So, this year the Boss has decided to take the family on a luxury, fully-crewed cruise on a private yacht, around the Med perhaps, or the Caribbean. And who has been charged with booking and organising it? Why you, of course. Sophia Tutino, owner of Sophia Tutino Yacht Chartering, has over 12 years’ experience heading the global charter operations of three of the largest and most highly-regarded yachting companies. Here she answers the 12 most frequently asked questions, to make your job easier – and the brownie points come streaming in.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CHARTER A YACHT ?
The price of a yacht ,whether sailing or motor ,will depend on several criteria such as the length, the number of cabins, the age of construction, the ship builder and the location it is offered.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM LENGTH OF CHARTER?
Published charter rates are usually quoted per week for the hire of the yacht. Seven days is generally the minimum charter period accepted by most yachts, but charters can be for any duration under or over seven days. Please precise the length of your charter at the enquiry stage.
WHAT DO I NEED TO PROVIDE MY CHARTER BROKER TO RECEIVE THE MOST SUITABLE YACHT OPTIONS?
The more criteria you give, the more precise the selection will be and the most suitable the yachts.The most important criteria to provide would be:
– Preferred dates of charter (are they flexible or fixed?)
– Length of the charter
– Location of the charter
– The number of people sleeping on board (please include a breakdown of the chartering party to ensure the right cabin configuration)
– The type of yacht: sailing, motor or catamaran
– The budget: it is often hard to give a budget when we charter for the first time. But an approx budget will help the search.
– The interior style you like: modern, classic or classic-modern.
WHAT IS INCLUDED WITHIN THE CHARTER PRICE?
The charter price (published price) includes the hire of the yacht together with its crew, crew food and the yacht’s insurance (although the chartering party is responsible for their own personal travel and Charterer’s liability insurance).
WHAT EXTRA COSTS SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION ?
All operational expenses are extra and added to the Charterer’s account. These include fuel, port fees, food and beverages, personal laundry, local taxes, customs formalities, charges for water and electricity and ship’s agency fees etc, and if there is a requirement for a nanny to be on board during the charter. The crew cannot provide child minding or babysitting services. Generally speaking, we estimate these costs in the region of 30% of the weekly charter price, although this could vary depending upon the type of cuisine you select, your choice of yacht and the extent of cruising undertaken. Therefore, a 30% Advance Provisioning Allowance, (A.P.A.) will be required at least 4 weeks prior to embarkation (together with the balance payment) in order for the crew to fully provision the yacht according to your requests. A fully itemised set of accounts with supporting receipts will be provided at the end of the charter and any amount left over will be returned to you.
VAT (Value Added Tax) is charged on the agreed charter price in territorial waters. Rates vary according to the place of embarkation and the chosen itinerary. Your broker will be able to advise you on the latest tax situation for any country you wish to visit.
Relocation fees (or delivery / redelivery fees) can be charged should you wish to start a charter in a port that is distant from the yacht’s home port, within reasonable distance. It is industry standard to charge the fuel consumption (but not the time) required to relocate a yacht. These can be negotiated should your enquiry fit within the yacht’s cruising schedule or take the yacht closer to its following booking.
A security deposit is customary during event charters such as the MIPIM, Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix. It is very rare to pay a security deposit for a standard yacht charter.
WHAT ARE THE PAYMENT TERMS FOR A CHARTER?
A deposit of 50% of the total agreed charter price is payable by bank transfer on signature of the Charter Agreement. This confirms your booking. The remaining 50% of the agreed charter price, plus the A.P.A., together with any VAT, delivery/redelivery fees and any additionally agreed charges, is payable by bank transfer one month before the charter commences.
CAN I SPECIFY THE FOOD AND WINE TO BE SERVED ABOARD THE YACHT?
A Charterer’s Information Sheet will be sent to you after the booking in order for you to give as much detail as you can to the crew to prepare for your arrival: passenger list, dietary requirements, soft drinks list, alcohol list, on-shore activities, preferred newspapers etc.
CAN I CHOOSE THE ITINERARY?
The itinerary and route the yacht will cover during your charter will be limited to the starting port and ending port, as well as the cruising area agreed and specified in the charter contract. All itineraries are weather permitting and at the captain’s discretion to Ensure the safety of the passengers.
CAN I SMOKE ON BOARD THE YACHT?
Smoking is not permitted inside most yachts. For safety reasons, smoking in cabins and staterooms is prohibited on all yachts. Some yachts will allow smoking in designated outdoor areas.
AM I COVERED BY INSURANCE?
We strongly recommend that charterers take out Cancellation, Charterer’s Liability insurance and Curtailment Insurance to protect their investment if unforeseen circumstances prevent or curtail their charter. Additionally, all members of the charter party should be covered by Personal Accident and Medical Insurance, and their personal effects should be insured against theft, loss or damage.
AM I PERMITTED TO USE THE YACHT’S TOYS AND SCUBA EQUIPMENT?
In certain countries a Certificate of Competency is required to participate in watersports activities (jet skis, waverunners and other mechanically propelled watercraft). If members of your party do not have the required licences/certificates we can arrange for an instructor to come on board the yacht during the charter to issue a certificate. Certain areas prohibit the use of motorised water toys altogether. Use of personal watercraft is only permitted subject to the operator having the appropriate license and meeting with local operating regulations. Any liability arising from non-compliance is entirely at the operator’s risk. If the yacht has SCUBA equipment on board, it may only be used by certified divers holding a certified PADI license or equivalent.
SHOULD I LEAVE A TIP FOR THE CREW?
Crew gratuities are customary, but at the Charterer’s discretion. Crew gratuities are normally in the region of 5% to 10% of the agreed charter price, but can be adjusted up or down according to your level of satisfaction.