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What’s the Difference Between a Yacht and a Boat?

yacht-engineering

Many boating enthusiasts use the words boat and yacht interchangeably when in reality, they are very different terms. A yacht is a larger, recreational boat or ship. The word “Yacht” comes from Dutch origin and was originally defined as a light, and fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to find and capture pirates. A boat, on the other hand, is smaller in size and can be anything from a fisherman’s boat to a sailboat.

When determining the difference between a yacht and a boat, there are a few main deciding factors including:

Size
As previously mentioned, size matters when it comes to differentiating between a boat and a yacht. Yachts can range from about 35 feet in length all the way up to 160+ feet in length, however, most will be somewhere in the middle. Anything over 160 feet would be considered a “Superyacht”. Boats are generally anywhere from 15-30 feet in length.

Where they can operate
Smaller boats are usually capable of operating in calm waters like lakes, rivers, and shallow harbors. Some larger boats, usually 20 – 30 feet in length, can also navigate more rough ocean waters. A yacht, on the other hand, is able to sail in deeper, ocean waters and deal with more turbulent seas. Due to a larger size, high tech yacht electronics and guidance instruments, protection from the elements, and a number of other features yachts are far more suitable for longer ocean trips.

Crew
While a boat can be operated by just one captain, a yacht typically requires a full crew to help with navigation, maintenance, electronics and engineering, repairs and stewards to cater to the passengers. In reality, it’s a lot more like a small, private cruise service than an afternoon on the boat with your friends.

Propulsion
Depending on the boat, it may operate solely using a sail and the wind, or one or more inboard or outboard motors. While some larger boats can mount very large engines to create some real speed on the water, these engines do not match the power of most yacht engines. Yacht engines are much larger in size, can produce considerably more power – in some cases up to 800hp, and are capable of running much longer distances.

Navigation and technology
While some boats may have advanced marine electronics and navigation systems, it’s more of a requirement when it comes to yachts. When making trans oceanic trips it is not only important that you are able to navigate with precision, but also that you can detect other boats or objects that you may not be able to see and understand the performance of your vessel.

Tess Electric is a leading provider of marine electronics, marine electrical services, and marine engineering services to owners and crews of yachts and superyachts in Fort Lauderdale, FL. If you’re looking to work with an experienced team of marine electrical contractors, contact us today.

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