Mega Yacht Buying Guide 2023

KISMET 2014 312' 3" LURSSEN Mega Yacht Sint Maarten €169,000,000 EUR

If you’re new to the luxury yacht world, there are several different types of yachts you will come across. There are sailing yachts, schooners, catamarans, and mega yachts, just to name a few. Today, we will explore what defines a mega yacht.

Image Source: KISMET 2014 312′ 3″ LURSSEN Motor Yacht

Buy a Mega Yacht FAQ

What is a Mega Yacht?

A mega yacht, or a superyacht, is a large, luxury vessel with private crew, usually ranging from 24m (79ft) to more than 180m (590ft). These types of yachts usually include a plethora of water toys, can travel long distances, and are often chartered out to guests.

Is there a difference between a mega yacht and a super yacht? 

No, these terms are used interchangeably within the industry to describe luxury yachts greater than 24m. A mega yacht or superyacht will have a full-service crew, including a personal chef, to cater to the needs of everyone onboard.

How much are mega yachts?

They range in prices based on various factors:  

  1. Year of the vessel:
    • How old is it?
    • When did it last have a refit?
    • How well has it been maintained?  
  1. Yacht size: Larger yachts will obviously cost considerably more than smaller vessels. How many guests fit onboard will also be a factor. 
  1. Yacht builder: Who the yacht builder is that completed your mega yacht will have a lot to do with the price. Many names carry high prestige in the yacht world and the price will be reflected in that (like a Ferrari vs. a Toyota for example). 
  1. Running costs: While not included in the upfront price, it’s important to keep in mind that you will have running costs for the yacht. These include fuel, crew wages, management fees, as well as marketing and broker fees if you plan to charter.

If you’d like to view the mega yachts currently for sale on the YACTO database, please click here

How long does it take to build a mega yacht?

CHAKRA 1998 282' 2" DEVONPORT YACHTS Mega Yacht
CHAKRA 1998 282′ 2″ DEVONPORT YACHTS Motor Yacht

On average, it takes roughly three to four years to build a fully custom mega yacht. However, you can choose a variety of options when selecting a mega yacht. Full-custom takes the longest, with semi-custom-built boats taking roughly a quarter to half that time. 

For a custom-built mega yacht, this timeline includes the various phases of the project before it evolves into the yacht that is delivered to you:  

  1. Yacht design: Every dream starts with a vision and building a mega yacht is no different. You’ll work with an experienced team to discuss what you’d like your dream yacht to look like and work with your designer to help it come to life. 
  1. Engineering: Upon completing the design, engineers will work with your naval architect and surveyors to ensure everything meets the safety requirements. 
  1. Construction: Now we can begin the building process! The hull and superstructure are laid first and this alone can take months of work by hundreds of employees. 
  1. Yacht Interiors: Now we make the yacht your own. This phase isn’t just the furniture and soft coverings, but the insulation, bulkheads, railings, painting, refrigeration, and everything else that needs to be installed. 
  1. Sea trials: It’s time to make sure the yacht meets all safety standards by passing a sea trial. This is when your team will make sure everything works as it should before handing it over to you, the new owner. 
  1. Delivery: Congratulations! Your new mega yacht is now ready to be enjoyed!

How much fuel does a yacht use? 

Mega yachts use a lot of fuel, but just how much will depend on a few things. How big is the yacht? How fuel efficient are the engines? How far is the mega yacht traveling between destinations? Is the yacht using a lot of water toys that also take up fuel?  

Fuel is one of the biggest running costs to consider when owning a mega yacht. As an example, a 70m mega yacht will use around 500 liters of fuel an hour.

SOARING 2020 223' 10" ABEKING & RASMUSSEN Mega Yacht
SOARING 2020 223′ 10″ ABEKING & RASMUSSEN Motor Yacht

Can mega yachts cross the Atlantic? 

Absolutely! Many mega yachts will cross back and forth between the Mediterranean summer season and the Caribbean winter season. The Atlantic Ocean crossing is roughly 3,000 nautical miles and will take anywhere from 10 days to three weeks to complete. You’ll want to make sure your mega yacht is fully stocked on food and fuel and has had a thorough check of all systems to ensure she is sea-worthy for such a crossing.

How far can mega yachts travel? 

The distance a mega yacht can travel will depend on a few factors and is usually defined by the “range” it can go. The size of the vessel and the yacht’s fuel tank will be the biggest indicator of how far it can travel on one tank. However, the weather conditions and type of cruising will also be a factor. As mega yachts get more and more efficient, they will be able to go further for longer. Most mega yachts will have a range of 1,000 – 3,000 nautical miles before needing to refuel.

How fast can a mega yacht go? 

Mega yachts will usually have two different speeds listed when you look at their specifications. A maximum speed shows the fastest speed the yacht is capable of, while the cruising speed is what you’ll usually be looking at. The world’s fastest mega yacht is 41.5m (136ft) Foners, that can reach a top speed of 70 knots and has held this position since 2000!

How much does it cost to maintain a mega yacht?

As a general guideline, mega yachts will cost roughly 10-20% of the original price of the yacht to maintain annually. These running costs include fuel, insurance, maintenance and yacht crew wages.

How to charter a mega or super yacht? 

With nearly 3,000 mega yachts available around the world to charter, you will certainly have a lot of choice when it comes to chartering one yourself. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a distinct increase in yacht charter inquiries thanks to the privacy and exceptional service they provide. 

As with most things related to mega yachts, your best point of entry is to engage with a reputable broker. They will be able to advise you on the best mega yachts available to charter based on your needs and requirements. They usually have great insight into the yacht crew, locations they cruise and charter history. Chartering a mega yacht is unlike any vacation you’ve taken before, so you want to ensure you have the best advisor working with you.

How many mega yachts exist? 

The global fleet of mega yachts is always changing and evolving. Most searches will tell you there are roughly 10,000 mega yachts afloat today, although that number is likely closer to 9,000 when speaking specifically of mega yachts (those over 24m).

Who owns the biggest mega yacht? 

The world’s largest mega yacht is Azzam, which measures in at a whopping 180m (592ft) and can accommodate 36 guests and 80 yacht crew members. She was previously owned by the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan before his death in May 2022 and remains with his family today.

Why are yachts limited to 12 guests? 

Regardless of the size of the mega yacht, there is a maximum allowance of 12 charter guests plus crew due to the SOLAS Convention (standing for Safety of Life at Sea) as regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Mega yachts that wish to carry more than 12 guests are then classified as a commercial vessel, and will need to be classed under SOLAS, which is licensed for up to 36 guests. The process to qualify as a commercial yacht is very stringent, expensive and can affect the overall design (I.e. certain safety features must be implemented), which is why most of the mega yachts on the water are limited to 12 guests.

Before you start your search for a mega yacht, it’s always a good idea to work with a reputable broker. If you’re new to the yachting industry, have a look at YATCO’s extensive database to peruse the current mega yachts for sale. To stay up to date with the latest mega yacht news, please sign up to the YATCO newsletter.

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