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The Best Tenders for Yachts in 2024

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Tenders in a nutshell

A tender is a boat that services a larger vessel (referred to as the mothership ). It can take many forms and deliver a wide range of conveniences.

Historically called ‘ship’s boats, ‘ tenders have supported large vessels for centuries. They have been used for guest transfers, refuge boats, landing crafts, stowed on deck or towed astern—little has changed! 

Whilst the vast majority of tenders employed by smaller yachts are typically rigid inflatable boats, the modern-day superyacht considers a multitude of vessels indispensable.

Hull categories

We’ve been specialising in building boat tenders for over a decade, yet with such a degree of cross-over and with a seemingly endless request for custom configurations, categorising tenders remains a challenge.

Nonetheless, at the top-most level, we categorise all tenders under one of the following three hull types:

Fully Inflatable A lightweight vessel relying solely on inflation for buoyancy. 

Rigid Inflatable A vessel with a hull constructed from rigid materials such as aluminium or fibreglass, supported with an inflatable or foam collar for added buoyancy in high seas. 

Rigid   A fully rigid hull without a buoyancy collar of any type.

Tender sub-categories

In addition to hull type, we can identify most yacht tenders under the following sub-categories:

⌾ Open ⌾ Chase ⌾ Classic ⌾ Foil ⌾ Catamaran ⌾ Dive

Compass Tenders for Superyachts

What is an open tender?

An open tender is principally a single-deck boat with no enclosed cabin. Chiefly a guest transfer boat with ample seating both forward and aft, open tenders are day boats without accommodation above or below deck.

While we see many open tenders dedicated to guest transfers, by their very nature, they can also incorporate centre console boats, some dive boats, landing crafts, and even limousines.

An olive green chase boat carving through the ocean with a woman on the bow

What is a chase tender?

As the name suggests, a chase tender—which can also be an open tender—follows the mothership.

Chase boats can take on many guises since their main attribute is size. As a result, they are generally not stored on board but instead towed astern.

Often very angular in design, with excellent seaworthiness, chase boats need to be able to withstand the rigours of being towed by the mothership. Whilst a lot of large chase tenders can be operated entirely independently, towing very long distances (such as transatlantic) is not advised.

Riva Classiche

What is a classic tender?

Tenders with the hallmark of classic design are styled with an exquisite, continuous line from the head to the heel.

Echoing the lacquered freeboards of a Riva Ariston or the flawless veneers of a Hinckley picnic boat, a modern classic from the likes of J Craft or Wajer will feature a gracefully tapered form, avoiding right angles altogether.

A small boat hydrofoiling across the ocean

What is a foiling tender?

Combining thrust with lift (as an aeroplane does), high-speed tenders have the opportunity also to become airborne.

Less drag, higher speeds and lower energy consumption are the key advantages, although from a guest comfort perspective, being elevated above a big swell scores very highly.

Linx 30 Catamaran Tender

What is a catamaran tender?

Largely associated with utility boats, catamaran tenders (not to be confused with catamaran sailboats) present superyacht owners with a number of major advantages over their mono-hulled counterparts.

Favoured as a utility vessel, a twin-hulled catamaran can be built much wider than an equivalent-length vessel with a mono hull. It offers increased stability and, therefore, a more comfortable ride in bigger seas. Thanks to a smaller surface area, there’s also less drag, which results in faster speeds and higher efficiency.

ROAM Adventure RIBs

What is a dive tender?

We build tenders optimised specifically for scuba diving, however, given the range of crossover in the market, the likes of amphibious boats, beachlanders, some centre consoles, landing crafts, open tenders, RIBs and utility boats can also work perfectly well for diving.

Storage, floor space and, most importantly, the convenience of easy access to the water are key attributes of a versatile dive boat tender.

Hodgdon Beachlander Tender

The right tender for the job

So far we’ve categorised our tenders — now to define which tender is best suited to which scenario.

Amphibious Tender

✓ Rigid ✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Tow or stow

Sharp stones, steep drop-offs, inclement weather, and changing tides needn’t worry your crew when you have the luxury of an amphibious tender. Visit almost any secluded cove or spit with virtually no risk of becoming stranded or beached.

Go where other boats simply wouldn’t dare, landing on shorelines in rough breaks and on rugged terrain. Be sure to do your homework, though, as most beaches and marinas will require permission to stroll out the sea on an amphibious tender.

A man is throwing a ball to a boat on the beach, while tending to the yacht.

Beachlander Tender

We are all about time spent on the water, but the sensation of stepping off a tender onto the warm sand is in itself a joy to behold. We don’t mean clambering over the side of a rib and bouncing awkwardly into the shallows. We mean stepping from a dry boat onto dry sand.

Whether you intend to spend the day in your swimmers or are off for an island excursion, getting wet feet before you begin should be a choice. 

We offer a beachlander option on all of our aluminium rigid inflatable boats .

Hodgdon Crossover Beachlander

Classic Daysailer

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Classic ✓ Stow

Strip back the layers of modernity that clothe large motor yachts and delve into a tactile sailing experience with a classic daysailer.   Built a short distance upriver from SYTT, the Spirit R30 is a daysailer that marries cinematic elegance with unparalleled craftsmanship.    Born from the same yard that graced the silver screen in iconic Bond films such as Casino Royale  and No Time To Die , this 9.2m yacht epitomises timelessness with its exquisite wooden construction.    Small sailing boats like the R30 can be de-rigged and stowed, nestled within a yacht’s garage or gracefully perched on deck.

A white boat with two motors, ideal as tenders for yachts, glides gracefully in the water.

Center Console

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Tow or stow

Synonymous with the Florida Keys, the traditional centre console (or center console in the US), is typically a single-deck boat with the helm in the middle.

Geared towards recreational fishing, the centre console maximises the floor space while, crucially, allowing for full access around all sides of the boat. On smaller boats, seating is often sacrificed for floor space, while larger centre consoles fitted with cabins creep into the Sports Fisher sector.

Not intended to be an especially dry boat, both crew and guests are often exposed to the elements. The upshot is that centre consoles and, more so, sports fishers, tend to offer huge power, which is especially useful for long day trips from the mainland.

HCB Center Console Boat

High-performance

‘Go-fast’ boats, as the name suggests, are built exclusively for speed. More commonly known as ‘cigarette boats’ due to their shape, go-fast boats are not for the faint-hearted. 

A craze immortalised by the Cigarette Racing Team, modern-day cigar boats can achieve speeds of over 100 knots. Largely impractical as a conventional superyacht tender, the range of high-performance boats have thankfully branched more into Centre Consoles. In turn, this presents superyacht owners with a high-performance chase boat of an almost unimaginable spec.

Cigarette Boat Tirranna Hardtop

Landing Craft

✓ Rigid ✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Catamaran ✓ Dive ✓ Tow or stow

A vessel with a very military feel, a landing craft tender is designed to carry everything, including vehicles, from yacht to shore. 

With our ROAM Landing Craft, a button-operated super-strength bow ramp enables drive-on, drive-off capabilities, ideal for disembarking heavy items where lifting facilities are not available at shore.

Our landing crafts are built with a catamaran hull for enhanced stability. We also manufacture high-quality fold-up motorised boats.

