Owning a yacht is not only one of the world’s greatest luxuries, but it’s also an extravagant expense.  As manufacturers push the envelope on what the yacht lifestyle can offer, these vessels are becoming increasingly more costly. Yachts come fixed with a high initial capital, as well as long-term maintenance and insurance fees to consider. You’re looking to purchase a yacht, you may want to ask yourself what size you can afford. 


What Are The Different Yacht Sizes?

Before anything else, you must consider the size of the yacht you aspire to purchase. Here is a breakdown of different yacht sizes, including the typical features, crew capacity (because you will need that), and the price tag:


  • Small Yachts: Also known as mini yachts or pocket yachts, these vessels run between 20-30 feet in length. They are designed for day cruising, fishing, and water sports. These yachts usually have a single cabin, a small kitchenette, and a bathroom. They are suitable for a couple or a small family and can accommodate up to 4 people. The cost of a small yacht can range from $10,000 to $100,000.
  • Medium Yachts: Medium yachts are typically between 30 to 50 feet in length. These yachts are suitable for weekend cruises, longer fishing trips, or day trips with a larger group of people. Medium yachts usually have two to three cabins, a kitchen, and one or two bathrooms. They can accommodate up to 8 people and require a crew of 1 to 3 people. The cost of a medium yacht can range from $100,000 to $1 million.
  • Large or Super Yachts: Large yachts are typically between 50 to 100 feet in length. They are designed for luxury cruising, entertaining guests, and extended vacations. These yachts usually have four to six cabins, a spacious kitchen, several bathrooms, and luxurious amenities like a hot tub, a bar, and a cinema room. They can accommodate up to 12 people and require a crew of 3 to 6 people. The cost of a large yacht can range from $1 million to $10 million.
  • Mega Yachts: These enormous vessels are typically over 100 feet in length. They are the epitome of luxury and are often owned by billionaires, celebrities, and royalty. These yachts usually have multiple decks, swimming pools, a gym, a spa, and a helipad. They can accommodate up to 20 people and require a crew of 10 to 30 people. The cost of a mega yacht can range from $10 million to $500 million or more.


Calculating How Much Boat You Can Afford

Now that you understand how much various yachts cost, it is time to find out exactly how much boat you can afford. To do that, you must first figure out your debt to income (DTI) ratio. From there, you can then estimate how much you would need for a down payment on the yacht, and how much you would need for a boat loan.


The first step to calculating your DTI ratio is to add up your monthly debt expenses, including your mortgage or rent, car loan payments, insurance payments, credit card debts, alimony, and so on. This should only be your debts, not regular living expenses, like groceries or utilities.


Once you’ve quantified your monthly debts, divide that number by your calculated gross monthly income. Generally, gross monthly income consists of your retirement payments, salary, rental income, etc.


Finally, take that number and change it into a percentage. That will be your debt-to-income ratio.


To save time, you can also use the Boater Pal Calculator to determine how much you should spend on a boat.


Considering Your DTI Ratio

Now, let’s say you have a DTI ratio of 30.5% before adding in a boat loan payment. A good DTI ratio is 35% or lower, and would put you in good standing to receive a boat loan. Once the boat payments are added, you will still be within a fairly acceptable range. If you have a DTI ratio between 36-49%, your lender may suggest that you work on improving your DTI ratio before trying for a more expensive vessel. Any DTI ratio that’s 50% and higher is considered poor, and your chances of securing a boat loan may be minimal.

Consider this: you add a boat loan payment of $5,000-$10,000 a month (assuming you purchase a yacht that is over $1 million). If your DTI ratio were at 30.5% before that payment, you may be bumped into the 50-60% range. In other words, making those payments may be difficult for you.


How Much is the Down Payment for a Yacht?

This depends on factors like your loan terms, loan amount, credit score, DTI ratio, and the age of the boat. After your DTI ratio, what you can afford depends on the down payment. The average down payment for any boat is typically between 10-30%. This depends on factors like your loan terms, loan amount, credit score, DTI, and the age of the boat. If you are a high-risk lender, you may have to pay a higher down payment.


Hypothetically, if were you to purchase a $2 million yacht, you would pay anywhere between $20,000 and $60,000 for a down payment.

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Yacht?

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Yacht?

Second to the size of yacht you can afford is the maintenance and operational costs. After the initial purchase, you can expect to pay 20% or more of the yacht’s purchase price to maintain it. In other words, if your yacht is worth $10 million, it will cost you around $2 million a year to keep it running. These running costs include insurance (typically 1-5% of the vessel’s value), fuel, dockage fees, repairs, and crew salaries.


For example, the 590-foot superyacht Azzam belonging to the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan costs about $60 million annually to run.


Your yacht will also need routine maintenance to stay in good condition. The cost of maintenance and repairs will depend on the age of the yacht, the level of use, and the specific maintenance and repairs needed. The annual cost of maintenance and repairs can range from 5% to 15% of the yacht’s value.


The Crew

Perhaps the greatest benefit to owning a yacht is having a personal crew tend to the boat while you enjoy your life on board. Deckhands, engineers, chefs, stewards, and the captain all need to be paid. For a 100-to-170-foot yacht, it is estimated that a captain with more than 5 year’s experience earns a salary between $5,500-$16,000 a month, according to Luxury Yacht Group’s Salary Guidelines.



Though prices vary from port to port, mooring your yacht at world-class marinas can cost you around $4,000 per night or more. Prime-time events that attract yacht owners from around the globe, such as the Monaco Grand Prix, often cost around $85,000 for five nights.


Furthermore, if you plan on leaving your yacht in the water throughout the year, you must consider port and winterization fees. These fees depend greatly on the region, the size of the port, the size of your yacht, and so on. As such, it may be a couple hundred a month or several thousand.



Fuel costs are another significant ongoing expense for yacht owners. The cost of fuel will depend on the yacht’s size and the distance traveled. The fuel consumption rate can range from 100 gallons per hour for smaller yachts to 500 gallons per hour for larger yachts.


Finance Your Dream Yacht Today

Many people dream of owning a yacht, but it is important to first ask yourself, “What size yacht can I afford?” Consider your budget, debt-to-income ratio, and the ongoing costs of yacht ownership when making your decision. It’s crucial to carefully consider each of these factors before determining which size yacht you can comfortably afford.


When financing a yacht, you want to work with a flexible lender who enjoys boating just as much as you. At Atlantic Horizon Capital, we believe in exceptional services and outstanding results. With our customizable loans and competitive rates, our team can help you finance the boat of your dreams. Start filling out your boat loan application today or get in touch by calling 609-365-1540.

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