Should you buy a yacht?

Not to long ago we looked at if you should buy a holiday home? That was not such a great idea. Let’s think outside the box, could you make money with a boat? In short, should you buy a yacht? πŸ™‚ Yes, this is not looking promising either, but it’s just too much fun not to check this out!

Should you buy a yacht?

Don’t you just love dreaming about a boat? I do! Should you buy a yacht? No, of course you should not buy a yacht! Why not, let’s review the numbers.

Should you buy a yacht?
Should you buy a yacht?

The Boat

As noted in this post, we might have about €150.000 to spend on a new investment. What if this would be a boat? This is what that kind of money could get you:Β

For a “measly” €139.800 you get a +18m long boat with 2 X 1.000 HP engines constructed in 1990. It has 3 cabins for 6 people, tons of storage and a large fresh water tank (1.200l). Cruising speed is a whopping 26 knots! No wonder it has a 4.200l fuel tank πŸ™‚ It’s quite a big boat for a very reasonable amount of money.

Here is the same page in case the listing disappears:Β Croatian Party Boat

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The Expenses

What expenses are you to consider for your yacht? Here are a few of the main items that you will have to consider:

  • Docking fees
  • Insurance
  • Fuels & Lubricants
  • Maintenance
  • Miscellaneous expenses

But how much are we looking at in terms of expenses. Based on our +18m yacht as presented above (no, not the one in the picture!). Assuming you keep it in Croatia, this is what I could find (high level estimate, did not have enough details to get more precise):

  • Docking fees: €14.000 (in Zadar, might be cheaper in other marinas). Includes water, parking, facility use, etc.
  • Insurance: €2500 (Source, based on market value)
  • Fuel & lubricants: €30.000 (based on 30 day use per year = about 500-800l diesel fuel per day)
  • Maintenance: €30.000 (Source)
  • Miscellaneous: €2.500 (estimate)

The total operating cost including fuel would be about €79.000 (€49.000 excluding fuel). Pardon? That’s a shit load of money! About half the purchase price of the boat itself. Darn…..

If you ever consider a (big) yacht, check out this tool, it might be useful:

No, you should not buy a yacht!
No, you should not buy a yacht!

The Profit?

How much money could you make with a 18m long yacht? This obviously depends on what you use it for. If you look at renting it out for people to sleep and sail on (so via Airbnb for example), you might get between €11501800 per night for the proposed boat (excluding fuel). Albeit I think that is pushing it a bit. Also the boats used in the references are newer & nicer.

Let’s assume that we could rent this out for about €900 per night during peak season and €600 during the shoulder seasons (without fuel obviously). Considering this is very much a niche market, let’s assume that you only have a 20-30% utilization. The 3 months of Winter we will not include.

This would get you to:

  • Spring: 90 days * 20% * 600 = €10.800
  • Summer: 90 days * 30% * 900 = €24.300
  • Fall: 90 days * 20% * 600 = €10.800

Total revenue for the year: €45.900. That’s a lot of money! But, considering the above noted expenses of €49.000 a year (excluding fuel and cleaning/management expenses), you are not going to make a lot of money.

So no, you should not buy a yacht! Just rent a boat if you really want to go out sailing/motoring. Even as an investment, it’s likely not the best thing to buy. Index funds or real estate is definitely a better option!


Ok, so let’s assume you still want to be living on a boat. On something like the one we just reviewed. But you do a lot of your own maintenance and get a cheaper docking location. Plus, you’d not sail as much and primarily stay in the marina or only sail short stretches and anchor. How much money would you need (excluding the purchase) to FIRE?

Assuming the above, the yearly operating costs would probably be around €50.000 per year. Add to this the need for food, medical care, transportation (car rental/public transport/etc.) and various other costs. You’d likely be looking at €65.000 total.

Based on a 4% withdrawal or net cash-flow rate, you’d need €1.63M. Guess we need to keep on saving and investing πŸ™‚


How are your sea-legs?




  1. The answer is clearly “YES!” Don’t listen to AF. He’s smart, but he’s also a mountain man. Totally biased.

    My only caveat is to make sure your net worth is at least $10 Million. If so, go for it! And then rent out rooms to good friends! πŸ˜‰

  2. Nope, don’t buy a boat. When living in Ghent I bought a small dinghy thinking we would enjoy the water a lot more this way. Small cost (500 euro or so) and no docking fees or anything like that. Still stupid. Would have been cheaper (and a lot less work) to just rent a boat for the few times we did go out on the water.
    Incidentally: I have a 4pk outboard motor for sale if anybody is interested …

    1. We actually had boats as teenagers, but we used them a lot! We even had parties on the various boats in the middle of the lake, fun times. At that time it was kind of worth it, as we would be out on the water almost every week of the summer. For the occasional trip, renting is definitely a better option!

  3. If it floats and if it is meant to transport people for leisure, it should have sails. Or as I once said: β€œI’d love to have a big motor yacht. To sell it and buy a sailboat”.

    1. For Airbnb rentals, a sail boat actually might be more interesting. Lower maintenance costs and more cabins usually for the same size boat (assuming you stay in port). Are you giving me homework now? I know I don’t have a job any longer, but that’s pushing it πŸ˜‰

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