Colour is a significant contributing factor when creating a timeless looking yacht and is one of the reason so many owners default to having an exterior finish in a traditional colour such as white or navy blue. However, there has been an increase in recent years of unusual and more vibrant colours on the hull, and in some cases the superstructure. But what effect does this have on the value of the vessel and what are the main considerations?

“An owner shouldn’t be frightened about doing something a little different with the colour of their yacht,” says charter broker at Ocean Independence Paula Barber, who looks after Aurelia. The Heesen Yachts-built yacht with its striking blue and orange hull has had a number of successful charters since she was launched in 2011 and is a good example of an owner willing to be daring. Barber explains that while the styling of the exterior is attractive, without the bold colour scheme she would be less interesting to the market. “I think the colour definitely helps and enhances the appeal of the yacht, as without it she would become just another 37m yacht with nice lines.”


Although distinctive, Aurelia is not alone with 85m Sunrays, 77m Smeralda, 55m Quinta Essentia, 49.5m La Pellegrina and 33.7m Benita Blue being other examples of colourful projects across the LOA spectrum that have been delivered within the past five years. JoyMe, a 50m built at Philip Zepter Yachts, goes a step further with colour featured on the superstructure as well, while the designers of 77.7m Tango took the reverse approach with a white hull and a silver superstructure finish.

The key though, as Ocean Independence broker Jeroen Minnema points out, is to get the right balance between standing out, producing a quality finish and not being too bold with your choice. “Something that stands out from the crowd will be easier to sell and promote as you attract more people but the finish has to be done in the right way,” he broker says.

Oceanco’s yacht design manager, Patrick Casanova agrees and believes that certain yacht designs are better suited to a coloured hull. “The hull colour forms a significant part of the design, contributing to the overall balance of the yacht," he says. "I think a yacht should always have a coloured hull, as it improves the aesthetics of the hull and it shows off the superstructure better. This point is even more valid now with yachts that are becoming increasingly long. By painting the lower part of the profile in colour, it assists in keeping long sleek lines on the horizon.”

Casanova goes on to tell us that the hull colour characterises the yacht and thus requires a subtle balance between innovation and maintaining a timeless quality. Ultimately, this in turn restricts colour options. In the case of Sunrays, the striking design would have been elegant and modern in just a plain white finish. However, designer Björn Johansson was able to make the exterior significantly more eye catching by applying teal to the hull to accentuate the lines of the bulwark on the upper deck on the superstructure.


However, you jump on the phone to your designer to request new renders, Minnema raises the issue of cost and temperature control. The darker the colour of your yacht, the more heat it will absorb, increasing pressure on hotel services to keep your yacht cool.

“It is a costly and painstaking process to paint a yacht in any particular colour,” continues Minnema. “If you decide to use a colour other than the usual white or navy blue, it becomes even more difficult and costly. Not forgetting of course that many shipyards don’t even want to look at metallic colours. This is mainly due to gloss finishing issues and repair costs.”

While colourful exteriors grow in popularity there are still modern looking yachts that have been built within the last few years with a completely white exterior such as 85.5m Vibrant Curiosity and 180m Azzam.

Colour plays a vital role in conveying personality and this is as key on the exterior as it is on the interior. Like many aspects of the yachting industry, it takes time for new ideas and technology to be adopted.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see even more vibrantly coloured yachts in the coming five to ten years, as the options for customisation continue to grow,” concludes Minnema. “In the case of Engelberg, even the radar domes have colour on them, which I think is something we’ll see more of in the future.” 

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