From zero emission cruising to golf balls that turn into fish food, zero impact yachting is becoming the way to go in the yachting community. Rosie Meleady talks with Barbara Amerio, owner of Permare/Amer Yachts about their award-winning environmental superyacht designs.

The ocean is the most vital ecosystem, yet less than 5% of the ocean is comprehensively monitored, and a staggering 95% remains unexplored. While we have all become more aware of the need to clean up the seas, yacht owners with a serious interest are making choices to make a meaningful impact on marine conservation by helping with research of marine life by water quality monitoring.

Yacht builders have also become aware of the importance of being more eco friendly, not just for their clients but also because it is their passion for the seas that brought them into the trade.

Amer Yachts based in Sam Remo, Italy was among the forerunners in the International Design Awards for their eco-project motor yacht Amer 94 twin Superleggera.

“We are proud of our contribution to developing the new era of eco-yachting,” says Barbara Amerio, owner of Permare/Amer Yachts.


“The motor yacht Amer ’94 was launched in August of 2018. She was built with the aim of winning a challenge for creating a superyacht able to make a tour of Italy at displacement speed without refuelling. In September 2018 during the Genoa Boat Show the new Amer 94 received the Rina Green Plus Award.”

Amer Yachts chose cork for the 94’s exterior decks rather than hard woods. Barbara explains, “This is sustainable and practical for its lightness and excellent insulation. Cork is 100% waterproof, rot-proof, has high mechanical resistance properties, does not need yearly maintenance and it gives a pleasant sensation when walking barefoot on it, and it also has thermal and acoustic insulation properties.”

In addition, the company created a special software for the 94 twin called ‘My Green Pages’ to support whale and dolphin watching and a new system to help crew manage waste water.

While their clients in the past have been as diverse as F1 drivers and VIP Italian families, Barbara has seen a shift in the clients they now have. “In the past, only businessmen and companies were the classic potential owners – now is not unusual to have women as owners and young people with a great passion for the sea becoming yacht owners.”

Superyacht building is a slow and meticulous process tailored to express the client’s custom design and layout with no two yachts ever being the same. Amer Yachts only deals with three client yacht builds per year with over 100 people involved with each build.

“Our company employs seven people fulltime, six of whom are women, who manage the planning of each build, research and innovation, engineering, design and outsourcing. In addition, we have the great experience of the founder (my father) Fernando Amerio, who is still working hard with a modern and futuristic vision, as well as my brother Rodolfo and I.”

“The adventure starts with the first drawings and goes through to the final launching experience. Each step involves detailed Italian handmade manufacturing skills. We need to work for eight to ten months from the arrival of the hull in the shipyard to its launch into the water. We have created a very flexible organisation, about 100 external workers are employed in the building process. Materials and components are bought directly by our shipyard to guarantee the top quality and great innovation. Our mantra is a no waste campaign where we have created a model concept of sustainability in the superyacht sector.”

Barbara identifies a serious problem for those wanting to help clean the seas that needs to be addressed in every port and marina. “While the plastic campaign has created a large platform of people ready to clean the sea, the problem is that after collecting rubbish at sea, we cannot bring the garbage onto land as there are no places to store it for recycling.”

Barbara spends a lot of time studying new products, travelling to meet clients and suppliers. As well as time on board for visits and sea trials and talking with collaborators for new projects, she also enjoys writing articles about yachting and participates in conferences about sustainability.

The boat show in Genoa is her first love. “It is where we can meet all our clients and 100k people passionate about yachting. My favourite moment is the WOW exclamation of the kids who have never been on board a yacht.”

Barbara is excited about the next Permare yacht design project. “It will be amazing and so futuristic that you won’t believe your eyes. The Motor Yacht Superleggera has been a great result for all of the Amer Yachts team and actually it is my favourite. This very special design will be used for a charter company and so a lot of people will get to experience being on board it.”


While running a major yacht building company involves weekend work, Barbara sometimes gets time to enjoy the passion of her family business. “A day cruise for swimming in the deep blue, happy moments and an evening drink on board are easily organised anytime with good friends and my family. In my family there is an old tradition, we spend a weekend on board the vintage boat Ambersea, a 1961 teak sailing vessel, to enjoy a welcome rest from our busy lives.”

Barbara’s favourite places to sail and marinas in Italy:
  • Portosole Marina in Sanremo is my base and where I feel at home.
  • Porto Lotti Marina in La Spezia is very cool and with good facilities.
  • Maglietta in Naples and Pontile da Carmelo Vibo Valencia give you a warm welcome.
  • Marsala Marina is a wonderful place to find typical Sicilian hospitality.
Hidden Gems
Barbara’s favourite destination is Sardinia.

“Apart from the famous Costa Smeralda, my advice is to discover different destinations. Porto Conte close to Alghero the beautiful Aragon town is a natural bay and has amazing natural scenery. Santa Teresa di Gallura in the north of Sardinia takes me back to the past with the old stories of the coral divers and San Pietro island in the south west of Sardinia where the main speciality is tuna fish. All Mediterranean islands have fascinating historical backgrounds – they are very mysterious and rich in old traditions and have amazing food and wine.”