Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Survey of 345 boat owners: Climate change could end yachting as we know it

Climate change could end yachting

Updated on May 19th, 2024

We are in no way activists of any climate movement, but it is obvious that our passion for boats directly depends on weather conditions. And these long-term weather conditions, determined by the climate, apparently may at some point become completely unsuitable for the continued ownership of a boat or even a large motor yacht.

In addition to the increasing heat on the most picturesque subtropical coasts, we are dealing with the increasing risks of record-breaking hurricanes and storms arising from general planetary imbalance. Of course, the concept of imbalance is an exclusively human term, so that we can designate a departure from the norm that is familiar and comfortable to us; for nature, no imbalance exists. But this doesn’t make it any easier for us.

We surveyed sailors, including those who live aboard full-time, on how they envision yachting in a future in which climate disruptions may cause major changes to their current lifestyle. A total of 345 owners of cruise motor boats, trawlers and yachts up to 24 meters, based around the world, from Eurasia and Oceania to the Americas, were surveyed.

86 sailors out of 345 currently live on board full-time. 57% of them said they would stay on the water as long as possible, despite the significant increase in frequency and severity of hurricanes and the associated risks of boat damage.
Of course, residents of the tropics and subtropics show the greatest concern.

45% of the total number of respondents are confident that climate change will seriously undermine the attractiveness of yachting in popular destinations such as the Mediterranean within the next ten years or even earlier. But perhaps they will be replaced by other popular destinations, which today are considered extremely cold.

16% of the total respondents said they planned to downsize their boat to maintain boating opportunities and increase mobility while reducing ownership costs.

9% of the total number of respondents said that they are already in fact in the process of selling a yacht and are considering options for moving to places with a more favorable climate, where perhaps they will purchase a small boat for occasional recreation on rivers and lakes. We are mainly talking about residents of southern Europe, Florida, etc., who are looking at higher latitudes.

Some of the yachtsmen living in southern latitudes reported that they were so pessimistic about the future climate that they had already prudently considered the issue of migrating to Canada, Scandinavia or Russia. However, if the climate does change dramatically, this hardly means that you will be able to solve the problem by simply moving from where it is hotter to where it is cooler. Global changes may be hiding many black swans that even climate scientists still seem unable to predict.

It’s funny that many sailors indicated that a boat for them is a means of escape from civilization, and if they cannot continue to enjoy yachting, they will most likely try to exchange the sea for the mountains.