Who are the Top 10 Luxury Superyacht Builders?

There are dozens of companies that make superyachts or megayachts for those that can afford them, but there are only a few that are considered to be the best in the industry. Because of how big superyachts are, it is quite difficult to build, which is why companies would need to have a lot of experience in building these vessels to be considered the best. 

The superyacht is an unofficial name given to professionally-crewed sailing yachts or motor yachts. These superyachts are pretty expensive, hence the reason only the wealthy can purchase them. While most of the elite buy superyachts as a status symbol, there are some of them that use them frequently to travel from one coast to another while having a comfortable and luxurious trip, The richest people in the world would often have preferred companies that build superyachts for them, and these companies are highly regarded as the best in the business. Here are the top 10 luxury superyacht builders that you should know about.

1. Sunseeker International

Sunseeker International is a luxury performance motor yacht brand that was founded in the coastal town of Poole in the United Kingdom. The company was founded by John and Robert Braithwaite in 1969 and had the original name “Poole Power Boats.” In 1985, the shipbuilding company changed its name to Sunseeker International, and by the late 90s and early 2000s, they quickly became one of the biggest manufacturers of sea vessels in the world. 

The Braithwaite brothers eventually sold the company to Irish private equity firm FL Partners in 2010 through a debt restructuring deal. However, in 2013, the ownership of the company was transferred to the Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate that agreed to buy a 91.8% stake in the business. Sunseeker is primarily known for making boats that have appeared in various James Bond films, including The World is Not Enough (first released in 1999) and Casino Royale (premiered in 2006).

2. Blohm+Voss

Blohm+Voss, also known as Blohm & Voss, is a shipbuilding and engineering company that was founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1877. The company started as a manufacturer of steel-hulled ships, and one of its most notable ships was the battleship Bismarck, which was used by Nazi Germany during World War II. 

Although it is still building ships for military use as of 2021, Blohm+Voss has a different department that manufactures superyachts. Their most popular superyacht is “Dubai,” which the company has built for Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) Prime Minister and the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

3. Amels

Amels is the superyacht division of the Damen Shipyards Group, a conglomerate founded in 1927 in Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Netherlands. Amels has been a part of the Damen Group since 1991, although the company has been making boats since 1918 in the northern regions of the Netherlands.

When the Damen Group acquired Amels, they transformed the brand into a superyacht-building company that has been building these luxurious vessels in Makkum for 14 years before moving to a new shipyard in Vlissingen. The largest superyacht built by Amels as of 2021 is “Here Comes the Sun,” which was launched in 2016 and was designed by Tim Heywood, who also was the designer for the Amels Limited Edition range of yachts.

superyacht docked in Mallorca, Spain

4. Oceanco

Oceanco is a custom yacht builder that is privately owned by Mohammed Al Barwani, an Omani businessman who was once a private investor of the company that eventually acquired it in 2010. Oceanco was founded in 1987 by a group of South African private investors that were led by Richard Hein, the first CEO of the company. Even though the headquarters of Oceanco is based in Alblasserdam, Netherlands, the company’s ships were primarily built in Durban, South Africa.

In 2002, a Greek shipping magnate by the name of Theodore Angelopoulos acquired the company and shifted the focus of Oceanco to building superyachts. As of 2021, Oceanco is still mainly known for their luxurious superyachts, which includes Sunrays (launched in 2010) and Jubilee (launched in 2018 and is currently Oceanco’s biggest superyacht).

5. Feadship

Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards is a joint venture between two shipyards, namely Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw and the Royal Van Lent Shipyard, who are both based in the Netherlands. The company was created in 1949 when a naval architect named Henri de Voogt decided to sell ships to American clients under the business name “First Export Association of Dutch Shipbuilders,” or Feadship for short.

However, it was only in 1951 when Feadship was officially launched as a yacht builder in the New York Boat Show. Some of their most well-known superyachts include “Musashi” (built in 2011 and owned by billionaire Larry Ellison), “Madame Gu,” (built in 2013 as part of Project Dream), and “Symphony” (launched in 2015 and is the longest yacht built in the Netherlands).

6. Heesen Yachts

Heesen Yachts is another Netherlands-based shipbuilding company that was founded in 1978 by entrepreneur Frans Heesen. The founder of Heesen Yachts was previously known in the plastics industry, but wanting to try other business ventures, he purchased the Striker Boats shipyard site in the Netherlands so that his new company could build yachts. Just a year after the creation of the company, Heesen was able to launch “Amigo,” a 20-meter luxury yacht that serves as the first-ever Heesen product.

Throughout the 90s and 2000s, Heesen Yachts was able to become one of the most popular superyacht manufacturers in the world. A few of Heesen’s most notable works include “Octopussy 007” in 1988, “Blue Magic” in 1998, and “Inception” in 2008.

7. Nobiskrug

Nobiskrug is a shipbuilding company that is based in Rendsburg, Germany, where their shipyard is located on the Elder River. The company was founded in 1905 by a German businessman named Otto Storck. The company was then changed to a limited liability company in 1908. Nobiskrug originally was a shipyard made for repairs and refits, but it soon built ships for Germany during World War I. 

By the 1980s, Nobiskrug moved from building ships for the government to manufacturing passenger ships. Then, in the 1990s, the company decided to shift its focus to making custom-built superyachts. Their most well-known creation is the “Sailing Yacht A,” which was launched in 2017 and was the largest private sailing yacht ever built.

sailing superyacht

8. Christensen Shipyards

Christensen Shipyards is a composite-hull motor yacht builder that was founded in 1983 in Vancouver, a city in the US state of Washington. The founder of the company, Dave Christensen, was trying to find a superyacht that met his standards at first, but when he couldn’t find it, he decided to create a shipbuilding company and build his own superyacht.

One of the most notable superyachts that Christensen Shipyards manufactured is “Hull 026 Privacy,” which was delivered to legendary golfer Tiger Woods in 2006, with its interior chosen by Woods’ then-fiancée Elin Nordegren. It is estimated that “Privacy” caused more than $20 million to build.

9. Fincantieri

Fincantieri is a shipbuilding company that was founded in 1959 in Rome, Italy. Fincantieri was originally named “Società Finanziaria Cantieri Navali – Fincantieri S.p.A,” and was a State financial holding company, but it eventually became a separate entity in 1984. Fincantieri is considered the largest shipbuilder in Europe after they acquired another company named Vard in 2013.

Besides building superyachts, Fincantieri also manufactures vessels for the military, as well as passenger ships. The company’s most impressive superyacht is the “M/Y Serene,” which was launched in 2011.

10. Lürssen

The last company on the list is Lürssen, a German shipyard that was founded in 1875 in Bremen-Vegesack, Germany. The founder of the company is Friedrich Lürssen, who was only 24 years old when he set up a boatbuilding workshop in the suburbs of Bremen. From building simple boats,  Lürssen then started to build sports boats and motorboats. According to Lürssen, he built the first motorboat in 1886, although his claims are still being studied and debunked until today.

When the Lürssen company started building yachts in 1954, it became one of the most prominent yacht builders in Europe. In 2016, Lürssen acquired Blohm+Voss through a long-term partnership with the said company. Several of its well-known yachts include Polaris (the first yacht launched by Lürssen in 1954), Al Salamah (launched in 1999), and Al Said (launched in 2008).

These are ten of the biggest and most popular superyacht builders in the world. As many people living in luxury continue to buy expensive and extravagant yachts, we can expect that these builders or companies will still thrive even in the near future.