Types of Motor Yachts by Shape or Deck Configuration

25 November 2015

To have a better idea of which type of motor yacht would best suit your needs; your Allied Yachting broker can advise you on the various options available on the market for new construction or pre-owned vessels. In the meantime, here is a summarized guide to the different types of yachts by shape or deck configuration, as they’re called in the Mediterranean:



Tri-Deck yachts have 3 levels of enclosed living space. There is also a large flybridge or skylounge above the 3 enclosed decks and multiple other open areas for lounging. Thus, tri-decks are built in 4 levels in total.

Although smaller Tri-Decks exist nowadays, the term is typically used in yachts in excess of 120 feet.

For mega-yachts, the sky is the limit in terms of building in height. Meaning mega-yachts are sometimes built with multiple decks, depending on their size. Some of them even carry a helicopter deck, called “heli deck”, usually located astern and always kept clear of obstacles hazardous to a helicopter landing.


This is a yacht that has an area on the top of the superstructure that provides views all around the vessel, carrying an additional helm station there as well as seating and lounging space.

The flybridge deck is generally equipped either with a bimini top or a hard-top. It gives the captain or the owner a place to pilot the boat with better visibility in open air and entertain guests while socializing in this additional deck. Depending on their size, some flybridge yachts can carry a Jacuzzi.

There is a large amount of enclosed living space on the main deck, staterooms on the lower deck and a large outdoor dining space on the transom. There are two helm stations, one on the bridge and one below, providing the owner or captain versatility to go wherever convenient, due to weather or to allow privacy for guests.

To increase optimization of space and piloting visibility, some flybridge yachts will be configured with a “Raised Pilothouse” (RPH), which is an intermediate deck, comprising the main helm, between the main deck and the flybridge.


This kind of yacht is of a size varying from sports cruisers to luxury yachts and even up to superyachts and they are designed to go fast. This means that their engines are large and their lines very aerodynamic. These yachts are for thrills out at sea, combining luxury with an adrenaline rush. Noticeable for their distinctive style, they are the very sleek, expensive luxury sports cars of the sea.

They are adapted for those yachting enthusiasts who want to explore more of the coastline in a shorter amount of time. Having been very popular in the past, their high fuel consumption is definitely a handicap nowadays.

Performance or sport yachts come with a single deck above the hull and living quarters below. Sometimes, they also have a small flybridge called “sport bridge” and other characteristics define them such as “open”, when the cockpit is open to the exterior, or “hard-top”, when the cockpit is enclosed with doors from the exterior. They normally will also have an opening sunroof so the sunbathing area is increased into the living area. There is only one helm station on the main deck.

Click here for Perfomance or Sports Yachts we propose in our listings.


Recreational trawlers are pleasure boats which are habitually of classic style and resemble fishing trawlers. They can also be called cruising trawlers or trawler yachts.

A trawler always has a displacement hull for load-carrying capacity. Recreational trawlers, on the other hand, are as likely to have a semi-displacement hull. These boats are gaining popularity amongst buyers. These models typically have a cruising speed of 7–9 knots. Their maximum speed is often no more than 10–12 knots. Trawlers need only a small engine or twin small engines. Trawlers are most often offered in lengths ranging from 35 to 60 feet (11 to 18 m) (or more) long. Most are built for long term cruising of regional destinations. Combined with large fuel tanks, they can cruise far before needing to be refueled. They can accommodate between 2 to 8 persons for many days and can be a permanent home.

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Originally, a number of the first generation of luxury expedition and explorer yachts were converted from old commercial ships like tugboats, salvage boats, fishing vessels or retired navy ships. In this category, most of today’s yachts are still inspired by their shapes and design with a very tall bow and much lower transom, to be capable of launching craft such as submersibles, bathyscaphes and even helicopters.

A new breed of robust, enduring, self-sufficient and capable yachts have been created that are just as comfortable navigating up to icebergs in the Arctic as they are sailing up a tropical jungle river. In spite of the obvious heritage from commercial offshore vessels, the new expedition and explorer vessels are large and carry all the luxury characteristics that you’d expect on a superyacht moored in Cannes or Monaco.

Worldwide, yacht designers and shipbuilders are developing this new breed of offshore adventurer attending to yachting enthusiast’s primal instinct to explore, building boats with the range and power to reach some of the most remote locations in the world and pass through the roughest seas and climate conditions, in comfort and luxury.


In this category, many futuristic projects are being proposed out there, but the most popular (and tested as reliable) multihull motor yachts in the Mediterranean are the Power Catamarans. The Power Catamarans are an interesting alternative to all categories above, because their vast flat center decks make them ideal for entertaining plenty of guests on board. They are also great for accessing remote coastal areas and shallow waters, as they tend to be highly maneuverable and with a small draft. Powered by twin engines, one in each hull, they glide through the waves with ease and are generally very stable vessels.

Please surf through our entire website listings of motor yachts by shape or deck configuration.