Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions about chartering a luxury yacht.
- How does a yacht being privately or operator owned affect the charter process?
- What is a bareboat charter?
How does a yacht being privately or operator owned affect the charter process?
When booking your charter, you will notice no difference in the process depending on who owns your selected yacht.
What is a bareboat charter?
A bareboat charter applies to a yacht which is rented without a skipper or accompanying crew. You navigate the yacht yourself and perform all duties on board. In some sailing regions you will be required to hold some type of qualification or show previous boating experience before you can bareboat charter.
In general, if you’re looking to charter a motor yacht you will require a day skipper licence in theory and practice, typically the International Certificate of Competence (ICC). Conditions for renting sailing yachts are more difficult, as varying countries carry different requirements.
- What is a Charter Agreement?
- What is the MYBA?
- What is WMT?
- What are Caribbean Terms?
- What is SEMT?
- What is APA?
What is a Charter Agreement?
A Charter Agreement is a legal document between the broker and you as a charter client that outlines the major factors of your yachting vacation. It will outline the chosen yacht, cruise dates, intended destinations and cost.
What is the MYBA?
The Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) is a trade association designed to promote high standards of professionalism and ethics in the yachting industry. The MYBA charter agreement embodies all aspects of WMT, and is the contract of choice for professional charter brokers.
What is WMT?
Charter agreements are typically prepared and executed under West Mediterranean Terms (WMT). Under WMT, a charter fee is payable for the exclusive charter of the yacht. This fee includes the charter of the yacht with all its equipment in working order, tools, stores, cleaning materials, basic consumable stores for engine-room, deck and cabins etc.; the crew's wages, food; the insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability.
What are Caribbean Terms?
Under Caribbean terms, there is more variety in the type of agreement you may select, often including all-inclusive packages that account for more provisions in the charter fee.
What is SEMT?
It varies from WMT in that it includes Standard Eastern Mediterranean Terms (SEMT) an alternative standard by which a Charter Agreement may be applied. It varies from WMT in that in includes fuel for up to five hours cruising per day, berthing dues and other harbour charges. It does not however include cleaning materials or basic consumable stores.
What is APA?
Under WMT, an Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA) is required to be paid in addition to the charter fee. This allowance is normally calculated as 20% to 30% of the charter fee and is typically paid in cash prior to your charter. It effectively creates a bank account to allow the Captain to buy fuel, provisions and cover any excess expenses relating to the cost of your charter. This includes extras such as fuel for tenders and generators, consumable stores, harbour charges, laundry, and communications. At the end of the charter, the captain will produce full accounts of all expenditure and you will either be refunded any money not used or asked to pay any additional costs not covered by the APA.
What do crews normally consist of?
Nearly all superyachts these days are accompanied by an expert crew familiar with the yacht and the waters in which it sails in. Crews can range anywhere upwards of two people, although there are rarely more than 50. Superyachts equipped with larger crews often include deck crew, interior crew, and those in specialty roles.
Deck crew can consist of captain, first mate, boson and deckhand who are responsible for navigation and sailing, tenders, preparation and operation of water toys. They also take care of the exterior of the yacht, ensuring it is well-kept at all times. Often there is an engineer who has the important role of ensuring the mechanics of the yacht continue to run smoothly at all times, and deal with any technical problems onboard. The interior crew normally accounts for stewardesses and chefs. These professionals are responsible for food service, housekeeping and other general duties.
Do the crew need to be tipped?
Although not mandatory, it is customary to leave a tip (gratuity) for the work of the crew at the end of a charter. Most brokers tend to recommend a tip between 5% and 15% of the charter fee depending on how satisfied you are with the service. These amounts should be given to the captain who will then allocate it to the crew.
- What does the charter fee account for and how are they calculated?
- What do I need to secure a yacht?
- What are the payment terms?
- Am I covered by insurance?
What does the charter fee account for and how are they calculated?
The charter fee includes all that is outlined in the standard terms; charter of the yacht with all its equipment in working order; tools; stores; cleaning materials and basic consumable stores for engine room, deck, galley and cabins; laundry of ship’s linen; the crew’s wages, uniform and food; the insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the insurance of the crew for employer’s liability insurance.
Basic consumable stores include filters, lubricating oil, paints, varnishes, etc. as well as standard sun lotions, soaps, shampoos, tissues, etc. In the kitchen, salt, pepper, spices, herbs and sugar should be stocked by the yacht.
The yacht’s laundry including sheets, towels, and table linens are included in the charter fee, although personal items are not specified. Therefore these items could be charged for, although it is common practice on most yachts for moderate quantities of personal laundry to be carried out by the yacht’s crew on board as a service.
