Yacht charter - FAQs and the client guide

Yacht charter main questions
November 28 2018 | 0 comments
How to charter a yacht?

If you are completely new in Yacht Charters or you already have some experience as a crew member, have just obtained your own skipper licence and would like to charter a yacht on your own, this guide will help you with the answers to the most popular questions regarding “Yacht Charters” and give you a general orientation. Those readers who have already chartered yachts for many times may find some aspects useful, e.g. “What should I consider during the check-in?” or “How to proceed in case of damage?”

Yacht Charters – what to start with?

1.    Before the journey, you should define its goal. It can be, for instance, Yacht Charters holidays with family, getting some sailing practice, a learning journey or even a business trip. Your yacht choice will depend on this goal to some extent. For example, if your crew consists of a married couple with two children and two friends, the cabin layout can be different comparing to a crew of three couples or a crew of business colleagues. If you are going to practice your sailing skills, then you should better pay attention to the sailing performance of the yacht instead of cabins and interior.

2.    Before starting to search for the right yacht, you should have an idea about your travel destination. We recommend checking all possible details of your arrival to the sailing region of your choice before booking. Meaning: Are there flights from your home airport to the sailing region? Is the time-table convenient for you to get to the charter base and back on time?

Once located your starting port, you should plan the route and check, what is possible to sail in what period of time. You should not only take into consideration the distances in sea miles, but also consider the conditions of weather and winds in your Yacht Charters season.

If you do not have a definite idea about your travel destination and just like to search for the best Yacht Charters offer among all, nevertheless, you should, try to restrict your search by the general region, for example, the eastern or the western Mediterranean sea.

3.    The number of persons in the crew is decisive for the yacht choice, as you have to choose the number of cabins. Therefore, it is better to form your crew as early as possible.

4.    The date of charter is reflected in the week price. Usually, the high season meaning the most expensive weeks of the year lasts about 2 months depending on the sailing area. In the Meciterranean Sea these are July and August, in the Caribbean – January and February, in the Indian Ocean – March and April.

How to choose the right yacht?

1.    Once the above named criteria are made clear, you should decide between catamaran and monohull. This decision can depend on:

-    your travel goal,
-    your crew,
-    the charter season,
-    the experience of the skipper.

2.    Having got several Yacht Charters offers, pay attention to the number and the situation of the cabins. Don’t forget that any yacht is a restricted area, where comfort is very important for a successful cruise. If possible, try to keep an additional spare cabin for luggage or as an additional berth. If you charter a yacht with skipper, please consider at least one berth or better a separate cabin for skipper.

3.    Reliability and fairness of the charter company is decisive for the succsess of your Yacht Charters cruise. If you do not have a lot of experience as a charter client in a definite sailing area, it will be nearly impossible for you to check the reliability of each charter company offering its services in the port of your choice. We will not only share with you our experience in that matter, but also provide you objective facts to make your decision easier.

MORECRUISE contributes to the improvement of the services on yacht charter bases worldwide by regular client evaluation. After the ending of each yacht charter, our clients can participate in our online survey and evaluate their Yacht Charters experience with a definite charter company and a definite boat. The evaluation criteria are among others: condition and equipment of the yacht, competence of the charter base stuff during check-in and in the office, infrastructure of the marina and the Yacht Charters region in general. Summing up these and other criteria we get a total value for each charter company by each client. The sum of all values shows an average rating, which contributes to an objective choice of the charter company by the client.

We started the client evaluation program in autumn 2009, having got several hundreds of client values since then. The survey results will be published on our website soon. Making a yacht charter inquiry with us, our clients can get information about the client evaluation for their desired boat and the local charter company.

We also offer our clients the possibility of publishing of their personal Yacht Charters reports on our website. The reports may contain descriptions of personal experiences with charter companies, definite port and charter area information and evaluation of the author. Such travel reports will be published in the section “Articles” on our website.

4.    In cooperation with the international initiative YachtCheck, which was presented on the boat shows in Hamburg 2009 and Düsseldorf 2010, MORECRUISE started to use the new quality star system for the yachts. Usually, all yachts of a charter company have the same number of quality stars. The quality star award system for yachts is similar to the star qualification for hotels, which everyone is familiar with. Each charter company can apply for the sertification by providing its company and boat documents. The certification consists of several tests, including the boat itself as well as the services provided at the yacht charter base by the charter company. You will find more information about the quality star certification for yacht charter bases on: http://www.yachtcheck.com. The points that a charter company gets after passing all tests as well as the client evaluation points are summed up to get an objective value, which corresponds a definite number of quality stars. The yachts that have already passed the quality certification are marked with the stars in the yacht search results through YachtFinder on our website. Thus, we give you a unique possibility to compare not only the weekly rates, but also the quality of the boats and the charter bases.

5.    The year of construction is one of the decisive factors for most of the clients. Without doubt, this criterium is important, however, it is not really representing what clients expect of it. More interesting criteria are the real condition of the boat, the equipment, the last full or partial refit date and the age of the sails. We usually get these questions from our clients after they have chosen a yacht from the search result list. In fact, the answers to some of these questions are shown in the result list itself. First of all, you should pay attention to the so called “equipment index”, which is advised to every single yacht in the booking system. This index is shown with a small linear diagram with points from 1 to 10. The index is a sum of all equipment data for each single yacht. The equipment index of 8, for instance, means that the boat is well equipped with approximately 80 per cent of all possible additional equipment items for the definite yacht model.

The date of the last refit is also shown in our search result list in the round brackets right after the year of construction.

If a yacht has passed the quality star certification, the condition of the sails can be derived from the number of stars. The sails shall not be older than 3 years on the boats with 3, 4 and 5 quality stars.

