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How to charter a yacht – A Beginner’s Guide

Aqua Libra

Venturing into the world of luxury yacht chartering for the first time is like stepping onto a stage filled with opportunity and excitement. Whether you’re toasting to personal achievements, planning an extraordinary vacation, or moving from a guest on a friend’s yacht to taking the helm of your own charter experience, it can be an exhilarating journey.

But as a beginner, where do you start and what you should anticipate?

This comprehensive guide is here to demystify the process, ensuring your first charter experience is as smooth and enjoyable as the calm seas on a sun-kissed day. From maximizing your broker relationship, planning in advance, selecting the right yacht, to maintaining onboard etiquette, we’ve got you covered.

1. Find a good broker

A charter broker is your conduit between you and a splendid yacht charter. Your broker is your primary point of contact from the start of your yacht charter planning. The broker will question you about your cruising intentions, lifestyle, and guests to find the perfect yacht and develop an unforgettable journey for everyone on board. Even when your charter has begun, the broker will always be there for any inquiries you may have.

A good charter broker can have several crucial roles:

Is your advocate: The charter broker works in your favor. They negotiate the best charter rate on your behalf and guide you through the process of contract making. The charter broker represents you, the charterer, and is there to protect your interests. Emperio Yachting’s legal team specializes in maritime law and are recognized experts on MYBA Charter Agreements.

Is the Expert: A skilled charter broker travels to destinations, examines the yachts, and is acquainted with the service level that the captain and crew provide. This enables them to present their firsthand observations to the client. This proven approach means the most suitable yacht will be recommended to you. Your Charter Broker becomes familiar with the yacht’s crew and has the chance to taste the chef’s meals. This enables them to offer personal suggestions rather than just relying on promotional material.

Can help you as a First-timer: Is this your first charter? Not an issue – Your Charter Broker will suggest the optimal yacht charter experience. When a customer who has never chartered before asks us for recommendations, we first seek to understand their preferences.

At Emperio we work hard to make your yacht chartering experience hassle free and truly unforgettable!

2. Preliminary Plan the Specifics

Planning the specifics in advance might seem like you’re being overly demanding, but giving exact details ahead of your yacht charter will help your charter broker and crew craft the perfect experience. They will strive to understand you and your desires by gathering as much data as possible initially, not later. The more details you give, the better they can cater to your exact needs.

Procedure: The Charter Broker will provide you with a preferences form long before you board. It will cover all aspects of your charter and your lifestyle. It’s crucial to complete an advance information sheet noting culinary preferences or any special dietary needs, beverage preferences, newspapers, flowers, or other special requests. You can also provide details on any medical issues, allergies, and special occasions.

3. Charter the Ideal Yacht

Needless to say, selecting the yacht that best aligns with your preferences is one of the most important factors in an enjoyable charter. Our experienced team can help you select a yacht that will fulfill your needs and dreams.

Space matters: Traveling with your loved ones? Ensure you choose a yacht with sufficient space and a family-friendly crew. A good Charter Broker will always inquire about the precise age of your children and what kind of family vacation they are aiming for. The broker will then extract as much information as possible about what everyone likes to do on board, ensuring the crew is fully prepared.

Home away from home: A yacht should be an extension of your home, allowing you to sit back and relax as if you were in your living room. When a new client comes on board, we always engage them in a conversation about their home environment.

Speed matters: A good broker will determine if you prefer a speedy journey or want to enjoy life at a leisurely pace. It would be incorrect to suggest a fast yacht with high fuel consumption to a client who doesn’t prioritize speed but will be shocked by the fuel bill. Clients who prefer comfort should be offered a full-displacement yacht, while those who care about a yacht’s speed and sleekness will likely find a full-displacement yacht slow and bulky.

Age Over Appearance: Don’t overlook the charm of an older, refitted yacht. Many of these yachts can rival the newest models on the market, providing a luxury yacht charter experience at a more accessible price point.

4. Design a Well-Balanced Itinerary

The perfect itinerary depends your desires for the journey:

Don’t overdo it: It can be tempting to fill your charter with activities, but it’s recommended to factor in some downtime. Take advantage of the flexibility of a private yacht charter.

Time at sea: It’s suggested to cruise for six hours or less a day, and being flexible to change direction for weather reasons or to spend more time in order to enjoy a particular new spot. From our experience, one common mistake first-time charterers make is booking multiple meals off the boat. Our onboard chefs are as good as, if not better than, the ones on the land.

Flexibility at Sea: The beauty of a private yacht charter lies in its flexibility. Embrace the freedom to alter your itinerary and explore unexpected gems along the way.

Off-peak Yacht Chartering: Consider yacht charters during the low season. Not only you receive better deals, but you also enjoy less crowded marinas and a more relaxed crew.

5. Adhere to Onboard Etiquette

From the outside looking in, yachting etiquette can seem complex, but the basics are rooted in common sense. Onboard etiquette is simple: remove your shoes, be respectful to the crew, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends. To understand more about superyacht charter etiquette, you can refer to our handy guide.

6. Understand Tipping Guidelines

Tipping can be a confusing custom, whether rewarding a taxi driver after a ride or a waiter at the end of a meal, but it shouldn’t stop you from ending your charter trip on a high note. Like any hospitality industry, crew gratuity is customary and should be seen as a gift for excellent service, based on the satisfaction level of the entire experience.

7. Other Chartering Basics You Should Know

It’s crucial to understand the terms and language used during the charter booking process.

Charter rate: This typically covers the yacht and crew rental. The rate is usually listed as “starting from”, indicating that it can fluctuate depending on the season and location. Besides this, you’ll see “plus expenses” adjacent to the price, which pertains to all other expenses.

APA: The “plus expenses” part refers to the Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA), typically 30 to 35 per cent of the total charter fee, which covers the costs of food, alcohol, fuel, and berthing.

Charter contract: This document, designed to protect both the charterer and yacht owner, outlines the terms of the yacht charter. It specifies details about everything, from dates and location to cancellation and insurance.

MYBA: The Worldwide Yachting Association, also known as MYBA, outlines the terms of the contract, which includes the hire of the yacht, crew wages, insurance claims, water toys, and engine room maintenance.

Other contract terms: You might encounter other types of contracts, ranging from the mostly all-inclusive Caribbean Terms Inclusive (CTI) for smaller yachts in the Caribbean to Greek Terms (GT), which includes berthing fees within Greek waters. These can be confusing, so it’s essential to discuss these with Emperio Yachting.

As you understand from this guide the charter broker that you choose is ultimately the very first and the very important decision you make on your chartering process.

We at Emperio pride ourselves on the fact that our clients are always happy with the yacht chartering services we offer. If you also want to live the best yacht chartering experience, contact us to plan together a trip that will be unforgettable!