacht's storage space, you can just use another boat. Jeff Bezos' support yacht is a superyacht in itself, measuring 75 meters and costing tens of millions of dollars. (His main yacht, Koru , cost a reported $500 million.)

Support yachts are also faster, meaning the crew can get to a destination first and set up the Jet Skis, seapools, and the like, Dazert said. "By the time the owner arrives on the main yacht, everything's set up, and he can go and have fun."

Even tenders, the smaller vessel that brings guests from the ship to the shore, are getting glow-ups. The Nero, a 90-meter beauty available to charter for about $500,000 a week and modeled after J.P. Morgan's 1930s ship, has custom-built tenders to match the design. The most expensive ones often cost seven figures. Nero has three.

"It used to be a tender was a tender," Jeffrey Beneville, who handles yacht insurance at NFP, told BI. "Now they're called limousine tenders. Think of an incredibly luxurious gondola that's got a hard top so nobody's hair gets mussed when they're being dropped off at the Monaco Yacht Club ."

One thing that clearly hasn't changed in superyachting: showing off. If the boat next door at the marina has an indoor-outdoor cinema, it's natural to want one too. Ditto a wine cellar or helipad.

"It's a bit of a celebration of your success in life, of wealth," Vitelli, whose company is behind the Lana yacht Bill Gates chartered for a birthday party three years ago, said. "You push it a little more."

And that's a boon for yacht makers and brokers catering to the superrich.

"Our job is to make clients' dreams come true," Kurtén said.

Watch: Inside the world's biggest cruise ship that just set sail

motor yacht meaning

  • Main content


  1. IVA Motor Yacht Charter in Croatia

    motor yacht meaning

  2. Here Is What You Need To Know About The Columbus Classic 120m Motor

    motor yacht meaning

  3. Luxury motor yacht Galaxy

    motor yacht meaning

  4. Motor yacht Go

    motor yacht meaning

  5. 33m luxury motor yacht BEST OFF

    motor yacht meaning

  6. New 54m Luxury Motor Yacht Chuggaboom designed by Vripack

    motor yacht meaning


  1. Motor Yachts: A Definitive Guide

    While the definition of a motor yacht can be a bit fuzzy, all of these vessels come equipped with certain must-haves - like cozy cabins with all the amenities you need for extended trips, private sleeping quarters, and bathrooms with showers and toilets. And of course, no yacht would be complete without a kitchen (or "galley") and plenty ...

  2. Yacht

    Yacht. A 45-foot cruising yacht in 2010. The superyacht Azzam, the largest private yacht by length, as of 2018. [1] A yacht ( / jɒt /) is a sailing or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. [2] [3] [4] There is no standard definition, though the term generally applies to vessels with a cabin intended for overnight use.

  3. A Complete Guide to Motor Yachts & Power Cruisers: All You Need to Know!

    A motor yacht or power cruiser relies on its design to categorize the vessel, with elements like cockpits or flybridges and outdoor areas defining the boat. You have plenty of options for diesel and petrol motors, and different hull designs, from planning to full-displacement, determining the speed and handling of the vessel. Motor Yachts.

  4. Catamaran Vs. Motor Yacht (4 Powerful Differences Explained)

    It is because of the difference in the hull shape. The catamaran has ample space in areas like the salon, galley, and flybridge. Even its cabins are more comfortable, and you'd be able to sit upright. Also, unlike the motor yacht, several cabins in a catamaran are ensuite. Additionally, comfort is a priority on the catamaran.

  5. Yacht : meaning of the term and types of boats

    Yacht : modern meaning of the term and types of boats. The etymology of the term yacht comes from the Dutch word 'jacht', which was used in the past to define the fast sailing vessels used to hunt down pirates along the coasts of northern Europe. Today, the term 'yacht' is used to describe all recreational vessels, whether sailing or ...

  6. Yacht definitions: What is a yacht? And does it need to have sails?

    Yacht definitions: A brief history. Whilst boating for fun dates back to Ancient Egypt and possibly even further than that, the word yacht comes from the Dutch 'jachtschip', which means hunting ship. Jachts were originally a class of sailboat used in the 16th century to hunt down enemies of the Dutch Republic.

  7. Motor Yachts

    Motor yacht is a broad term that encompasses a number of styles, including sedan bridge, flybridge, aft cabin, pilothouse, and large express-style yachts. For the most part, though, bridge boats make up the majority of motor yachts. They feature plenty of deck space for guests, roomy and private overnight accommodations for family and friends ...

