We understand that yacht chartering for the first time can be a little confusing and intimidating. We are here to help you understand and feel comfortable about coming to us with any questions you may have. First time yacht charterers are very important to us and we hope to deliver the proper satisfaction.
Feel free to contact us with ANY information you may need. In the meantime here’s a quick list of basic information to make your experience a little easier.
Professional yacht charter brokers, like ourselves, are overall, are a pretty knowledgeable bunch. Clients ask me sometimes how I got into this business because it seems like a really cool profession. The truth is that there are several paths that people take to become charter brokers.
The most common being previous experience: as in having crewed on a charter yacht for many years. Other avenues or paths into the profession include professional sailors, travel agency personnel, having previously owned and operated a charter yacht.
However, we all share a love of boats, yachts and the ocean. We enjoy sharing our experience with our clients and use our knowledge to make the client’s experience as hassle-free as possible and, most importantly a thorough knowledge of the boats being offered and the cruising grounds where the charter will take place.
It’s always wise to choose a charter broker who belongs to one or more of the accredited charter associations because it pretty much guarantees that the broker is honest in his / her dealings and is knowledgeable about the product. The most recognized associations are CYBA, AYCA and MYBA.
In the meantime, here are some basics that you should think about:
1) Sailing catamarans are definitely more roomy than mono-hulls and have this beautiful “netted” sun-bathing area forward of the salon structure. They are also very stable (2 hulls) and do not roll as much as monohulls or even power boats.
2) All of the better catamarans are fully air conditioned although most guests find that they do not use it at all. The beds are mostly Queen Size or, if it is a European built cat, it will have what the Europeans call Doubles which are larger than the American Double but smaller than the American Queen.
They are very comfortable and most of our guests find them more than adequate given the fact that you spend most of your time outdoors and are usually very tired when you go to bed and will sleep well regardless!
3) Since most of the Caribbean boats, especially the BVI boats, operate on an “all-inclusive” basis, the high rate and the low rate reflect the number of guests on board. The low rate reflects the minimum number of guests (usually 2) and the high rate reflects the maximum number of guests (maybe 6 or 8, depending on the boat).
On powerboats operating under MYBA terms (Mediterranean) the low rate is in winter and the high rate is July and August, and these rates are not inclusive of anything except the captain and crew. All fuel, food and beverages and port fees, dockage etc. are all grouped into something called “Expenses”. All rates are quoted as base rate (high or low season) + Expenses. Some power boats in the Virgin Islands operate under Caribbean Terms which means that they are inclusive.
4) You can pick up the boat in St. Thomas if you are 6 guests or less and if the crew have US visas and if the boat is flagged appropriately. So sometimes you have to pick up in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands which is a short ferry-ride away.
This, by the way is in the process of changing to 8 guests or less and exceptions to the USCG rule are currently in discussion.
5) About 30 days before embarkation date, your broker will send you a preference sheet where you can detail your food and beverage preferences. You can request specific beer or Rum brands at no extra cost. Alcohol is cheap in the islands. It is recommended that guests drink reasonably although I’m aware that reasonable means different things to different people.
Outright drunkenness or drug consumption of any kind is not tolerated on board any charter yacht and the captain may choose to put guests ashore in case of occurrences. You may smoke outside in any location but not inside the boat.
6) When we describe a vessel as having 3 cabins or 4 cabins or more, it always means guest cabins. Bathrooms are called “heads”. The crew quarters are separate and you do not share a bathroom (head) with them unless otherwise noted in the spec sheet.
7) Additional costs: Some boats include the BVI cruising tax and Nat Park Fees others do not it’s in the brochure, so you can see. But it’s not a big deal, taxes are $4.00 per person per day a+ about $100 flat fee for the boat. The crew’s gratuity is not included either.
Tipping is DISCRETIONARY but it is also CUSTOMARY for good service to give the crew 10 to 15% of the charter rate as a tip. Land transportation is not included. Specialty liquors and expensive wines and champagnes can be ordered but need to be paid for separately. Boats normally anchor out but if you request dockage at a marina, you will be responsible for the marina fees.
8) Mediterranean charters and many motor yachts in the Caribbean, operate under “non-inclusive” terms – also known as a “plus expenses” basis. This means that the quoted price shown on the brochure includes only the cost of the boat for a week and the use of the crew.
All additional expenses such as fuel, food and beverages, taxes and delivery if applicable will be added on. These additional expenses are collectively covered by what is called an Advance Provisioning Allowance or APA. Essentially you will be advancing funds to the captain so he can purchase what is needed to customize your charter as required.
Experience tells us that a typical APA will come out around 25% to 30% of the base charter rate, if it’s a sailing vessel and around 30% to 40% if you are chartering a large motor yacht.
Good charter brokers will explain each individual yacht’s requirements to you when they present you with different options that are available for your dates.
In summary we are here to help and we do not charge for our advice. You can contact us at 305-758-2500 or use our handy contact form to get tips for your next big yachting adventure.