Financial experts often say that buying a boat is one of the worst wastes of money there is. Aside from the cost of the boat itself, boats are also very expensive to insure, maintain and fuel (marine engines can be serious gas hogs)—and aside from all of that, you also have to take things like dock fees and boating accessories into account. And on top of all that, most boat owners only use their boats a few times per year (usually during the summer months) and it's easy to conclude that, unless you're a serious boating enthusiast (or at least live in place where you can use it on a regular basis), most boat owners aren't getting their money's worth. Hence why people often say things like "Boat: A hole in the water into which money is poured" or "BOAT: Bust Out Another Thousand."
So how do you instantly establish that a character is filthy rich? Show them in the possession of a luxury yacht that's easily worth several million dollars.
Compare Upper-Class Equestrian, since horses are also expensive to own and maintain, and so horseback riding for leisure is similarly used as a hobby for the wealthy.
- An E-Trade commercial showing a guy partying on his huge yacht is capped off with the caption, "The dumbest guy in high school just bought a boat", indicating that playing the stock market will make you rich enough to afford such a luxury.
- The Man Your Man Could Smell Like commercials featuring the Old Spice guy: He's on a boat. With Diamonds. And tickets to that thing you love.
- In Caddyshack, Judge Smails is christening his new yacht, when Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) shows up in his much larger boat. He then shoves his driver out of the way, put its engines into high gear, and tries to park near Smails' party, causing much damage (and Hilarity) in the process.
Al: Hey, Smails! My dingy's bigger than your whole boat!
- One scene in The Dark Knight shows Bruce Wayne aboard a yacht along with several gorgeous, bikini-clad women.
- Dawn of the Dead (2004): Steve is one. The survivors use his yacht to escape in the end.
- Her Name Is Cat: Part of the Falling-in-Love Montage between Star-Crossed Lovers Cat (a Professional Killer) and Michael (a Cowboy Cop assigned to track her down) takes place on Michael's expensive private yacht. Which features a lot, a lot, a lot of lingering shots of Cat (played by supermodel Almen Wong) in bikinis. Unfortunately, Mood Whiplash quickly follows when Michael's superiors tracks them down and have the marine police surround Michael's yacht which is right in the middle of the ocean, arresting Cat the morning after Cat and Michael spends a whole night making out.
- In Hot Tub Time Machine Lou exploits his knowlege of the future to become a billionaire. At the end of the film he is seen aboard a huge yacht named "Violator."
- Tony Stark has a yacht in the Iron Man movies.
- James Bond:
- In Thunderball Largo owns a yacht, the Disco Volante (Flying Saucer). Its front part is a detachable hydrofoil.
- In Casino Royale (2006) Le Chiffre is first seen playing poker aboard a yacht.
- In Skyfall Bond is taken to the Big Bad's hideout aboard a sailing yacht.
- Milton Krest in Licence to Kill, on top of being a marine biologist.
- Scaramanga of The Man with the Golden Gun owns a Chinese junk.
- In Our Miss Brooks, the cinematic series finale of the series of the same name, rich newspaper editor Lawrence Nolan invites Miss Brooks aboard his large motor yacht, The Paradise.
- The main plot of Overboard (and its gender-flipped remake) kicks off when the Rich Bitch falls off her yacht and contracts a case of Easy Amnesia.
- Hackensacker in The Palm Beach Story has a pretty big yacht.
- Parodied in Secondhand Lions. At the end Walter and the Sheik's grandson are laughing at the large yacht that one salesman sold Hub and Garth, which is now floating on their tiny pond.
Sheik's Grandson: I see they spent my grandfather's money wisely.
- In Richard Linklater's Slacker one vignette involves a woman who keeps berating passing men not to "traumatize women with sexual intercourse." She knows this because "I'm a medical doctor, I own a mansion and a yacht."
- In Some Like It Hot, Joe seduces Sugar Kane by pretending to be a millionaire with a yacht anchored offshore. Fortunately, Osborne, a real millionaire, is in love with Daphne (really Joe's friend Jerry Disguised in Drag), so while he takes Daphne for a night on the town, Joe sneaks Sugar into Osborne's yacht and pretends it's his.
