Disappointing photos show what owning a yacht is like in real life

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’/Paramount PicturesWe’d all love to have a toast with Leonardo DiCaprio on a yacht.
  • Owning a yacht certainly sounds like a dream come true. And if you have a nice chunk of change burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to make that dream a reality.
  • But you should know first that there are several hidden expenses, headaches, and disappointments that come with yacht ownership.
  • As Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower writes, “really, yachts are just floating money.” Here’s what you’re really in store for if you buy one.

Picture it: It’s a beautiful summer day and you’re laying out in the sun, a cold drink by your side, your favourite music playing softly in the background, and you’re slightly rocking to the motion of the waves.

Someone comes to refill your ice bucket and tells you lunch is almost ready.

That’s the dream, isn’t it? Spending the weekend on a yacht of your very own. Cruising around the Mediterranean just because you can.

But hold on a minute.

Before you get there – you know, to all the relaxation – there’s a lot that needs to happen first, like actually buying the yacht, hiring the staff, making sure everything is being cleaned and fixed when necessary, and being prepared for a lot less isolation than you’ve been imagining.

So as you contemplate buying yourself a yacht, keep in mind that it’s not always the dream it’s cracked up to be.

Owning a yacht and living the yachting lifestyle may be a dream of yours.

Ditty_about_summer/ShutterstockThe epitome of relaxation.

Whether you want to cruise around the Mediterranean or sail up and down the east coast of the US, you might think the best way to spend any time off would be on your own boat.

pixelrain/ShutterstockShare a drink with friends.

If you’re not up for creating your own custom yacht, you can go to a boat show and tour a bunch until you find the perfect one.

Alexander Tamargo/Getty ImagesSome people spend their days boat shopping.

If you go the shopping route, there’s a ton of work to be done before you set sail.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesIt’s not so simple to figure out what you’re supposed to do once you own your dream yacht.

You’ll likely have to gut the ship if you’re getting an older model.

And you’ll certainly need to give it a fresh paint job.

Naphassaphorn Na Pankaew/ShutterstockSuper yachts are not immune to wear and tear.

Hiring crew members is a must, and experts recommend one per passenger. Captains cost roughly $US1,000 per year per foot of boat, which adds up to $US110,000 for a 100-foot yacht.

Matthew Lloyd/Getty ImagesYou may want a yacht, but that doesn’t mean you want to drive it yourself.

Source: Forbes

Especially if you don’t want to learn to care for the boat yourself.

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesThe crew will play a key role in keeping your boat working and safe.

If the crew is on-hand just on days when you’re out on the water, you’ll have to spend some time cleaning the deck yourself.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesCleaning the boat regularly is a must, and it’s not as easy as driving a car through a car wash.

If you want to walk around barefoot all the time, you have to keep those floorboards clean.

Leon Neal/Getty ImagesNo shoes allowed.

Since the great outdoors is ever unpredictable, you should always be prepared for a hurricane or any type of extreme weather.

Kat Wade/Getty ImagesYou’ve got to be prepared for extreme weather.

If you’re not, and the boat needs to go in for repairs, it will likely end up sitting in line for a while waiting to be fixed.

Michael Bradley/Getty ImagesYachts can end up sitting in a yard waiting to be fixed.

If you’re investing in a sleeper, you may be envisioning a glorious master bedroom.

Carl Court/Getty ImagesYou probably won’t be sleeping on a king sized bed.

But you might have small, dark sleeping quarters.

[email protected]/FlickrIf you’re not a fan of tight spaces, this may not be the lifestyle for you.

Dreaming of a sun-soaked, sparkling kitchen with an ocean view?

‘Below Deck’/BravoBreakfast with a view.

Sorry. Chances are it will lack natural light and tons of counter space.

Yacht Rent/FlickrThere’s not much room for meal prep here.

And the whole area will have more of an open floor plan design.

Yacht Rent/FlickrThere’s no ‘behind the scenes’ here.

Hopefully you’ll be laying on a chaise with a drink in your hand getting that perfect vacation glow.

BurgessSuper yachts like this this have jacuzzis and even larger swimming pools on the deck. This one is disguised as a sun bed.

But if you’re not so lucky with the weather, you’ll be spending most of your time indoors.

