Chartering a boat is a dream holiday. Whether you choose a bareboat sailing vacation, a crewed catamaran or a luxury superyacht charter you and your travelling companions will be treated to a week of salty sea air, stunning views and plenty of adventures.
But the question on most first time charterers’ lips is how much does it cost to charter a boat? It is a valid and important question, and one which will determine what type and size of yacht you can charter, what level of service and luxury you can expect, and which location you can cruise in. All of these factors can mean your yacht charter could cost from $1,500 for a bareboat charter to $10,000 per week on smaller crewed sailing yachts and catamarans, up to $150,000+ per week on the most luxurious motor superyachts.
What is included in the charter price?
There are two types of yacht charters, all-inclusive and ‘plus expenses’ charters. The base rate for both will include the rental of the yacht and the crew, whilst the all-inclusive, as the name suggests, will also include all of your food and drinks, water sports and fuel. Even with an all-inclusive price, dockage and any taxes are added on afterwards. It is more common to find all-inclusive prices on smaller yacht charters, where the boat has just a captain or a small crew, although it is also possible on larger luxury yachts too. All-inclusive rates will be based on the number of guests onboard as this obviously affects the amount of food that will be required. So when looking at the figures of how much does a small yacht cost to charter, the number you are quoted will usually be the final price you pay.
On larger yachts, it is more common to have an account known as an Advanced Provisioning Allowance, or APA, for all additional expenses. It is generally calculated at around 20-35% of the charter fee and covers food, drinks, excursions and fuel. The captain will keep receipt of everything you spend and at the end of the charter provide you with a balance or summary of expenditures.
Does the price include tax?
Taxes will be added to many yacht charters, depending on which country the charter embarks from. In the Mediterranean, crewed yacht charters are subject to Value Added Tax which is usually around 20%. In the Caribbean and Florida for example, taxes tend to be lower (around 5-7%) or, in the case of countries such as the British Virgin Islands, St Barths and the Grenadines, not charged at all.
Do I need to pay crew gratuities?
One last cost consideration is the crew gratuities which are of course at your discretion. On smaller yachts where you may just have a captain, this cost will be considerably lower, but keep in mind that 10-20% is common depending on where in the world you’re chartering (less in the Mediterranean and more in the Caribbean for example) which on a large superyacht could amount to tens of thousands of dollars/euros. It is customary to give your tip to the captain who will distribute it amongst the crew.
Can a broker help me get the best deal?
Absolutely, all agents and brokers will have access to the same prices for the charter of a particular yacht. Having said that, not all brokers benefit from the 20+ years of experience in the yachting industry our Rightboat brokers have. Over these years they have forged and maintained close relationships with central agents and operators to source the best yachts at the best prices. We rarely if ever end up having to charge a client the advertised price for a yacht charter. Brokers are also invaluable in securing you the best yacht charter because of their intimate knowledge of the industry, the yachts, their crews and cruising grounds. The most important part of any charter is to be paired with the right boat for your group’s needs. Getting that formula right will ensure that the charter runs flawlessly. Brokers are also able to negotiate contracts on your behalf, arrange transport to and from the yacht and answer all of your questions, whether it’s about the Advanced Provisioning Allowance, or a local restaurant recommendation.
Are there special deals to be found?
Whilst we’ve said that there is a set price to rent a yacht for a week and brokers can’t haggle on those figures, that isn’t to say that there aren’t ways to save money. One of the best ways to save up to 20% off the price of a charter is to travel in the shoulder season. As with most travel, the shoulder season is the period of time in between the high season and the low season where prices start to come down. The weather will still be favourable and the restaurants, bars and attractions will still be open, yet it’s considered the winding down season. In fact, shoulder season offers many benefits apart from price reductions including quieter beaches, less crowded destinations and more balmy weather conditions. In the Mediterranean for example, shoulder season is considered May/June and September/October either side of the high season months of July and August. Book Sailing holidays to Eastern Mediterranean Countries or Western Mediterranean Countries
Using charter sites such as Rightboat.com is also a good way to spot last minute deals or special offers which might pop up. You could have your bags packed and be jetting off on a sailing adventure before you know it.
Can I share the cost of a yacht charter?
Absolutely. Because chartering a yacht has a base price, the price per couple or per person can work out extremely reasonably when you compare it to paying for multiple hotel bedrooms. If you imagine, for example, that an all-inclusive 3-cabin, crewed yacht could cost $30,000 for a week, split between three couples that’s $10,000 per couple or $5,000 per person. It is worth pointing out here however, that a bigger yacht doesn’t necessarily mean more guests are allowed on board to share the cost with – even the largest of superyachts are capped at 12 guests.
Is chartering a yacht cheaper than other luxury vacation experiences?
When comparing the prices of a crewed charter to a 5-star resort, it quickly becomes clear that you are getting excellent value for money. Not only do you get the privilege of total privacy, the opportunity to choose where you go and when, and the food cooked exactly to your tastes, but when you factor in food, drink and activities the cost can actually be lower too. A yacht will have a certain number of cabins to accommodate its guests, and the cost is for all of those guests. Compare that to a hotel, where rooms have to be paid for separately, the cost can be considerably higher. As an example, a 24-metre-long motor yacht that can accommodate 10 guests in four cabins costs around $27,000. Add on 25% for the APA, and you’re looking at approximately $33,750 for all food, drinks, activities and excursions. A luxury hotel on the other hand is upwards of €2,000 per person per week and therefore a base room rate of $20,000 before any food, drinks or activities.
Chartering a yacht is a holiday like no other, and far from being limited to those with high-end budgets, it can be a cost-effective option too. At Rightboat.com we offer hundreds of yacht charters all over the world, from luxury superyachts to bareboat sailing yachts. We are on hand to guide you through your chartering journey, and to connect you with the very best brokers in the industry. If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or check out our FAQs.
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