Part 2 - Napkin Math: Owning a yacht

Ever since Part 1, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole of yachting. After much research and some helpful DM’s in twitter, here’s some stuff I learned:

Cliff Notes

Based on various forums, the perfect boat size for a beginner is something below 40ft. The smaller it is, the easier it is to captain and maintain.
Marina’s are the lifeblood of the maritime industry. They offer water, fuel, electricity (shore power), sewage disposal, local maintenance shops/services, and shelter from storms (typhoon breakers).

I’ve underestimated the expenses from mooring (to secure to a buoy) and berthing (parking on a dock) yachts. Usually a marina has a yacht club, for example, Subic Bay’s membership is 250,000PHP. 1

Expensive? Well, if you want to berth your 40ft. yacht on Subic Bay, they charge 45,000PHP/month for non-members, and 15,000PHP/month for members 2. In the long run, getting that membership is a sweeter deal.

Want to moor off of Coron? It’s 250PHP/day. 3 Thinking about where your homeport should be is key to what your yacht can offer, if you decide to start making it into a business.

Of course, to purchase a Yacht made overseas, you’ll have to import it. The Philippines has a 20% tax on top of Yachts as they are “recreational”, along with sports cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini). On top of that, there’s 12% VAT and 0%-65% CIF based on it’s value.

That high entrypoint makes locally made boats and second-hand boats from the PH (or the ASEAN region, 0% import tariffs) very economical. You’ll get way cheaper yachts compared to importing a boat from an international manufacturer.

Maintaining a small yacht is easier, just pick a popular brand as well and you’ll have an easier time getting parts. Popular brands that have dealers in the Philippines are Princess, Azimut, Sunseeker, Searay, Lagoon and Beneteau.
If you plan to use your yacht for commercial purposes, you’ll need to get the proper licenses and certifications from the Maritime Authority of the Philippines. After getting the proper registration, your commercial yacht will be subject to inspections.
Yacht Characteristics
Sail or Power

For price, Sailboats and Catamarans (sail) are very economical. Usually lists for half the price of what a motor yacht, and the fuel consumption is a fraction of what a motor yacht uses.

For speed, a 40ft family cruising sailboat can top 8-11 knots, a motor yacht can do double or triple that. It depends if your passengers like the journey, or the destination.

Fuel consumption

I’ve grossly underestimated fuel consumption on a motor yacht. A 40ft 2016 Beneteau Gran Turismo 40 can consume 17gal/hr (64liters/hr) at 23.6kts (43kph). 4

The previous yacht, which is around 76ft., could eat up way way more than 4 gallons/hr. Depending on the speed of the cruise, the size/number of engine(s), the electricity usage and the hull. 200kPHP/month is way too low for a yacht that size.

Motor Boat Types

Cruisers are fast because their hulls are meant to skip on top of the water. Recreational Trawlers have full or semi displacement hulls, meaning they’re designed to cut through the water. This makes them slower than cruisers. Recreational Trawlers are also meant for lower speeds, but it gives them exceptional range in one tank of fuel. This means majority of them are designed to be a little more livable and seaworthy (rolls less with swelling waves, and can handle bad weather).

Ideal Yacht

When choosing a yacht, you’ll need to list needs. On the top of my heads, here are my needs:

  • Size: I’m just starting out, I want something under 40ft.
  • Engines: I want 2 engines, just in case 1 fails, I can limp back to port.
  • Speed: I want to to cruise at around 11-13kts consuming at least 7-9gal/hr. I’d rather trade speed for fuel efficiency.
  • Charter: I don’t need something bluewater, just for coastal cruising, hopping islands, no more than 25NM away from shore. Trawlers make an ideal boat for this. I can imagine starting out by just cruising and having dinner near MOA for the Fireworks Olympics and New Year’s Eve celebrations, then go up and do day trips to Corregidor from Manila Bay.
  • Accomodations: Sleeps at least 2-3 couples.

Based on this, if I was to buy a brand new yacht, I can safely say that these are my contenders:

These are all under 500KUSD brand new, so getting a 2nd-hand could make the capital expense cheaper.

Napkin Math

Based on what we’ve learned the new table of finances if you took a smaller motor yacht:

Some notes on this setup:


  • This is assuming our homeport is Puerto Galera or Laiya Beach.
  • Opted to hire a part-time engineer that will keep after the yacht and act as a deckhand/skipper.
  • I’m making the number up with Marine Hull Insurance, I don’t know if that’s even the right premium.
  • Rule of thumb is that expenses for a yacht is 10%-20% of the purchase price. At 3.3M PHP annual expenses, we’re around 15%, we might even be underestimating maintenance.


  • At this 56% utilization, you’ll get back your CapEx in 16 years.
  • Use a Sailboat or Catamaran. You can definitely offer cheaper rates since you’re burning less fuel.
  • The real problem with a yacht is marketing your yacht and planning where your yacht should be to maximize charters.
  • You can probably lease out your yacht, since you’re part of a yacht club. That’s extra cash. You can also offer day-trips to Corregidor or Subic.
  • Some couples upload videos on Youtube channels and get on Patreon as well. A couple even lets their Patreon subscribers do a 1 day cruise with them for free.


  • Annual yacht profits would win over putting your CapEx in 3% government bonds. Although, with bonds you’d retain your cash, only inflation devalues it. With a yacht, a yacht depreciates 10% of it’s value per year.
  • In the end, 28M is a lot of money. You could buy a lot of real estate and even beach resorts with that kind of money.
  • Yacht’s are for the rich, and they’re all about having fun doing this.