What do I need to secure a yacht?
In order to secure a yacht for charter, a fully signed charter agreement must be completed. 50% of the charter fee is usually required as a deposit to secure a booking, and this amount is normally payable when the charter agreement is signed.
What are the payment terms?
The first payment is usually required upon the signing of the charter agreement, accounting for 50% of the charter fee. The remainder of the fee is due 30 to 60 days before commencement of the charter depending on the broker. The APA is payable at the same time as the final balance. Most payments are made via bank transfer or credit card and can usually be made in your preferred currency.
Am I covered by insurance?
The charter fee covers insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the insurance of the crew for employer’s liability insurance. Most brokers will recommend you take out Cancellation and Curtailment Insurance in addition to this to protect against unforeseen circumstances that might prevent or cut short your charter.
- What is supplied onboard?
- What do I need to bring with me?
- How difficult is it to enter the major ports?
- Are there set hours in which the yacht can cruise?
- Will arrangements be made for airport pick-up?
- Are qualifications needed to use the onboard water sports equipment?
- How many extra guests are allowed on board?
- Is there a maximum or minimum for how long a charter must last?
- Can I choose the food and drink served on board?
- Are children allowed on charters?
- Are pets allowed on board?
- Is smoking permitted inside?
What is supplied onboard?
Most superyachts have internet connections, and all linen, towels, sun creams, hairdryers and basic toiletries are supplied.
What do I need to bring with me?
As almost everything you need will already be onboard when you begin your charter, you only need pack very little, and the less baggage you have the better. Light clothing options are a must if you are sailing in the summer months, as well as bathing suits, athletic shoes and formal wear if intending to visit anywhere that may have a strict dress code. Remember to bring any personal items such as passports and visas, and if any of your yachting party is prone to seasickness, over the counter medications or prescriptions may be a good idea. Soft sided luggage is recommended as it usually fits in cabin compartments the easiest and is gentle on woodwork and paint.
How difficult is it to enter the major ports?
During peak months it is harder than usual to access some of the most popular cruising ports, although ensuring you book your charter well in advance can ensure appropriate bookings are made with time to spare. Some ports don’t accept bookings more than three days in advance however, so often mooring offshore is an option worth considering.
Are there set hours in which the yacht can cruise?
In general you can sail at most times of the day if weather and sight conditions allow it, and providing it doesn’t conflict with the itinerary discussed with the captain and broker too significantly.
Will arrangements be made for airport pick-up?
Most brokerage companies will arrange to have you and your party picked up and transported to your yacht when you arrive, often by a member of crew.
Are qualifications needed to use the onboard water sports equipment?
Most of the water equipment can be freely used by guests, and the crew are always on hand to assist in operation if needed. In order to use the scuba diving equipment you will need to hold an appropriate certification or be in the presence of a qualified instructor. Different countries have different requirements however so it is important to check with the crew before participating in watersport activities. A Certificate of Competency is easily obtained by arranging for an instructor to come onboard and educate guests on basic operation.
How many extra guests are allowed on board?
When docked, the only real restriction is the size of the yacht. In general, a 40 metre yacht can host between 30 and 40 people.
Most yachts will stipulate only 12 passengers are allowed on board when sailing, due to International Marine regulations which consider a yacht with any more guests to be a passenger ship and therefore must comply with Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) conventions. These requirements are costly to implement, which is reflected in the charter fee of those licensed for more passengers.
Is there a maximum or minimum for how long a charter must last?
Not really. Many operators will request you to charter for a week, often from Saturday to Saturday, but partial weeks and different start dates are perfectly negotiable. The charter rates for short charters will be calculated differently from a weekly charter however, not simply calculated as a daily rate. If you are looking to book a short charter, aim to avoid the high season, as most superyachts will be booked in weekly blocks at this time.
Can I choose the food and drink served on board?
The food onboard and the menus presented are designed around the preferences you express to the broker prior to the charter. If you have a chef onboard, they can prepare most meals you request with advanced notice. Alcoholic drinks are included in the ship’s bar, and the larger the yacht, the higher the quality of the bar menu.
Are children allowed on charters?
Yes, chartering a yacht can make for an excellent family vacation, with activities to entertain both children and adults. In general the crew are not responsible for their safety and behaviour, although specialist carers can be employed as part of the crew if required. You might find a few yachts do identify a minimum age for passengers however or actually require the services of an onboard nanny so these factors should be checked with the broker before yacht selection.
Are pets allowed on board?
Typically pets are not allowed onboard for health and safety reasons, and sea travel can be extremely uncomfortable for animals.
Is smoking permitted inside?
In general smoking is not permitted inside most yachts, and is strictly forbidden in any cabins or staterooms.