  8. Motor Yacht Definition

    Motor Yacht definition, meaning, and boating context in which used. ... That which constitutes a motor yacht is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. However, such terminology may have implications when it comes to certain regulations, insurance, and financing.

  9. MOTOR YACHT definition and meaning

    MOTOR YACHT definition | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples

  10. Motor Yachts Unveiled: Your Ultimate Guide to Nautical Luxury

    Expedition yachts, also known as explorer yachts, are built for the brave and the bold. They balance ruggedness with comfort, allowing you to navigate the farthest reaches of the oceans without forgoing luxury. These yachts typically range from 24 meters (78 feet) to over 100 meters (328 feet) in length.

  11. What Is a Yacht? How Is It Different from Other Boats?

    A yacht is a water vessel used for recreation, racing, or cruising, powered by sail or motor. A yacht can be a medium-sized water vessel or a small ship used for private and official purposes. However, there is really no standard definition because you can use this term for any watercraft with cabins, accommodations, and amenities for overnight ...

  12. What is a yacht? Yacht definition and history. Yacht meaning explained

    In Dutch jaght (pronounced /ˈjɒt/) means hunting or hunt. This Dutch word is the precursor to the modern term yacht. Although best known for their more recent (and fun!) exploits in cannabis tourism, the Dutch Navy were shockingly more famous and well-known for their sailing expertise.

  13. MOTOR YACHT definition in American English

    MOTOR YACHT definition: The motor in a machine , vehicle, or boat is the part that uses electricity or fuel to... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples in American English

  14. Different Types of Yachts

    a sailing yacht. A yacht is first defined either as a sailing yacht, motor yacht, or gulet yacht, and then as a sports or luxury yacht. Sailing Yacht: a yacht mainly propelled via wind and sails. Motor Yacht: a yacht propelled via one or more motors. Gulet Yacht: a hybrid yacht with both sails and motors. Open Yacht, Cruiser, Cabin Cruiser ...

  15. Yacht Definition & Meaning

    yacht: [noun] any of various recreational watercraft: such as. a sailboat used for racing. a large usually motor-driven craft used for pleasure cruising.

  16. What is a Yacht?

    Yachts can be sailboats or motorboats, center console boats, house boats or any other kind of vessel that meets the generally accepted size and feature expectations of a yacht. The definition I gave above includes a few key points: A yacht is a recreational boat. A yacht is 30 feet long or more. A yacht has at least one cabin.

  17. Motor Yacht Buying Guide 2023

    A motor yacht is a cruising vessel of 40 feet or longer with multiple exterior decks and large interior main spaces for entertainment and relaxation. There are many different types of yachts in this category, including flybridge, sportfish, explorer, center console, and performance vessels.

  18. Trawler Vs Yacht Guide 2023

    Trawler vs Motor Yacht. Trawlers and motor yachts differ in their design and purpose. While motor yachts are designed for speed and luxury, trawlers prioritize fuel efficiency and long-range cruising capabilities. Motor yachts often have sleek designs and are ideal for cruising at high speeds, whereas trawlers feature a more rugged appearance ...

  19. YACHT

    YACHT definition: 1. a boat with sails and sometimes an engine, used for either racing or travelling on for pleasure…. Learn more.

  20. 21 Common Yachting Terms Explained

    A boat with a single hull. May be a sailing yacht, motor yacht, luxury super- or megayacht. See Catamaran above for comparison. Motor yacht (or M/Y) A yacht which is powered with engines. Nautical mile. A measure of distance on the water. One nautical mile is equal to 1852 metres or 1-minute of latitude on a navigational chart. Preference sheet

  21. Yacht classification definitions

    Large yacht. A large yacht is a pleasure vessel with a load line length equal to or over 24m. Almost all the flag administrations have adopted safety codes dedicated to large yachts and this is, therefore, the only definition having a universal meaning in the international regulatory framework of yachts.. Commercial yacht

  22. YACHT

    YACHT meaning: 1. a boat with sails and sometimes an engine, used for either racing or travelling on for pleasure…. Learn more.

  23. Billionaires' Superyachts Are Bigger and More Luxurious Than Ever

    Support yachts are also faster, meaning the crew can get to a destination first and set up the Jet Skis, seapools, and the like, Dazert said. "By the time the owner arrives on the main yacht ...