Europe is known for its centuries-old yachting industry. In Italy, the Netherlands and Germany, shipbuilders have been producing yachts for hundreds of years.
In America, the yachting industry might not be as established. Yet, today, America’s best luxury yacht builders continue to put out award-winning and state-of-the-art designs. Who are America’s best yacht builders?
From Christensen to Trinity, we countdown the best yacht builders in America and highlight what makes each shipyard unique. Here are our favorites:
Christensen is one of the most established yacht builders in the U.S., and the company is known for its completely custom yachts. Each yacht the company produces is designed according to owner specifications.
Known for its classic hull design, and upscale finishes, Christensen produces some of the most luxurious superyachts in the U.S. That’s thanks in part to the builder’s in-house design team. Many other builders outsource design. Plus, the builder is known for its exquisite interiors, featuring spacious layouts and the finest finishes. Christensen also regularly wins innovation awards for their efficient and powerful displacement systems and state-of-the-art stabilization.
Since 1964, Westport has been a leader in yacht design and manufacturing in the U.S. And its earned a reputation for developing sporty, classically-styled superyachts.
That wasn’t always the case. Originally, Westport designed and built commercial fishing vessels, but today, Westport focuses exclusively on luxury motor yachts, including 34-, 38-, 40- and 50-meter yachts. Westport’s raised pilothouse and tri-deck yachts feature classic nautical hulls with modern touches. The interiors are sleek and comfortable and known for their spacious outdoor deck areas.
Derecktor is one of the country’s oldest yacht builders. It was founded on Long Island, NY in 1947, and during its early years, the company produced commercial fishing and passenger vessels. (Even today, Derecktor manufacturers high-speed ferries for cities around the world.)
Derecktor’s output has changed quite a bit in its 70-year history. Today, the company continues to build commercial vessels, but it’s also a top builder of custom motor yachts. Derecktor produces both explorer yachts and motor yachts, and many of its luxury motor yachts feature explorer-inspired designs. Many Derecktor yachts, for example, feature towering superstructures positioned forward. This opens up an abundance of aft-deck space for outdoor dining areas, beach clubs, and even helipads.
In addition to style, Derecktor yachts are renowned for their performance. They might be sizable. But they’re fast, and the ride is stable.
Hatteras is a legendary name in American shipbuilding, known for its high-speed and beautiful motor yachts. Initially, the shipyard focused entirely on sportfish yachts – something they’re still known for today. Yet, the company’s line-up of motor yachts offers the best of the best in luxury yachting.
Hatteras offers a full range of superyachts, including the 100 RPH, a stunning 102-foot raised pilothouse motoryacht, and the M90. Hatteras certainly shows its sporty roots in all of its designs; Hatteras exteriors are sleek and streamlined, sharing design details with its sportfish line.
At Trinity, size is the name of the game. The Gulfport-based shipyard produces yachts up to 123 meters (400 feet), including some of the largest luxury yachts ever built in the U.S.
The yachtbuilder has many signatures. For example, classic nautical architecture is one. Trinity produces some of the most inspiring superstructure designs that feature sleek lines and an abundance of glass. When you charter a Trinity yacht, you’ll have plenty of places to relax, as most of their designs incorporate an abundance of deck space. In the past, that’s include beautiful sky lounges and sprawling aft-deck dining/bar areas.
Below deck, Trinity yachts delivers spacious layouts. The yachtbuilder is know for their opulent owner’s suites and staterooms, as well as stunning salons.
6. Broward Marine
Founded by legendary boatbuilder Frank Denison in the 1950s, Broward Marine has been a leader in superyacht design throughout its history. For example, in 1954, Broward launched its first luxury superyacht, ALISA V. At the time, the 96-footer was a behemoth – similar in grandness to today’s megayachts of 150+ feet.
The Alisa paved a path for the company, which shifted its focus exclusively to luxury motoryachts. In the 1980s, for example, Broward was quick to respond to the trend of the superyachts; Broward sold some 80 yachts in the 1980s, an impressive sales feat.
Under new management in the early 2000s, the company continued its focus on stunning megayachts in the 100- to 160-foot range. Broward yachts are grand in scale, with stunning tri-deck and raised pilothouse designs, and they’re also some of the first to feature farmhouse kitchens. Today, the company focuses primarily on refits, but many of their majestic yachts are still available for charter.
Hargrave has been producing yachts since the 1950s, and throughout its history, the shipyard has built a reputation for inspiring yacht designs. In fact, the company initially only focused on design. Founder Jack Hargrave, the famed nautical designer, worked closely with other top U.S. yacht builders including Burger and Hatteras, helping to launch numerous brands.
In 1997, the company transitioned from design to designing and building its own luxury yachts. The company quickly made a name for itself. Hargrave has won numerous awards for its sporty tri-decks and sportfish-inspired motoryachts. Hargrave yachts feature contemporary interiors, matched with sleek profiles.
A Horizon yacht has a distinctive look. The company’s yachts have stately exteriors with tons of classic nautical architectural details. Inside, too, Horizon yachts have a lot of character. Most Horizon yachts feature sprawling windows, creating light and airy interior spaces.
Today, the company produces yachts in the 56- to 150-foot range, and their offerings include power catamarans, tri-decks and raised pilothouse motor yachts.
If you’re looking for a power cat, that’s a Horizon specialty. The company’s PC Series features a range of mid-sized power cats up to about 80 feet, with numerous concept yachts in the works. Yet, Horizon does it all. You’ll find Horizon yachts in just about any style, from Fast Displacement yachts (FD Series), to customized tri-decks (CC Series).
The Burger Boat Company is one of the most historic shipbuilders in the U.S. Originally launched in 1863, the company has built more than 500 yachts in its history (more than 250 of which are still in operation). The company was a pioneer in steel yacht building, but today, Burger primary builds aluminum yachts.
Burger produces a range of custom tri-deck motor yachts, ranging from 112- to 214-foot motor yachts. Burger boats have a distinctive look and feel. They have spacious deck areas, like the wrap-around deck on its current 214-foot tri-deck concept, as well as innovative exterior lounge areas.
10. Delta Marine
For more than 50 years, Delta Marine has been producing world-class motor yachts from its headquarters in Seattle. The boatbuilder is known for its sleek exterior designs. Delta Marine yachts feature clean, flowing lines throughout, and the company produces a range of raised pilothouse and tri-deck motor yachts.
Plus, the interiors are completely custom. As such, no two Delta Marine yachts look the same, and the interiors are as unique as their owners. Delta yachts are also well-known for their performance. Many feature performance-minded hulls, and feature state-of-the-art displacement systems.
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