Best Yacht Builders & Brands | Ultimate Guide + Financing
October 23, 2019
The wealthiest among us have a tender spot for megayachts. But you don’t have to be a billionaire to afford a yacht if you get the right financing. That’s why we provided this article on the world of the best yacht builders. It includes custom yacht builders, luxury yacht builders, and megayacht builders – indeed, the top 10 yacht manufacturers.
Then we’ll provide a geographic breakdown of the best yacht manufacturers, starting with American yacht builders. The yacht builders in the USA include Maine and Florida yacht builders. Next we’ll tell you how Assets America® can help with yacht financing. Finally we’ll conclude with a few frequently asked questions about custom yacht builders.
You may also be interested in our companion article How Much Does A Yacht Cost? (Ultimate Breakdown Guide) and our Complete Guide to Yacht Financing.
Top 10 Yacht Builders in the World
When you are going to spend a small or large fortune on a yacht, your choice of shipyard is critical. Generally, many yachts conform to a buyer’s spec, and many buyers choose a builder in their own country. But the top 10 yacht builders span the world, and we report them here.
Recently, Lurssen acquired the Blohm + Voss shipyard, creating one of the top German yacht builders. The combination gives the parent company, Imperial, the ability to build a new yacht and refit/repair existing ones. Clearly, Lurssen is a world-class builder of iconic superyachts and megayachts in Bremen, Germany.
Impressively, it has been producing yachts since 1875, allowing it to cultivate advance technologies and refined skills. Indeed, the company has built more than 13,000 ships, including yachts, racing boats, and specialized ships. Recently the company reported annual revenues just under $1 billion.
Lurssen acquired B+V in 2016. It brings world-class ship refitting capabilities to the Lurssen portfolio. Note that Lurssen has shipyards in several German cities, including:
The yachts are generally custom, ranging from 200 to 600 feet in length. The company is famous for producing celebrated yachts, include Arkely, Amadea, and Flying Fox. Geographically, Blohm + Voss (B+V) resides in Hamburg, and has a storied history building vessels from yachts to battleships.
How Assets America® Can Help
Assets America® can finance the purchase of a new or used yacht (or mega yacht or super yacht) with financing starting at a minimum of $10 million. We have an extensive network of funding sources including private lenders and banks that are happy to provide funding for a yacht loan. Depending on the transaction and purpose of the yacht, we can even fund deals up to 100% loan to value! Call us today at 206-622-3000 for a free consultation, or simply fill out the below form and expect and prompt response!
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Amels is the largest Dutch yacht builder for motor yachts up to 600 feet in length. As you might know, its two shipyards reside in Vissingen, Netherlands, where it celebrated its centennial in 2018. Impressively, the facilities include large, climate-controlled dry docks that can house yachts of 600 feet and more.
Specifically, Amels builds fully custom yachts as well as yachts adapted from its Limited Edition (LE) series. Initially, LE yachts start as a framework built upon a well-proven platform. Then buyers specify the yacht’s design and layout. Importantly, the company recently announced that a new LE yacht, the Amels 60, is available for delivery in 2022.
The company also offers complete refit services. Note that Amels is part of the Damen Shipyards, which it joined in 1991. Critically, the combination with Damen gives Amels access to extensive research and development resources.
Amels’ recent yacht deliveries include Here Comes the Sun, Sea & Us, Volpini 2, Eji, and Universe. Furthermore, its largest motor yacht is the 246-foot Montkage, built in 1995. Other important launches include the Ilona in 2004 and the 2005 Tigre d’Or.
Christensen Shipyards is a world leader in composite fiberglass yachts. Historically, Dave Christensen founded the business 40 years ago. Generally, Christensen builds custom and semi-custom yachts ranging in length from 110 to 164 feet.
Located in Vancouver, Washington (technically the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon), its advanced shipyard occupies 180,000 square feet including a large marina. Impressively, the company employs 120 boat builders with 1,000 person-years of experience building boats.
The company is currently constructing a yacht facility in Lake Tellico, Tennessee, which will be the biggest in America. Once completed, the new 55-acre shipyard will be able to build yachts up to 225 feet.