- First scene in the movie Superman Returns is Lex Luthor swindling an old woman out of her fortune, and among the many things he obtained with it there is a huge yacht-complete with helipad, piano, top-of-the-line electronics, enough room to work on a plan that could destroy the American continent without feeling constricted...
- The Greater-Scope Villain of the first Taken film owns a yacht; it's even where the climax occurs.
- The Tropical Vacation epilogue of Trading Places shows Dan Akroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis relaxing on a yacht only a short distance from shore.
- The end of Weekend at Bernie's II shows the heroes owning a yacht and sailing off with an all female crew.
- The Wolf of Wall Street: Jordan Belfort owns a particularly big one, called Naomi. His own greed and selfishness sees it destroyed in a storm.
- Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class has a yacht (and a submarine) that he keeps in Miami harbor.
- Not "yacht", but in You've Got Mail, Joe and his father are clearly wealthy enough to own boats nice enough to serve as mini-apartments that they move into after breaking up with their respective girlfriends.
- Referenced in this joke:
You know you are a rich person if your friend asks you, "Can I borrow your luxury yacht?" You know you are very rich if you can answer, "Yes." And you know you are richer than Croesus if you instead ask in return, "Which one?"
- Since Charles Stross' The Jennifer Morgue is a love-letter to James Bond, this was bound to show up somewhere. Ellis Billington takes it Up to Eleven with the Mabuse, a "yacht" which is actually a demilitarized former Russian Navy Krivak III-class missile frigate.
- Zig-zagged in Paladin of Shadows. Mike winds up owning a yacht in the first book, but it's small enough that he can run it on his own and it's essentially the only thing he owns. By A Deeper Blue, he and his team are using a yacht that's big enough to have a helicopter hangar on it, but it's so ludicrously expensive he's just renting it for the operation.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves, J. Washburn Stoker, who recently inherited a huge fortune, has what Bertie refers to as a "whacking great yacht". It later becomes a plot point when Bertie gets imprisoned on the yacht and has to escape.
- The Widow of Desire starts with a Fashion Show for the main character's fur coat company being held aboard her husband's yacht. After he is murdered, she learns the company is in worse trouble than she thought after the boat is repossessed.
- In one episode of 30 Rock, Tracy invites everyone to his yacht for a party. Only it turns out the yacht is not his, and everyone is arrested for trespassing.
- The Bluth family from Arrested Development have a yacht that features in the first half of the first season, most notably as the place where Gob is living whenever he's estranged from his girlfriend. Michael keeps trying to sell it to help relieve some of the family's financial burden, and Gob features it in a magic illusion in which he pledges to make it disappear. He simply sinks it, although he assures Michael that they'll still get the money out of its insurance.
- Arrow kicks off the entire plot with the sinking of the rich protagonist's dad's yacht.
- Jimmy Wong, a minor character in the Castle episode "Sucker Punch", claims in his infomercial that he came to America on a boat, and now "I own a boat!" The second one may be true, but he's really from Danville, California and affects a Chinese accent to attract customers.
- Conan: In one of the interviews with Bill Burr, when discussing the doping scandal:
Bill: And those guys who run that filthy sport, who were sitting there going like, "Oh, this is absolutely, this is ridiculous, he doesn't represent cycling", are they going to return all the money that they made off of that guy? Huh, they gonna turn in their yachts? They're not gonna.
- Spoofed with Bobby from Cougar Town. He owns a modest houseboat... and little else. He can't even afford to keep it in the marina, so he just leaves it in a parking lot and lives inside. Eventually the others collect enough money to get the boat to dock, but the moment it hits the water it sinks.
- Downton Abbey: Lady Grantham's brother Harold Levinson is a Millionaire Playboy whose primary pastime is yachting. As his mother put it:
Martha: "His idée fixe is yachts. Bigger yachts, faster yachts. Something with yachts."
- Several episodes of Hawaii Five-0 feature yacht-owning haoles as victims and/or bad guys of the week.
- How I Met Your Mother: Zoey's (ex) husband George Van Smoot loves boats. He even dubs himself "The Captain".
- JAG: It is mentioned, in "Wedding Bell Blues", when Bud and Harriet's future in-laws meets that her wealthy father owns a yacht.
"Big" Bud Roberts: So, Rollo, I hear you have a yacht.
Roland Sims: Well, a small yacht.
Lydia Sims: It is not that small, Roland.
