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There's a huge problem with the ultra-wealthy's 'superyacht' fascination — and this new boat could help fix it

There was a 75% increase in superyacht sales from 2020 to 2021.

Silent 120 Explorer

Photo Credit: Silent Yachts'

For thousands of years, boats and ships have used clean wind energy to sail from port to port. Wind, by the way, is created by uneven heating of the Earth's surface from the sun.

Now, Silent-Yachts, an Austrian company specializing in luxury, solar-powered vessels, thinks it's time to skip the middleman. 

The Silent 120 Explorer is a solar-powered superyacht that comes with optional electric aircraft and submarines.


Silent-Yachts set out to make luxury yachting more sustainable by "minimizing … impact on the marine environment." To accomplish this, the business offers a wide range of solar yachts, as well as a solar speedboat, a tender, and a hybrid model yacht. 

Since sunny seas are perfect boating weather, Silent-Yacht advertises each solar-powered vessel's "unlimited range" as an advantage over conventionally powered yachts. One of the company's solar-powered yachts has even crossed the Atlantic using solar energy most of the time.

The largest of Silent-Yachts' vessels, the Silent 120 Explorer, will be 120 feet long and come with plenty of toys aimed at the ultra-wealthy. 

An eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing Vehicle) that can hold four people will land between solar panels that slide out of the way. The optional mini submarine will be able to dive around 330 feet and require less storage space than two jet skis

The electric aircraft and submarine will both be charged by excess power from the superyacht's peak solar array. 

Collaborations with VRCO, the engineering company building the electric aircraft, and U-Boat Worx, the designers of the two-person submarine, aren't the only things that set this ship apart. 

The superyacht also features noiseless cruising, extra space, and reduced maintenance needs because it's electric. Those electric motors take up way less volume than a big engine room, run quietly, and have very few moving parts. 

The Silent 120 Explorer can hold up to three generators for backup power, so even in stormy waters, intrepid seafarers and yacht owners alike can make it back to shore. 

It's not cheap being green

Silent-Yachts claims it tried to keep prices comparable with more traditional catamarans, the two-hulled style of yacht the company builds. 

The estimated price for the new Silent 120 is over $21 million, and that doesn't include add-ons like the submarine (the U-Boat Worx's NEMO sub starts at around $610,000 for a basic model) or eVTOL

That said, fuel savings and low maintenance costs add up over time, and Silent-Yachts' long warranties — including eight years for its batteries, 25 years for its solar panels, and a lifetime for its electric motors — keep risk fairly low. 

Of course, when it is time to replace a part, it shouldn't be too difficult. Silent-Yachts promises that swapping out outdated components like solar panels will be easy. Even if the billionaires buying solar-powered superyachts can afford to get a new one when the last one gets old, it's most sustainable to repair and retrofit what you already have. 

There was a 75% increase in superyacht sales from 2020 to 2021, according to The Guardian

The outlet also reports that some conventionally powered superyachts release 1,500 times more pollution than a family car annually. 

As the pollution levels of the mega-rich come under scrutiny, many may be looking to get green (and we're not talking about cash). With more sustainable options like Silent-Yachts' solar-powered boats available, the wealthy can have their cake and eat it, too. 

Boat International reports that the Silent 120 Explorer should be sea ready in 2024.

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