Editor’s note: Due to reader requests, and a special effort to educate first-time superyacht owners, MegayachtNews.com publishes “superyacht 101” stories from time to time. This latest article provides a brief overview of chartering your yacht. Specifically, it explains what you should understand in evaluating whether offering your yacht is right for you. The advice comes from the team at SuperYachtsMonaco.
For the majority of owners, chartering offers a good way to offset ownership costs. However, it’s not just a case of buying and then letting people take your million- dollar-plus yacht out on the ocean. You have specific obligations, plus you need to protect your investment in the short and long term. With that in mind, we’ve used our expertise and asked some industry professionals to provide some key information for first-time superyacht owners.
Yacht Charter: The Basics
The same basic obligations of yacht ownership apply to chartering. For example, safety compliance, registration, certified crew, etc. all still are necessary. However, you also have to consider the safety and security of your guests, as well as any potential damages that could arise. These impact insurance. Then, too, consider the costs incurred when chartering your yacht, such as fuel consumption.
As we touched on earlier, your regular yacht insurance may not extend to chartering. Therefore, speak to your insurance broker or your yacht-management company to ensure you have the correct coverage. This should include third-party coverage for your guests, plus liability insurance for yourself and/or the crew. This should additionally cover the yacht and the berth at your permanent marina as well as other marinas the yacht will visit. Further considerations are wreck and salvage costs, legal protection cover, and anything else that is considered your responsibility as the owner.
Maintenance & Crew
One of the positives of chartering your yacht is that it keeps your vessel in use and ready to go. The downside is that usage is undoubtedly greater than if you were simply using her yourself. Owners that maintain their yacht to a meticulous standard, show fastidious attention to detail, and aren’t afraid to spend to keep their vessel on top of their game are often rewarded with full calendars for the season and repeat business from satisfied guests.
When buying a superyacht with chartering in mind, talk to the captain and engineer extensively about her. Their feedback will be vital in your decision and her potential success. A superyacht that already has a proven charter career is often a good choice for first-time buyers.
A competent, approachable and hard-working crew is also essential to the success of chartering your yacht. They can make or break the guests’ experience, and therefore your yacht’s reputation. First-time superyacht owners may not even know where to start. So, it’s often wise to keep the same captain, engineers, and officers, if possible, to ensure a smooth transition. Many of them will also be able to vouch for specific chefs, deckhands, and stewards/stewardesses.
Management is crucial to a charter yacht’s success and the success of your investment. For first-time superyacht owners, a consultant or charter firm can make the process a lot easier. They can assist with finding a crew, source marina berths, plan itineraries, cater to special requests, and more.
Finally, through their experience and contacts, they can provide a platform for advertising and finding guests who would appreciate your yacht. In addition, they can estimate costs. Of course, this will be more expensive than organizing it yourself. However, the expertise provided and the convenience of using a charter firm often justifies the cost.
“A desirable charter yacht is one that has a smooth and successful relationship between the crew, the owner and management team at its heart,” summarizes Jim Evans, managing director of SuperYachts Monaco. “If you get this right, pay attention to the small details, and are willing to ensure it’s maintained to the highest, then you can make a success of your yacht.”