[email protected]Being stuck inside isn’t what you had in mind.

Ideally, your indoor space will look something like this.

Marquis LarsonWe wouldn’t mind spending a rainy day on the water inside here.

Or even this.

Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesA floating luxury living room can fit the whole family.

And you’re probably picturing an indoor happy hour as nothing short of fluffy white couches and Champagne on ice.

Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesIdeally, enjoying cocktails while you watch the sun set is what your yachting time will consist of.

Realistically your interior will probably look more like this.

Yacht Rent/FlickrYou won’t have much of a view.

You’ll also want to redo the interior every few years to stay aesthetically relevant, of course.

Karen Roe/FlickrThe all wood look isn’t for everyone.

Because even if you don’t mind an outdated style, you’ll want it to appeal to visitors and people who want to charter your boat for the weekend.

Carl Court/Getty ImagesSleek and shiny is a safer bet.

And all the business associates you bring aboard the SS Whateveryoucallit for meetings.

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’/Paramount PicturesDiCaprio’s character made quite a few deals on the water.

We can’t stress it enough, the upkeep is a beast unto itself.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesIt’s enough to keep you busy all day.

Exteriors get rusty and corroded …

Marco Verch/FlickrIt is a bunch of metal, after all.

… and don’t forget about all of the appliances and motors in the interior.

[email protected]/FlickrIt’s easy to forget that a luxury yacht is still a piece of machinery.

You probably have visions of peacefully enjoying one of the most beautiful sights on your private European cruise.


Chances are, you won’t be out there alone.

S B/FlickrIf you’re in a tourist trap, you can bet there will be a whole lot of boats around.

Thinking of enjoying a quiet night docked in the marina?

Ralf Steinberger/FlickrIt would be quite peaceful.

Think again! You probably won’t be the only ones at the dock, and you’ll definitely be able to hear the parties going on three, four, or five yachts down.

Ruth Hartnup/FlickrYou’re not the only one with that idea.

Throwing a yacht party of your own could be fun, though.

Carlos Alvarez/Getty ImagesInvite your friends over for a nightcap.

Except you may be competing with the boat next door.

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesThrow a joint bash with your dock neighbours.

Oh, and good luck getting your nighttime guests to go barefoot.

Matthias Nareyek/Getty ImagesYou may want to cover the floor.

Throwing your anchor down and going for a swim is a huge part of why people want to be on the water.


But what happens when you’re sailing on a colder — or dirtier — body of water?

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesYou probably don’t want to take a dip in the Hudson River.

Well, that’s what the on-board pool is for.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesA pool is ideal for days when the ocean is too cold.

But if you’ve ever had to take care of an at-home pool, you know it can quickly turn into both a time and a money suck.

Aqua MechanicalPumping money into your pool is important to keeping it from getting filthy.

You’ll want to stock some water toys on board for the days when it’s actually nice enough to jump ship.

TwitterLaying out is great, but activities are so much fun.

You can entertain guests with jet skis …

David Rogers/Getty ImagesJet skiing isn’t for the faint of heart.

… kayaks …

Cliff Hawkins/Getty ImagesKayaking is a fun activity for calm waters.

… bodyboards …

Brendon Thorne/Getty ImagesYou may dock close to the beach.

… stand-up paddleboards …

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesGet a workout on the water.

… and floats for just hanging out in the water.

moodboard/FlickrIt’s all about having fun.

But, naturally, that means you’ll need somewhere to store it all. Good luck finding the space.

Mark Wallheiser/Getty ImagesIt’s enough to give anyone a headache.

Unfortunately you won’t always be able to walk onto — or off of — your yacht from the dock.

David Fisher/FlickrDocking in a marina is convenient, but not everyone can afford the red-carpet treatment.

So you’ll need to make sure you have a ship’s tender when it’s time to head back toward dry land.

[email protected]/FlickrYou need a boat to get to your other boat.

If you’re someone who wants to spend time on a yacht, but you don’t want the hassle, you might want to consider chartering a boat on the weekends.

Corinna Halloran/Team SCA/Getty ImagesWatching dolphins play while the sun sets is a dream come true … and it doesn’t have to cost you quite so much.

You could have your friends or extended family pitch in and spend some quality time together on the water.


Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.