A superyacht is the most extraordinary, customizable, complex asset an individual can purchase.

These superyachts, their affluent owners and the shipyards that build them add significant value – to both local communities and the wider world. Such extraordinarily complex vessels capture a heritage of boatbuilding craftsmanship that goes way back, while also showcasing ways in which the latest innovative technologies can be used in a marine setting today and tomorrow.

While the superyacht industry can sometimes be perceived as serving an elite few, there is much more to this sector than meets the eye. Below are just a few examples of the many ways in which the superyacht community plays its part in the world.

What is a superyacht?

While the term ‘superyacht’ was first coined at the start of the 20th century, the first vessels built for leisure purposes date back to the 1600s and yachting has been a part of international maritime heritage ever since. Nowadays, ‘superyacht’ refers to motor and sailing vessels used for leisure purposes which vary between 24 and (currently) 180 metres. SYBAss focuses on the larger end of the market: yachts greater than 40 metres in length – a fleet of more than 18002.

Economic benefit

Superyachts generate significant economic benefit. Not just during construction, but also after a yacht is launched, when there is an enormous trickle-down effect that starts a major spin-off to a wide range of businesses that provide products, services, support and expert personnel. A global economic impact study by SYBAss used conservative calculations and determined that the industry had an economic impact of €11.9 billion per year – not including onshore spending.

Onshore spending

The economic impact of onshore spending is significant. Superyachts, just like cruise ships, inject large amounts of money into the destinations and local communities they visit. This does not only include onshore spending by their ultra-high net worth guests and crew, but also provisioning (e.g., food) and docking fees. Superyachts also require regular maintenance to stay in perfect condition. When visiting far-flung destinations, this is often carried out while docked – to the benefit of the local community.


Thousands of highly skilled men and women are employed at superyacht yards around the world, many of them from families that have worked there for generations. The same applies to the many specialised marine equipment supply companies that depend on the superyacht industry for their existence. Despite their highly innovative and efficient production methods, they keep a wide range of traditional crafts and skills alive that would otherwise be consigned to the history books. In fact, over 250,000 people work in the superyacht industry.1

Wealth redistribution

When a superyacht is built there is a substantial redistribution of wealth from the owner to the thousands of people involved with the building, servicing and life of the yacht – arguably more so than with other luxury products. This is due to the number of jobs supported by a yacht – from the naval architects and designers to the crew and engineers. Put simply, building, buying and operating superyachts supports jobs.

1 The Superyacht Group    2 SuperYacht Times


Sustainability has become a hot topic in the yachting world. Given the extraordinary resources and influence of owners, along with the sheer number of skilled designers, engineers, architects and builders working in the industry, it’s not surprising that many superyachts have implemented sustainable solutions to reduce their environmental footprint.

The industry-at-large is following suit. Leaders from the industry have banded together to establish Water Revolution Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to drive sustainability even further within the industry through collaboration and innovation. In addition, many superyacht builders provide financial support to Blue Marine Foundation, an NGO on a mission to put 30% of the world’s oceans under protection by 2030. Superyacht crew have united under a commitment to reduce single-use plastics. Brokerage firms have partnered with conservationists to educate their staff to combat ocean pollution. Floating rubbish bins are being installed in marinas and yacht clubs worldwide to help clear plastic debris.

And it’s worth noting that compared with other marine vessels, superyachts have a very different operational profile, averaging only around 300 hours per year – and rarely at maximum speed. Nevertheless, the superyacht industry continues to minimise its impact on the environment and the world’s oceans – after all, it is these very oceans that inspire people to go sailing in the first place.