Chartering for Newbies
Welcome to the exciting world of charter yachts! Now that you’ve decided to embark on your first yacht charter, here are some things you should know before booking.
Plan as far in advance as possible. The earlier you book, the more choices you’ll have. Although last minute deals do come up occasionally, we recommend early booking for your first charter. If it’s an option, travel at the start of the season or in the off-season.
Decide on the type of charter experience that you want. Some yachts are best suited to long, leisurely days in the sun. Others have a selection of water toys and sports suited to active groups. Some are perfect for entertaining, including parties, dinners, and cocktail receptions. Whether you’re craving relaxation, quality time with your family, adventure, or romance, there is a charter for you.
Open your mind to new experiences. Charter yachts open up a wealth of destinations that may not otherwise be available due to a lack of hotels or resorts. Your charter is your own private floating resort. You won’t have to compete with crowds for a patch of sand on busy beach, allowing you to truly escape from the day-to-day hustle. Surprisingly, many charters are the same cost (or even less) than booking your group into a 5-star resort.
Work with a charter broker. A broker offers a wealth of experience and information on all of the charter options available. Brokers travel all around the world, whether attending boat shows, touring available yachts, or meeting crews. They will provide you with the best advice and help you select a vessel that meets your needs.
Determine your total budget in advance. Take into account all the expenses that a charter entails. That way, your broker can select the charter vessel, crew, and even the destination best suited to you and your group. At the conclusion of your charter, it is required to give a gratuity to the crew. Your broker will advise you on the amount of the fee before you set sail.
Create a list of what you want to see and do. Discuss this list with your broker so that the captain and crew can create your custom itinerary. You can choose to stay in one place for a few nights, or try to see as many places as possible. Your broker will match you to a crew that knows the area you want to explore, including the best spots for diving, fine dining, festivals, attractions, shopping, and more.
Pack efficiently. You will have limited storage space on the yacht, so select lightweight options that protect you from the sun while keeping you cool. You’ll want a light jacket in case of cooler evenings when travelling to sun destinations. If your charter is taking you to a colder destination, explore lightweight yet warm options.
Learn some sailing lingo. Do you know which direction is port and which is starboard? Where is the helm, the stern, and the bow? Also, a bedroom is called a cabin, and bathrooms are referred to as heads.
Be mindful of the rules and regulations. Charter groups must adhere to the yacht’s guidelines for their safety and to ensure the vessel stays in optimal condition. Safety briefings are required. Some vessels have a no shoes policy to maintain the integrity of the decks. Also, do not enter the crew areas without permission or an invitation. Be sure to respect your crew and listen to their advice. Treat the yacht with care, and allow your crew to tend to their daily housekeeping duties. If you plan to entertain guests beyond those in your charter group, advise your crew in advance so they can prepare and purchase extra supplies.
Carefully review your contract. Ensure that it has stipulations for all possible scenarios that could arise, including a replacement vessel so you can continue your charter within your booked time. Your broker will help you negotiate the contract.