Christopher Maffei, 43, was sentenced Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court, where he was also ordered to do 16 months of supervision and stay away from his kids until his sentence is served.
With good behavior, Maffei will only spend about nine more months behind bars because of jail time he has served since his arrest, San Mateo County prosecutors said.
Authorities say Maffei took his 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter from their South San Francisco home in September and packed them on a 41-foot yacht stolen from an Alameda marina.
Officials say Maffei and the children spent three days on the water before the vessel ran out of gas off the Monterey County shore, where he surrendered to authorities. They kids were not hurt.
Maffei had pleaded no contest in April to one count of child abduction and one count of possession of a stolen boat.
His defense attorney Jeff Boyarsky said Maffei "realizes it was inappropriate, illegal and not supported by any kind of rational thinking."
"He wants the rest of the family and the public to know he's sorry for the anguish he caused," Boyarsky told the San Mateo County Times.
Maffei believed his kids were in danger in part because they were around an aunt with alleged substance abuse problems, but authorities never found any evidence of abuse, Boyarsky said.