Yacht Charter Guide

Table of Contents

Types of Charters
   Fully Crewed
Where Charters Operate
Planning a Charter
Booking Your Yacht
The Charter Agreement
Fees and Expenses
   Operating Expenses
   Operating Terms
   Taxes & Harbor Fees
Payment Schedules
Cancellation Policies

What is Yacht Chartering
Technically, yacht chartering is the act of one party renting a yacht from another party. In a more figurative sense it is the revelation of a world of enjoyment, of the beauty of nature, of the splendor of tropical islands, of the allure of cosmopolitan ports. Chartering is your private access to a place of turquoise waters, balmy breezes, golden sunlight and cobalt skies. Chartering gives you priceless days of pristine beaches, refreshingly clean waters and brilliant coral reefs. Chartering is epitome of fine foods, exquisite surroundings and personal service. Chartering is your private entrée into a lifestyle previously the exclusive realm of wealthy yacht owners and privileged world travelers.

Types of Charters
There are three main classifications of charter yachts; fully crewed private yachts, superyachts and bareboats. Each classification offers a choice of sailing or motor yachts. While there are obvious major differences between each type of charter there are certain common elements between each. At Meridian we work with each client individually to arrange exactly the type of charter he or she may want. We have clients that happily charter a bareboats, crewed yachts or superyachts depending on what their desires are at a particular time.

Fully Crewed Private Yacht Charters
The fully crewed private yachts available for charter through Meridian Yacht Charters represent some of the finest examples of sailing and motor yachts in the world. The crews who operate these yachts are professionally licensed, highly trained, and experienced in safety, seamanship, and in the total care of their charges. The yachts are all privately owned and range in size from 42ft/13m to 330ft/100m. A full-time professional crew numbering between 2 and 30 crewmembers operates each yacht. The yachts are not available for public viewing and do not market for direct charter bookings. The yachts are booked for charter through specialized yacht charter brokers such as Meridian Yacht Charters. Fully crewed private yachts offer private vacations with customized personal attention to each charter guest. Each charter is built around a personal itinerary to islands and anchorages suited to you. A high level of personal service, discretion and security characterizes private yacht charters. A chef dedicated solely to pleasing you prepares customized menus. Each yacht comes with a selection of entertainment media, recreational and watersports equipment. Skilled crewmembers provide personal aid and instruction. Private crewed yachts 100ft/30m and larger are categorized under Superyachts The yacht and crew's commitment to quality, service and attention to your needs remains constant regardless of the size of yacht you book.

Superyacht Charters
All the features that make a private crewed yacht holiday special are taken to the highest levels imaginable when chartering a Superyacht. Unsurpassed luxury and appointments characterize these majestic yachts. They boast larger crews, greater service and amenities, more entertainment and recreational equipment, and plus features only size and extraordinary capital expenditure can offer. Superyachts offer the ultimate in luxury private holidays and executive level corporate entertaining. Recent increases in the building of Superyachts have produced more opportunity for sophisticated travelers to enjoy what was once the exclusive domain of industry magnates, celebrities and royalty.

Bareboat Charters
A bareboat charter offers the charter guest the opportunity to enjoy the adventure of a hands-on approach to the entire cruise. Bareboats are normally standardized stock production boats built for bareboat charter. Bareboat companies manage and operate a fleet of "lease-back" boats for individual owners. Bareboat companies are based in a variety of locations worldwide. The companies make sure each yacht is maintained and fully equipped for cruising. The company will provide pre-charter boat orientations and chart briefings. On a bareboat charter the charter guest is responsible for all aspects of running the yacht, sailing, navigating, anchoring, provisioning, cooking, cleaning and having fun. Optional skipper/guides and cooks can be hired (not to be mistaken for a private crewed yacht). Bareboats can be booked directly from bareboats companies or, for the same price, you can enlist the services of Meridian Yacht Charters to give independent objective advice and assistance in booking your bareboat vacation.

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Where Charter Yachts Operate
A crewed yacht charter or a bareboat vacation can be arranged in many interesting locations around the world. The main areas are the Caribbean islands and the Mediterranean Sea. Here you will find the largest selection of yachts and a diversity of cruising areas. Other popular areas include Florida and the Bahamas, New England, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, the South Pacific and Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand, Thailand and Southeast Asia, the Seychelles, the Maldives, the Galapagos, the Baltic and Northern Europe.

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Planning Your Charter
The planning process for your charter will help ensure that you achieve the best possible result and actually extends your enjoyment over a greater timeframe. Research increases your awareness of the multitude of pleasurable choices that await you, stimulating a level of anticipation and savoring that begins long before the charter and extends the pleasure over weeks and months. For best results when planning your charter allow the practical aspects of research to blend with the romantic daydreaming.

