Costs and Fees When Chartering a Luxury Yacht

It is important to understand what's included and what's not when chartering a luxury yacht, as well as some of the key terminology. This will assure there are no surprises that can put a damper on the charter experience.

Below is a discussion of the costs and fees involved on a luxury yacht.

The Base Charter Fee

The general charter fee that is quoted to you is essence rents you the boat and the services of the crew for the duration of your charter. Unless stated otherwise, food, drink, and fuel will be extra "expenses". There will normally be mooring fees and possibly fees for scuba, water toys and certain communications such as high speed internet.

The Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA)

Expenses beyond the Base Charter Fee are normally covered by an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) that is stated in the contract. This system, common to all MYBA contracts was designed to facilitate the management of discretionary charter expenses in an open and trackable way. Under the APA system your broker, working with the Central Agent of the boat, estimates the expenses that will be incurred, depending on your itinerary, tastes and overall plans.

Typically the APA will be approximately 30% of the Base Charter Fee, but can be signficantly greater or less depeding on your specific needs. For instance, on a sailing yach the APA is likely to be lower, as you have less need for expensive fuel. Conversely, for a major event, the APA can often be almost as much as the Charter Fee depending on entertainment and catering expenses.

The APA provides a bank account for the boat's Captain, who makes expenditures on your behalf and keeps all receipts and accurate records in a log book. Please note that these expenses are not marked up. At the end of the charter, you will be refunded the difference, or the Captain will ask you to pay more during the cruise if further running costs are incurred.

You can ask for an accounting from the Captain at any time during the charter to see how much of the APA has been spent, and to understand if you will be "on budget" based on fuel costs, and other items you've used.

Typical Expenses

The key expenses are fuel and food/drinks. As mentioned, it is normally possible to get an accurate prediction of what your fuel costs should be - the Captain will have a good idea of a typical charter, and we can also map your itinerary an calculate the amount of fuel that should be used (we keep the expected fuel consumption per hour of most yachts in our database).

Food and Drinks. The ingredients of all of your meals, plus all drinks and alcohol will be payed for via the APA. Again, your crew will be able to give you a idea of what a typical charter party pays for food and drinks. Of course, if you want to drink Dom Perignon and eat caviar at all meals, your costs will increase!

It is important to realise that you may not be able to get all types of food in all charter areas, and wines expecailly may be very expensive because they will have to be shipped long distances. Most chefs try to work with local ingredients, and certainly it is easier to find fine wines in the South of France than Thailand. Again, consulting with the chef prior to the charter will allow everyone to be on the same page about the expenses of food and beverages while on your charter.

Mooring fees. Another cost component is mooring fees, especially if you are looking to be in a desireable port during high season or a major event. There is great demand for berths in Ibiza old port, St Tropez and Monaco during the summer, and prices rise accodingly. Your broker can help you understand the fees that might be involved on your itinerary.

Mooring fees are often discretionary, for instance you can anchor within short tender distance of the Palais des Festivals during the Cannes Film Festival for no cost at all! But if you want to entertain on the Quai, you will need to go through the Berth Application process (which we are happy to do for you).

Paying for the Charter

Normally, you will be asked to pay 1/2 of the charter fee upon signing the contract, and the remaining 1/2 approximately 30 days before the charter commences. These are usually wired from your bank to ours, and we pass it on to the Agent and Captain. For obvious reasons, the charter will not begin until all payments are made.

Tipping. Tipping is not obligatory and is at the discretion of the charterer. Common practice on Luxury Yachts is normally between 5% - 20% of the total charter price, on a sliding scale depending on how satisfied you are with the crew's performance. There are no firm rules and regional differences exist - yachts working with Americans tend to expect higher tips than yachts working with Europeans or those from other parts of the world.

Tips should be paid to the Captain, who will divide it up among the crew. It is not a good idea to tip crew individually, as it can create animosity on the boat. Certain crew members - the stewardesses and deck hands may be more visible, but all of the crew is working to ensure you have a great charter.

Final comments

The above processes has been designed to give you peace of mind and clear accountability of the expenses during your charter. Worrying about expenses can add unnecessary stress to your charter, which goes against the entire reason you are on the yacht to begin with. One rule of thumb - if you're not sure about any expense item, no matter how small, ask us. We don't want you to have any surprises along the way!

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