Investment Opportunities - Whitsunday Escape™
Skipper yourself bareboat charter company

Bareboat Charter
Investment Opportunities

A bareboat is a charter vessel, usually a catamaran, cruiser or yacht charter vessel fully equipped with all the modern conveniences necessary to provide a self-contained holiday afloat. Equipment includes cooking facilities, refrigeration, bathroom facilities, linens, snorkeling gear and an inflatable dinghy with an outboard. All vessels need to comply with Australian Maritime Safety Authority standards in relation to construction, stability and safety equipment.

The Product & Destination

A Whitsunday Bareboat holiday offers great value to the holidaymaker:

  • The mobility of your own boat with the satisfaction of handling it yourself.
  • The freedom to explore the anchorages and islands of your choice at your own pace.
  • 74 islands, numerous anchorages and waters protected by the Great Barrier Reef.
  • A year round tropical climate with the associated air and water temperatures.
  • A choice of eight resorts that welcome visiting yachts.
  • One of the best diving and snorkelling destinations in the world.
  • The freedom to fish in most anchorages.
  • The benefit of a holiday in a crime free environment with the protection of Australian health, emergency and legal systems.

Advantages to the Investor

A Whitsunday Bareboat investment offers great value to the investor:

  • The satisfaction of owning your own boat.
  • The opportunity to use your vessel for up to 4 weeks a year. Additional time may be available on a standby basis.
  • Significant savings in operating costs when compared with private ownership.
  • Investors with Whitsunday Escape are achieving a return on investment, before depreciation and finance charges, of between 5% and 12%.
  • The tax advantages relating to interest, depreciation, repayments etc.

About Whitsunday Escape

Whitsunday Escape has been established for over 28+ years.  The business is managed by the owners and has been under the present management for 15 years. Whitsunday Escape has the largest fleet of vessels in Australia, giving the greatest choice to holiday-makers. The fleet presently consists of 30+ charter boats made up of power cruisers, power catamarans, sailing catamarans, and sailing yachts.  Whitsunday Escape’s office is located at Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach.

More About Whitsunday Escape

Why Place Your Boat with Whitsunday Escape?

  • Whitsunday Escape has been operating for over 28+ years. It has been under the present ownership and management for over 15 years. With stable professional staff we can ensure you boat achieves a good return on investment and your asset is maintained to the highest standards.
  • Whitsunday Escape does not treat the maintenance and “turnarounds” of your charter boat a profit centre.  Whitsunday Escape does not charge any administration fee on outside contractors, marina fees and outside services. All in-house maintenance and turnaround services are done at cost, resulting in significant savings for the owner.
  • Whitsunday Escape does not bill the boat owners for marketing contributions.
  • Whitsunday Escape has no debt and is most likely the only charter company in the Whitsundays that operates using trust account principals. All pre-paid charter fees and boat owner funds are held in trust.
  • Whitsunday Escape’s insurance claims record is among the lowest of any fleet in the Whitsundays. Such an achievement is recognised in low insurance premiums.
  • Whitsunday Escape owns and maintains on standby, a 5.5 m rigid inflatable rescue boat.
  • Our charter base at Coral Sea Marina is one of the most cost efficient destinations in Australia to maintain a boat. We have one mechanic shops, two marine electric shops, one haul out yard, a shipwright, a sail maker and a marine chandlery.
  • Whitsunday Escape owns and maintains 12 swing moorings so marina berthing costs can be minimised during quiet months.
  • Whitsunday Escape does not receive any commission for new boatsplaced in our fleet, from manufacturers or importers. The investor is able to negotiate the best possible price with the importer or manufacture.
  • Whitsunday Escape does not depend on travel agents and wholesalers to make bookings, all bookings are made direct, saving the owners up to 20% per charter.
  • Whitsunday Escape is consistently achieving returns to investors in excess of industry standard. We believe that the level of owner satisfaction within our fleet to be the highest in the Whitsundays. As demonstrated by the fact that the last five boats placed in the Whitsunday Escape fleet all belong to previous boat owners with Whitsunday Escape.
  • The management agreement between Whitsunday Escape and the boat owner does not lock the boat owner into a long term contract. As long as existing forward bookings are honoured, the boat owner can remove their boat from the fleet whenever they like.
  • Whitsunday Escape is the industry leader and has won numerous awards; most recently the Australian Tourism Award, for the Category of Unique Accommodation.

The Management Agreement

At cost to Whitsunday Escape:

  • The promotion, marketing and advertising of your boat.
  • An office open seven days a week for taking bookings and the administration of charters.
  • On water radio support and after hours support seven days a week.
  • Oversee the day to day maintenance and scheduled maintenance of their boat.
  • Administer and pay government fees and charges along with providing monthly statements to the boat owners.
  • A valid Marine Park Permit for each boat (similar to a taxi licence) to operate in the Whitsundays.

Whitsunday Escape charges a commission of nett charter fees for these services.

At cost to the boat owner:

  • The cost of insurance, berthing, maintenance and upkeep of your boat.
  • The cost of cleaning, briefing and pre-charter checks – known as “the turnaround”.

Owners & Key Staff

  • Managing Director: Trevor Rees (part business owner) has over 30 years’ experience in the industry in Australia and overseas. He is the president of the Whitsunday Bareboat Operators Association.
  • Operations Manager: Wesley Cole has over 18 years’ experience in the charter boat industry he has been with Whitsunday Escape for over six years.

Tax Implications

This is a brief summary of our understanding of the tax requirements. As everyone’s circumstances are different you will need to seek your own independent financial advice.

You can contact Trevor Rees (Managing Director) on 07 4946 5222 for more information regarding owning a charter boat in the Whitsundays.

Small Business Model

The small business model:

  • The industry is presently operating under tax ruling TR 2003/2004; this ruling requires each boat to operate as a separate stand-alone business and as such must pass the “business test”. To summarise:
  • The investor is entitled to a GST rebate on the purchase price of the boat.
  • The investor needs to be involved with the running of the business and participate in decisions relating to maintenance and rates.
  • The investor may use the boat for private use provided they document their time and adjust their tax return accordingly.
  • Depreciation may be claimed up to 30% and losses offset against the boat’s income and other income.The investor is required to prepare a business plan. The business plan needs to demonstrate that the boat has a realistic expectation of profit during the life of the business.

Passive Business Model

The boat owner simply places the boat in charter and then takes a back seat to the operation. It is a useful option for those owners who may not be in a position or inclination to devote the time necessary to run the operation as a business:

  • It can combine the lifestyle benefits of owning a boat along with covering the holding costs of boat ownership through receiving an income stream.
  • In this option the activity will not be considered a business by the ATO and this will limit the tax benefits
  • If there is a reasonable expectation for profit, the boat owner could be entitled for GST registration and therefore allow a refund on the purchase of the boat.
  • Any deductions in relation to the charter activity are quarantined so they can only be offset against charter boat income.