In everyday use, the term "yacht" is usually used only when the vehicle of the vehicle is called a yacht. Below about 7 m one speaks rather a boat, above 10 m it is called a yacht. A typical yacht in European coastal waters European coastal waters is around 10 to 17 meters long (30 to 56 feet) and is and equipped with several cabins. On German inland lakes yachts range from 6 to 15 meters in length.

Maxi, mega and super yachts

Larger yachts are also referred to as maxi yachts, or mini-maxis, maxis or supermaxis depending on their size. The boundaries between these categories are by no means fixed.

Very large yachts, where no emphasis is placed on sporting use, but which serve as pure luxury objects, are called mega yachts or superyachts. The boundaries between these categories are by no means fixed. The largest private yachts reach over 180 meters in length. They can reach 20 to 36 knots.

The broad masses tend to sail yachts between 10 and 20 meters in length. Sailing yachts are safely seaworthy from about 12 meters, motor yachts only significantly above that due to the lower stability. In addition, the fuel supply of a "normal" motor yacht of between 500 and 1500 liters limits the range, because 100 liters per hour can also be consumed here. The range of a sailing yacht is not limited by the fuel and its maximum speed is determined by the hull speed.


Common building materials for yachts today are fiber-reinforced plastics (mostly GRP or CFRP). Wood used to be the only available building material, but has been practically completely replaced by plastics. Steel and aluminum are very rarely used. Concrete (ferrocement) was tried in the 1970s but never caught on. Building a modern yacht is a very complex and demanding job that requires a lot of experience.

Comfort plays a major role in maxi and mega yachts, which are more like private cruise ships than sport boats.

The construction, furnishing, motorization and equipment of a yacht depend very much on the preferred area and the strength of use. Yachts put into service in the EU must comply with the CE standard and be classified in one of the categories A to D according to their construction and equipment.


As a rule, yachts, whether motor or sailing, with a hull length of 21 meters (70 feet) or more are the responsibility of semi- or fully professional crews (yacht mate). Starting from two persons one speaks of a crew, here it concerns mostly ship leader ("Skipper") and Steward. The number of crew members is almost unlimited as the size of the yacht increases - in the case of mega-yachts, it can be more than 60 people, including, for example, cooks and engineers. The skipper is then often a captain with a patent for large voyages.

Especially because of the high personnel costs, chartering yachts has become a popular alternative to owning a yacht. This also avoids other disadvantages of owning a yacht (acquisition costs, distance to berth, climate and area dependency).