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Industry Insight

How to charter a yacht

New and exciting destinations. Total privacy. Chartering a yacht is not for everyone, but if you seek a vacation that offers that extra ‘wow’ factor, then this is the right choice for you.

New and exciting destinations. Total privacy. The freedom to explore, indulge and discover, at your own pace. Chartering a yacht is not for everyone, but if you seek a vacation that offers that extra ‘wow’ factor, then this is the right choice for you.

Complete with your very own Captain and crew, a yacht charter offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience that allows you to hop from one island to another, taking in jaw-dropping views and experiencing the very best that the world has to offer. 

Like your own private luxury hotel, a yacht charter is designed to meet your specific needs, whatever they may be. With a yacht charter broker to plan every step of your vacation, you can rest assured that you and your guests will have a travel experience unlike any other. 

    Do I need a charter broker?

    When chartering a yacht, you want to know that your vacation will be nothing short of extraordinary. But from the yacht you choose, to the destination, crew, food and drink, and even itinerary - there is a lot to organise to ensure you get the most out of your charter experience. 

    That’s where the charter broker comes in.

    Specialist charter brokers use their experience, network and local knowledge to create the perfect charter experience for you and your guests. They help you choose a destination, select a suitable yacht, match you with a well-suited Captain and crew, and build a personalised, unique itinerary based on what you want to get out of your vacation. 

    At Ocean Independence, our team of charter brokers use first-hand knowledge and experience to help you choose the perfect yacht for your destination. With a global network of over 3,000 yachts for charter, the options can seem limitless - but once we understand your requirements and preferences, we can help you secure the yacht of your dreams. 

    From entertainment facilities to water toys and tenders, child-friendly layouts to the latest yacht machinery - whatever your requirements, professional brokers know which yachts come with the best recommendations, the best crews and the best experience.

    Simply put, our charter brokers are here to plan, advise and build the perfect yacht charter for you and your guests, so all you have to do is pack your bags and hop on board to enjoy your truly bespoke getaway.

    Jacuzzi on deck on superyacht

    How much does it cost to charter a yacht?

    The exact cost of the charter will depend on the size and age of the yacht, the duration of the charter, the time of year, popularity of the yacht, and of course the destination, among other factors.

    It will also depend on the type of yacht you wish to charter: sailing or motor? New or vintage? A mega yacht that sleeps 24, or something cosier and more intimate for your close family and friends? These are all factors that will affect the cost of your charter experience. 

    Average Weekly Charter Fees
    Sailing yacht (2021): EUR 87,000
    Motor yacht (2021): EUR 144,000
    Average weekly charter fee in 2021: EUR 130,000
    Average weekly charter fee in 2022: EUR 180,000
     
    But it’s also important to note that there may be additional costs on top of your charter rate. What is included in this initial fee will vary dependent on the yacht, but you might be expected to pay the following in addition to the charter rate:
     
    • Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA). This covers the operational expenses that you will incur during your charter, including but not limited to: fuel, berthing fees, custom charges, food and beverages. The APA varies from 25-40% of your charter fee, and any of the funds that have not been used throughout the charter will be reimbursed at the end of your vacation.
    • Shipping/supply agent fees
    • Local taxes
    • Delivery fees
    • Gratuities. The exact amount you pay in gratuities is entirely down to personal discretion.
    Sailing yacht bow

    Any additional costs on top of your charter rate will be mentioned by your broker before selecting your yacht, so you can rest assured that you won’t be greeted with any nasty surprises once you step on board for your charter holiday.

    how to choose the perfect charter yacht

    Much like hotels, not every charter yacht will fit your specific requirements. You may be looking for a lavish decor, opulent interiors and sumptuous seclusion, or perhaps your ideal charter is a stripped back, minimalist style that allows you to reconnect with the ocean. Maybe you want the facilities for an on-deck disco, or in contrast, maybe you need something a little more understated and private. 

    Whatever your needs, there is a yacht out there with your name on it. Sail around the Bahamas and enjoy the golden coastlines, or island hop around the Mediterranean, exploring quaint towns and indulging in different cuisines. The options are limitless. 

    To help ensure you select the right yacht for your needs, your charter broker will ask you a series of questions to assess what you want to get out of your experience. Where are you wanting to explore? How many guests are you planning to host? What would you consider to be must-haves on your charter? What is your budget?