- Pair of Kings: When Brady and Boomer were arguing about each other's spending habits, Boomer called Brady out for having a yacht collection. Brady told Boomer to stop at this point because, as Kings, they might take the arguing way further otherwise.
- Power Rangers Time Force: During a flashback from when Wes and Eric were Prep School students, a rich kid invited Wes to a yacht party. Wes declined because Eric wasn't invited.
- In The Pretender episode "Collateral Damage", Lenny Duc claims in his infomercial that he came to America on a tiny boat, "and now I own big boat!" We never actually get to see the big boat, and it may be as fictional as the tiny boat (Lenny later admits he actually came to America in an airplane).
- Despite focusing on a low-income family, Showtime's Shameless (US) has featured several yachts: Jasmine's sugar daddy held a yacht party, and Steve's father-in-law, a Brazilian drug lord, also owns a yacht.
- The Sopranos: Although his boat isn't incredibly big or luxurious, Tony's Stugots still qualifies as a small yacht—and as a successful capo and then Underboss and Acting Boss of the family, he's definitely quite well-off. He's still clearly Nouveau Riche, though—"Stugots" is a working-class pronunciation of the Italian insult sti cazzi or sto cazzo, meaning "these cocks" (i.e. "deez nutz").
- On Succession, the Roys own a superyacht, and the season 2 finale takes place on it.
- The Troop: Kirby once said all he knew about International Law was about tiger importation and yacht parties.
- On Wiseguy, international Diabolical Mastermind Mel Profitt lives on a mega-yacht big enough to sport its own helipad.
- In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, one sign of Irene's upper-class lifestyle is her family's possession of a yacht. When the less affluent characters meet up in a graveyard, she questions- without irony- why they couldn't have hired a yacht instead.
- Rogue Trader characters are defined by their enormous fortunes and equally enormous, super-opulent ships. Although unlike most examples on this page, the ship isn't functioning as a pure money sink: the general economy's so awful there are incredible fortunes to be made for the few permitted to trade outside the Imperium's influence, but outside that inflouence it takes an enormous and powerful ship to survive as a trader... and Imperium tech assumes "super-opulent" is a necessary prerequisite for "expensively powerful".
- In BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!, Kokoro's family owns a cruise, the KT Smile. Which Kokoro can just casually book for herself and her friends and then set sail on it on the same day. Said cruise features a casino, a gift shop, and a restaurant where the chefs will make anything asked of them.
- Bully: Subverted with Bryce Montrose - despite being a member of the club and making contacts there, his family is the only family at Golf and Yacht Club without a boat.
- Fallen London: At one point in the story, you'll find yourself in need of ocean-based transport. One of your options is a Majestic Pleasure Yacht, currently in the possession of one Mr Apples, a Master of the Bazaar, known for (among other things) a love of gambling. Actually winning it off him is That One Sidequest — the final test is three simultaneous dice rolls against your Watchful, your Persuasive, and your luck. You need to bring a small fortune in rare items just to be allowed to try, and if you lose any of the three rolls, you lose a sizable chunk of that fortune. The playerbase generally agrees that if you really want the Yacht, you're far better off just paying 20 Fate (a bit under $5) to get it in one go.
- Grand Theft Auto series:
- Near the beginning of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy attends a yacht party thrown by Colonel Cortez and attended by Vice City's rich and famous.
- Michael from Grand Theft Auto V had one, which Jimmy sold to pay off some drug dealers. Michael and Franklin manage to save Jimmy, but the yacht is taken away. Michael never did use it anyway - he confesses to Franklin that he only had it as a symbol of status, "just to look at it".
- The Executives And Other Criminals update for GTA Online lets you become one with your own "Super Yacht", which you can use as a mobile offshore mansion. Of course, the yachts are very expensive to buy and maintain and, true to form, the online catalogue descriptions mock you for even glancing at anything other than the largest, most expensive model.
"'I'd like to buy a gigantic Super Yacht, but the budget option will be fine', said no one ever."
- Saints Row: The last mission of the main story of the first game begins with corrupt city alderman Richard Hughes inviting the Playa to his private yacht for a meeting.
- Pearl from Splatoon 2 mentions during one discussion for the Manta Maria stage that the ship itself was given to her on her sixth birthday.
Marina: I knew you grew up rich, but geez!