The first two important steps in planning a charter -

  1. put together the ideas of what you are looking for, at least in general terms, and then
  2. call your Meridian Yacht Charters personal charter broker to discuss the possibilities.

Ideas of what you are looking for
Be true to yourself - Articulate your dreams in a realistic perspective.
Items to take into account:

How many people
Type of yacht, sail or power
Cabin requirements
Make up of your party; i.e. couples, family, singles, children
What are you interested in doing or seeing
What is your budget
What time of the year you would like to charter
How long a period

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Where to Start
Information in this charter guide and throughout our website will help you learn more about each of these fundamental items. You do not need to become an expert or know everything in detail. You just need a basic outline of what you are looking for. When you are ready we will discuss each aspect in as much detail as you require.

Speak with your personal charter yacht broker at Meridian Yacht Charters. In addition to the above you need to let us know as much as possible about your specific desires and your more general dreams.

Do you like seclusion and privacy?
Do you enjoy nightlife?
Are watersports your main interest?
Let us know the ambience of the yacht you desire, the personality you would wish for in the crew.

We know the yachts, their equipment, the crews and how each of these elements fits in with your plans. After our initial discussions we will prepare a personal portfolio of yachts and crews best suited to your needs. Following up, we will spend as much time as necessary discussing each yacht until we find the best one for you.

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Booking Your Yacht
When you have selected your yacht, dates and ports of embarkation and disembarkation we will secure the arrangements with the charter agreement and booking deposit. We will prepare and send you the charter agreement (contract). Upon signing the agreement a deposit (normally 50% of the charter rate) is due. The agreement is then signed by the owner and a copy is returned to you for your keeping. The signed agreement plus the booking deposit will confirm your booking.

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The Charter Agreement
Most crewed charter yachts use a charter agreement sponsored by MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) and adopted by CYBA (Charter Yacht Brokers Association) and AYCA (American Yacht Charter Association). The agreement specifies the particulars of the charter, payment schedules, cancellation policies and defines the rights and obligations of all parties in contingencies. Although the charter agreement might seem daunting at first, it is relatively simple especially considering you are taking charge of someone's multi-million dollar investment. Make sure with your broker that you understand the terms and provisions of the charter agreement.

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Rates for charter yachts may vary according to the season, the number of charter guests, and the region in which the yacht is operating. Items that are included in the charter rate and items that are additional expenses and fees vary according to the terms under which the yacht operates. The charter agreement clearly defines the terms and the charter rate. Please note that rates in this web site are subject to change without notice until the booking is confirmed.

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Fees and Expenses

Understanding Fees and Expenses - It is important from the outset to understand the terms and conditions under which charter yachts operate as well as what additional fees and expenses may be incurred on your charter. This will allow you to have a realistic assessment of your budget needs and to compare value when researching your vacation options. If there are any items you do not understand please ask us for clarification.

Operating Expenses - Crewed charter yachts include different items in their rate depending on their type, size and the cruising area. The operating expenses (food, fuel, etc.) included or not included are determined by the operating "terms" under which a yacht is chartered. Following is a simple explanation of the common terms. The operating terms for most yachts fall into two general categories; "plus all expenses" (MYBA terms) and "inclusive" (CTI). For yachts operating under inclusive terms the meals and many operating expenses are included. Beverages are often not included but may be for some yachts, especially in the Virgin Islands. For yachts operating under plus all expenses terms a general rule for estimating expenses is to add 20% to 35% of the base charter rate. Motor yacht expenses are generally greater than those for sailing yachts.

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Operating Terms - The "terms" under which a yacht operates set forth what items are or are not included in the charter rate.

MYBA terms or WMT (Western Mediterranean Terms) - WMT are now often referred to as "MYBA terms" (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association). Under MYBA terms the charter fee includes charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages and food, ship's laundry, basic operating consumables, and insurance of the yacht for marine risk, third party claims, and the crew for employer's liability insurance.
The charterer will be charged extra, and at cost to the yacht, for all other expenses. These expenses include food and all beverages for the charter guests, fuel for the yacht and auxiliary craft, dockage, VAT if applicable, taxes, harbor fees, communications, guest laundry and shore-side electricity and water.

Most Superyachts and larger luxury crewed charter yachts operate under MYBA terms at all times and in any region. Yachts of all sizes chartering outside of the Caribbean, especially in the Mediterranean, will usually operate on a MYBA terms basis.

