Buying, selling and renting yacht berths: Home berthing tips
Last updated: 03/07/2019
Yacht captains and crew know all too well that berthing a 24m+ luxury yacht can be a troublesome task, with it often necessary to register interest in buying or renting a berth well in advance to ensure a space is available in the preferred port or marina - especially during the peak cruising season.
Berthing shortages within desirable locations and costly rental agreements are among the reasons why many yacht owners and their captains are instead seeking to buy a home berth for their yacht, affording the guaranteed use of the mooring for the duration of the agreed lease, come high or low season.
Yachting Pages discovers the inside track for those hoping to beat the rental rush by buying a yacht berth that’s worthy of a superyacht.
Home porting: Buying vs. renting a superyacht berth
With a worldwide choice of beautiful marinas and prime berthing in which to keep a superyacht, there are many benefits to buying a homeport or home berth where the yacht is based, rather than just renting one.
Though not entirely accurate from a legal perspective, Peter Murray Kerr from MooringSpot explained that, the expression of ‘buying’ or ‘selling’ a berth has become common use within the industry once a lease is undertaken, although this simply designates the sale of rights and obligations to moor in an area of a port, rather than the sale of a mooring as property or real estate. Either way, buying offers a great option for hassle-free berthing.
Important things to consider before buying or renting a yacht berth
When choosing your home berth purchase or rental mooring there are a number of important things to consider to ensure a best-fit scenario for your needs. Ask:
- How long is the lease?
- What are the terms of the lease?
- How much will you pay in taxes and fees?
- What facilities are available at the marina? Wi-Fi, fuel, electricity, bars, cafes etc.?
- Does the marina have CCTV and on-site security?
- Is the marina close to international airports and other important transport links?
- Are there any parking spaces for vehicles available?
It may be worth doing some local research ahead of your arrival to assess how the asking price compares to nearby marinas, especially as during peak season or local holidays it may be difficult to obtain berthing, especially if the yacht is particularly large in size.
The benefit of becoming a home berth holder
Besides simply having the space to dock your superyacht when required, home berth holders can often benefit from further perks with their investment.
Triangle Berth Brokers explained that, not only will berth holders have exclusive usage of the berth for the length of the lease, allowing for greater flexibility and monetary savings, but they will also be entitled to sub-letting rights, which can provide an income flow when the berth is not in use.
Additionally, holders may be able to benefit from complimentary discounts and services in port, they’ll have security of tenure and will profit an increase in value over the term of the lease. It can be assumed that the homeport would have been chosen for its compatible marine facilities and services, so these will be right on the doorstep.
Securing a premium berth: How to get the berth you want
When it comes to getting the berth that you want, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have a preferred location for the permanent mooring of a superyacht, yet there is insufficient space or availability in the marina, there are ways to get around it.
Currently the 17th largest superyacht in the world at 126-metres LOA, M/Y Octopus, has secured a permanent berth in the IYCA in Antibes, but the acquisition of the space was not straightforward. In order to obtain the largest berth available, the owner, Paul Allen negotiated the purchase of a 55m yacht, along with its berth. He then immediately sold the yacht, but kept the space - the only way he could get the coveted spot he wanted!
Yacht berthing services: Using a berth broker or yacht agent
When looking to buy a yacht mooring, an independent berth broker can be an invaluable ally: they not only have access to details of the available berths for sale worldwide, but they also have the knowledge to help you find the right berth for your needs, ensuring that you get the most for your money. They can provide valuable advice and assistance in both the legal and financial aspects of the transfer process.
If, on the other hand, you are hoping to rent or lease a berth for the short-term while on the move, enquiring with a local yacht agent, often well in advance, is the best place to start. A yacht agent can offer a complete service to visiting superyachts, from berthing reservations through to permits, visas and clearances, holding more influence over the obtainment of specific berthing locations than you may do yourself.
When berthing requests are particularly difficult to fulfil…
As previously covered, there are cases when berthing requests can be particularly difficult to fulfil. In these instances, a yacht agent or berthing broker may have to move heaven and earth to allow the planned itinerary of the owner and guests to go ahead.
Andrew Haffenden, VP operations at Premier Yachting Ltd said, “In Sardinia, on a Benetti 120, the owner wished to take the boat into Porto Teulada. They arrived, but there was no room in the marina and the boat was too big, and, as such, he was diverted away.
“[The captain] contacted Premier Yachting Ltd, where Carlos Valenti was able to find an available berth in a nearby fishing port among fishing boats, which at first sight was not the most attractive location. The wife of the owner got dressed up to go ashore and was expecting an exclusive dinner location, but instead they visited a local venue and reported back to Premier Yachting Ltd that they had one of the best nights they have ever had!”
Paz Rodrigo from Dockside Services told us, "One Sunday, in April 2013, a captain called us asking for a berth, he was sailing from Menorca to Mallorca through terrible weather with winds of 10 knots.
“Dockside Services tried very hard to help him and finally found a berth on the north of the Island, closest to Menorca, this took more than 50 phone calls and 4 hours’ work. The wind in Mallorca was 17 knots. When the captain called and asked for the bill, Dockside Services said as it was a true emergency that they would not charge. After that call, Dockside Services had one of our best clients during the whole summer; clearly the captain was very grateful and is now classed as a very good friend”.