Monaco Yacht Show 2023 – Reflections

Some reflections on the 2023 Monaco Yacht Show S.A.M.

Sustainability was a key theme and topic of conversation and some progress is being made. This is a positive, and perhaps reflects the dawning realisation that this is not just about climate change, but the sustainability of yachting.

Hydrogen as a fuel for superyachts, especially in liquid form, has some significant challenges, and aside from the onboard considerations, the green production and infrastructure necessary will not be developed unless adopted by shipping and, to date, very little sign of that happening.

Like commercial shipping, the interest in Methanol, either as a fuel for ICE, or a carrier of Hydrogen for use in Fuel Cells, is ramping up.

Renewable diesel like HVO offers the only real solution to significantly reduce a yachts carbon emissions, though some challenges remain such as price and feedstock traceability. There are a number of yachts already using the fuel and having positive experiences, including less smoke and soot that improves the onboard experience for guests and crew.

Interest in less impactful materials and products is growing.

Despite the narrative, fuel flexibility needs to be built into to yachts in order to future proof them for alternative fuels such as Methanol. It will be impossible to upgrade due to the volumetric density of alternative fuels that would severely impact use, and come with a high cost of conversion.

Still much work to do to align with the IMO GHG reductions targets…the very least we should do!

Hybrid solutions and intelligent energy management are key, but alone are not the solution.

Energy consumption and emissions data is still not being taken seriously as evidence-based measure of progress.

Technological readiness of alternative solutions is improving.

Total cost of ownership is still ignored when it comes to motivating owners towards more energy efficient yachts. Regulations and carbon taxes (all likely to happen) are not being factored into future resale value.

Reputational management of yacht ownership was on the radar of a large brokerage.

Yachting is increasingly under the spotlight.

Training, like that provided by ETYC can make a real difference and congratulations to those yachts at the forefront of this. Crew are key in reducing energy demand and making positive environmental changes.

I come away from this show a little more optimistic, but acutely aware we still have a mountain to climb. So, between now and the next show, I look forward to hearing about the initiatives the industry is taking to accelerate our transition to low carbon yachting.

Finally, superyachts are, after all, the platform for the “exceptional” built by artisans, manned by professionals, and supported by a whole eco-system – we should do our utmost to protect the planet, and our future!



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