FAQ Booking a Yacht Charter
If you have not read part one of our series on working with your Yacht Charter Broker, take a minute and catch up before this week’s episode at FAQ Crewed Yacht Charters. I’ll wait!
Back? Now you know what a Yacht Charter Broker is and why you want to use one! Welcome to part two of FAQ Booking a Yacht Charter
How do I reserve a yacht vacation?
We recommend several yachts that fit your idea of a perfect yacht charter vacation. H2O Team brokers will check on availability and let you know that, as well as the price, any specials, and other tips on the perfect vacation. You find the ideal yacht and say “yes”!
We put a “hold” on the yacht with the clearinghouse or fleet that represents it. A “hold” lasts two weeks and gives the broker and you the chance to make the contracts, look into airfare and make the deposit.
No one else can hold the yacht while you are holding it, EXCEPT, if someone else has guests for the dates you hold and are ready with cash in hand. You can be “challenged” on the times.
Being challenged generally means that you have 48 hours (business) to deposit the dates you are holding or “lose” the dates.
The amount of time a yacht is held may only be several days if you are looking at bareboats. For Superyachts, we typically cannot hold boats; we need to be ready to deposit it at the time.
Do charters have to start or stop on specific days of the week?
No, not usually. Usually, it’s just a matter of where the gaps are in the yachts booking calendar. The only exceptions are:
1) Christmas and New Years’ weeks. Boats always book both these weeks, so they have a specific change over date from the Christmas charter to the New Years’ charter. Yachts may also want ten nights minimum over this period. They don’t do under a 7-night trip.
2) Bareboats (where you Captain yourself) in different parts of the world often have a Saturday to Saturday. We will be covering bareboating FAQ in another blog entry down the road, so I will not go into too much detail on them here.
Do I have to sign a contract?
Yes, every yacht charter will have a corresponding agreement for everyone’s protection that lays out the terms, prices, dates, number of guests, and many other conditions.
The contract protects both the boat and your charter party. You, the charter broker, will sign the deal, sometimes the Clearinghouse or Yacht Manager, and the Yacht Owner.
Contracts are industry standard, differ depending on where you are, type of yacht, and kind of yacht vacation.
What and When are payments due to pay for my yacht vacation?
Upon getting the all clear that the dates you want are open and the rate is correct, you sign the contracts and make the deposit. Typically count on 50% down of the charter rate to confirm a charter and then the final balance due 60 days out along with any extra expenses, such as the APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance), which many yachts charge depending on the area of the world.
For some charters that are more than six months out, you may be able to pay 25% to confirm the charter and then a further 25% six months out.
How do I pay for my yacht vacation?
Everyone does things a bit differently, but generally by wire or electronic transfer. North America still accepts checks readily as well. Some companies do take credit cards.
We take credit cards for the first 50% of the fee happily.
What happens to my yacht vacation money?
The boat gets a notice from their clearinghouse that they have a charter!
The base charter fee will go into an escrow account. The deposit could be through us the charter broker, but 99% of the time, we pass it along to the clearinghouse or a Charter Yacht Broker trust association.
Ten days or longer out from the charter, 35% of the charter fee is released to the boat from the escrow account, allowing them to provision for your charter. The balance is paid out to the yacht on the day your charter goes out at the earliest or when you return.
What happens if I have to cancel my yacht charter vacation?
We will immediately contact the yacht manager or clearinghouse and “open up the dates.” If the boat is rebooked for the same period and at the same rate, you receive a refund, less the broker’s commission. Returns may be prorated for partial rebookings.
In some cases, a boat will be happy to move the dates around for you with no penalty at all. Each case is different.
Note that you will not be responsible for any payments that you have not made as of yet.
Do I need Travel Insurance for my yacht charter?
Travel and cancellation insurance is always a good idea as it will cover the portion you will NOT receive back!
We work with Squaremouth and can help make sure you are covered.
There are many reasons why you or someone in your party may not be able to make the trip or have to leave early. Not only are you ensuring for your vacation but also for getting to and from there. Basic insurance starts at about 3.5% of your total vacation cost. Rates can rise to 6 to 8 % for full coverage deals.
During the three months of high hurricane season in the Caribbean. (August through October) Some vessels may require you to take insurance; otherwise, it’s up to you. If you are the person who always gets to the airport 3 hours early, then it will help your peace of mind to take insurance.
Another utterly different insurance is insurance on the yacht. If you are taking any option except bareboat (where you Captain the boat yourself), then you do not need coverage for the vessel. If you are bareboating, then you may be required to have accident insurance.
How much do I tip my yacht crew?
Tipping is a big part of the charter industry income. Crews are at your call for 16-24 hours a day. Usually, no request is too much. They started working on your charter at least the day before you arrived and often spending countless hours looking for an item on your preference sheet. Tipping in the industry is expected!
The tipping rate, of course, changes based on the type of yacht, and area of the world. Broad guidelines for superyachts are 5- 15% of the charter agreement rate.
In the Caribbean, on the fully crewed and inclusive yacht charter, 15-20% is industry standard. Adjust your gratuity depending on the level of service you feel that you have received.
Tips are handed to the captain at the end of your trip. He then hands out shares to each crew member. On most boats, everyone gets an equal share. Cash is always king!
Some yachts will take credit cards, checks, Venmo, Paypal. If you intend to use cards or PayPal, let us know so we can check it out with the crew in advance.
I hope this cleared up some answers for you on the yacht booking process! Watch for Part # 3 next week on the different types of yacht charters available for you.
Have any questions? On FAQ Booking a Yacht Charter? Ask away!
H2O Luxury Yacht Team Members Kerry and Stephanie are standing by ready to help you.