Landing Craft Dark Blue Central Console

Limousine Tender

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Classic ✓ Foil ✓ Stow

Surely the ultimate statement of sophistication — the limousine tender is the pinnacle mode of guest transfer.

A range of 6-14m and accommodating up to eighteen guests in consummate luxury, a fully enclosed guest cabin will often mirror the furnishings of the mothership.

Compass Tender with Mothership

Picnic Boat

✓ Rigid ✓ Chase ✓ Classic ✓ Stow

If leisure cruising and lunching were your only pursuit, you’d surely have a picnic boat. The quintessential day cruiser, a picnic boat is unequivocally designed for rest and relaxation on the water.

Inspired by the lobster boats of Maine, where the sloping rails from bow to stern made it easier for lobstermen to haul in their traps, the symbolic Picnic Boat represents everything exciting and romantic about a day out on the water.

Hinckley Yachts Picnic Boat

Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)

✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Dive ✓ Tow or stow

The workhorse tender of any yacht is the Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). Robust, versatile, and highly manoeuvrable, RIBs typically offer speed, buoyancy, and good handling on high seas. 

A foam or inflatable collar provides extra buoyancy in the event of taking on water, while in the case of RIB boats —which have a high deadrise—also acts as a spray rail for keeping the deck dry. Popular with superyachts, RIBs can be towed or stowed and used for a wide range of purposes.

ROAM 8 Adenture RIB for sale

✓ Rigid ✓ Open ✓ Dive ✓ Stow

Nothing allows us to explore an affinity with water quite like the experience of wakeboarding, wake surfing and water skiing.

We specialise in wake boat customisation, supplying specifically to superyachts.

Woman wakeboarding on a Nautique S25

SOLAS Rescue Tender

✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Inflatable ✓ Stow

In accordance with the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), all ships over 500GT (typically 50m+) must carry at least one fully compliant SOLAS Rescue Vessel (and a complement of life rafts). The rescue vessel must be stowed onboard and cannot be towed astern or located on a support vessel.

SOLAS Rescue Vessels must be able to carry five seated persons and a person lying on a stretcher. They must also have an automatic self-righting capability and the engine must be restartable following a capsize. Stable in a seaway (and deployable when the mothership is doing 5 knots), rescue boats may be either rigid or inflated and need to be operable in water that is 1-30°C. They also need to be able to start in -30°C air temperature.

First adopted in 1914, the SOLAS Convention was initiated as a direct response to the Titanic disaster. The Convention in use today is often referred to as the “SOLAS, 1974, as amended”. 

For any help and advice relating to SOLAS requirements, contact our team who have a depth of knowledge on the subject.

SOLAS Lifeboats

✓ Rigid ✓ Stow Unlike a SOLAS Rescue Vessel that can be inflatable or rigid hull, a lifeboat must have the latter.

Painted bright orange—or Pantone 144—a lifeboat can have a LOA no less than 7.3m.

Pascoe SOLAS For Sale 01

Sports Fisher

✓ Rigid ✓ Tow

A close relative of both the Central Console and High-performance categories, a Sports Fisher is a dedicated recreational fishing boat. Despite the wide range of boats within this category, the Flybridge Sports Fisher is the most synonymous with the name. 

Large boats, often up to 25m, the archetypal fisher is perfectly suited to lengthy, deep-sea fishing trips. Typically built with berths, heads, a galley and a tower (perhaps even a live bait tank, too), a Sports Fsher is for serious big game fishing enthusiasts.

It’s quite a commitment for a superyacht when a large open or utility tender with rod holders would probably be just as effective if big game fishing was less of a priority.

HCB Sports Fisher

Utility Tender

✓ Rigid Inflatable ✓ Inflatable ✓ Open ✓ Chase ✓ Catamaran ✓ Dive ✓ Tow or stow

A utility tender is the most versatile boat on the list. Ticking almost every box, a utility boat is somewhat open to interpretation. As much an entire category as it is an individual tender, a utility boat could easily take the form of a landing craft or open RIB.

Both promote an open deck space and satisfy the needs of crew in all manner of tasks, including the general movement of equipment and vehicles, refuge and provision runs, and guest and crew transfers.

ROAM Landing Craft Deck

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  • Cars, Jets & Yachts

The Ultimate Tenders to Pair With Your Superyacht

The demand for high-end chase boats has increased tenfold in the past decade.

By Miriam Cain

Riva Anniversario tender

From the classic mahogany Riva to Pascoe’s custom chase boats and even Damen Yachting ’s support vessels, the size and range of superyacht tenders is a wide-ranging term that is growing in tandem with the ever-increasing size of superyachts. While tenders remain a necessity for transport to and from the shore to your yacht , what kind of tender do you need when you want to go exploring?

The demand for chase boats has certainly increased tenfold in the past decade, as owners look to explore further afield while also expanding their toy list for increased fun. Whether your preference is for a custom-built chase boat to match the mother ship or a floating helipad to escort you to remote locations, there really is no need to settle for the middle ground when it comes to your superyachting experience.

[See also: The Best Luxury Hotels With Private Yachts]

Wallytender48, Wally Yachts

Best for: Avante-garde design

wally yachts

Back in the early aughts, when the flagship of the custom-built Wallytender was launched, it caused a stir for its avant-garde design and size. Many say it was the original Wallytender that was in fact responsible for a large tender-market segment that has grown in size. And it’s a stir that continues, with the Wally-Ferretti Group alliance revamping the Wallytender line with the Wallytender48.

An evolution of the now iconic Wallytender, the new model is even bigger and serves two purposes — chase boat and overnight cruiser. Practical and stylish, the Wallytender48 is powered by Volvo IPS engines and glides across the open seas with ease. Wally’s trademark vertical bow serves as both a wave piercer when cruising at speed and as a visual aesthetic that pays homage to Wally’s DNA.

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The functional and fashionable exterior also features an abundance of space, the highlights of which are the large sunpads located both bow and stern, and the flexible alfresco dining/helm station. The classic and modern interior is sumptuous, with luxurious finishes and a choice of color palettes used throughout its double bed and lounge area.

Not one to rest on its laurels, Wally goes into its 30th year with the launch of the Wallypower50. “The Wallypower50 is a key addition to the range, serving as a link between the Wallytenders and the Wallypowers,” says Stefano de Vivo, managing director of Wally Yachts. “As such, we have imbued it with everything that both ranges offer, and more besides — the Wallypower50 sets a new standard for being flexible, practical, dynamic and, of course, iconic.”

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Riva aquarama, riva yachts.

Best for: Owning a coveted classic

tender boat for yacht

Emblematic of the glamour of yachting, the Riva Aquarama is possibly the most stylish superyacht accessory available. Launched in 1962, this wooden speedboat firmly cemented its iconic status just a few years later when it became the day boat of choice for the Hollywood jet set and European royalty alike — the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Monaco’s Grimaldi family were regularly seen riding the waves along the coastline of the French Riviera .

Over the next few decades, a total of 760 Aquaramas were built, 650 of which are still in use. This limited-edition number, combined with the quality of the original build, leaves the Aquarama as one of the most classic, sought-after tenders in the world. In fact, over the decades it has been named by the media as the ‘Best Runabout Ever’ and recently had an entire coffee-table book dedicated solely to the model (Riva Aquarama, published by Assouline ).