6.    Now, having analised the criteria described above you can look at the weekly charter rates and compare them with other offers. We are sure that your choice will depend on the ratio of the price and other criteria in regard with your personal requirements and wishes.

Extra services to be paid

-    the end cleaning of the boat (if not included in the charter rate)
-    bed linen and towels (if not included in the charter rate)
-    outboarder for the dinghy
-    spinnaker and any additional sails (for long-term charter cruises or sportive events it is recommendable to buy and bring your own sails instead of renting them from the charter company)
-    crew transfer from the airport to the marina and back (should be ordered at least one week before the charter begin)
-    fuel (you will get the boat with full fuel tanks that shall be full at the moment of check-out as well)
-    provisioning (you can order a provisioning service, if you wish so)

How to book?

Yacht Charters contracts are concluded directly between the client and the company representing the owner of the yacht on the spot of charter or the owner himself. The agency is functioning as a broker and is not a contractual party.

What shall I take into consideration?

-    the client has to respect the payment terms as stated in his charter contract and inform the charter company (through the agency) about any delays
-    the charter company has the right to cancel the booking within 4 days after the booking without providing any specific reason (in seldom cases)
-    a travel cancellation insurance for each charter is strictly recommendable

The charter company shall:

-    provide the yacht stated in the charter contract to the client; the yacht shall be well-kept with functioning equipment and full fuel tanks
-    in case of damage of the yacht stated in the charter contract provide an equivalent or a better yacht to the client

The charter client shall:

-    respect the principles of good seamanship
-    have sufficient experience in the command of a yacht
-    respect the laws of the country of yacht charter and not leave the stated cruising area of the charter company without a previous appointment
-    not use the boat for trading purposes
-    not hand over the yacht to other persons
-    not take on board other persons that are not stated in the crew list
-    handle the yacht and its equipment with care
-    not make any changes to the yacht or its equipment
-    consider the special sailing conditions of the cruising area and not leave a safe harbour if winds over 7 on the scale of Beaufort are forecast
-    inform the charter company about any damage or losses on the boat

The payment is performed in two rates. If not stated differently in the charter contract, the first payment in the amount of 50 per cent of the charter price should be transferred within 3 days after signing of the charter contract. The rest should be paid not later than 6 weeks prior to the charter date.
The skipper shall present the following documents:

-    a valid skipper licence
-    a copy of his passport or ID card
-    completed crew list form
-    VHF certificate (obligatory in Croatia)
-    Co-skipper declaration or a second skipper licence

What is the transit log?

In different countries, transit log includes different obligatory services provided by the charter company. The Turkish transit log mainly consists of several formalities and documents for the boat and the crew, including the declaration in the port authorities and the customs document. In some other countries, transit log, apart of paperwork, may also include other services by the charter company, such as the final cleaning of the boat, bed linen etc.

Refundable security deposit or deposit insurance?

The refundable security deposit is the standard way of the own risk in case of damage guarantee by the client.
We recommend our clients to get security deposit insurance from an insurance company.
Some charter companies also offer damage waiver in the amount of approximately 1/10 of the standard security deposit.

How to check-in?

After receiving the final balance payment from the client, we issue a travel voucher / boarding pass, which is valid for visa applications for the journey and for the check-in at the charter base. The voucher includes the yacht charter data, the name and contact data of the charter company, the description of the marina and information about the berth of the chartered yacht as well as the full list of the crew. When necessary, e.g. on demand of the visa issuing embassy, we will provide a certified voucher.

How to find the yacht in the marina?

After receiving our travel voucher with the essential marina information, make sure that it includes the name of your contact person and his (mobile) telephone number for emergency cases. Make sure that you know the correct country and area code. We recommend that you call the base manager before the travel date to discuss the details of your arrival. Usually, the agency will pass over your arrival details, e.i. your flight number, arrival time and estimated time of your arrival at the marina, to the base manager. Make sure to insert these data when filling in your crew list. If there are any changes in your travel plan (e.g. flight delay), please inform the charter base by phone immediately! If you can find neither the pontoon number nor any marina map with marked position of your chartered yacht in the descriptions, please call your contact person. If you cannot find your boat in the marina with the description you have, please contact the main harbour office for help and present your yacht charter contract.

At the check-in you should compare the equipment list that you got at signing of your charter contract with the real eqipment on board of the yacht. Please note any discrepancies in a written form!

As the charter client, you have the right to overview all documents of the chartered yacht. Pay attention to:

-    the cruising region specified in the yacht documents
-    the charter or passenger transport licence for the boat

Before every single charter, the charter company shall examine the hull of the yacht and create a written report. The hull examination is normally performed by a diver. MORECRUISE recommend all clients to demand the diver’s report before each charter to avoid conflicts in case of hull or keel damage. In some cases, the hull can also be examined by an underwater video camera.

If you have found any discrepancies between your charter contract and the equipment or condition of the yacht, please inform the charter base manager before leaving the harbour of the charter base or immediately after you have found the discrepancy.

In case of damage

You shall immediately inform the charter company in the following cases:

-    collision with another boat or any other object
-    grounding
-    damage or defect of the equipment
-    loss of any equipment items

If you have noticed any damage on your chartered yacht, take pictures of it!

If there were no instruction from the charter base, the skipper shall decide, if the boat must return to the charter base or can continue the cruise with the occurred damage.

After returning to the charter base the charter company will propose the necessary repairing actions. If the damage amount is very high (e.i. it exeeds your full deposit), you can demand an independent expertise.

When it comes to any conflicts between you and the charter company, you should try to collect evidences: demand for copies of the boat’s documents, a copy of the diver’s report with the appropriate date and the diver’s signature, take pictures of the damage, wait for independent expertise and try to have a witness with you when discussing anything with the charter company.

November 28 2018 | 0 comments

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