Pictures of massive yachts owned by billionaires, oligarchs and royalty are often splashed across the pages of Yachting Magazine and other publications celebrating the lifestyles of the super-rich, but millionaires are not getting left out. A recent Wall Street Journal story shares that people who spend several million or more on a vacation home are now looking to yachts as an alternative.
Not surprisingly, it appeals to the health and security conscious. The pandemic has put a damper on travel by plane for some, plus a yacht affords the owners a certain amount of privacy and control over who they come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. It also offers the flexibility of dropping anchor in different places rather than only Palm Beach or Martha’s Vineyard.
A three-year trend
According to yachting trade publishing company Boat International, there have been three years of consistent growth in Yacht sales before 2022, including a 25% jump at the end of 2020. This growth predates the pandemic, but it hasn’t been to buy or build a boat since the onset of COVID due to increased demand and other issues.
Supply-chain issues for builders
Those interesting in buying a boat are having trouble due to supply-chain issues brought on by COVID and the war in Ukraine. “The clients without yachts are desperately searching for a slot or a production boat already in build, which has a shorter lead time,” said the owner of one boat design company. While he’s constantly in communication with shipyards about their capacity, many new projects now won’t be completed until 2026 or 2027.
The pluses and minuses of ownership
Working from home adjustments due to the pandemic also benefitted. Yacht owners could live on their boat for weeks at a time. They could conduct business, and kids at school could go to school remotely from the ship.
These benefits are tempered because current owners are also finding it hard to get parts to keep their yacht running, and the accessories make things comfortable for more extended stays on the water. More recently, fuel prices have shot up. For many, however, these inconveniences are minor compared to the benefits of owning a luxury home on the water.