Notably, it will feature 13 large bays for manufacturing and assembly operations in 450,000 climate-controlled square feet of space. Naturally, the new facility will extend the company’s market presence to the East Coast.
Christensen uses state-of-the-art construction processes that utilize large-scale vacuum infusion and proprietary techniques. The result is a strength-to-weight ratio seven times greater than steel’s. That’s why you can travel the world in its transoceanic yachts.
The yachts it builds are not the biggest, but there are none better. Notably, its fleet comprises 35 superyachts, including the large motor yachts Silver Lining and Casino Royale. The latter was renamed after it was featured in the James Bond movie of the same name. You may be able to charter it for $72,000/week.
Feadship stands for the First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders. Specifically, it is a joint venture between Royal Van Lent and Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw. Impressively, each owns two royally chartered shipyards.
The two partners also share the De Voogt Naval Architects engineering and design center. The partners have an illustrious history dating back to 1849, and today they are one of the world’s great yacht-builders. Notably, the company’s facilities reside in the following Dutch cities:
Clients invariably work closely with Feadship to develop each yacht design. Usually, the design process takes four to five months, and includes specifying the layout, styling, size, and power. After refining all the details, the shipbuilder begins construction by laying the keel. It may take another two years to complete and christen the yacht. The company is famous for flawless craftsmanship and artistry.
As one of the best Dutch yacht builders, Feadship has built many iconic yachts, including Venus (built for Steve Jobs), Savannah, and Aquarius. To be sure, all of its yachts are pure custom builds. Specifically, every design starts with a blank page and develops as a unique yacht.
Oceanco is another one of the top Dutch yacht builders, located in Alblasserdam, Netherlands. An Omani billionaire owns Oceanco, which owned constructs yachts in the range of 260 feet to 360 feet.
Though the company started in 1987, it has built about 30 superyachts with up to five more under simultaneous construction. That works out to two new yachts per year. Oceanco completely rebuilt its facility in 2010, creating an advanced covered dry-dock.
Notably, the shipyard has direct access to the North Sea via an inland waterway system. The company delivers magnificent yachts, including the 280-foot Sunrays, the 290-foot Nirvana, the 300-foot Tranquility (renamed from Equanimity after a scandal), and the 360-foot Jubilee.
It’s latest vessel is the 295-foot Dreamboat, a collaboration between Terence Disdale Design and Espen Øino International. Dreamboat can accommodate 33 crew members and 23 guests. It also features a full carbon canopy mast house and mast, as well as a complex onboard computer operating system.
Fincantieri Yachts is one of the top Italian yacht builders. Since 2005, Fincantieri has built custom luxury yachts starting at 230 feet in length. With headquarters in Trieste, its parent company, the largest European shipbuilder, earned revenues of $6.02 billion 2018.
Importantly, its parent company builds ocean liners, giving Fincantieri Yachts unusual skill at handling complex projects. It builds fully custom megayachts as well as semi-custom yachts of various sizes. The company’s Yacht Design Center resides in Muggiano and employs more than 50 expert designers and engineers. Their approach emphasizes:
- Engineering Techniques: Creates quiet and vibration-free yachts for exceptional onboard comfort.
- Design: Interior and exterior designers closely collaborate to fulfill the buyer’s requirements while satisfying material-certification and fire-safety regulations.
- Green Solutions: Applying comprehensive technical expertise is a key factor and innovative theme.
Buyers can adapt semi-custom designs to meet their expectations for a yacht’s profile, layout, and interior styling. The shipyard is exceptional for allowing the buyer’s team to work side-by-side for the entire process.
In 2009, Fincantieri expanded into North America with shipyard purchases in Wisconsin and Ohio. It currently has projects for yachts ranging in length from 230 feet to 525 feet. Two yachts recently launched are the 440-foot Serene and the 460-foot Ocean Victory.
Heesen, one of the Dutch yacht manufacturers, specializes in high-quality, sporty, custom superyachts with singular styling. Oss, Netherlands is the site of Heesen’s 4.4 acre-shipyard, with five dry-docks and nine construction sheds.
In 2016, it added a new 279-foot dry-dock and 295-foot construction hall. The maximum size yacht possible is now 272 feet in length. Heesen has built 170 yachts since its founding in 1978.
