Standout superyacht helicopter decks

Once the luxury of a select few, the not-so-humble helipad is having a bit of a moment. With the explosion of interest in the explorer yacht market, a touch-and-go landing pad is becoming more of a necessity than the extravagance it once was. Sure, a tender will get you from shore to superyacht in good time, but there's nothing that quite compares to touching down on the bow. We take a closer look at some of the best helidecks afloat...


Credit: Guillaume Plisson

Bold carries a certified helideck with a D value of 13 making it suitable for a craft such as the 3.2-tonne, twin-engine, eight-seat AgustaWestland AW109S Grand. Equipped with proper lighting and fire-safety gear, it is far from any structure that can create turbulence and features opening bulwarks to expand the deck width. While there is plenty of room to stow the craft on deck, the ocean environment is notoriously detrimental to delicate electronics, and big waves or wind can tip even a large heli over. So Bold transports its helicopter over long passages in a garage with a ceiling that adjusts in height to accommodate the craft with its rotors removed.

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SilverYachts   85.3 m •   2019

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Credit: Guillaume Plisson

Designed in a military-inspired style by Espen Øino, the helideck area on 71 metre Lürssen Skat was the first to be penned by the designer for a superyacht. Located on the aft deck, the helipad has a dual purpose as a landing site for choppers and also providing shade to the deck space below.

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Lurssen   70.7 m •   2002


Credit: Klaus Jordan

Lürssen superyacht Ace features a foredeck helipad marked that bucks tradition by replacing the usual "H" sign with a giant "A" to represent her name. But this distinctive helideck is not actually the main landing site for arrivals from the air. Instead, landings would usually take place on support vessel Garçon, leaving the forward end of Ace, which features a swimming pool and sunbeds free for fun. 

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Lurssen   85 m •   2012


Credit: Andy Mann

Once an oil survey vessel, the 87 metre OceanXplorer completed a refit by Damen in 2020 that turned her into the ultimate expedition yacht complete with high-tech toys, scientific research labs and Hollywood-standard editing facilities. This includes the addition of new helipad at the bow, which has been shifted three frames (1.8 metres) further forward, in order to create enough room for a proper hangar behind it which has been finished with a futuristic top-hinged door.

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Freire   87.1 m •   2010


Credit: Clint Jenkins

Hodor's 220 square metre helideck is fully certified and a CAP 437-compliant helipad sits aft of the 66-metre catamaran's upper deck. The Incat Crowther shadow cat features an Airbus H145 helicopter in matching stealth-grey among its plethora of superyacht toys.

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Octopus is perhaps one of the best known explorers on the water. The 126 metre Lürssen hit the water in 2003, commissioned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and was designed for far-flung global adventures. She has two helipads on board, one fore and one aft, with a hangar that can store two aircraft. Since her delivery, Octopus has explored the coast of Antarctica, traversed the Northwest Passage and discovered the wrecks of long-lost WW2 battleships off the Philippines.

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Lurssen   126.2 m •   2003

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Lurssen   126.2 m •   26 guests • Price from $2,200,000 p/w

Planet Nine

Credit: Thierry Ameller

To prepare her for adventures in the Antarctic, Planet Nine's helipad was designed with a lifting platform that allows the aircraft to be stowed in the hangar beneath when not in use. This also enables the 73 metre explorer yacht to carry two helicopters at once, allowing guests to arrive on board by chopper while the owner's own helicopter is stowed safely away.

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Admiral - The Italian Sea Group   73.2 m •  16 guests •  €85,000,000

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Admiral - The Italian Sea Group   73.2 m •   12 guests • Price from €650,000 p/w


Credit: Jeff Brown/Breed Media

The fully certified helideck on board Madsummer is located at the bow and capable of supporting an EC135 helicopter, which weighs around three tonnes. Elsewhere on the 95 metre Lürssen is a seaplane berth on the sundeck. The superstructure had to be strengthened to support the 590kg weight of the Husky A-1C 200 seaplane.

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Lurssen   95 m •   2019

Stella Maris

Credit: Massimo Listri/Beppe Raso/Courtesy VSY

Yacht designer Espen Øino re-imagined the typically utilitarian helicopter deck on VSY’s revolutionary 72 metre superyacht Stella Maris. Øino envisioned a superyacht helipad that was a focal point. Rather than trying to disguise the helicopter deck, it defines the exterior profile on Stella Maris, jutting out on the upper aft deck. When not welcoming helicopters, the huge deck is put to good use as a space for sunning and socialising.

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Viareggio Superyachts (VSY)   72.1 m •   12 guests • Price from $690,000 p/w


Credit: Feadship

The 66.25 metre Feadship Hampshire is actually equipped with two helipads; a foredeck landing area and a second aft of the sundeck's dining area. The fore pad is generally used for daily operations while the helicopter is moved onto the aft area to be secured for longer passages.

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Feadship   66.25 m •   2016

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