How are superyacht owners embracing sustainability?

21 January 2020

Sustainability is a defining trend that will be central to driving change in the industry in the coming years.

Increasingly individuals and families are thinking about making sustainability more central to their wealth. It’s something we see in relation to their investment strategies, corporate governance and family values. Increasingly, the younger generations are also playing a part in the face of the yachting industry. With the growing focus on sustainability overall, yacht owners – especially the young – want to see their superyacht complement the trend.

Sailing superyachts are one example of more eco-friendly sailing, and they have seen a surge in popularity and interest in past years. Driven in part by design developments and the distinctive looks masts can bring, the shift towards sailing has been driven by a desire from some owners to embrace more sustainable and eco-friendly enjoyment of the ocean, travel and vacationing. Sailing yachts are sleek, comfortable and modern as any other superyacht. While superyachts aren’t waning in popularity, owners are spending more time considering their impact and the different ways that they could run a more efficient and eco-friendly boat while still enjoying all the perks of the yachting lifestyle.

When it comes to more sustainable yachting, designers and owners are exploring a multitude of new options. If the yacht is likely to spend much of its time in sunny climes, is solar energy an option? Lithium batteries, hybrid engines, harnessing wind power and lowering energy requirements are also options which are increasingly incorporated into superyachts.

Explorer yachts (which can be used for travel to far corners of the world) are also increasingly popular. Explorer yachts can bridge between typical ‘vacation’ style use of the boat and luxurious expedition and voyaging. For the wealthy owner who has everything, explorer yachts can bring new adventures: these boats can be specially built and tailored to expedition-style cruising. They have long ranges and could even be ice-classed, but still maintain passenger license classification, so more unusual trips are a real possibility.

While the face of yachting is changing and the industry may well become more sustainably minded, in many respects, some things remain the same, and it’s a sentiment that Andrew agrees with. Yacht ownership – whatever type of yacht is owned – can be complex. Good compliance, correct set-up of ownership entities, registration and ongoing support are key to ensuring that yacht ownership isn’t burdensome. Having the right partners on hand who can support an owner with their structuring needs is key.

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