Customers celebrate Heesen for innovative engineering and design creating fast-displacement motoryacht hulls and metal yachts. Fast-displacement hull form is a design concept that reduces resistance by 15% to 20% while increasing onboard comfort. Originally specializing all-aluminum designs, it expanded production in 1992 to encompass steel-hulled yachts.
The Galactica Star and Galactica Supernova are examples of its revolutionary designs. Heesen’s fleet includes the speed-record-breaking Octopussy and its sister design, Mirage, with triple waterjet propulsion.
Heesen also builds large sport-fishing yachts. In 2017, Heesen delivered the 164-foot Home, the first hybrid-powered fast-displacement superyacht. Power flows from two electric shaft motors and two conventional engines for fuel-efficiency. Furthermore, Heesen’s Alive implements a Hull Vane system, an underwater, stern-mounted fixed foil that improves fuel efficiency and seakeeping. In 2019, Heesen delivered two 164-foot yachts, Aster and Boreas.
Westport Yachts designs, engineers, and hand-builds yachts in Vancouver, Washington. It is the largest North American yacht builder, having launched more than 200 vessels since 1964.
Westport prides itself on delivering its yachts on time and on budget. Early on, it adopted advanced composite technology and modular construction techniques to create strong, fast yachts. Indeed, construction utilizes infusion, resin impregnation, and advance coring materials, avoiding corrosion-vulnerable and high-maintenance metals.
Largely, Westport’s popularity comes from raised pilothouse and tri-deck models. Yacht lengths extend from 112 to 164 feet and meet standards for draft, range, speed, and seakeeping abilities. Processes such as computer-driven milling guarantee every part will have a perfect finish. These processes also support more features per part, increasing structural integrity and reducing the number of mechanical fastenings.
The largest model is the W164, which sleeps 12 guests in six en-suite staterooms plus a crew of 12. This tri-deck motoryacht has a cruise speed of 20 knots and a maximum speed of 24 knots. Even more importantly, the fully equipped W164 boasts unsurpassed luxury, predictable performance, and on-time delivery.
Sunseeker is the pride of the British yachtbuilding trade. It is world-famous for its performance yachts and superyachts from 50 to 155 feet long. Sunseeker customizable models are sporty and fast, as epitomized by the Predator series.
Founded in 1960, it is a subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate residing in Poole, England. Sunseeker’s facilities include seven shipyards and production plants, plus another deep-water shipyard for larger vessels. In addition, it has expanded with a new Isle of Portland site and a new factory in Poole.
Sunseeker yachts are prominent supporting stars in four James Bond movies. Today, the company employs 2,500 expert designers, engineers, and master craftspersons building 150 yachts a year for 74 countries.
The company’s newest superyacht is the Sunseeker 161, a tri-deck design with outstanding space and volume. The interior is nothing less than opulent, sleeping 10 guests in five cabins. The 161 will launch in 2021.
Nobiskrug is one of the top German yacht builders. It’s a 114-year-old German shipbuilder that began manufacturing yachts in 2000 with the 301-foot Tatoosh. It has since created an enviable portfolio of custom superyachts that are strong on innovation.
The Nobiskrug shipyard resides in Rendsburg, Germany on the Eider River and employs 400 skilled professionals. All work proceeds in two high-tech facilities.
Firstly, the Rendsburg facility extends over 1.9 million square feet, including more than 470,000 square feet of covered sheds. The facility also includes two drydocks, two slipways, and two quays. Secondly, the Kiel-Gaarden shipyard occupies 2.7 million square feet and includes 538,000 square feet of covered sheds. Also housed there are two dry-docks, two piers and a yard harbor.
Nobiskrug’s latest superyacht is the 262-foot Artefact, featuring solar panels, a diesel-electric Azipod propulsion system and wastewater recycling. In addition, Artefact incorporates an 8,000-square-foot, floor-to-ceiling central section with 60 tons of curved glasswork.
The shipbuilder’s largest vessel is the 469-foot Sailing Yacht A weighing in at 12,600 gross tons. Impressively, the three-mast vessel has an underwater observation pod, advanced navigations systems, and a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system. Sailing Yacht A boasts a steel hull and superstructure plus composite fashion plates.