Riva even created a limited-edition Riva Anniversario in honor of Riva’s 180th anniversary in 2022, and as a tribute to the Aquarama. Taking cues from the beloved run-around, the Anniversario is a limited edition of just 18 models, making it almost as prestigious as its older sibling.

But back to the original: Aquarama’s appeal lies not only in its lofty status but its hand-built, highly varnished mahogany hull, curved lines, signature blue- and cream-colored leather upholstery, gleaming chrome, and well-thought-out detailing (for example, the transom slopes to allow for ease of access to the water, and the helm is oversized to assist fine steering at high speed — everything has been designed for hard use as well as good looks). It may be old, but the roaring twin engines still make it a fun and fast boat and one that, in good condition, can reach prices just shy of a million dollars.

Wajer 44, Wajer Yachts

Best for: Pocket yachting

Wajer yacht in the water

In response to the growing popularity of superyacht owners using their tenders for day trips and extended journeys away from the mother ship, Wajer Yachts unveiled the sleek Wajer 44 day cruiser last summer. “The Wajer 44 has 50% more volume than the Wajer 38 and, at the same time, she’s more compact than the Wajer 55,” says Dries Wajer, managing director of Wajer Yachts.

The new model certainly packs a punch into its relatively small size — luxurious, fast, safe, dry, comfortable and ergonomic, she even has room for a double bed — and no creature comforts were jettisoned here. This Dutch builder is known for innovative design and technology, and the Wajer 44 features its Wajer Owners App concept, enabling owners to connect to their boat from an app. This means they can remotely check the anchor position, drop the hydraulic swimming ladder and prepare the air-conditioning — almost as if a crew member was preparing to welcome you back on board.

Aesthetically, the Wajer 44 also has a clean and timeless design that is instantly recognizable to anyone who knows her predecessors, in particular the Wajer 77, to which she bears the most resemblance. She’s not only good-looking, but incredibly capable: Powered by twin Volvo engines, the Wajer 44 can reach a maximum speed of up to 40 knots, has a comfortable (and very respectable) cruising speed of 26 knots, and boasts a 300 nautical mile range — so you can easily jump off the mother ship in Cannes and head down the coast to the golden isles of Îles d’Hyères for the day, returning to the gilded coastline for dinner. Just remember to download the Wajer Owners App before that champagne picnic lunch, though, or you might be struggling to get back on board.

Support Vessel, Damen Yachting

Best for: Over-the-top superyacht support

tender boat for yacht

The benevolent and less glamorous older sister to the major vessel, the support vessel (or shadow boat, as it is often referred to) is designed explicitly for adventure and practicality. Whether required for long-distance cruising as a stand-alone vessel, or as a support vessel for carrying extra crew, aircraft and luxury toys, a support vessel is in effect a way to free up prime real estate on board the mother ship and offers owners more versatility.

On board a superyacht, luxury can cause functionality to be compromised, given that a yacht’s primary purpose is to cocoon its owners and guests in splendor. However, depending on the size of the vessel, this can come at a cost. It might seem that simply having a larger yacht to carry everything required in one space would be the solution for yacht owners looking to elevate the onboard experience, but the bigger the yacht, the bigger the equipment and crew requirements also — not only for operating the yacht’s critical functions but also for various toys and tenders. And the temptation is always there to use the extra space for larger, more comfortable cabins and saloons, or to add more features like spas and cinemas, which take up a lot of space.

Recognizing that a new generation of superyacht owners are looking to head off the beaten track while at the same time enjoying the option of more adrenaline-pumping activities, Damen was the first shipyard to create purpose-built luxury support vessels to boost and augment the capabilities of the yacht mother ship. The winning formula Damen created has resulted in the build of 22 unique support vessels to date. Damen calls this the “Smart Stretch,” referring to the fact that it is more economical to add a second yacht support vessel to an existing fleet than it is to upgrade, for example, from a 160-ft or 190-ft motor yacht up to a 295-ft one.

[See also: Njord’s Sarah Colbon on Ripping Up the Superyacht Rule Book]

Damen tender helicopter

“We developed the Yacht Support concept to help clients achieve more from their yachting experience,” explains Sarah Flavell, marketing manager at Damen Yachting. “Designed to complement the primary superyacht, the Yacht Support facilitates fun and adventure, as well as providing a functional platform for a heli-deck and the stowage of additional tenders, water toys and even submersibles. For owners who want all-out superyacht style but do-anything capabilities, an accompanying Yacht Support vessel is the perfect solution.”

A hybrid between a support vessel and a stand-alone yacht, with grand saloons and guest accommodation, Damen Yachting’s support vessels offer the owner the versatility of a complete yachting solution. However, no matter how customized Damen Yachting’s support vessels are, what they do have in common is their capacity and practicality. First, Damen Yachting’s support models are based on the proven platforms of the patented axe-bow hull design, specifically developed to operate in the most challenging of environments.

Ranging from 148 ft up to 246 ft (to date), their carrying capacity and range away from the mother ship is immense. Large deck spaces provide storage for a multitude of watercraft, including various RIBs, day boats, whaleboats and dive tenders, fishing boats, sailboats, jet skis, and much, much more. And of course, not everything on board needs to be water-related. Owners can specify dive centers and carry everything from four-wheel-drive land vehicles, seaplanes and one (or even two) helicopters.

Damen’s support vessels can also carry extra provisions, including refrigerated goods and spare parts — ideal when cruising off the beaten track, where there is little infrastructure for reprovisioning. This kind of autonomy opens up a world of opportunities for adventurous cruising, allowing an owner’s yacht fleet to spend many months away from base.

Compass Limousine, Compass Tenders

Best for: Custom cruising

Compass tender concept

Over two decades have passed since Compass Tenders realized the gap in the market for the ‘mini-me,’ a custom-made tender. Its quintessential Limousine line can be found accompanying (and in some cases, being carried on board) some of the largest yachts in the world , serving as a chase boat for owners who wish to explore further afield, or stored in the vast garages and large tender bays that can often be accommodated on larger megayachts.

Whether nodding to the characteristics of the mother ship to which they belong, or echoing the design, each unique Compass tender exemplifies superyacht style. “The tender often makes the first impression for the superyacht experience, and we strive to ensure that design detailing, styling and level of finish are akin to that of the mother ship,” explains Richard Faulkner, founder and CEO of Compass Tenders.

The Limousine line, which currently ranges from 30 ft up to 46 ft, features a curved coach roof with central glazing for shelter either from the sun or inclement weather, while the aft deck seating area is equally luxurious for fun while racing over the waves. Other commonplace amenities include a spacious interior with custom leather seating, ambient lighting and forward-facing cameras, but the overall style is unique to the vessel, and just about every whim can be catered to. “Compass Limousine tenders are frequently specified with intricate teak flooring, integrated premium audiovisual systems and everything you need for exceptional onboard comfort,” says Faulkner.