    The ideal charter yacht for a corporate event is likely to be very different to the ideal charter yacht for a small family, so it’s important to specify how you intend to use the yacht during your vacation. The more details you can provide, the better. 

    And then of course, there is the age-old question…

    Beach club on charter superyacht

    sailing or motor?

    Motor yachts are the epitome of speed and power, with sleek, modern profiles and spacious accommodation. They also have the capacity for some of the more exciting features like beach clubs, water toys, gyms and spas. Motor yachts are the ideal choice if you are hoping to host larger groups or throw lavish parties - they are the very picture of luxury. 

    Meanwhile, sailing yachts offer a more romantic, traditional yachting experience, with the wind in your hair and salt spray on your skin. Though sometimes less modern, these yachts can often offer surprisingly expansive accommodation, and are great for those who are truly passionate about the sea. Sailing boats are less about the flashy accessories, and more about the authentic sailing experience.  

    Whatever you hope to get out of your charter adventure, your broker will be able to guide and advise you based on your preferences to help choose the perfect yacht to cater to your needs.

    Sailing Yacht or Motor Yacht

    where to charter?

    During the yacht selection process, you will also need to consider where and when you want your charter to take place.

    Maybe you want to cruise the West Mediterranean in peak season, exploring hidden coves, sipping on Italian wines, and paddling in shallow waters. Or perhaps you are keen to explore the many remote islands and exotic cultures of South East Asia. 

    It’s important to note that the expense of your charter will partly depend on the location you choose, as some destinations are far more popular than others, and expenses such as berthing fees and charter taxes can vary greatly. 

    There is also the fact that not every location is suitable for charter, with some locations having limited areas for docking and poor accessibility to harbours. 

    If you have a particular area in mind that you would like to explore, your charter broker will be able to advise on the best places to visit, as well as which yachts are available for your chosen destination. They will also handle the logistics of your charter alongside the Captain, including the itinerary and stopping points along your journey. 

    Yacht charter destination

    chartering with children

    If you are looking to charter a yacht as a family getaway, you may need to give extra consideration as to the entertainment on board for your younger guests. Whilst you may be perfectly happy lounging on-deck and taking in the breath-taking views, it’s unlikely that this will satisfy your young ones, who might need something a little more energetic and adventurous to get the most out of the vacation. 

    Consider accommodation arrangements, safety nets and gates, length of charter as well as child-friendly itineraries to keep your little ones happy. 

    From cinema rooms to water toys, inflatables and swimming pools - many yachts these days are equipped with a whole host of entertainment facilities to keep children occupied, and alongside an action-packed and exciting itinerary, your kids are sure to have a truly unforgettable holiday.

    It’s also important to make sure you have the right crew for your charter experience. Every yacht and crew is set up to cater to specific needs, which means not all will be best-suited to children. Your charter broker will help you select the right yacht and crew to meet your family’s needs, so guests of all ages get the most out of your stay on board. 

    Yacht charter with children

    chartering with pets

    Similarly, some guests wish to bring their four-legged friends with them on their charter experience - and who can blame them? But much like with children, not every yacht is suited to cater for pets, and from health and safety and legal restrictions to yacht owner wishes, there is a lot to consider. 

    As you can imagine, ensuring the yacht stays in top condition is of paramount importance, so even pet-friendly yachts will expect good behaviour and discipline to avoid any damage. 

    To help you secure a pet-friendly charter yacht, it is important to discuss this with your broker in advance so they can make arrangements and go through the various contractual requirements with you. 

    Dog on yacht charter

    how to plan the perfect itinerary

    A perfect charter is not complete without a perfect itinerary. From inception to your final destination, your itinerary covers every stopping point on your journey, so you know every step of your adventure and can plan around it.

    But not every charter experience is the same. Whilst some guests crave high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled action, others prefer to explore untrodden coastlines and undulating hills. 

    Whatever your preferences, your charter broker will draw on their local knowledge and years of experience to build a custom-made itinerary with the Captain. From where you drop anchor each day to dining, activities and excursions - a yacht charter is the ultimate personalised holiday.

