Boat vs Yacht: Main Differences in Size, Length, and Features

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Can you tell the difference between a boat and a yacht? You should be able to if you’re a sailing enthusiast. If you can’t, then this post was made exactly for you. If you can tell the difference between the two, then use this article as a tool to verify if all that your sailing knowledge is correct.

Luxury yacht
Luxury yacht

When can a boat be considered a yacht?

The answer to this question is open to debate. But just so you know the general standard, a boat is already considered a yacht if it is already 30 feet long. A lot would debate though that more than the size, it is the style, elegance, and feel of a yacht that mainly differentiates it from a regular boat. A smaller boat can very well be considered a yacht if it has the right look and feel to it.

Yachts are more for personal use. Except for ones that are available for charter. If you’re interested in chartering one, you should consider contacting Simpson Marine yacht brokers.

What are the main differences between a yacht and a boat?

You can easily tell a yacht from a boat if you’d consider the following factors:

1. Size

A yacht is almost always bigger than a regular boat. This is because a boat by definition is any water vessel or floating transport that can be stowed aboard a ship. A boat can be of any size. In fact, more technical guides provide that a boat is any floating transportation that does not go over 196 feet LOA.

Yachts are way bigger as they can be over 40 meters LOA. The richest of the rich privately own superyachts, megayachts, and gigayachts. Per 2019, the biggest recorded yacht is Azzam and it is owned by the President of the United Arab Emirates. It is 590 feet long. Azzam means ‘determination’ in Arabic.

Motor boat
Motor boat

2. Aesthetic

You don’t need to be a sailing expert to know the difference between the aesthetic of a regular boat and a yacht. Yachts have sophisticated designs that exude elegance and luxury. Boat designs don’t necessarily have such a look and feel. The feel of luxury possibly originated from the fact that it was Charles II of England who popularized the use of luxurious water vessels for personal use. In truth, you can simply say that if a water vessel exudes luxury and is more expensive with a sophisticated premium design, it is a yacht.

3. Purpose

Boats are used for both commercial and non-commercial needs while yachts are almost exclusively used for personal use. Yachts are designed with luxury and personal pleasure in mind.

4. Amenities

A yacht is considered a recreational boat with several comfort amenities to entertain guests, such as a sophisticated entertainment system, tub, and creative lighting fixtures. Superyachts have swimming pools, sports courts, beach clubs, private cinemas, and even helicopter decks. On the other hand, boats don’t have many luxurious amenities found in yachts. Learn more about superyachts below.

What is a Superyacht?

There is no way to stop the birth of bigger and bigger yachts by the year. This is why we now have terms such as Superyacht, Megayacht, and Gigayacht. People often interchange Superyacht and Megayacht to refer to yachts that go over 40 meters of 130 feet LOA. Superyachts are usually owned by the world’s top millionaires.

Consider finding a secure yacht mooring facility such as Emerald Landing for your boat the next time you go for a boating experience.

Superyacht Sizes

You can expect to witness the birth of ever bigger yachts in your lifetime but do be guided by the following sizes when it comes to massive ones that already exist today:

Superyacht: Ranges from 120 feet to 200 feet
Megayacht: Ranges from 200 feet to 300 feet
Gigayacht: Anything that goes over 300 feet. With this standard guideline, you can consider the Azzam as a gigayacht.

Other Ways to Classify Yachts

Apart from size classification, yachts can also be differentiated when it comes to their many variations. The following are the most popular ones:

1. Weekender

A yacht is a weekender if it has at least one or two cabins with basic functions. Weekender cabins are usually small. Weekender yachts come with basic plumbing and a small kitchen (galley). A Weekender yacht can perfectly accommodate a few guests for two nights at most. Hence, its name.

2. Cruisers

A Cruiser is bigger and better than a Weekender yacht. It is equipped enough to accommodate many guests for long periods. With one, you can have a sailing holiday that can last for weeks or months. A Cruiser is fully equipped to allow for a comfortable long vacation. One can even live permanently in a Cruiser.

3. Day Cruiser

A Day Cruiser is a basic yacht with an open deck. It has no cabin and offers limited luxuries to guests. As it has no cabin, it cannot accommodate guests for an overnight stay. It is perfect though for afternoon sailing, gatherings, and celebrations by the deck. If you’re after a hassle-free afternoon sailing with family and friends, a Day Cruiser will be perfect for you.

4. Sport Fishing Yachts

A Sport Fishing Yacht is simply a Cruiser that comes with specialized features for fishing enthusiasts. It can come with more cabins. It comes with complete fishing equipment for extended fishing trips. Just like a Cruiser, it has a galley and basic plumbing. Sport Fishing Yachts can't cater well to numerous guests. It can however fully support an enjoyable fishing expedition. For a more in-depth understanding of Sport Fishing Yachts and how they enhance your fishing experience, learn more here.

Indeed, yachts allow you to enjoy exploring the beautiful scenery and adventure water activities like sports fishing during your weekend getaway or luxury vacation. Learn more about making fishing fun and easy at Fishing Outcast.

5. Racing Yachts

Racing yachts are not the most comfortable kind of yachts. It has stripped-down features that allow for speedy sailing. It only has basic amenities that can only cater to a few people. Racing yachts have light frames and heavy keels that allow for large sails.

6. Luxury Yachts

Luxury yachts are grand yachts. They come complete with luxurious amenities for extended holiday vacations that are fully comfortable and decadent. Luxury yachts are owned by the world’s richest who can easily decide to sail at any given time for however long they desire.

Buying Or Renting?

Buying a boat is cheaper than a yacht because of the high-end features that the latter provides. The same goes with renting. If you plan to rent, it’s critical that you choose a boat or yacht rental service that offers excellent customer service and emergency contingency measures. Check out this website for your boat rental needs.

Whether you plan to buy or rent a boat or yacht, conduct careful research, check the features, and compare the sellers or rental services in terms of cost, service warranty, and technical support.


Knowing the main differences between a boat and a yacht can help you decide on the best one to use for your next water adventure. Whether you plan to go island hopping, fishing, or cruising to celebrate milestones, determining the essential factors when choosing a boat or a yacht will help you create more unforgettable and enjoyable experiences.

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Lenny is one of the contributors here at Backpacker Travel. Her favorite destination is the Philippines.

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