BY Anna Cummins on 3 Feb 2023

Taiwan is increasing the number of recreational yacht berths in the country

Anping Port Tainan development

Anping Port Tainan development

The head of a Taiwanese marina operator says he’s looking to expand his business, after the government confirmed it’s seeking to increase the number of recreational yacht berths in the country from 1,138 to 1,600 by 2025.

Ho Yu-lin, the president of Argo Yacht Club in Tainan City, told Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) that he has a dream that “thousands of sailboats and yachts” could make port calls in the country, once the construction of new berths is completed.

Argo operates three marinas in Kaohsiung, Penghu County, and a yacht club in Anping in Tainan. The company says it expects to increase the number of berths from 62 to 170 after its latest expansion project is complete.

READ: Taiwan’s transition: Is a local yacht market finally developing?

Taiwan's transition: Is a local yacht market finally developing?

Speaking with CNA, Ho adds that there are numerous recreational berths across fishing ports in Taiwan, but there are only around 200 that are capable of handling the needs of leisure yachts and sailboats, with features such as electricity supply.

Taiwan’s government continues to push the “blue ocean highway” to attract boaters to the country’s maritime network. However, Ho highlights that there are obstacles to the concept. He points out that, unlike subsidised national freeways, operators of private marinas are obliged to carry out dredging from their own pocket to ensure marinas are accessible year-round and operating at maximum capacity.

Regardless of the challenges, Ho concludes that he is optimistic that the country will continue to diversify its tourism industry and attract more local and international boaters in the years to come.

A local yachting market for Taiwan

Taiwan has a suite of globally recognised yacht brands, most notably Horizon, Ocean Alexander, Hylas and Monte Fino, which is built by the Kha Shing yard. Other well-known brands, such as Fleming and Nordhavn, are still built at Taiwanese shipyards. Together, these brands are responsible for a huge trade in recreational boats.

Data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a data visualisation project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shows that, as of 2019, the value of Taiwan’s yacht exports is greater than Turkey’s. Yet, that statistic masks the grand downturn in Taiwan’s yacht-building sector since the Global Financial Crisis. In 2009, Taiwan shipped over US$300 million in recreational boats. In 2010, that number dropped by a third and it has never fully recovered.