J Craft Torpedo, J Craft

Best for: Style and substance

J Craft tender

Designed in a similar style to Riva’s Aquarama, J Craft’s Torpedo is a stylish chase boat, handcrafted for the most sophisticated of superyacht owners. But the looks are really where the similarities end. With as much emphasis on performance as there is on vintage aesthetics, beneath the highly varnished, mahogany exterior is a modern fiberglass- and resin-infused planing hull, designed specifically to house a pair of powerful and hi-tech Volvo Penta engines. The latter allows the Torpedo R (with a maximum speed of 42 knots) and the speedy Torpedo RS (with a maximum speed of up to 47 knots) to handle a wide range of offshore conditions — which is especially reassuring, considering the first test drive is in the rough waters of the Baltic Sea.

Additionally, thanks to modern engineering at its finest, the Torpedo also provides the mother ship with a smooth and comfortable support vessel — and when first impressions count, how better to escort guests to the yacht for the first time? This is where the J Craft Torpedo excels. Its long, lean lines are finished in an abundance of lacquered wood, while the upholstery, handmade cabinetry and luxurious finishes are a tactile style triumph.

What’s more, the J Craft Torpedo has been designed to double as a self-sufficient mini-yacht, with accommodation space for up to four guests and a captain to stay on board — a dream for those who long to experience adventure on the high seas. One day you could be chasing your own yacht along the coastline of the French Riviera, while the next you could be heading off for a long weekend jaunt to Sardinia.

“From St Tropez to Mallorca , Sardinia to Ibiza , J Craft provides all-around customer service, including transportation and crew provision,” says Johan Halen, J Craft’s chief technology officer, who is also head of production and sales. “If a client wants to use his J Craft on the Venice canals, for example, or Lake Como, it can all be arranged and supported by the shipyard.”

It seems that a bespoke and personal service really runs throughout the J Craft DNA. For example, it takes more than 8,000 man-hours to build a single tender; it’s an unhurried and exacting artisanal method by talented J Craft craftsmen that guarantees the kind of exclusivity and quality demanded by superyacht owners. Since the Torpedo’s debut in 2009, J Craft has delivered 19 Torpedo Rs and three Torpedo RSes — so that is more than 176,000 man-hours in total just for these models. And if you want one, you’ll have to get on the waiting list. But it will be well worth the wait.

This article appears in the 04 Mar 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Spring 2024

Miriam Cain

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11 Tenders That Might Be Even More Fun Than Your Superyacht

These tenders range from a classic wooden aquarama to limousine models to advanced electric hydro-foilers., julia zaltzman, julia zaltzman's most recent stories.

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Pascoe TL Limousine Tender

About 60 tenders of all stripes and sizes were on display at last month’s Monaco Yacht Show , from Novamarine’s Black Shiver 160, stretching 56 feet in length (too large for most superyachts to carry on board) to the small 26-foot Lanéva Dayboat, built for performance with a responsive, electric drivetrain.

These days, most superyachts over 120 feet carry at least two tenders on board. Twenty years ago, when the average superyacht size was closer to 80 feet, that would’ve meant a RIB for the crew and a Boston Whaler for guests. Today, it’s not uncommon for gigayachts over 250 feet to have much larger, elaborate limousine tenders with a roof that slides over the cabin, an open sports tender for convenience, and even a Zodiac for heading into remote regions.

The 303-foot Tatoosh , built by Nobiskrug in 2000, was among the first yachts with a deck that carries two 39-foot tenders: a Hinckley motoryacht and a Frers daysailer. It also holds three other tenders, a safety boat and four Sea-Doos. Meanwhile, the 296-foot classic yacht Nero , also on display last month at the Monaco show, brings glamor to any occasion with its custom-built wooden Corsair tender. At the futuristic end, America’s Cup Emirates Team New Zealand last year launched a hydrogen-fuel-celled tender, Chase 0 , to show that emissions-free hydrogen fuel cells could be a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

“Many superyacht owners and project managers are looking to tender manufacturers to bridge the gap between performance and ocean preservation,” Mark Pascoe, founder of Falcon Tenders, told Robb Report, noting the company uses the latest hybrid and electric propulsion in its tenders.  Sustainability is indeed a big theme for tender manufacturers, and many new electric runabout builders are out to convince yacht owners that they can offer the same performance and comfort as a conventional tender, but without the emissions.

In the end, however, there are really just two types of tenders: Those designed to fit into a yacht’s garage, or those that serve as shuttles from the owner’s home port to the mothership.

That means styles and sizes are very much up to the owners. Here are 10 of our favorites, from the Tyde electric hydro-foiler to Riva’s iconic mahogany Aquarama.

Hodgdon Limousine

tender boat for yacht

Heading for a shipyard in Northern Europe to be paired with a superyacht, Hodgdon’s new Limousine has accommodations for up 15, with both forward and aft outside seating areas, a wetbar, climate-controlled interior and a T-top that lowers for when the tender is stowed in the yacht’s garage. It also has gyro stabilizers to minimize motion sickness. The Michael Peters’ design looks more like a Downeast express cruiser than a traditional limo. The deep-V hull is fast and designed for stability in rough water, while the twin Volvo D4-320 engines deliver speed when necessary. The Maine shipyard’s dedication to quality is seen throughout the yacht, including the stainless on the exterior and custom upholstery inside. Even the Hodgdon signature flush anchor is custom fabricated.

Compass Limousine for Oceanco ‘H3’

tender boat for yacht

Custom-built for the 344-foot Oceanco H3 (ex-Al Mirqab and listed among the 25 largest yachts in the world) this 36-foot limousine bears subtle styling characteristics taken from the mothership’s exterior design, including the window shape and hard-top detailing. The cabin features custom leather seating, stainless-steel trim, leather paneling, and a geometric teak floor. There is also an integrated AV system, ambient lighting and forward-facing cameras that display the tender’s journey on twin screens. Access to the cabin is through sliding glass doors fore and aft, while an electric sliding-glass roof opens the interior to the outdoors.

Falcon Project KD

tender boat for yacht

Making its world debut in Monaco last month was Project KD from British builder Falcon Tenders . The custom 32-foot limousine tender was commissioned by the owner of a 210-foot Sanlorenzo yacht due to deliver next year. The fully finished exterior has fiber-optic light lines by Fibr8, powered by lasers to evenly emit light over long distances. The interior design remains under wraps until the unveiling next year. But if Falcon’s recent tenders, the Miss Wonderly and Miss Le Blanc, are anything to go by, the quality of build as well as features like the leather upholstery with its intricate hand-stitched seams, will make Project KD a tender worth waiting to see.

Brabus Shadow 300

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Available in two models—a Cross-Bow or Cross-Top—the Brabus Shadow 300 is designed with powerboat enthusiasts in mind. Agile and easy to handle, the 25-foot sportster makes a good superyacht tender. The top speed of 50 knots, thanks to a Mercury 300R V8 racing engine, assures swift passage from the yacht to port. It’s also a great boat for watersports since it’s fitted with a pole for water-skiing, inflatable towing and wakeboarding. Not big enough? Its 38-foot Shadow 900 Black Ops Boat certainly provides a larger and very different look. 

J-Craft Torpedo ‘BaBeBi’

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Turning heads at both Cannes and Monaco this year was J-Craft’s 42-foot Torpedo BaBeBi . The Swedish builder’s first Torpedo with a metallic-colored hull sports a beautiful brass and off-white interior enhanced by diamond stitching. It’s twinned with serious functionality, capable of sailing in open water and certified to withstand 13-foot waves. Taking over 9,000 man-hours to build and fitted with two Volvo Penta IPS 650s, BaBeBi delivers a top speed of 47 knots. Equipped with lithium batteries for a full day on the water with the engines off, it has a 280-nautical mile range, a convertible open cockpit with two sundecks, and sleeps up to four guests for weekend retreats.