    When booking your charter, consider what you would like to see and what you’d like to do. Have you always dreamt of swimming with marine life in crystal clear waters? Or are you more interested in dropping into iconic coastal towns packed with culture and gastronomic delights? Or is exploration in the Northern hemisphere more your thing?

    Let your broker know what you aim to get out of the experience, and they will sort out the rest.

    Snorkelling with marine life on yacht charter

    how to choose food and drink on a charter

    As part of your APA package, all food and drink on board will be provided by your dedicated chef and crew. Alfresco dinners, mouth-watering desserts and tropical cocktails are all at your fingertips, as your chef will tailor each day’s menu to your exacting tastes and dietary requirements. 

    Whether you fancy a five-course feast or a beach picnic at sunset, your chef and crew will delight in creating an unforgettable gastronomic experience. And if you wish to dine onshore, your charter broker will happily recommend and arrange reservations at the very best restaurants throughout your charter experience. 

    Prior to your charter, you can provide your broker with a list of food and beverages so your crew can stock up on all your favourite drinks and cuisine and have them on board throughout your charter. This list should also include any dietary requirements or allergies so your chef can make any necessary adjustments.

     

    Food on a yacht charter

    general etiquette on a charter

    Whether it’s your first or twenty-first charter, there are certain unspoken rules and expectations when chartering a yacht, from how you treat your Captain and crew to how you behave whilst onboard the yacht. 

    • Footwear. Generally speaking, shoes for ashore should not be worn onboard the yacht. Whether you opt for soft deck shoes or to go barefoot is entirely down to preference, but guests should keep their usual footwear reserved for when they leave the boat to explore the coastlines.
    • Luggage. If possible, it’s recommended to pack in soft luggage bags, as these are easier for the crew to handle and store without taking up valuable space. On some yachts, stowing space can be limited, so you are better off opting for something a little more flexible than large, hard cases. 
    • Smoking. For most charters, smoking is not permitted inside the yacht for safety reasons. That said, many yachts still allow smoking on-deck, but to avoid disappointment it’s best to check with your broker beforehand regarding smoking policies. 
    • Gratuity. While customary, the crew’s gratuity is entirely a matter for your personal discretion. We usually suggest tipping around 10-20% of the charter fee for your Captain and crew to split equally between them, but it’s worth noting that the expected gratuity may vary depending on the location of your charter, and what you decide to leave to the crew is entirely up to you and how you feel about your experience.
    Woman on superyacht charter barefoot

    what is the process to charter a yacht?

    Once you’ve made the initial enquiry, reached out to a charter broker, and started to discuss your criteria and requirements for the charter, that’s when the process starts to pick up momentum. 

    Your charter broker will scour the database and provide you with a selection of yachts that are the most suitable for your needs and that are available for the time of year you are hoping to charter. From this selection, it’s then up to you to decide which yacht you would like to charter.

    Once you’ve made your choice, the charter broker will get in touch with the Owner of the yacht to discuss availability, prices and various terms and conditions of the charter. 

    So long as all terms are agreed between both parties, as well as the final price, we will then issue a contract for you to sign, securing the yacht for your vacation. Upon signing the Charter Agreement, you will generally be expected to make a deposit of 50% of the charter fee via wire transfer. The remaining 50%, as well as the APA and any applicable taxes, delivery fees and security deposit are due one month before the beginning of your charter. 

    Once all the contracts are signed and deposits are made, your charter broker will proceed with the necessary concierge arrangements to include an itemised itinerary and food/beverage preferences. After that, all that is left is for you to pack your bags and count down the days until you board the yacht and greet your Captain and crew. 

    Yacht charter aerial view

    To complete your luxury charter experience, you can also arrange private travel to and from the yacht. Private aviation offers next-level comfort, privacy and time-efficiency, bypassing the busy queues and delays that so often go hand-in-hand with commercial airlines. 

    At Ocean Independence, we offer a private aviation chartering service, where we can help you secure a private jet charter to get you from A to B. You can read more about how to charter a private aircraft in this article

    Your next adventure awaits…

    From Mediterranean archipelagos to Caribbean coastlines - there is a whole world out there for you to explore. With our team of dedicated, unrivalled charter brokers, we can help connect you with the perfect yacht, in the perfect destination, for a perfect charter experience. 

    Explore the yachts we currently have available for charter here, or get in touch with our team if you’d like to make an enquiry.


     

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