What Is The Actual Cost Of Chartering A Yacht?

What Is The Actual Cost Of Chartering A Yacht?
Courtesy of Burgess Yachts

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

Traveling on a yacht is a glamorous experience that few can match. Following a year spent indoors with feet firmly on solid ground, endless opportunities for exploration in the most luxurious of settings sound even more alluring. Private yacht charters could be the perfect escape for adventure seekers as we emerge from the grips of the pandemic. It is commonly asked among novice charterers, the cost of chartering a yacht is one of the most important questions they ask as they are going through the process.

Can you tell me what is included in the yacht charter rate? 

It is important to note that there are generally two types of yacht charters: all-inclusive charters and 'plus expenses' charters. As suggested by the name, an all-inclusive yacht charter will include (almost) everything, including crew, food, drinks, fuel and water sports equipment (but always check since this differs between charter companies). There may, however, be some all-inclusive charters that do not cover dockage or mooring fees, which can quickly add up. 

Courtesy of Burgess Yachts 

When you book a 'plus expenses' or 'separated charges' charter, you pay for the ship and crew for a base price, but all of the other expenses are paid for by an APA (Advance Provisioning Allowance). In order to ensure that the chef and the service team are stocking up on the guests' favorite items, guests will complete a preference sheet before a voyage. In superyacht charters, this is the norm since it allows for a more personalized experience.

A APA covers not only food and drinks but also fuel and dockage. It is usually around 30% of the yacht's base rate. Luxury yacht brokers Northorp and Johnson reported that in 2020, customers paid an average price of around $152,000 for a week's ‘plus expenses’ charter, which would mean an APA of around $45,600 – a significant sum, so keep this in mind when selecting your yacht. 

There is also a third type of charter that is less common, known as a bareboat charter. A bareboat charter does not include any crew or provisions and is generally favored by experienced yachtsmen and women. 

There are generally two types of charter: all-inclusive and ‘plus expenses. Courtesy of Burgess Yachts

How does the size of a yacht affect its charter price?

Your charter's price will be influenced by a number of factors, such as the crew's reputation, the yacht's age, and its design; however, you may be surprised to learn that size is the most significant factor in determining cost: the bigger the yacht, the more expensive it probably will be. 

A week’s charter aboard Burgess’ 163.3 ft Home starts at $245,000 with leading yacht brokerage Burgess. The Laurentia, at 180.5 ft, starts at $450,000 with Burgess. The two yachts both have capacity for 12 passengers and were built by the leading Dutch shipyard Heesen in 2017. The price difference is more than $200,000, and the APA will be higher as well. 

Most superyachts are capped at a 12 guest capacity due to safety regulations set by the International Maritime Organization, so novice charterers might be surprised to find that a bigger yacht doesn't automatically mean more guests.

A week’s charter on board Excellence goes for around $1,136,700 a week. Courtesy of Burgess Yachts

How does the type of yacht affect the price?

Certainly, but not to the same extent as size. Yachts offer a wide range of options: classic yachts (built between 1920 and 1970) offer vintage glamour, whereas sportfishing yachts offer nimble handling and a long range so you can get to the best diving (or fishing) spots.

By a wide margin, motor yachts are the most popular charter yachts, even though sailing yachts are popular among boating enthusiasts. You usually think of these when you picture a superyacht and (depending on the size) tend to be the most expensive type of yacht you can charter, often costing more to purchase, maintain, and fuel. Luxury superyacht charters to Antarctica, for example, are likely to be aboard an explorer yacht designed to withstand extreme conditions.

A week onboard the world's fastest explorer yacht, the 311.68 ft Bold, costs approximately $964,300. Exploration yachts have skyrocketed in popularity in the last decade among intrepid travelers looking for opulence and adventure on the seven seas. In addition, it is one of the most expensive yachts in the world to charter, comparable to those on the French Riviera that are considered more 'conventional', like O' Pari. An O'Pari week's charter costs $1.1m, which includes custom artwork and a DJ booth.

Can you tell me if certain months are more expensive than others for chartering?

Your charter price depends on the time of year. Chartering during these peak times will increase the cost. There are two main seasons in yachting – summer and winter – and peak rates are during the summer months of May and August. Winter season runs from November to April, with peak rates during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Charter prices are also determined by location; Caribbean charters are more expensive from December to March whereas Mediterranean charters are most expensive during the summer.

Courtesy of Burgess Yachts

Do you think there will be any unexpected costs, such as expenses, gratuities, etc.?

End-of-trip expenses can sting an unassuming first-time sailor more than a Mediterranean jellyfish. 

You pay your APA before you set sail with a 'plus expenses' charter, as mentioned previously. The ship will, however, keep a detailed list of your outgoings, and if your expenses exceed the amount of your APA, you will have to pay the remaining charter amount. You will be refunded any APA that has not been spent. 

Courtesy of Burgess Yachts

It is important to keep in mind that crew gratuities aren't included in the yacht charter price, regardless of whether it is all-inclusive or 'plus expenses'. 

You may or may not be charged docking fees, which are charges for keeping your yacht in a marina or harbor overnight, depending on your charter agreement. In the Mediterranean, docking fees can be extremely high during high season, with Capri and St Tropez commanding some of the highest premiums. They depend greatly on the location, time of year, and size of your yacht.

In addition to the itinerary, permits for places like Antarctica and the Arctic Circle can affect the price. If you'd like to get a breakdown of the costs before your trip, it's a good idea to check with your broker about tax and VAT. 

Zach Sean (@probszachsean) is a contributor for TIRED. He writes nothing, but thinks a lot about eating, Spider-Man, and The Legend of Zelda. Zach likes long walkies, is mostly potty-trained, and plays well with others (most of the time).

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