Cockwells ‘Titian ‘Tender

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The custom 34-foot Titian tender built by U.K.-based Cockwells is equipped with old-school features like specially cast stainless-steel fittings on the exterior and a Corian and copper galley belowdecks. Its advanced electronics include a virtual anchor and touchscreen digital switching system. Powered by a highly maneuverable twin jet drive, the Titian played a starring role in fashion brand Michael Kors’s 2022 advertising campaign called ‘The Thrill of the Chase’, which saw Bella Hadid aboard the tender on London’s River Thames with Alton Mason in hot pursuit. Finished to superyacht quality standards, Titian won the “Pre-1980s” category of the Concours d’Elégance at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival. Cockwells also has other mutliple designs under its sleeve. It recently showed a 39-foot hydrofoil limousine that can theoretically cruise at 40 knots. 

Riva Aquarama

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No tender round-up is complete without mentioning the Riva Aquarama —the most famous of all Carlo Riva’s designs. The Italian builder’s iconic luxury wooden runabout saw a limited run of 281 Aquarama Normals and Supers between 1962 and 1972, when Riva still owned the shipyard, and then 277 more, called the Special, were built in the next two decades. The Aquarama’s speed, grace, and craftsmanship make it a much-desired primary boat, not to mention the world’s most stylish tender. Prices for historically correct can range between $400,000 and $800,000, but much will depend on the actual model and number within the series.

Williams DieselJet 565

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Williams is one of the perennial names in RIB tenders, with multiple yacht builders designing their garages around specific models. The DieselJet 565 has several advantages over competitors. First, it’s a jet drive so driving is reliable and maneuverability is excellent. Secondly, it runs on diesel, the preferred fuel for many owners who don’t want to carry the more flammable gasoline on the yacht if they don’t have to. Finally, this nine-passenger design should be able to carry owners and guests in one trip, two in a pinch. Williams paid attention to the details that matter, like ergonomic seating, decent storage, grab rails, and even an optional plate on the yacht’s stern that illuminates the name of the mothership. 

Lanéva Dayboat

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The Lanéva all-electric dayboat is equipped with a lithium polymer battery designed for military operations, while the two axial-flow motors are used in aviation. It has a wood structure, a deck comprised of sustainable flax and volcanic fibers, a cork floor and a 100 percent recyclable leatherette upholstery. Sporting a cobalt-blue hull, the 26-foot boat brings performance to electric tender design.

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The Tyde Icon is a wild-looking 43-footer, a wedge-shaped electric boat that foils to 30 knots. It’s definitely not designed to be loaded into a superyacht garage. But it can make a head-turning tender between an owner’s home and the mothership. Designed in collaboration with BMW, the yacht has large windows for vewing the water as well as lounge chairs across the enclosed cabin. A pair of 100 kW electric motors convert the 240 kWh of energy supplied by six batteries from the BMW i3 for a range of more than 50 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 24 knots.

Sacs Rebel 47

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The Sacs Rebel 47 is a great example of a large rigid-hulled inflatable that can serve as both a tender and primary day boat for the owner. It has multiple seating areas across the exterior and a generous cabin below-decks for cooking or taking a nap. The boat’s offshore hull is designed to run at speed in rough water, and of course, the inflatable collar adds an element of buoyancy to the design. With two 440 hp Volvo D6 sterndrives, the boat has a top end of 38 knots. But with three Yamaha 425 hp XTO outboards, that jumps to 50 knots. 

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Welcome to Williams Jet Tenders USA

For nearly 20 years, Williams Jet Tenders has delivered unparalleled products, service and support to yacht owners around the world from our European headquarters. Today, we proudly offer the same unmatched Williams experience to customers in the United States and the Caribbean from our expanded US operational locations. Years of innovation. Dedication to our craft. Our passion is your joy.

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EvoJet

Designed for superyachts of 40m+, the EvoJet is our most advanced and luxurious tender. Seats 13 passengers. Find out more

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Designed for yachts of 25m+, the DieselJet combines beauty and functionality so the luxury on board your yacht continues to your tender. Seats up to 11 passengers. Find out more

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Designed for yachts of 20m+, the SportJet works perfectly as both a tender and a ski boat. Seats up to 7 passengers. Find out more

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Designed for yachts of 12m+, the TurboJet sets the standard for supreme handling, from railing corners to coming alongside your yacht at slow speeds. Seats up to 4 passengers. Find out more

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Designed for yachts of 12m+, the MiniJet delivers all the performance and quality of our jet tenders, but in a smaller package. Seats up to 3 passengers. Find out more

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We are compelled by a desire to explore, discover and challenge the boundaries of boat building. We’ve been changing the game from our very first boat to more than 10,000 tenders.

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High-performance luxurious tenders and leisure boats built to offer the greatest standards of quality as well as finish, with a unique style..

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Novurania offers a wide range of models and lengths, from 11 to 38 feet. Find the best tender for your next unforgettable adventures.

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Crafted with care

Leading the industry through innovation, since the 1960s, we have led the way as a tender manufacturer guaranteeing the best craftsmanship and exceptional design..

Our vertically integrated value chain and in-house engineering & design ensure the creation of excellent, long-lasting, and customizable boats.

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Personalize the tender reflecting your lifestyle and matching the mothership. Each Novurania is built to measure. Explore the possibilities.

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Our passion for detail and sophisticated Italian design has been our secret since the 1960s. The combination of innovation and tradition are the keys of Novurania long term success.

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Tenders & Yacht Dinghies

In addition to your main yacht, sailboat or catamaran,, cadet roll up.

Inflatable dinghy with wooden slatted floor

Its floor, in a wooden slat design, can be rolled and stored in seconds.

Inflatable dinghy with inflatable floor

Very simple and above all really compact! Completely flexible, including the floor, it can be folded and stored in less than 2 minutes in a suitable bag!

CADET RIB ALU

RIB dinghy with aluminium hull

A truly solid-hull dinghy (aluminium), which provides the best in stability and safety on board!

Inflatable dinghy with aluminium floor

An aluminium floor, which can be put in place in no time for maximum stability.

Nomad RIB Alu

New tenders with a double floor, waterproof storage, and top-quality tubes!

CADET RIB ALU DL

Its biggest asset is its locker: Your backpack or today’s picnic will fit in just fine…

The smallest Open

Ideal for a first boat with room for 4 people on board, it is easy to manoeuvre and tow. Ideal for small budgets.

The ideal electric dinghy

Whether used as a dinghy or a funky little boat, this 3.4 is more environmentally friendly than ever and requires no maintenance.

Ideal dinghy or small robust boat

The 3.4 is sure to please: Easy to steer, 3 large storage lockers! A true little racing kart that will delight you and your guests.

YACHTLINE 360

The smallest Yachtline

An ideal size to accommodate 4 people on board, with a maximum power of 40 HP, it can carry its passengers at high speed.

YACHTLINE 400

Well equipped

The Yachtline 400 can carry 5 passengers with its 3 seats and 50 HP.

