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The Cost to Charter a Yacht


The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Not many things can match the glamour of yacht travel.

The endless opportunities for exploration in the most luxurious of settings, as the wind blows through your hair, sounds even more alluring after a year spent indoors with feet firmly on solid ground.

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – As we emerge from the grips of the pandemic, a private yacht charter could offer adventure seekers the perfect escape away from the crowds

Charter rates are usually quoted by the week, with seven nights being the standard yacht charter period.

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – According to Fraser Yacht’s 2021 market report, there are around 2,900 yachts available for charter in the world today.

the-cost-to-charter-a-yacht-What-is-the-Difference-Between-a-Boat-and a-Yacht

What is the Difference Between a Boat and a Yacht

To be classified as a boat, the vessel can be used commercially or non-commercially.

There are also no limits on the construction materials used, how it’s built, or the shape.

As a result, anything from a moderately sized yacht to a dinghy can be counted as a boat.

On the other hand, although a yacht can be qualified as a boat as long as it’s under 60 meters LOA, many yachts far exceed this size and length.

International shipbuilders are continuously striving to push the envelope, aiming to build increasingly colossal vessels for their customers – many a testament to engineering and design.

These types of yachts, known as Superyachts, Megayachts, or Gigayachts, typically exceed 40 meters LOA.

These privately-owned titans are big enough that they need to be operated and maintained by professional crews.

While there are no official definitions for the range of terms springing up to describe the increasingly large range of yachts released with each passing year, the following terms roughly encompass the following sizes:

Superyacht: Typically starting at 37 meters (120 feet) from bow to stern, and ranging up to 60 meters (200 feet).
Megayacht: Although this is often used interchangeably with Superyacht, it can also be used to describe any yacht between 60 metres (200 feet) and 90 metres (300 feet).

Gigayacht: Used to describe any yacht over 90 metres (300 feet) from bow to stern.


Does Size Impact The Cost of a Yacht Charter

The reputation of the crew, the age of the yacht and its design will all influence the price of your charter; however, the single biggest factor that will impact cost is likely to be the size: the bigger the yacht, the more you’re likely to pay. 

For example, with leading yacht brokerage Burgess, a week’s charter in the Caribbean aboard the 163.3 ft Home starts at $245,000.

If you opt for the larger Laurentia, at 180.5 ft, the price starts at $450,000.

Both yachts were built in 2017 by leading Dutch shipyard Heesen and have capacity for 12 guests, but there is over $200,000 difference in the price.

Naturally, you can also expect a higher APA for a bigger ship. 

Novice charterers might be surprised to learn that a larger yacht doesn’t automatically translate into a larger guest capacity.

Most superyachts are capped at a 12 guest limit due to International Maritime Organization safety regulations.


Does the Type of Yacht Impact the Price?

The answer is yes, but to a lesser extent than size.

There’s something for everyone when it comes to yachts: classic yachts (built between the 1920s and 1970s) allow you to experience old school glamour of a bygone era, whereas sportfishing yachts are nimble and offer a long-range to get you to the best fishing (or diving) spots.

Sailing yachts are a popular choice amongst boating enthusiasts, but by a long shot, the most popular charter yachts are motor yachts.

These are typically what spring to mind when you picture a superyacht and (size-dependent) tend to be the most expensive type of yacht to charter, often being pricier to purchase, maintain and fuel. 

Explorer yachts are motor yachts designed to cope with the most extreme conditions – if you’re planning a luxury superyacht charter to Antarctica, for example, it’s likely to be aboard one of these.

Over the past decade, explorer yachts have skyrocketed in popularity amongst intrepid travelers looking for opulent adventure on the seven seas.

A week onboard the world’s fastest explorer yacht, the 311.68 ft Bold, costs approximately $964,300.

This also makes it one of the world’s most expensive yachts to charter, in line with what you’ll pay for chartering the crème de la crème of the more ‘conventional’ superyachts typically seen on the French Riviera, like the ultra-glamorous O’Pari

A week’s charter onboard the 312 ft O’Pari comes complete with custom artwork and DJ booth costs from $1.1m.


What Costs Does a Yacht Charter Include

Most importantly, there are generally two types of yacht charter: an all-inclusive charter and the more common ‘plus expenses’ charter.

As suggested by the name, the cost of an all-inclusive yacht charter will include (almost) everything such as crew, food, drinks, fuel and water sports equipment (though always check as this does vary between charter companies).

However, some all-inclusive charters won’t include dockage or mooring fees, which can soon add up – but more on that later. 

A ‘plus expenses’ or ‘separated charges’ charter is where a base price is charged for the ship and its crew, while everything else is paid for through an ‘Advance Provisioning Allowance’ (APA) before you step onboard.

Prior to a voyage, guests will complete a preference sheet with their likes and dislikes, enabling the chef and service team to stock up on the guest’s favorite items.

This tends to be the norm on superyacht charters as it allows for a much more tailored experience.

As well as covering food and beverages, an APA will also cover things like fuel and possibly dockage.

It is usually charged at around 30% of the yacht’s base rate.

According to luxury yacht brokers Northorp and Johnson, the average price paid by its customers for a week’s ‘plus expenses’ charter was around $152,000 in 2020, which would mean an APA of around $45,600 – not a small sum, so it’s definitely something to be aware of when selecting your vessel. 

A third, less common charter is a ‘bareboat’ charter.

This is a charter without a crew or provisions and only generally favored amongst experienced yachtsmen and women or those who can supply their own crew. 

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Choose a Vessel That Fits Your Plan

Most yachts carry the basic water toys and tenders for being towed and simple snorkeling exploration.

