Jeff Bezos’ $500 Million Yacht Is Causing Major Controversy – and People Are Threatening to Ruin It

Jeff Bezos is building the world’s largest sailing yacht, and it comes with a price as hefty as the watercraft – the Amazon founder has invested about $500 million in the project so far, and that’s before the cost of upkeep and other expenses. There is also a considerable dispute over the yacht, as it may require dismantling a historic bridge in the Netherlands. Here’s what we know about Bezos’ yacht and its surrounding controversy.  

Jeff Bezos smiles and poses at an event.
Jeff Bezos | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Jeff Bezos has invested about $500 million in a brand new yacht 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has a net worth of $133.1 billion, has invested around $500 million in building the world’s largest sailing yacht. 

Bezos’ watercraft is called the Y721. It features three deck levels, a swimming pool, a helicopter landing pad, and a kinetic-propulsion system (per Off The Hook Yachts). It measures 417 feet in length and over 131 feet tall, and it can reach speeds of up to 20 knots (or about 23 mph). 

The Y721 can accommodate a crew of 40 people and 18 guests. Water toys and personal watercrafts, such as jet skis and smaller boats, will be housed on board. The superyacht will cost around $25 million each year to maintain. 

It’s worth noting that three other famous tech billionaires are also commissioning boats, though none are as large as Bezos’ yacht. Many have said that this project is an opportunity for Bezos, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and new People magazine owner Barry Diller to show off and compete with each other.

Jeff Bezos’ yacht has stirred up controversy in the Netherlands

The tech founder’s brand new megayacht is so big that it’s stirring up controversy in the Netherlands, where it is being built at the Oceanco shipyard.

The boat is so large that part of the historic Koningshaven Bridge, which locals call “De Hef,” will have to be temporarily removed so the Y721 can pass the structure’s 130-foot clearance.

Residents of Rotterdam united on Facebook to express outrage over dismantling the bridge. They promised to pelt Bezos’ megayacht with rotten eggs if the city followed through with plans to remove a portion of the Koningshaven Bridge to let the Y721 pass.

40-year-old Pablo Strörmann shared an invitation on Facebook, encouraging locals to bring cases of rotten eggs with them if the yacht is allowed to pass through the bridge. “Rotterdam was built from the rubble by Rotterdammers and we don’t just take it apart for the phallus symbol of a megalomaniac billionaire,” Strörmann wrote (per the New York Post).  “Not without a fight.” The Facebook event already has more than 3,000 people saying they will attend, while another 10,000 marked that they are “interested.”  

The city council previously promised residents that the bridge would not be tampered with after a renovation in 2017. But Bezos and Oceanco have pledged to pay for the bridge’s temporary dismantling. Oceanco claims that taking out a section of the bridge is the only way to get the yacht out to sea. As of February, the mayor of Rotterdam said a final decision had not yet been made about the landmark. 

“I’m a Rotterdammer and I think people with a lot of money should realize that you can’t make everything go exactly your way,” said Strörmann when asked why he made the Facebook invitation. “With this call we make our voice heard in a playful way. And I think that is going very well.” He also acknowledged that the protest event is “not too serious.”

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The billionaire tech founder is also building a second “support” yacht to accompany the Y721. 

Jeff Bezos’ new yacht is so big and fancy that it needs its own yacht. Besides the massive Y721, the Amazon founder has also commissioned a shadow vessel to support his new yacht. The second boat is called the YS 7512.

It measures 246 feet in length and can accommodate up to 45 people, including guests and crew. Like the Y721, it features a helipad, meeting space, and storage room for water toys and equipment. 

According to Fernando Nicholson, a luxury yacht sales broker with the yachting company Camper & Nicholsons, shadow vessels are a growing phenomenon in the yacht industry. “You see them more and more now as an add-on to a superyacht purchase,” said Nicholson (per Architectural Digest). “They’ve almost become a must.”