The smallest Pro

A traditional model, it has always been part of the Zodiac range.

Unbeatable value for money

Ideal model for fishing and cruising with family or friends with its 4 large seats that can accommodate 6 people on board and its large lockers.

YACHTLINE 440

The right compromise

The ideal complement to transport 6 people, with its numerous storage lockers and its 60 HP.

The biggest of the compact Open

A generous power output of up to 80 CV is a big asset, and it is ergonomic and spacious for comfortable and active days out.

YACHTLINE 490

The biggest

At 4.90m and 90 HP, it can be used as a main boat for up to 9 people. It can also tow water-skiers or wakeboarders.

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Are you looking for a tender or dinghy model for your yacht, sailboat or catamaran? The choice of boat will depend on your intended use, frequency of trips, sailing areas and your expectations. Choose a comfortable, innovative and powerful boat that you can accessorise according to your taste and needs. You will already have basic equipment: lifting and towing rings, bench, paddles or oars, many handles … for the comfort of the pilot and the passengers. The design of your dinghy will perfectly match your yacht thanks to its elegant aesthetics. Your RIB dinghy guarantees you excellent performance, great sailing comfort and spaciousness for regular use. Its sturdiness ensures greater safety at sea where the weather is particularly unpredictable.

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Yacht dinghies serve you both as lifeboats or support boats to get the pilot, crew and guests to land or shore, but also as leisure crafts due to their versatility. The size and engine of the tender mean it can be used as a pleasure boat for sea trips with friends or family; from 4 metres upwards for the larger models. So go and explore some beautiful places. The finish and quality of the accessories ensure the longevity of your boat.

Power and agility

In our range, you will find 100% electric tenders like the eOpen, but also ones with hydrojet propulsion, such as the eJet. This modern technology, which uses a turbine to draw in water and propel it quickly to move the boat forward, offers a more fun and agile way to steer. Compared to an outboard boat with a propeller engine, waterjet propulsion offers greater safety, the ability to sail in shallow water and faster acceleration.

Tender models with rigid hulls such as the CADET RIB ALU, the small OPEN, the eOPEN, or the Yachtline provide you with more stability at sea, even in difficult weather conditions. This gives you more space on board for passengers and storage.

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The most versatile limousine tenders on the market

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Lonian, our bespoke carbon limousine tender

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Amels 60' launched with Xtenders 9.0m limousine on board!

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The 16m Xtenders exploration tender

Our goal and privilege is to offer the ultimate custom carbon superyacht tender and outstanding customer service.

We deliver lightweight durable tenders that perform like no other boat. Designed and built to exhilarate, each Xtender is built from carbon fibre using Formula 1 technology.

Whatever the purpose, dimensions, configuration or drive train of the tender may be, we will beautifully integrate them into one greatly performing bespoke craft that is perfectly in tune with your yacht.

We offer a complete custom solution for your yacht. Your tender starts with a blank sheet of paper, your ambition and our expertise.

Ultimate yacht match

Xtenders is trusted by the best in the yacht industry to deliver a custom tender built to maximum size, usability and individual character of the yacht.

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Just like with the yacht, we take you on a journey towards a vessel that will best suit your wishes and user requirements.

Full carbon

To guarantee the best material properties each tender is built exclusively from carbon fibre using Formula One technology.

Carbon fibre doesn’t fatigue. Being engineered and built to withstand the highest impacts our tenders are virtually unbreakable.

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Using pre-preg carbon fibre technology allows us to reduce the total weight of the structure up to half of the industries standards.

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Rigid Boats is the Premiere Manufacturer of rigid fiberglass Yacht Tenders and Dinghies.

We are your most reliable form of transportation while at port..

With the amount of time that most boaters spend in their tender, we believe that the quality and comfort should be that of the mother ship. We use the finest supplies and accessories made for our boats.

Inflatable dinghies are simply not good enough, so we made a change. Our existing customers appreciate that, and so will you. Most of our boats are custom built to the owners need s. Let us help you discover the options that you never knew existed in a Tender.

In addition to use as a Dinghy, more and more customers are buying Rigid Boats for pleasure craft. There is simply nothing on the market that can offer you the same comfort, performance, and value at the same size .

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Test driving the Azimut Seadeck 6 in Venice

It was a hot muggy morning at the Venice Boat Show, which made the cooling sea breeze all the more welcome as we put Azimut ’s new Seadeck 6 through her paces out in the lagoon.

The 17.5-metre vessel is the first in a series of three mild hybrid yachts, a range that will eventually include two bigger flybridge models and a culmination of Azimut’s 20-year R&D drive to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption throughout its fleet.

Complementing the three 480 HP engines are solar panels that feed a battery pack to run the boat’s hotel load emissions -free for up to eight hours when stationary. Azimut claims this hybrid propulsion, complete with optimised hull and lightweight carbon fibre used in the superstructure, will reduce C02 emissions by up to 40 per cent over a year of average use compared to a traditional boat of similar dimensions. This is accompanied by a range of eco-focussed details throughout the yacht.

By the sounds of it, Azimut spent a lot of time refining the hull shape and this is perhaps the model's most winning feature. The Seadeck showed us how she can progress smoothly through from displacement to planing and be most fuel-efficient at brisk cruising speeds between 22 and 27 knots. “I am proud of what we did with this hull,” Iacopo Senarega, Azimut’s research project manager, told me as we gathered speed. “Of course, I'm a technician, so I'm naturally more focused on naval architecture, but I think that the range of speeds the owner or captain can choose while keeping the efficiency at the same level is impressive. Equally, the design, which reflects all this engineering work; reducing consumption, reducing emissions, and giving the owner a wonderful experience.”

The aft deck centres around what Azimut calls the ‘Fun Island’, a place “where owners can get away from their daily routine and live in total contact with the sea.” The stepped deck is fitted with eco-friendly cork that is not only great for grip, but dries quickly and doesn’t get hot like wooden decks. Cork has also been carried through on the handrail of the side decks, which is a nice touch. Fun fact: the core of the boat is made from recycled plastic, or to be more precise, from 15,000 plastic bottles.

Inside, the creamy white pared-down interiors, designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, have a sustainable theme, including carpets made from recycled plastic or fishing nets. The open-plan main saloon features both a lounging area, galley and the helm station. A floor-to-ceiling window on one side gives you uninterrupted views out to the ocean and is fitted with anti-UV glass to reduce the need for air conditioning. A glass opening in the bulwark means you can still see the sea when sitting.

Everything in the galley is super-streamlined. No ugly kit here: the compact galley has an induction hob built into a tactile Lapitec worktop with only a few buttons to indicate its presence. The sink can be hidden away, the TV flips down from the ceiling and the fridge, cupboards and oven is tucked behind a ribbed light wood facia.

Below on the lower deck, there is a three-cabin, two-bathroom arrangement. The owner’s cabin comes with a private bathroom and plenty of storage. There is decent headroom, plenty of natural light and lots of space to move around, with a sofa tucked to one side. The VIP has private access to the dayhead, and while the twin is snug with narrow single beds, it will sleep two children or adults for a short jaunt. In smaller boats, corridors can feel dark and claustrophobic but this one benefitted from a strategically placed upper deck window.

