How to Charter a Superyacht

Privacy and space are becoming increasingly important as the world returns to normality, making superyacht charters more attractive than ever. Chartering a private yacht can be both difficult and elusive – especially for first-time customers.

A luxury yacht charter involves many hurdles before you even reach the water, from how to choose the right boat and when to book it to how much it will cost you. With this Elite Traveler’s complete guide post for chartering a superyacht, you’ll be guaranteed to enjoy a worry-free holiday on the water.

What is a Yacht Charter?

It can be confusing even the language when you are new to yacht chartering. A yacht charter is when you hire a yacht exclusively for yourself and your guests.

Many people choose to charter a yacht for leisure, whether with friends or family. However, some individuals and companies also use yachts to hold meetings and conferences, as boats offer an undivided level of service without compromising privacy.

Some charter yachts for a long weekend, a few hours, or even over several weeks if they are hosting a meeting or conference, while others opt for a longer vacation and may charter a yacht for several weeks or even months. It doesn’t matter if the yacht is chartered for a specific duration or some other reason.

Chartering a yacht through a broker

A broker can help you charter a yacht technically at your discretion, but if you are renting a superyacht for the first time, it is highly recommended that you use a broker. To find the right vessel for your unique requirements, yacht brokers have the extensive industry knowledge and a large network of connections.

Brokers often offer you a wide selection of yachts based on your initial consultations and help you choose the right yacht. In addition to booking the boat, the yacht broker handles all aspects of planning your itinerary on board, including docking locations. It is also imperative that you and your guests are in constant communication with your yacht charter broker throughout your trip.

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Many first-time charterers mistakenly believe that booking directly will reduce the total cost, but the yacht owner/charter company is responsible for paying broker fees – not the charterer. It is common for brokers to take advantage of their insider connections for the benefit of their clients.

A broker that specializes in superyachts such as Fraser, Northrop & Jonson, and Burgess dominates the market. People sometimes use a yacht charter broker, but we’d recommend only doing so if you already have a relationship with them or if they come highly recommended by someone you trust. It is also important to make sure that any broker you are working with is a member of MYBA.

Choosing a yacht

When it comes to selecting a yacht, your yacht broker will handle all the hard work, drawing upon their wide boat knowledge to present you with a selection of yachts. They will need to know in advance what your preferences, requests, and budget are for them to do this properly.

While chartering a superyacht, you should consider: 

  • Please note that the legal maximum number of guests you can bring on board is 12 (including your personal staff). 
  • The number of indoor/outdoor spaces you’d like on board, whether the yacht should be child-friendly; 
  • You should consider the location you’d like to travel, as many yachts are only available in a few regions; 
  • What amenities onboard you would like – an indoor pool, a dance floor, etc.

The Silver Yachts’ Bold and Ragnar by Royal Niestern Sand are better choices than classic yachts designed primarily for luxury and comfort if you are seeking adventure. However, even if it’s your first time sending a yacht out, don’t be concerned about not knowing what you’re doing – your charter broker will help you along the way.

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Superyacht Charters: Skippered or Bareboat

Luxury yacht charters generally have two options: bareboat charters with no crew or skippered charters with crew. While you are in superyacht territory, you will find that all charters are skippered for your safety and comfort.

Once again, you can talk to your broker about crew specifications, and this is a great opportunity to outline what you hope to get out of your yachting experience. Consider whether the crew includes a watersports instructor, for example. Do you want an onboard experience that is more relaxing? You might want to book a masseuse through your broker.

Chartering A Superyacht: When To Book

An important question to ask is when to book a yacht charter. For charters that will be sailing during peak periods (summer, Christmas, New Year), it is recommended to get in contact with a broker no later than 10 months ahead, and 3 to 6 months in advance for peak times. If you require a particular boat or specific date, contact a broker at least 12 months ahead of time since popular yachts are often booked a year in advance.

Consider the impact of local events when you book in advance. For example, when planning a tour of Europe, you shouldn’t forget to take note of events like the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, which will be crowded with vessels and docks.

What Is The Cost Of Chartering A Superyacht?

Finally, let’s discuss the average cost of chartering a superyacht. Most first-timers are surprised by the hidden costs associated with yacht charters, which can be expensive. If you’re planning to charter a superyacht, expect an impressive fee to accompany your boat size.

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In addition, other factors will impact the cost of chartering a superyacht, such as the reputation of the crew, the design of the ship, and its age. For example, let’s take the Moonlight II. A week on the 298.5-foot Moonlight II built-in 2005 costs €645,000 (about $768,200) at Fraser Yachts, but a week on the Solandge built in 2013 and refitted in 2019 is €1m ($1.2m).

You’ll find that a ‘plus expenses’ charter is more common than an inclusive charter, which includes things like captain and crew, fuel, food, and drink. The weekly charter fee only includes the crew and the ship, and the “Advance Provisioning Allowance” (APA) covers the extras and is normally around 30%. Although given at your discretion, crew gratuity, which ranges between 15-20%, is not covered by the APA.

Request a complete price breakdown from your broker ahead of time, including any potential taxes or docking fees. Your vacation will be tarnished if you get unexpected charges.

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