Currently, the industry is home to 165 builders located in 28 different countries, each with at least one yacht over 24 meters in the process of construction. Each year, around 400 yachts of this size are delivered to their owners. These yachts are built by shipyards that have carved out a niche for themselves by specializing in certain yacht categories or product segments, distinguishing them from other commercial shipyards.
Motor yachts and sailing yachts are the two primary types of yachts, each with its own unique style, size, hull shape, and material. Superyacht builders cater to a wide range of customer preferences, offering customization levels that span from fully custom to semi-custom and even production series.
Northern European countries, particularly the Netherlands and Germany, are renowned for their expertise in constructing fully custom and semi-custom motor and sailing yachts. They are industry leaders in the production of yachts exceeding 50 meters, offering both large volume and high value.
In Germany, esteemed builders such as Lürssen, Abeking & Rasmussen, and Nobiskrug are recognized for their full-custom yacht projects. In contrast, Dutch builders, including Amels/Damen Yachting, Heesen, and Moonen, specialize in crafting high-end semi-custom yachts based on model platforms.
When it comes to full-custom motor yachts, Feadship, Oceanco, and Royal Hakvoort are the go-to specialists. For made-to-measure sailing yachts, Royal Huisman leads the way. It’s noteworthy that both custom and semi-custom yachts constructed in Northern Europe tend to maintain a significantly higher resale value in the brokerage market, reflecting their superior quality and craftsmanship.
In Northern Europe, production series yards such as Sunseeker, Princess Yachts, and Pearl Yachts are known for offering motor yachts that range from 17 meters to 40 meters. These yards are direct competitors with yacht builders located in Southern Europe.
In the Mediterranean region, Italy and Turkey stand out as the primary producers of semi-custom and production series yachts that are up to 50 meters in length. Italian-built yachts, in particular, are often made from Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and are typically part of a branded series for yards. Some notable examples of these include Sanlorenzo, Custom Line, Ferretti, Benetti, Arcadia Yacht, Maiora, Falcon Yachts, and Amer Yachts.
In the realm of speed, Italian yacht builders such as AB Yachts, Tecnomar, Azimut, Mangusta, Leopard Yachts, Riva, and Pershing are renowned for their exceptional planing and open vessels. However, the past decade has seen a surge of new entrants in the yacht building market, offering larger yachts and a broader range of customization options. These new builders are giving stiff competition to established heritage builders like Baglietto, Codecasa, and ISA Yachts.
Perini Navi continues to hold its position as one of the most exclusive sailing yacht builders, known for its blend of performance and style. However, when it comes to innovative design solutions, Columbus Yachts, Tankoa, Cantiere delle Marche, and the revived Admiral brand have made significant strides and are rising through the ranks.
Turkey, with its rich maritime heritage, has traditionally been known for the construction of wooden gulets. However, in recent years, Turkish shipyards have pivoted towards building motor and sailing yachts using modern materials such as Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and steel. This shift has led to the emergence of several renowned yacht builders in Turkey, including Turquoise Yachts, Bilgin Yachts, Alia Yachts, Mengi Yay, Numarine, AvA Yachts, and Bering Yachts.
Further to the East, the Emirati shipyard Gulf Craft has been making waves in the industry. Thanks to its extensive range of semi-custom and production series yachts, Gulf Craft has seen a significant rise in reputation and success. This shift in the industry showcases the evolution and adaptability of yacht building practices in response to modern demands and materials.
Given the preference of American yacht owners for cruising in The Bahamas and Caribbean, it’s no surprise that the North American market is largely driven by shallow draft boats and sportsfisher brands. The production focus in this region is primarily on semi-custom motor yachts, with leading yacht yards such as Westport Yachts, Palmer Johnson, Viking Yachts, Hatteras Yachts, Jarrett Bay, Merritt’s Boats, and Jim Smith Tournament boats at the forefront of the industry.
In the segment of larger yachts, where there’s a greater scope for customization, Christensen Yachts and Delta Marine are renowned for delivering motor yachts that exceed 37 meters in length. This trend is mirrored in Canada, where Crescent Custom Yachts is a significant contributor to the market.
Asia serves as a significant hub for the production of series motor yachts made from Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP). This region boasts numerous advanced facilities that cater to the production needs of well-known brands such as Horizon Yachts, Ocean Alexander, Cheoy Lee, Heysea, Johnson Yachts, and Nordhavn. The majority of these facilities are strategically located in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, further solidifying Asia’s position in the global yacht building industry.
Rest of World
A handful of yacht builders are also located in Oceania, South Africa, and Brazil. In Australia, SilverYachts and Echo Yachts are notable names in the industry, while in New Zealand, McMullen & Wing and Yachting Developments hold significant positions. In South America, Brazilian shipyards INACE and MCP are key players in the yacht building sector.