In 2020 the yachting world was abuzz with news that Bill Gates had bought as stunning and advanced yacht known as Project Aqua. The massive, 370-foot concept yacht was revealed in 2019 at the Monaco Yacht Show and news soon followed that billionaire Bill Gates, once the richest man in the world and the founder of Microsoft, had commissioned the construction of his own hydrogen-powered Aqua. But that never actually happened and, in fact, as near as anyone can tell for real, Bill Gates doesn’t own a yacht at all. 

So where did the story come from? What’s the deal with the Aqua? And hasn’t Bill Gates been pictured on a yacht before? Let’s get some answers.

How Much Did the Aqua Yacht Cost at the Monaco Yacht Show?

According to the stories online, Bill Gates paid $600 million for the hydrogen powered yacht. But that’s not true at all. According to the yacht makers, the Dutch company Sinot, the price tag is $645 million but no one bought it after it was revealed at the Monaco Yacht Show, and that includes Bill Gates. It’s expensive but definitely not the most expensive in the world.

How Fast is the Aqua Yacht?

Aqua is a unique yacht in the yachting world which is why it garnered so much attention in the first place. It’s the first mega yacht that runs on a fully operational liquid hydrogen and fuel cell system that features two hydrogen engines that can produce 1,341 horsepower. The top speed is 17 knots and  the Aqua has a cruising speed of 12 knots. The total range is 3,750 nautical miles. The liquid hydrogen is stored in two 28-ton vacuum sealed tanks where it can be held at -253 degrees C. The only exhaust is water.

What Does the Interior of  the Aqua Yacht Look Like?

The Aqua has 7 suites meant to house up to 14 guests at any given time. Two of those suites are larger VIP cabins. The ceilings throughout are 9 feet and stretch as high as 12.5 feet elsewhere thanks to the luxury Sinot yacht architecture. The vessel has room for a crew of 31 as well. The beach deck lounge aboard the boat alone looks like a luxury hotel space.

The Aqua features a bow observation room which is surrounded by windows to give a panoramic view of the ocean which has been described as the “ultimate superyacht owners lounge.” In addition, there’s a movie theater on the upper deck. It also includes a wellness center with a hydro massage room. You can also do some yoga in a workout space. There’s a fully equipped gym, a beauty salon, and even a hairdresser.

Up on the main deck there’s a luxury swimming pool that even includes a waterfall. One of the yacht’s defining features is the spiral staircase that covers all five decks and is covered by a skylight. On the way up it also offers a view of the interior of the hydrogen fuel tanks so you can see just what 56 tons of ultra cold liquid hydrogen looks like as you move between decks. 

The tender garage has an array of toys such as jet skis while the main deck features a beach club with a dining area designed for all 14 guests and a lounge that converts into the cinema space.

What Yacht Has Bill Gates Actually Been On?

Bill Gates does seem to like yachts, just not enough to spend his money owning one, and that’s fair. Yachts cost millions to maintain every year. No one got rich spending millions to maintain a boat.

That said, Bill Gates has not only vacationed on yachts – he spent his 66th birthday on one – he also got married on a yacht.

In 2021, Gates made the news when he celebrated his 66th on board a luxury yacht called the Lana alongside Jeff Bezos. He spent $2 million to charter the yacht for a week and flew 50 guests out to celebrate with him. 

The Lana is a 351 foot yacht with room for 12 guests and a cruising speed of 12 knots with a max speed of 18 knots. The master suite is 1,184 square feet. The room features his and hers walk-in dressing rooms and a private terrace.

Elsewhere on board you’ll find a piano in the lounge area as well as a full gym for working out. There’s both a sauna and a well-appointed spa as well. On deck you can head to the beach club or take a dip in the pool. 

There are three tenders in the garage alongside a bunch of toys including various jetskis, a seabob, wakeboards, WindSurfers, fishing equipment, scuba diving equipment and more. 

Back in 2014, Gates rented an even more expensive yacht, the $5 million per week Serene, to go on a vacation with his family. The Serene, once owned by  Russian vodka magnate Yuri Shelfer before being purchased by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, clocked in at a massive 450 feet making it one of the world’s biggest and even had its own on board submarine

The Serene features 7 decks, a saltwater pool, a climbing wall, a surprisingly large library, health spa, outdoor cinema and a nightclub. This is all spread across 48,000 square feet.

It’s also been confirmed that Gates met his wife Melinda on a yacht owned by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, all the way back in 1994. 

Why Do People Think Bill Gates Owns the Aqua?

It’s easy to see why people may have thought Gates owned the Aqua when you consider a handful of factors. First, as mentioned, we have lots of evidence that Bill Gates really does enjoy luxury yachts. The extremely high price tag was something that only a few people in the world are going to be able to afford and Gates, who doesn’t own a yacht, seems like a likely candidate for those reasons. 

In addition, Gates has spent several years now as a climate activist and has supported a number of green technologies. A yacht that runs on hydrogen seems like something he would support as well. So, with no real evidence, the circumstantial evidence was enough to easily convince people. Once it’s presented as fact on the internet, and it was in many articles and videos, few people had reason to question it. 

The Bottom Line

The mega yacht known as the Aqua has a price tag of $645 million and it runs on clan burning hydrogen fuel. The only byproduct of its operation is water, making it a very environmentally friendly yacht. It made waves, so to speak, when it debuted at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2019. Rumors soon began to spread that billionaire and known climate activist Bill Gates had ordered one for $600 million. However, despite many videos and articles that refer to him as the owner, the truth is no one bought the Aqua at the yacht show and, as of 2023, Bill Gates does not own a yacht at all. He is know to charter extremely luxurious yachts for vacations and parties, such as the Lana and the Serene, but he does not own any just now.