How to charter a superyacht: Navigating the yacht charter process
Last updated: 23/10/2019
With the investment and innovation devoted to keeping superyacht charter guests happy in a competitive industry, and with a big world out there to explore, there are many, many options for those shopping for their next superyacht charter.
While you may now know more about the type of superyacht you would like to charter and the destinations you would like to explore, you may not have considered the finer details of the yacht charter process, working with your charter broker to realise your goals.
Yachting Pages spoke to yacht charter brokers to undercover the benefits and necessities of using a charter broker, and the steps involved in the yacht charter process.
Do I need to use a charter broker to arrange a yacht charter?
Simply put, yes. A yacht charter broker is often your only route to an organised superyacht charter and will certainly make your life easier. After all, you will expect your charter booking to be highly personalised and as easy as the charter itself.
Each charter superyacht will typically be managed by a broker who will secure your chosen yacht and manage your charter throughout its duration. Beyond this, a knowledgeable broker will be able to add much more to your charter than you may first expect, taking care of the smaller details and freeing you up to just enjoy yourself when on board.
The yacht charter process: How to charter a yacht
How do I brief my charter broker for the perfect charter experience?
Dave Stanley and Dina Street, owners of Southern Cross Blue Cruising said, “The more concise and clear you can explain your charter expectations, the better equipped a good charter broker will be to suggest the right yachts for consideration.
“Take into account not just your own, but your entire group’s expectations. If some members are extremely active and others simply want to watch the world go by, ensure that you communicate this to the broker. Explain your budget to the broker so that he/she can return to you with accurate estimations of what is and is not included in the charter price so that there are no surprises. If you have flexibility with your charter dates, tell your broker so that he or she can maximise the yacht choices available for you.”
How does the yacht charter process work?
Overwhelming for some, exciting for many, a yacht charter booking can be a daunting process to undertake. A charter broker can help to guide charter guests through the many, many charter options, providing valuable insight and consideration for their cruising wants and needs.
The yacht charter process typically starts with guests choosing a suitable yacht that fits the decided budget and offers the accommodation and facilities required, or on a destination to explore.
1. Selecting your charter yacht: You will first need to search for the luxury yacht or superyacht that is best suited to you and your group; perhaps you will choose a powerful motor yacht over a sedentary sailing yacht, one with more deck space than interior space. Either way, it will need to have the correct amount of cabins, the best facilities for your needs and preferences, and be licensed to visit the destinations of your choosing. It should also be within budget! Read more about selecting a superyacht for your charter.
2. Choosing your charter destination: Alternatively, many may choose to start the charter booking process by selecting a destination and then searching for those yachts that are available for charter in those regions. Discover seasonal charter destinations here.
3. Contacting the broker: Once you have selected your preferred superyacht and a destination, you will need to contact the broker that represents the yacht. This is where the process really begins. Of course, if you are unsure of where to start in choosing a yacht or destination, you could always opt to choose a reputable broker first, working with them to select your ideal vessel and charter intinerary. Brokers are especially useful to those who are chartering with large groups or children. View yacht charter brokers on Yachtingpages.com.
SuperSailYachts.com explained, “If you are a small family, superyachts with a spectacular owner’s stateroom are likely to be your first choice. With group charters it may be necessary to source boats with higher number of master or VIP cabins instead.
“With children on board, flexible arrangements will need to be considered, such as twin cabins that are perhaps near the master cabin, and more water sports and on-board entertainment facilities. Your broker can provide tips as to the best yachts and crews for such charters, as some yachts will refuse children, while others will specifically welcome them.”
4. Planning your charter: The first steps of the charter process can be stressful, with so many choices on offer. The most exciting step therefore starts for many when they begin to work with their broker to plan the charter itself. This includes the travel arrangements to meet the yacht, the sights you will see in your itinerary, the marinas you will berth in and your cruising preferences for your charter - from food and wine through to décor and serving style.
5. Drawing up the agreement: Once all aspects of the charter and itinerary have been agreed, you will sign a charter agreement. It is at this time that a payment is required to secure the yacht and make any necessary arrangements – this is typically 50% of the charter fee.
6. Making final payments: Before departing, you will be required to make an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) payment of around 30% of the charter fee cost to cover fuel, food, provisions and berthing costs. Any money that is not used during your charter, or any additional costs that were not accounted for, will be returned/collected at the end of your charter. The final balance of the charter fee will then typically be required around one month before embarking on your charter.
Dave and Dina explained, “Regardless of the steps involved, the charter reservation process begins with establishing a good rapport with your broker and communicating your charter needs. The broker should return within a working day of suitable yachts for your group, which currently are available for your preferred dates. He or she should then explain the differences between each yacht in detail.
“Once you have narrowed down your choice to one or two yachts, the broker should place a no-obligation hold on the yacht until your final questions are answered, itinerary has been discussed, and all travel arrangements explored.
“Once you have settled on your yacht, a preliminary charter contract should be issued by the broker for your review, and the broker should place an official option on the yacht for up to seven days.
“Once all details of the contract and remaining payment terms have been agreed upon, the required deposit is sent to the indicated recipient, normally but not always an escrow account, the broker’s account or sometimes directly to the yacht owner. Your broker should follow up with confirmation of funds received, as well as coordinating all of the necessary details up to your embarkation. Finally, throughout the charter, he or she will also check in to ensure that all is well. The ideal broker will follow up post-charter to hear your impressions of your holiday, the yacht and crew.”
With such a complex and personal process, it's wise to source a good charter broker and maintaining open communication.