Today in ultra-billionaire news, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has purchased a modest 100-foot schooner as he looks forward to a quieter life and hours of reflection on the open seas … LOL, just kidding.
The world’s richest man is reportedly buying a boat, though that word feels inappropriately sensible for the monstrosity going to Captain Bezos: a 417-foot superyacht that’s so massive it has its own “support yacht” with a helipad, according to Bloomberg. The estimated cost, not including the boat’s support boat, is $500 million.
The luxury yacht’s Dutch manufacturer, Oceanco, hasn’t released many details about the vessel, called Project 721. The company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Half a billion bucks is an inconceivable amount of money for most people, but it’s a small fraction of the $75 billion that Bezos gained in 2020 alone. His total net worth stands just shy of $200 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Amazon (AMZN) stock, the primary source of Bezos’ fortune, rose a staggering 75% last year as the pandemic upended consumer behavior in the company’s favor — and Wall Street, flush with easy cash thanks to the Federal Reserve, piled into tech stocks.
Bezos wasn’t alone: US billionaires collectively gained $1.1 trillion in 2020, making them nearly 40% richer than before the pandemic hit.
Bezos likely put his boat order in well before the pandemic, but news of his extravagant new toy is putting a spotlight on yet another industry benefiting from the stock market boom and the pandemic’s disruption of social interaction.
US boat sales hit a 13-year high last year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association — safe, socially distant fun for those who can afford it. Those sales reflect more-familiar models of powerboats and other watercraft favored by mere mortals without 10-figure fortunes to their names, but the trend tracks among the yachting class as well. With no galas or lavish parties to attend, the rich are setting sail (or their crews are, anyway).
Recent quarters for superyachts have been record-breaking, one analyst told Bloomberg. Makers of extravagant yachts can barely keep up. “It’s impossible to get a slot in a new-build yard,” the analyst said. “They’re totally booked.”