A yacht is a watercraft used for pleasure or sports. The term originates from the Dutch word jacht (which means "hunt"), and originally referenced light, fast sailing vessels that the Dutch Republic navy used to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. The yacht was popularized by Charles II of England as a pleasure or recreation vessel following his restoration in 1660.
Today's yachts are almost exclusively for leisure. A yacht is any sail or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. The word often connotes luxury; however, luxury is not a quality necessary to meet the definition; nor is it always desirable. Many racing yachts are stripped-out vessels with a minimum of accommodations to lower weight. The term 'sailboat' or 'sail yacht' is used in America to differentiate from a 'powerboat' or 'power yacht.' As of December 2018, there were about 6,500 yachts over 24m on the market.Charter yachts are a subset of yachts run as a business for profit. Ownership can be private or corporate. The paid crews of these vessels call themselves 'yachties.'Yacht lengths normally range from 7 metres (23 ft) up to dozens of meters (hundreds of feet). A luxury craft smaller than 12 metres (39 ft) is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply a cruiser. Yachts may be classified as "large" (over 24 m (79 ft), which have higher construction standards; "commercial," carrying no more than 12 passengers; "private," which solely for the pleasure of the owner and guests, or by flag, the country under which it is registered. A superyacht (sometimes "mega yacht") generally refers to any yacht (sail or power) above 40 m (131 ft).

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