CTI (Caribbean Terms Inclusive) - For yachts operating under CTI, sometimes referred to as SCT (Standard Caribbean Terms), the charter fee includes all items on the MYBA terms plus three meals per day and fuel for four hours' cruising daily averaged over the charter. Some yachts operating under Caribbean Terms include all beverages except vintage wines and champagnes. This occurs mainly in the Virgin Islands.

With the exception of most Superyachts and larger crewed charter yachts, most crewed charter yachts in the Caribbean operate under CTI.

EMT (Eastern Mediterranean Terms) - The charter fee includes charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages and food, ship's laundry, basic operating consumables, fuel for four hours' cruising daily averaged over the charter, breakfast and lunch, and insurance of the yacht for marine risk, third party claims, and the crew for employer's liability insurance.

The charterer will be charged extra, and at cost to the yacht, for all other expenses. These expenses include dinners if taken aboard and all beverages for the charter guests, fuel for the yacht and auxiliary craft, dockage, VAT if applicable, taxes, harbor fees, communications, guest laundry and shore-side electricity and water.

GT (Greek Terms) - The charter fee includes charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages and food, ship's laundry, basic operating consumables, water, harbor dues within Greek waters, and insurance of the yacht for marine risk, third party claims, and the crew for employer's liability insurance. The charterer will be charged extra, and at cost to the yacht, for all other expenses. These expenses include food and all beverages for the charter guests, fuel for the yacht and auxiliary craft, dockage, VAT if applicable, taxes, communications, guest laundry and shore-side electricity.

Occasionally there are differences between what some yachts may include or exclude. If you are not sure what is included in the charter fee, please say so and we will clarify the issue.

Please remember that all charters booked will be confirmed by a charter agreement signed by both the charterer and the owner. It is this agreement that stipulates the terms. Please ask us if you have questions. Be assured that we do not book yachts that do not operate under industry-recognized terms or that do not operate within the standards set forth by CYBA, MYBA and AYCA.

The Reasoning for "plus all expenses" Explained
When exploring luxury yacht charters for the first time one often hears the charter rate referred to as "plus all expenses". At first glance the fact that almost every item a guest will consume is an extra cost may raise an eyebrow. However, plus all expense terms are common on the larger yachts and serve to ensure that every item of your holiday is crafted to your specifications and delivered at a good value. Food and beverage provisions are custom ordered according to your direction. You select the expense level. Fuel is charged on consumption. You pay for what you use. You are free to be as extravagant as you choose. After all it is your holiday and you live it according to your budget and tastes, not someone else's. Also remember, expenses are charged to you at cost to the yacht. There is no markup. When you think about it, plus all expenses is an excellent system for a luxury yachting vacation.

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Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) - When chartering a yacht under plus all expenses terms an Advance Provisioning Allowance of 20%-25% of the charter fee is sent to the yacht ahead of time. These funds are used to provision the yacht according to your preferences. The Captain will advise you periodically as to the disbursement of the APA. Prior to disembarkation at the end of the charter, the Captain shall present a detailed account of expenditure. The Captain shall return any unused funds in cash. Should the APA balance become insufficient during the cruise, you will be expected to pay to the Captain in cash a sufficient sum to maintain an adequate balance.

Taxes and Harbor Fees - Most countries and island nations impose some type of cruising tax or harbor fees on charter yachts. These expenses are for the account of the charter guest but are usually only a small item in the charter budget. An exception would be the VAT imposed by European Union nations. VAT can vary between 16% and 20% of the charter fee. Not all yachts are subject to VAT. Specifics of VAT will be discussed directly with you in situations where it might be applicable.

Gratuities - Customary crew gratuity is 10%-20% of the charter fee based on service received and at your discretion. The gratuity should be handed to the Captain for distribution to the crewmembers.

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Payment Schedules
Normally a 50% payment of the charter fee is due with the charter agreement to confirm the booking. Final payment and any other monies due for provisioning or other items is due in advance of the charter.

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Cancellation Policies
Depending on the type of yacht booked, cancellation by the charterer can result in loss of deposit or loss of entire charter fee. In the event of cancellation by the owner substantial protection for the charterer is incorporated into the charter agreement for refund and penalty payments to the charterer.

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Trip cancellation insurance is available to cover the loss of the charter fee if the charter is cancelled or curtailed for valid reasons. It is recommended that you consider the merits of cancellation insurance at the time of booking your yacht. Certain benefits may only apply if insurance is purchased at the time of booking.

Liability, personal accident, medical and personal effects insurance specific to the charter guest is generally not covered in the owners charter insurance. Please seek the advice of your insurance professional. Meridian can arrange coverage through specialized industry recognized companies.

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