Powerboats vs. Yachts: A Showdown

Powerboats vs. Yachts: A Showdown

Buying a new boat is a serious investment, so it’s important to understand the options available to make the right choice. When it comes to luxury watercraft, many buyers end up with two options: a powerboat or a yacht. In this showdown, we’ll discuss the pros and cons to each type of boat to help you decide which is best for you.

What Counts as a Yacht?

The official definition of a yacht is difficult to pinpoint. For most people, it’s just any large, luxurious boat. For others, it depends on cabin layout and styling. While there are certainly many feelings about what counts as a yacht, most can agree that it needs to be at least 40-feet long and used for recreational purposes.

Yachts can be broken into different categories based on size:

  • Yacht: 40 to 75-feet long
  • Super Yacht: 75 to 250-feet long
  • Mega Yacht: Over 250-feet long.

Beyond the size requirements, there’s no official definition for what is and isn’t a yacht. They can be powered by engines or sails and have any hull shape. While most people consider yachts to have enclosed cabins, it’s not always the case. Some consider large center console vessels as yachts.


If you believe in the “standard” definition of a yacht (large, luxurious boat), most yachts are filled to the brim with luxury. It would be impossible to create a comprehensive list of features because it would go on for hundreds of pages.

“Basic” yachts can include multiple decks, lounges, and kitchens, while more over-the-top yachts can feature anything from glass-bottom lounges and swimming pools to helipads and even tennis courts! When it comes to yacht features, the sky’s the limit.


There’s a reason so many celebrities buy yachts. Owning a boat that large certainly comes with some benefits:

  • Over-the-top luxury – most yachts are custom made to order and can have unlimited features to suit the buyer’s preference.
  • Ample space – some yachts are over 300-feet long!
  • Seaworthy – travel to different countries.
  • Usually have a (or several) sleeping quarters – perfect for overnight voyages.

Many people who buy yachts choose to live on them full time because the features and benefits are comparable to a house.


Of course, all the benefits and features of a yacht don’t come cheap. There are also many disadvantages to owning a large vessel:

  • Cost – the average price for a yacht is $8.4 million (starting price is around $300,000).
  • Size – can’t be transported on the road, which limits where you can use it.
  • Need a crew – most yachts are too large for a single person to operate. You’ll need to hire a crew if you want to go anywhere beyond the marina.
  • Maintenance costs – cleaning and engine maintenance can be quite expensive, not to mention fuel costs (some yachts hold more than 350 gallons of fuel, or about $1,500 per tank).

Yachts are all about excess, both in features and in cost. They require much more maintenance and money compared to any other style of boat.

What Counts as a Powerboat?

A powerboat, put simply, is any boat with an engine. They can have different hull shapes, sizes, and engine setups, but as long as the boat burns fuel to propel itself, it’s a powerboat.

Generally, most people consider a powerboat to be any boat with a motor that’s under 45-feet, though there are some exceptions. Some high-performance boats can reach 60 to 70-feet long, but they’re still classified as powerboats because of their high-performance capabilities.

Technically, yachts can be powerboats, but once you go beyond 45-feet, most people just refer to them as yachts.


There are dozens of types of powerboats, and they all have their unique features to suit any lifestyle or preference. Some high-end luxury powerboats, like Mystic powerboats, can rival a yacht in customization, features, and luxury.

While they won’t have a tennis court, a luxury powerboat will have plenty of features to make even the grumpiest person crack a smile on the water:

  • Custom colors and design
  • Luxury interior patterns and materials
  • High-tech amenities like GPS, sound systems, and even refrigerators
  • Powerful engines capable of 100+ mph

A fully loaded luxury powerboat will have enough features to keep everyone comfortable as you cruise the waterways.


Smaller vessels are simply more manageable, both on your wallet and in the water. Here are just a few of the benefits of owning a powerboat:

  • Cost – while some luxury powerboats can have decently high price tags, they’re nowhere near as expensive as the average yacht.
  • Smaller size – not only are powerboats more maneuverable on the water, but they can also be towed on the highway. Having a towable boat opens up more recreational options like lakes and rivers that would be inaccessible to larger craft.
  • Less maintenance – many luxury powerboats come with outboard engines, which are simple and cost-effective to maintain.
  • Built for Personal use – you don’t need a crew to operate a powerboat. Whether you’re going solo or bringing the family, your powerboat is ready to go when you are.

Powerboats are great for recreational day-cruising and relaxing out on the water.


While there are many benefits to owning a luxury powerboat, nothing is perfect. Here are some of the disadvantages of a powerboat vs. a yacht:

  • Smaller cabin space – Mystic powerboats have an enclosed cabin with a queen bed, so some people do use them for overnight trips. However, the cabin space is smaller than that of a yacht so you couldn’t entertain a group of people indoors.
  • Size limitations – our boats only fit 10-15 people, so any gatherings would be smaller than those on a yacht.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to sail to Europe in your luxury powerboat.

Powerboat vs. Yacht: Which Is the Best?

Ultimately, the decision between yachts vs. powerboats comes down to your preferences. Do you expect to spend a lot of time on the water sailing international waters, or do you prefer to cruise for a few hours at a time with your friends and family?

For most people, a yacht is simply more than they need or can handle. Everything about them is in excess, especially the costs. For boaters who don’t spend every waking minute on the water (or have millions of dollars sitting around), a yacht just isn’t worth it.

A luxury powerboat is a good compromise between the two. They offer the functionality of a powerboat with the luxury of a yacht.
If you think a boat would be a positive addition to your life, talk to the experts at Mystic. We build the best luxury powerboats on the market and customize them to suit your style and preferences. Don’t waste another day on dry land; contact us to schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss your needs.