But some yachts carry specific equipment, from personal submarines, decompression chambers for scuba diving, inflatable slides and even Hammam saunas and snow rooms.

Even if a particular coastline is new to you, your captain will ensure that your trip focuses on the elements that are most important to you.

 If you want to keep the yacht on the move, its speed, size, draft depth and flag will determine how many stops you can make.

For example, cruising in the Bahamas requires a shallow draft if you want to visit out islands like the Exumas, though plenty of ports have deeper waters.

A yacht with stabilizers is key for first time charterers if they haven’t experienced the sea before.

Charter brokers usually list pricing per week and most charter yachts are certified to carry 12 guests, plus crew.

If you plan to vacation with more than that, you will need a PYC- or SOLAS-class yacht, which is licensed for up to 36 passengers.

Yachts such as 278-foot Victorious, an explorer vessel capable of circumnavigating the world, has 12 staterooms for 24 guests plus crew.

Guest cabin configurations tend to be varied and flexible.

The principal (person who booked the charter) will typically take the master suite.

But yachts with large VIPs, cabins with bunks designed for kids, and twin cabins with a Pullman bed make sleeping arrangements tailored to suit your group easy.

Don’t forget to include in your count any personal assistants, babysitters or other security guards. And if anyone in your party has concerns about limited mobility, factoring an elevator or stair-climber into your criteria early on is a must.

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Finding the Right Crew

Equally as important when choosing a yacht is making sure the crew are a good fit.

If you have children in tow, you’ll want a family-friendly crew who can keep them entertained. If you’re traveling with a group of active friends, having crew who double as water sports instructors is a great benefit.

A broker will go over all your options. June Montagne, charter consultant at IYC, recommends requesting references on the crew prior to making your final decision.

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Cost Varies by Month

The time of year will impact your charter price. In yachting, there are two main seasons – summer and winter – and chartering during these peak times will push up the cost.

The summer season runs from May to October, with peak rates in July and August.

The most common migration is the Mediterranean in the summer and the Caribbean in the winter.

However, you will also find yachts cruising the waters of Central and South America, Antarctica, the Pacific islands, Northern Europe and even Costa Rica.

The winter season runs from November to April, with peak rates over the Christmas holidays and into New Year.

Location also dictates the price of a charter; for example, Caribbean charters are costlier from December to March whereas Mediterranean charters are at their priciest during the summer months. 

In 2021, the Amalfi Coast in Italy and the Greek islands were among the most popular summer charter destinations.

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Expenses, Gratuities and other Costs

Not even a Mediterranean jellyfish has the power to sting an unassuming first-time sailor like end-of-trip expenses. 

As mentioned previously, with ‘plus expenses’ charters your APA is paid before you set sail.

However, a detailed list of outgoings will be kept by the ship and if your expenses surpass the amount of your APA, you will be asked to cover the amount for the remaining charter.

Saying this, it does work both ways – any unspent APA will be refunded to you. 

On both all-inclusive and ‘plus expenses’ charters, crew gratuities are not included in the yacht charter price. 

If you were happy with the service, the going rate is around 15 to 20% of the charter cost, so do keep this in mind. 

Depending on your charter agreement, docking fees, a charge you pay to keep your yacht in a marina or harbor overnight, may or may not be included in the cost.

These can vary greatly depending on the location, time of year and the size of your yacht.

Expect to pay the highest docking fees on the Mediterranean during high season with Capri and St Tropez commanding some of the steepest premiums.

Your itinerary can also affect the price, as traveling to places like Antarctica and the Arctic Circle require expensive permits.

Certain destinations will also charge tax and VAT, so it is sensible to check with your broker if you’re keen on getting a cost breakdown before your trip. 

As an example, for the 2021 summer season, the 160-foot Rossinavi EIV superyacht, with five cabins and nine crew chartered in the Mediterranean from approximately $280,000 per week.

The overall price varies with fuel consumption (staying in port or cruising), location (France or Greece), the number of people you are traveling with, food and drink, as well as activities.

Adding in food and drink; expenses for docking, fuel and other fees; and tips will tack roughly 30 to 50 percent of the charter rate to your trip.

So, if you were on EIV for a week last summer, it most likely cost you between $364,000 and $420,000 depending on how often the yacht moved, how many bottles of rosé you went through, and what kind of gratuity you left the crew for your incredible stay on board.

MYBA suggests five to 15 percent as customary, though it’s left up to your discretion to reward an exceptional crew with a larger amount if you think that’s fair, or a smaller amount if the service hasn’t been up to par.

In terms of how to hand the tip over, standard procedure is to leave the gratuity with the captain at the end of your stay so he or she can divvy among the various crew members you may or may not have seen, based on their duties.

The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Privacy and Personalization


The Cost to Charter a Yacht – Privacy and Personalization

Privacy and discretion form the backbone of yachting.

Builders usually don’t share who the owner of a yacht is, nor do the brokers or crew. If you have concerns about the confidentiality of high-profile guests during your charter, requesting your charter broker to sign an NDA is an option.

As with all elements of a bespoke yacht charter, the choice is yours, from dietary needs and favorite cocktails to service etiquette and daily activities.

If you or your travel partners are inclined to remain plugged in, most yachts feature high-speed Wi-Fi, allowing you to keep in touch as much or as little as you would like.

For those keen to get out and explore, options range from shopping for local artisan goods, taking a cooking class or dropping anchor in one cove all day to dive and fish.

It’s up to you how you spend your time, just be sure to give the crew a heads-up so they know what to be prepared for.

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