- In Super Mario Bros. Princess Daisy owns a luxury cruise ship known as The Daisy Cruiser. It has appeared as a race course in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart 7, and can also be seen in the background of other courses from Double Dash!! and onwards. It also appears as an unlockable baseball stadium in Mario Super Sluggers. It's even been known as one of (if not) the first racetracks dedicated to her.
- Lili from Tekken, heir and daughter to the owner of Rochefort Enterprises, has an enormous yacht. In Street Fighter X Tekken she argues with her teammate Asuka why they don't just use it to get to the South Pole (where the game's central MacGuffin is located), and Asuka replies 'That would be like painting an massive target on our backs'.
- Torn City: Obtaining a yacht is a mark of considerable status in Torn City and even unlocks an award for anyone who manages to get one.
- One of the endings in MechWarrior 2 Mercenaries (if you end the game with a lot of money) is of the player character watching the sun set from the deck of a yacht while wearing a ring with a massive gem on it.
- In Jackfilms' parody of the Sham Wow infomercials, Lance Bass demonstrated the many different things you could wipe with your ShamWow - "Wipe your car, wipe your boat, wipe your RV, wipe your other boat..."
- The Onion: "Rising Income Inequality Causing Wealthy Americans To Take On Second Sailboat"
- Rodney is one now, and conducts his arms deals from its cabin, which has a pool of alligators.
- Skorpio, an extremely fancy and opulent yacht filled with all sorts of amenities.
Lana: Hello! It's a MEGA-yacht!
- In one Cyberchase "For Real" short, Harry has an Imagine Spot about being rewarded with a yacht for finding an old lady's diamond. He does find the diamond... and gets "rewarded" with a lollipop.
- Family Guy:
- In an early episode, Peter wins a boat—which he trades in for a Mystery Box.
A boat's a boat, but a Mystery Box could be anything—it could even be a boat! And you know how much I've wanted one of those.
- Peter's wealthy father-in-law, Carter, also has at least one yacht at his disposal, as shown in several episodes.
- In an early episode, Peter wins a boat—which he trades in for a Mystery Box.
- Duchess de la Roche, the wealthy female robot Bender dates in the Futurama episode "A Flight to Remember." She doesn't just own a yacht—she is a yacht.
- Hey Arnold!: Rhonda Wellington Lloyd and her parents, Buckley and Brooke, come from historically wealthy families, and it was mentioned in one episode that before Rhonda's parents got married, Buckley owned three yachts—although Buckley had to sell one of them to pay for his and Brooke's multi-continent honeymoon.
- Kaijudo: Arthur Underhill has a yacht named "Piper" (after his ex-wife).
- In The Little Rascals episode "Yachtsa' Luck", Waldo invites Darla aboard one of his father's yachts, unaware that two pirates have robbed the treasure chest thereon.
- In the Looney Tunes episode "Hare Brush", Elmer Fudd is a millionaire who "owns a mansion and a yacht". This becomes a hypnotic mantra a psychologist has him repeat after he has a mental breakdown and thinks he's a rabbit.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer and Marge go to a seminar on money management, presented by a man who (claims he) got a luxury yacht real cheap because it smells like cat pee.
- In another episode, while Homer is house-sitting for Mr. Burns, Homer throws a big party for his friends on Burns' yacht. They get attacked by Ruthless Modern Pirates.
- In Spongebob Squarepants, Squillium Fancyson, Squidward's rival who's filthy rich and twice as arrogant as Squidward is, says he owns a private yacht as well as a private lake, a private heliport, and a private island.
- Subverted in Steven Universe; when Greg becomes a millionaire, he opts to only briefly rent a boat, regarding the idea of purchasing it as a wasteful extravagance. Double Subverted when he laments that he'll need to pay the full cost of it anyway after a Gem battle sinks it.
- Superman: The Animated Series: Lex Luthor had a yacht in the episode where he turned John Corben into Metallo.
- When the Dream Team went to the Olympics in 1992, they were invited by Miami Heat owner Micky Arison to spend the day on his yacht, but then found out the air conditioning was out on his yacht, so he was bringing over his other yacht. As Magic Johnson later told Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum, "That was a valuable day for me, a lesson in life. The difference between being rich and being wealthy. The man had a backup yacht. I never forgot that."