How much does it cost to charter a yacht?

How much does it cost to charter a yacht?

With no maintenance fees and flexibility when it comes to travel and accommodation, chartering can be a good alternative to buying.

Here, we break down how much it costs to charter a yacht, wherever you choose to go and however you choose to go there.

How much to charter a yacht?

How much you can expect to spend on chartering a yacht very much depends on a number of factors.

Firstly, the size of the yacht you choose is evidently a big factor. The difference between chartering a yacht between 30 meters and 50 meters and chartering a yacht over 50 meters is already quite vast. You then have to consider the fact that there are lots of different types of yachts, such as explorer yachts, for venturing to some of the world’s most hard-to-reach corners, classic yachts for a real vintage experience, sailing yachts for that wind in your hair feeling and performance yachts for the thrill-seekers, as well as many more.

There’s general consensus in the yachting world that a vessel of up to 50m in length is a yacht, while anything over this size is a superyacht. Some charter brokers break the 50m+ category down further into further ranges: 50m-70m, 70m-100m, 100m+ etc.

Looking at these sizes, base rates can start at anything from €20,000 for the smaller yachts to €4m a week for an eye-popping megayacht.

Factors that determine the cost to charter a yacht

There are many things that can determine the price when it comes to chartering a yacht and these things are worth bearing in mind when looking for your next yacht to charter.

The first one is the length of time you are planning to charter a yacht for.

With the average yacht charter taking seven days, the longer you plan to charter a yacht, the better position you are in to negotiate a good rate.

Michaela Beitz Biggi, Head of Charter Fleet Management at Edmiston, says: “The cost to charter a yacht depends on size, build year, the shipyard who built your desired yacht, volume (or GRT), the number of guests sleeping and cruising, and the number of crew (for the level of service you are expecting).”

Extras such as toys and unique facilities will also make a yacht more desirable: “A fancy chase tender can bring the price up as well,” Michaela says.

But what about the difference between motor yachts and sailing yachts, does this affect the charter price?

Motor yachts often prove more popular on the charter market as they usually come with more water toys – Seabobs and jetskis are particularly popular with guests – and improved access to the water, as well as more onboard space. All these factors do indeed make for a higher charter price.

The build year of the charter yacht is also significant – while some charter guests are happy with a slightly older yacht, some charter guests wouldn’t dream of taking a holiday aboard a yacht that wasn’t brand new.

Anne Lebernicheux, an Edmiston broker based in Monte Carlo, says, “The newest yachts on the market will also be the most expensive and the Owner will be less willing to negotiate the rate”.

Another thing to consider is whether your yacht of choice is built by a particularly prestigious designer or yard, as this will see the price increase.

All the brokers we spoke to agreed that yachts from one of the Northern European shipyards will always be pricier than others and a good broker should point customers towards the best builders.

The final factor to consider is season – if you plan to charter a yacht in the Med in July and August then there will you will expect to pay premium rates. In fact, some charter guests are prepared to pay more to secure the right yacht. However, charter a yacht in the same region a little out of season, when there is less demand, and you may find you can negotiate a lower price.

What does the base rate of a yacht charter price include?

When you book a charter yacht, the price you see is the base rate for a week’s charter but what exactly is included in this price? The short answer is, the yacht and the crew, unless explicitly outlined.

You can expect a fully insured, properly maintained megayacht with a full crew.

This fee also covers the crew’s wages, their food and also all the ship’s laundry and usually use of the water toys – though diving might be more.

Robert Shepherd, Charter Director for the Americas at Edmiston, says: “The standard charter rate includes the boat and the crew, unless it’s an all-inclusive rate, food, fuel, drinks, dockage, flowers etc. are billed out at cost by the client and covered by the Advanced Provisioning Allowance.”

Additional costs to chartering a yacht

The Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA), mentioned above, is around 30% of the charter fee (sometimes more if your itinerary will cover big distances and occasionally lower if the base rate for your charter is fairly high). The APA is an additional fee paid prior to embarkation, which acts as a kind of expense account for everyone on board for the duration of the charter and covers things like food, alcohol, fuel, dockage and communications.

According to official guidelines from MYBA, the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association, it is up to the yacht’s captain to manage the expenses and to regularly update the charterer throughout the trip on available funds.

It reads: “The Captain may request additional funds from the Charterer during the charter if necessary. At the end of the charter, the Captain should present the Charterer with a statement of account showing the disbursement of the APA with all supporting receipts. Any outstanding additional expenses must be mentioned in the APA account and a realistic amount withheld to cover the expense.”

Fuel is obviously your biggest additional cost, though it’s worth noting that many countries offer duty-free fuel for commercial yachts.

Other costs to factor in include airfares to and from your departure and embarkation points, any airport transfers and other onshore travel, plus delivery fees (where applicable), if you decide to start your charter outside of the superyacht’s normal cruising territory.

You will also need to be prepared to pay for operating costs, such port fees, berthage and discretionary crew gratuity (of between 10%-15%).

In ports such as St Tropez, Capri, Portofino and Sardinia, for instance, where space is limited, you often have to book your berth months in advance.

How much you will pay on top of the yacht price also very much depends on where you plan to go as local taxes can range from 4% in the Bahamas to 22% in Italy.

You will also have to pay if you want crew to source additional equipment and toys.

Robert Shepherd says: “All of our yachts have a good inventory of water sports equipment, if clients request additional equipment outside of what the yacht carries it is at their cost or negotiated by the broker.”

Benefits of chartering a yacht over buying

Yachts are incredible – these huge, graceful machines of the sea are at times powerful explorers, at others sumptuous sanctuaries and always infinitely better than even the most salubrious of land-based hotels.

However, with futuristic technologies, designer-led interiors and envy-inducing deck spaces, they need maintaining to keep them in tip-top condition.

On a charter holiday you get all the benefits of a luxurious superyacht – privacy, bespoke itineraries, exemplary service – without any of the responsibility. Simply arrive, switch off and enjoy.

Benefits of using a charter broker

With their unrivalled knowledge and on-the ground (and water) contacts, brokers are invaluable when it comes to planning your charter holiday.

Using their local knowledge, yacht brokers can help plot the best itineraries for you, and their inside-out knowledge of each and every superyacht means they can find the best one for you and your party.

There’s also the additional reassurance that your charter will be safe and secure, with brokers keen to protect their clients’ interests.

Robert Shepherd says: “There is a minefield of details that you do not want to take on yourself when spending this kind of money on a holiday. Working with an expert on a trip like this will ensure you a seamless hassle-free experience.”

At Edmiston, we are proud that our brokers benefit from supreme knowledge of both the industry and the yachts we offer, and their expertise makes the whole process so much easier for guests thanks to their transparency and availability.


27 October 2020

Written by:

Caroline Munier