So how did the Seadeck 6 perform? Thanks to her optimised hull and, of course, her Seakeeper stabiliser, she never once sacrificed comfort over speed. Perhaps most remarkable was how quiet the boat was at top speed (around 30-32 knots), with most of the noise coming from the water underneath the hull. Despite twisting the boat around a choppy lagoon and pushing the boat from zero to full throttle in under a minute, the ride was smooth; passengers sitting on the aft deck were sheltered and there was almost no spray evident on the hull or windows when the boat finally cruised back into port.

Azimut’s marketing blurb promises that the Seadeck is a “gentle way to live the sea” and the streamlined hull, quietly understated interiors and sustainable touches go a long way to tick that box. A stylish boat that delivers what she promises - style, and substance.

AZIMUT'S SEADECK 6 LOA: 17.5 metres. CABINS: 3 + 1 crew BERTHS: 6 + 1 ENGINES: 3 x Volvo IPS 500 (380 HP); 3 x Volvo IPS 650 (580 HP) MAX SPEED: Up to 30 KN BEAM: 5.05m MATERIAL: GRP/Carbon fibre FUEL CAPACITY: 2400 L WATER CAPACITY: 590 L INTERIOR DESIGNER Matteo Thun & Antonio Rodriguez EXTERIOR STYLING Alberto Mancini

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2 rescued from sinking 80-foot yacht off St. Augustine Beach, Florida

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Two people were rescued Saturday after the luxury yacht they were on started sinking three miles off St. Augustine Beach, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

The boat's operator reportedly told the Coast Guard the 80-foot Atlantis motor yacht took on water after striking an object. St. John's County Fire Rescue said in a Facebook post the yacht struck a dredge pipe piling .

According to the Coast Guard, the yacht's operator activated an emergency position indicating radio beacon which helped validate the vessel’s position.

St. John's County Fire Rescue and St. Augustine Police Department marine units assisted the Coast Guard by responding to the scene and rescuing both occupants from the yacht.

One of the boat's occupants was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, St. John's County Fire Rescue said.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partner agencies for their invaluable assistance during this case," U.S. Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Ricardo Santacana said.

“With the weather improving and mariners heading out onto the water, it's imperative for everyone to verify the presence of all necessary safety equipment aboard their vessel. This ensures that responders, as demonstrated in this case, can swiftly locate you and render assistance when an emergency arises.”

The boat's owner will arrange salvage, the Coast Guard said.

The incident is under investigation.

Boating accidents in Florida

Florida led the nation in registered boats , with 1,035,911 registered in 2023, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife report.

Collisions with fixed objects were named as the leading cause in 659 boating accidents reported in Florida in 2023. The accidents resulted in 56 fatalities.

More recently, 15-year-old Ella Riley Adler was struck and killed by a boat in a hit-and-run while wakeboarding in Key Biscayne on May 11, 2024.

The driver of the boat was later identified as 78-year-old Carlos Guillermo Alonso , of Coral Gables. Alonso's attorney told USA TODAY he did not know he struck anyone on the water.

Killer whales ram, sink boats: Scientists now may know why, report says

Florida boating safety tips

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CPD marine unit rescues 2 boats that caught fire on Lake Michigan

Chicago police marine units responded to a distress call near east 50th street and dusable lake shore drive about 9:30 a.m. sunday and found a boat on fire, police said. three passengers were rescued, and the fire was put out. a second boat was rescued later sunday..

CPD.jpg

The Chicago Police Department marine unit tows a 60-foot boat named Misfortune that caught fire on Lake Michigan on Sunday.

Courtesy of CPD

Two boats caught fire on Lake Michigan on Sunday, Chicago police said. No injuries were reported in either incident.

Chicago police marine units responded to a distress call near East 50th Street and DuSable Lake Shore Drive about 9:30 a.m. and found a boat on fire, police said. Three passengers were rescued, uninjured, and the fire was put out.

The second incident of the day concluded when CPD’s marine unit was able to locate a 60-foot boat named Misfortune, which had mechanical issues due to a fire. The vessel was towed back to Burnham Harbor. None of the eight passengers were injured.

#ChicagoPolice @CPDMarineUnit responded to 2nd #boat #fire of the day on #LakeMichigan . Fortunately M3 was able locate the 60ft #vessel MISFORTUNE. Due to the fire the boat had mechanical issues. M3 safely towed her & 8 passengers into #BurnhamHarbor . #Chicago #ChicagoLakefront pic.twitter.com/Tg6UzJdxSp — Chicago Police Marine Unit (@CPDMarineUnit) June 3, 2024

Zet Rodriguez-Lara, who was shot to death in Dunning Friday morning, “was a great father, friend, and and brother,” said the organizers of a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the 24-year-old father and his family.

Small Boat Massacre: As Russia’s Big Warships Retreat, Ukraine Targets The Smaller Craft Left Behind

Ukrainian drone boats hit four patrol craft in a single raid.

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In 27 months of strikes with rockets, cruise missiles and explosive drone boats, Ukraine has sunk or badly damaged more than a dozen of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s big warships—a full third of the fleet.

Clearly worried about losing the rest of the fleet, Russian naval commanders ordered the surviving vessels to retreat—and to redeploy from ports in Russian-occupied Crimea to ostensibly safer ports in southern Russia.

But the Russians left behind in Crimea potentially dozens of smaller minesweepers, landing craft and patrol boats—the workhorses of daily operations around Crimea. So the Ukrainians have turned their deadly attention to these smaller vessels, and are sweeping them from occupied water.

The latest raid may have been the most costly for the Black Sea Fleet’s small craft flotilla. Early Thursday morning, the Ukrainian intelligence directorate’s Group 13 maritime strike force steered their 18-foot Magura V5 drone boats, each laden with hundreds of pounds of explosives, toward Vuzka Bay in western Crimea.

Russian aircraft tried to intercept the drones, but at least a few got through and reached the bay. Spooked Russian gunners opened fire, indiscriminately spraying tracer rounds and failing to halt the raid.

In quick succession, the drone boats struck four KS-701 patrol boats belonging to the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB. Two of the boats sank, according to the Ukrainian intelligence service. Two others were damaged.

That’s a fifth of the FSB’s Black Sea inventory of around 20 KS-701s, temporarily or permanently put out of service as the result of a single strike. Notably, separate Ukrainian raids on the same day—reportedly using either Neptune cruise missile or Army Tactical Missile Systems rockets or a mix of both— damaged two Russian ferries whose main mission is shuttling supplies across the Kerch Strait into eastern Crimea.

It’s death by a thousand cuts for what remains of Russia’s maritime capability in Crimea. The 28-foot KS-701s aren’t heavily armed, if they’re armed at all. They’re not glamorous. But they’re useful. “The occupiers used these means for logistics and patrolling the water area near the temporarily occupied peninsula,” the Ukrainian intelligence directorate explained.

The last time the Russians lost a KS-701 around Crimea , in September, the boat was offloading supplies for Russian troops when it was hit—apparently by a Ukrainian aerial drone firing a guided missile. Where a bigger warship might survive a hit by a missile or drone boat, a four-ton KS-701 stands no chance.

