This term began to appear at the beginning of the 20th century when wealthy individuals constructed large private yachts for personal pleasure.
A 45-to-50-metre (148 to 160 ft) yacht, the smallest with a generally accepted claim to superyacht status, will usually be a three-decker with cabins for 10-12 guests, and for a crew of a similar size. The accommodation on this type of yacht is typically as follows:
- Lower deck: exterior swimming platform at the stern; four (sometimes five) guest cabins with en-suite bath or shower rooms aft; engine room amidships; crew quarters forward.
- Main deck: sheltered exterior deck aft leading into the salon; dining room and galley; entrance amidships; owner's suite forward, usually includes either a study or a second twin stateroom.
- Upper deck: exterior deck aft, often used for outdoor dining; second salon (often called the sky lounge); staffed bar inside or outside or both; sixth stateroom will be amidships if it is not on the lower deck or part of the owner's suite; gym (may also be on the lower deck or part of the owner's suite); captain's cabin; bridge.
- Sun deck: on the roof of the upper deck, often features a jacuzzi.
A 50 metre yacht will have one or more luxury yacht tenders for reaching shore and other "toys" which may include a speed boat or sailing boat, jet-skis, windsurfing and diving equipment and a Banana boat. Up to date yachts have multiple flat screen televisions and satellite communications. Many do have a helipad or even a dedicated helicopter on board.