Owning a yacht is a dream for many. However, when it comes to the super-wealthy, yachts tend to increase greatly in size from fairly modest vessels to huge and luxurious superyachts with hefty price tags and running costs.
The price of filling a superyacht with fuel depends on various factors, such as the vessel’s size and fuel tank capacity. An average 70-meter superyacht utilizing 500 liters of fuel an hour may have fuel costs around $400,000 a year, though these costs will increase significantly for larger vessels.
Fuel is a key factor that can’t be overlooked when it comes to the operating costs of a superyacht, though it is certainly not the only cost associated with running these impressive luxury vessels.
Average fuel costs to fill a superyacht
The amount of fuel required to fill a superyacht will vary depending on the specific yacht. Obviously, the larger a yacht is, in general the more fuel it will require, though onboard services will also make use of fuel so the degree of luxury and services on a superyacht will affect fuel usage too.
As a working figure, the average 70-meter yacht will use around 500 liters of fuel an hour and this is just to keep the engines running without actually moving the boat. If such a vessel were to achieve cruising speeds of around 18 knots, the fuel cost per hour would be roughly around $2500.
This would equate to around $31,000 for a 12-hour cruising period (such as overnight cruising). However, fuel costs would be much greater for larger vessels. Annual fuel costs for a 71-meter yacht using 500 liters an hour could come in at around $400,000.
The longest superyacht in the world is the Azzam, which was constructed by the German shipbuilding company Lürssen. The Azzam has an overall length of 180.65 meters and a fuel tank capacity of 1 million liters.
This amount of fuel is equivalent to filling up almost six Boeing 747 airplanes and will contribute significantly to the running costs of this majestic vessel.
Other running costs to consider
Fuel is one of the primary costs that potential superyacht owners may think about since the vessel won’t run without it and it regularly needs to be replaced. However, many other costs also need to be considered which are unavoidable when operating a superyacht.
A large part of monthly costs is crew salaries, both for the crew on the vessel as well as the onshore crew. While salaries will vary from one position to the next, a captain’s salary alone can range from $70,000 to $180,000 a year depending on the size of the vessel, not to mention the additional costs associated with the crew such as food and living expenses.
Regular general maintenance will also be required, as well as administrative expenses such as management and insurance costs that need to be considered as well. Further costs include berthing costs, with different ports charging different amounts per night depending on their popularity and the vessel’s size, as well as expenses related to security.
These costs will obviously vary depending on factors such as how large the superyacht is and how many crew members it has. While one superyacht may utilize 10 crew members, another may utilize 50 crew members.
In general superyacht owners should budget to pay around 10% of the vessel’s purchase price in annual running costs each year. For a superyacht such as the Azzam which cost around $600 million, that equates to around $60 million a year in operating and maintenance costs to keep the superyacht in tip-top condition.
A luxury price tag for a luxury pleasure
There is no denying that superyachts are luxurious purchases but their exceptionally high purchase costs and operating expenses limit them to the domain of ultra-high net worth individuals. However, many owners won’t spend more than a few weeks in total onboard their vessel each year.
With such high operating costs, it makes sense that a lot of superyachts can be chartered, with prices of around $150,000 a week fairly common, though some command much more than that, even over $1.3 million a week. Chartering a superyacht allows much of its operating costs to be covered, while still allowing the owner to enjoy their vessel at various periods throughout the year.