Think of the KS-701s as waterborne delivery vans for supplies flowing from southern Russia into Crimea. The boats don’t haul the supplies into the peninsula. They deliver the supplies the last few miles to the final destination.

So while Ukrainian cruise missiles and ATACMS pluck at the main supply lines into Crimea—large landing ships, ferries, bridges and railroads—Ukraine’s drone boats plink the delivery craft. In that way, Ukrainian forces are reducing the Russians’ Crimean logistics from both ends.

1. Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate: https://gur.gov.ua/content/dopovneno-vnaslidok-operatsii-hur-u-krymu-urazheno-4-katery-tuniets-2-z-nykh-znyshcheno.html

2. Russianships.info: https://russianships.info/eng/borderguard/project_ks701.htm

3. @lost_warinua: https://x.com/lost_warinua/status/1698400962858078497

David Axe

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Killer whales keep ramming and sinking boats. Scientists now may know why, report says.

An international group of orca experts met to determine why orcas are ramming boats. the leading theory: they're bored and playful..

For the last five years , killer whales have been ramming – and in some cases sinking – expensive yachts, fishing boats and motorboats in the crystalline waters off the coast of Spain, Portugal, France and Morocco.

Why has been a mystery – until recently.

A multinational group of orca experts that met in February and were sponsored by the governments of Spain and Portugal has released a report outlining why they think it’s happening and what can be done to stop it.

What originally appeared to be attacks on more than 673 boats since 2020 now seem more likely to be a bunch of bored teenage orcas looking for something to do, said cetacean expert Alexandre Zerbini. Essentially, the whales started a fad of playing with boat rudders.

The report comes two weeks after the first ramming of the season , which resulted in a sailboat sinking at the southern entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. On the morning of May 12, a group of orcas snuck up on a 50-foot sailboat and dove at its rudder, damaging the Alborán Cognac and causing a leak that eventually sank the boat. The two crew members were evacuated to a nearby oil tanker, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais .

These encounters have been going on for five years, with the first documented encounter happening in May 2020. Since then, at least five sailboats and two Moroccan fishing boats have been sunk.

“It starts in the spring, goes way off the charts in the summer and goes away in fall. That’s because the whales and boats are in the same area at the same time,” said Naomi Rose, a senior scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., who was part of the working group.

This group of orcas interacts with the vessels because they are being enriched by the experience, said Renaud de Stephanis, president of CIRCE (Conservación, Información y Estudio sobre Cetáceos), an organization dedicated to preserving marine life. De Stephanis has been studying orca behavior for over 25 years and was also at the gathering of scientists in Madrid.

“The sea is a very boring place for an animal,” said de Stephanis. “Imagine if you’re a dog or some other mammal, you can interact with objects around you. But in the sea there’s not much for the orcas to interact with, so they play with the rudders.”

A dangerous game for young, bored whales

Overall the incidents have mostly involved juveniles, who are “more playful and courageous in approaching boats,” said Zerbini, who also chairs the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee.

He imagines a young orca butted its head against a boat’s rudder one time and when it moved, the orca thought, “This is fun.” After ramming it a few times, a piece of the rudder broke off and that was even more fun because there was something to play with.

“There’s documented evidence of the orcas then playing with the pieces,” he said.

Orcas , which are also called killer whales, are actually the largest member of the dolphin family . Dolphins in turn are a type of toothed whale , a group that also includes porpoises, beaked whales and sperm whales.

This type of behavior isn't surprising, given that orcas have culture, exhibit coordinated behavior, share knowledge and have long memories, said Rose.

“It’s a very sophisticated thing to do something for no purpose other than that it amuses you,” she said.

Orca attacks aren't about revenge

There was no evidence that the attacks are being led by older female orcas in revenge for a boat harming a young whale, as has been suggested at times , the group said. The notion took the internet by storm in 2023, with "Sink the rich" mugs and T-shirts featuring killer whales on them proliferating.

“That’s probably based on people watching Hollywood movies,” Zerbini said.

Despite the number of news reports that have suggested the matriarch revenge theory, “I tracked it down and it never happened,” said Rose.

In the face of what they felt was incorrect information about the motivations behind the encounters, she and close to 80 other marine biologists published an open letter in September saying they didn't believe that was what was behind the incidents.

"Science cannot yet explain why the Iberian orcas are doing this, although we repeat that it is more likely related to play/socializing than aggression. However, it is unfounded and potentially harmful to the animals to claim it is for revenge for past wrongs or to promote some other melodramatic storyline," they wrote.

The new Spanish/Portuguese report underscores this and adds why it might have happened – the recovery of the bluefin tuna orcas prey on.

Why were the young orcas so bored?

A surprising chain of events is behind the encounters, the scientists believe.

This particular population of Iberian killer whales is critically endangered, in part, because its primary prey were bluefin tuna that had long been overfished and were in decline.

That meant the orcas had to spend lots of time hunting and feeding, leaving little space for the kind of play juveniles are known for.

Better protections have meant the tuna population rebounded in recent years. Climate change may also play a role, leading the tuna to be abundant in the Gulf of Cádiz year-round rather than seasonally. "This year-round abundance means that there appears to no longer be a need for the whales to pursue every fish encountered," the report said.

That was good for the orcas but may be the cause of the problems for boaters, said Zerbini.

Effectively, the killer whales “have time on their hands," he said, "so they’ll go start playing with rudders.”

Orcas have a history of weird fads

Killer whale groups, especially younger individuals, are known for their fads and idiosyncrasies.

In the Pacific Northwest, one group of killer whales suddenly got into the habit of carrying dead salmon around on their heads in 1987. The fad arose and spread widely among the group that summer.

The salmon hats craze began with adolescent orcas but then spread, said Rose.

“By the end, everyone was wearing them, including the adults,” she said.

Then the fashion dropped out of style as quickly as it had begun.

Zerbini thinks the craze for ramming rudders among the Iberian killer whales is probably a similar fad. “They are very intelligent and playful animals,” he said.

Only about 15 out of the fewer than 40 or so killer whales in this population are engaging in the behavior.

“We think the orcas are getting something out of it, they are enjoying what’s happening. They’re playing,” he said. “Obviously, they don’t understand that that play can mean harm to the boats.”

What should boat owners do?

The group discussed methods to deter the orcas from interacting with the rudders. One method that de Stephanis is testing involves altering the surface and appearance of the rudder.

“The orcas are very timid and careful, these plastic protuberances create acoustic sounds when the orcas scan the rudder,” said de Stephanis.  In addition, orcas really hate jellyfish, so adding flowing pieces behind the rudder gives it the appearance of a jellyfish and deters the orca, de Stephanis added.

Another possible deterrent: hanging lines on weights into the water around the boat.

For now, workshop participants suggest mariners avoid areas where the Iberian killer whales are likely to be from May to August, stay closer to shore in shallow areas and move at least a mile away from any orcas who begin to interact with their boats, preferably toward shore to make rescue faster, should it be necessary.

The suggestions, which have been communicated to boaters in areas where the killer whales are interacting with vessels, appear to already be having an effect.

Since changing the recommendations to advising vessels to flee the interaction immediately, vessel rescues have declined by 80% from May 2023 through May 2024, said de Stephanis.

During that same period, the number of interactions (when an orca touches a vessel) has declined by 70%, he said.

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