Do Yachts Have Air Conditioning? (Yacht AC Types)

do yachts have air conditioning

The yacht is typically a luxury vessel that touts some of the most impressive features on any watercraft. The most sophisticated models boast various features that are intended to improve the comfort of its passengers. So naturally, you should expect things like plush seating, spacious rooms, and even fully functional bathrooms.

And while all of those amenities might be enticing to say the least, there are a few features that might be less than obvious. Which leads us to the question -- do yachts have air conditioning? Here’s what you need to know.

Do Yachts Have Air Conditioning Systems?

You’d be surprised what boat manufacturers are capable of these days. With the technology for boats like yachts always evolving, almost nothing is impossible when it comes to improving the comfort and convenience that these vessels provide.

So, do yachts have air conditioning systems? The short answer is yes, they do. In fact, there are lots of different kinds of air conditioning systems designed for yachts, and this gives yacht owners a range of options in case they want to equip their boat with the cooling comfort of AC.

Different Types of Air Conditioning Systems for Yachts

There are lots of different kinds of air conditoning systems for yachts, and they all provide the same cooling purpose but do so through different means. In general, choosing the right system will depend on the size of your vessel, the availability of space, and the power source you might have available.


Also called the direct expansion air con, this air conditioning system was developed for smaller yachts. They’re typically ideal for cooling one cabin, but you can install a series of ducts to accommodate two or three cabins with a single system.

Another thing about self-contained air conditioning systems is that they do come with some hardware, so you have to make sure you have space somewhere under a bunk or in a locker. Other than that, they can operate on a generator, a direct battery, or via shore power when you’re docked.


  • Don't require a lot of space
  • Capable of cooling larger areas
  • Various power options


  • May not be able to accommodate boats with more than three cabins

Chilled Water System

As its name suggest, this system relies on chilled or cold water to cool down your space. The water flows through a series of pipes that’s then pumped through insulated piping that loops through different cabins. Once the water reaches its destination, it cycles back to the plant to be cooled all over again.

Since this system requires quite a lot of hardware -- including a central plant for cooling the water and a series of compressor/condenser modules, it’s generally reserved for larger vessels. There’s also no limit as to the size of the yacht that these systems can handle, but you will have to invest in a number of chillers if you want to service more cabins.


  • Superior cooling power
  • Can accommodate superyachts
  • Efficient and economical


  • Require significant space

Split System

The split system air conditioning system is perfect for yachts that measure under 80 feet because they don’t really require too much room for hardware. For the most part, all you’ll really need to think about is the condensing unit which should fit just find in an equipment room.

To deliver cool air to the cabin, this system uses evaporating units that incorporate a coil and a blower to deliver a cool breeze into your living area. The biggest benefit of the split type system is that they operate with significantly less noise than other air conditioning systems, letting you enjoy your yacht ride without the loud thrum of a machine in the background.


  • Compact hardware and design
  • Ultra silent operation
  • Widely available on the market


  • Requires a stronger power source for optimal performance

Portable Air Conditioners

If you’re working with a tight budget or if you just don’t have the space for something too big, then a portable air conditioner might be for you. These choices are exactly what they sound like -- compact little air conditioning systems that you can take on your yacht and stow away at home when not in use.

Of course the drawback is that these units can only service a small area since they’re not too powerful. Another thing is that they can be quite heavy, which means you’ll need at least two people to move them around. They work like a window-type air conditioner and require an exit duct that passes through a window to get rid of any liquid build-up.


  • Easy to store especially when cooling is not necessary
  • Most affordable choice on the market
  • Doesn't require extensive installation


  • Substandard cooling performance compared to other systems

Tips for Choosing an Air Conditioning System

If you’re not quite sure which system to choose, then you might want to consider these tips for finding the right air conditioning system for your yacht:

Consider Size

The size of your yacht will play an integral role in choosing a system. As a general rule, self contained and portable systems are ideal for yachts under 40 feet, while chilled water systems work best for those 80 feet or more. Anything in between would be best served by a split system.

Think of Space

Air conditioning systems will always come with some sort of hardware that requires a fixed position on your boat, except for portable systems. Consider how much space you’re willing to use for the system to ensure optimal performance.

Factor in Maintenance

These systems will require significant maintenance to guarantee that they’re kept in working order for the long haul. If you’re not sure you can meet their maintenance needs, you might want to consider calling in the professionals to do it for you.

Cooler Than Cool

Yachts are definitely some of the most sophisticated watercrafts out there. So the common question ‘do yachts have air conditioning?’ comes with an obvious answer. Of course, these super luxurious vessels can come with AC, but there are lots of different systems to choose from. But all together, these systems aim for one thing -- and that’s to improve the overall comfort and experience that these luxury boats provide.

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