To Charter Or Not To Charter?

Almost every yacht buyer that I have dealt with has considered whether to charter their yacht to others at some point during the buying process or during their ownership journey. While most do not like the thought of others sleeping in their bed or having to give up part of their yachting season and would like to keep the enjoyment and availability of the yacht to themselves, many have seen the more practical and economically advantageous side of giving the yacht over to commercial use.

While most in the industry and experienced owners are aware that chartering a yacht will be unlikely to generate any profit, the main benefits are that it is possible that if ten to twelve weeks of charter or more can be achieved in a year, most or all the yachts annual running expenses can be recovered. Additionally, the yacht may be kept active and in operation for longer periods, the crew will be busy whether the owners are on board or not, and they will appreciate the normally generous tips that charters pay in spite of the 24/7 operation that may be required of them.

The difference between the way a private superyacht and a commercial or charter one is operated, manned and enjoyed is becoming very narrow, especially as yachts get larger. In some countries, regulations for both private and commercial use are almost the same and alternating between the two can be quite a simple process. More commonly, yachts that engage in commercial activity remain commercial even when the beneficiary owner is on board and charter contracts must be in place regardless of the user.

Regarding the finer details of chartering, an array of issues are faced by commercial yachts when operating in different countries and with different nationalities of guests which can range from the amount of VAT or tax to be paid depending on the countries visited and time in international waters, the availability of duty fuel and supplies, or not, and cruising areas and embarkation and disembarkation restrictions.

All parties involved need to understand and be familiar with ever changing regulations, but a good combination of charter friendly crew, a great yacht with the right layout, features and toys, experienced charter brokers and managers using time proven contracts can make for the very best holidays possible.