Best Megayacht Builders
Loosely, a megayacht is a luxury yacht greater than 200 feet long holding more than a dozen guests. These are the biggest of the big yachts, produced for the billionaire community. The world harbors about 10,000 megayachts, with about 150 new deliveries per year. Here are the best three megayacht builders who specialize in megayachts:
1. Lurssen and Blohm + Voss (Germany)
2. Amels Holland B.V. (Netherlands)
3. Feadship (Netherlands)
We describe all three companies above.
Yacht Builders by Country
Here is a rundown of yacht manufacturers by country.
Yacht Builders USA
- Christensen Shipyards (Washington): See above.
- Westport Yachts (Washington): See above.
- Derecktor (New York): Derecktor is a leading builder of custom explorer and motor yachts. Its yachts feature tall forward-positioned superstructures and abundant space aft-deck.
- Hatteras (North Carolina): Builder of beautiful, high-speed motor yachts, especially sportfish. Sleek, streamlined exterior and sporty designs are characteristic.
- Trinity (Mississippi): Famous for large luxury yachts up to 400-feet long. Designs feature sleek superstructures with abundant glass, opulent staterooms, and spacious salons.
- Broward Marine (Florida, Michigan): Delivers custom yachts exceeding 100 feet in length. Features vessels with tri-diesel power, raised pilothouses, high performance, country kitchens, and open deck plans.
- Hargrave (Florida): Maker of inspiring yachts since the 1950s. Specializes in 80- to 150-foot custom yachts with raised pilothouses and tri-deck designs.
- Horizon (Florida): Produces distinctive, stately motor yachts featuring classic details, large windows, tri-deck designs, raised pilothouses, and power catamarans.
- Burger (Wisconsin): Historic shipbuilder founded in 1863 producing custom tri-deck motor yachts up to 214 feet long. Yachts feature wrap-around decks and unique outside lounge areas.
- Delta Marine (Washington): Builder of sleek motor yachts with flowing, clean lines in raised-pilothouse and tri-deck designs.
Maine Yacht Builders
Luxurious yacht builders in Maine include:
- Artisan Boatworks
- Back Cove Yachts
- Brooklyn Boat Yard
- Calvin Beal Boats
- Front Street Shipyard
- Hinckley Yachts
- Hodgon Yachts
- Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding
- Morris Yachts
- Sabre Yachts
- SW Boatworks
- Wilbur Yachts
Florida Yacht Builders
Luxurious yacht builders in Florida include:
- American Custom Yachts
- Bertram Yachts
- Catalina Yachts
- Derecktor Shipyards
- G Marine
- Hargrave Custom Yachts
- Horizon Yacht USA
- Huckins Yachts
- Island Packet and Seaward Yachts
- Merritt Island Boat Works
- Stamas Yacht
- Westport Yachts
Netherlands Yacht Builders
- Hartman Marine
- Lurssen and Blohm + Voss
- Royal Huisman
- Van der Walk
Video: Yacht Builders of the Netherlands – Heesen, Moonen, Mulder, Hakvoort
Italian Yacht Builders
These are the best yacht builders in Italy:
- Perini Navi
Taiwan Yacht Builders
These are the top Taiwan yacht builders:
- Ocean Alexander
- Outer Reef
Australian Yacht Builders
These are the top Australian Yacht Builders:
Yacht Builders FAQs
How much do yacht builders make?
In 2019, the average annual salary of a boat builder is $55,645, and average total compensation of $57,928. Typically, salaries range between $45,760 and $67,807. Total compensation ranges between $46,056 and $68,316.
How many boats do yacht builders make per year?
It depends on the size. It can take two years or longer to build a large yacht. Some luxury yacht builders deliver only a few vessels per year, but the bigger ones can launch five or more. The total annual output of superyachts is about 150.
Is a luxury yacht a good investment?
Yacht ownership is more a lifestyle choice than a financial investment. Nonetheless, finance is a consideration. Know that yachts do not necessarily depreciate the way cars do. However, yachts have high maintenance costs.
- Check out Superyacht Times for news about the best yacht builders and constructions.
- Fraser Yachts also has news about new yacht constructions across the world.
- Wikipedia is the best place to find an exhaustive list of yacht builders and manufacturers globally.