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The Rise of Sustainable Yachting


December 10, 2021

The Rise of Sustainable Yachting

With the extravagance and excess that constitutes a superyacht, it is seldom held as a volunteer for sustainability or environment conservation. However, recent times have seen significant initiatives from building superyachts with composite material to using hybrid engines – the yachting industry is going sustainable!

The burning of fossil fuels for yachting has been a significant contributor to the pollution of the oceans, disrupting marine life and causing ecological problems. However, shipyards and yacht designers have undertaken great and trim initiatives to pivot the yachting industry towards sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives over the last five years. A published report by US-based Boat International in 2019 stated a decrease to 807 in demand for yachts over 24 meters from 830 in the last year. There were only 21 megayachts of over 100 meters under construction. While the statistics seem to be nominal on face value, the market for superyachts is niche and only for the creamy layer. Hybrid engine systems are no longer a trend; designers are experimenting with complete solar-powered systems to kite sails to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels – and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

A Rude Awakening

Hybrid or electric boats haven’t been a recent discovery. Did you know the first electric boat was developed by the German inventor Moritz von Jacobi in 1838? The electric yacht was a 24ft (7.3m) boat and a passenger capacity of 14. With a speed of three miles per hour (4.8km/h), the yacht was presented to Emperor Nicholas I of Russia on the Neva River. The introduction of diesel and petrol-only eased the production and storage cost. However, given the rising levels of CO2, nitric-oxide emissions—a major polluter—from vessels 78 feet or longer, and more than one million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals killed by ocean pollution every year, has led superyacht designers from all around the world to bring about a collision of luxury and sustainability. With the right combination of hybrid systems, yachts could reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 percent while improving maneuverability and reducing noise pollution while cruising.

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source: Upscale Living