If you are thinking about chartering a yacht, here are some tips. You might want to start by making a list of what you really want to do and experience on your charter. This list will help you when you talk to us, to give a base of information from which to seek a yacht to best suit you. Some things to think about:

In order to budget correctly, you will want to understand the terms under which charter yachts operate. The following are simple explanations of different terms. You will want to work closely with your charter agent to fully understand your charter contract.

WMT: Western Mediterranean Terms - The Charter Fee includes the charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages, crew food and insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability insurance. The charterer will be charged, at cost to the yacht for all other expenses, including food and beverages, other consumable stores, berthing dues and harbor charges including pilotage fees and charges for water and/or electricity taken from shore, laundry and communications.

SEMT: Standard Eastern Mediterranean Terms - The Charter Fee includes the charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages, crew food and insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability insurance. The charter fee also includes fuel for a specified number of hours per day, as averaged throughout the cruise, berthing dues and most other harbor charges, including water and/or electricity taken from the shore. The charterer will be charged, at cost to the yacht, for all other expenses, including food and beverages for the charterers, consumable stores, berthing and harbor expenses outside of the yacht's normal cruising area, laundry, communications, and fuel for the ski-boats or other tenders.

SCT: Standard Caribbean Terms - The Charter Fee includes all expenses listed under WMT and SEMT plus all food. Some yachts include wine and bar, excluding vintage wines and champagne. Extra charges will include communications, marina berthing and hire costs of special equipment and activities, such as rendezvous diving.

GT: Greek Terms - The Charter Fee includes the charter of the yacht and equipment, crew wages, crew food and insurance of the yacht for marine risk and third party claims and the crew for employer's liability insurance, harbor dues within Greek waters, water and ship's laundry. The charterer will be charged, at cost to the yacht, for fuel, food and beverages, communications and taxes.
Is your idea of a perfect holiday luxuriously sumptuous surroundings? Do you want to spend time docked at the most fashionable marinas? Host parties for your friends on board? Learn several different water sports? Or simply anchor in a private cove and curl up with a good book? 

You have told us what you need, we has found  the perfect yacht at the right time for your holiday, and it's within your budget. Here's what happens next:

The Charter Agreement: While at first glance, the charter agreement you agent will send you appears daunting, it is not as difficult as it would seem. You already have a basic understanding of different terms, and you will want to go over anything you do not completely understand with your agent.

Payment: Once you fully understand and have finalized your charter agreement with your agent, you will be asked for a 50% down payment.

The Questionnaire: You will receive a detailed questionnaire to complete. This will pertain to preferences, special needs, dietary or medical requirements. This is vital for the crew to be able to provide you with the foods you desire and the appropriate activities to make your charter holiday perfect.

Final Payment and Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA): The balance of your payment is normally due one month prior to the charter. You will also be asked to send funds to cover the APA, if that is the terms of your agreement. All charter costs must be reconciled before you disembark from the vessel.

Insurance: Cancellation and Curtailment Insurance is available to protect your investment if unforeseen circumstances prevent or cut short your charter. Ask your charter agent about this insurance and other forms of insurance that might be prudent.

Captain's Responsibility: A charter yacht captain will always try to comply with your wishes, but his primary responsibility is to the safety of the yacht and passengers. Should an scenario arise where a request conflicts with this responsibility, your captain will discuss all possible alternatives with you. However, when relating to the yacht and safety of those onboard, the captain's decision is final.

Gratuities: Tipping is customary and discretionary. Remember that your crew has worked long, hard hours to make your holiday a success. If you feel the crew has been excellent, a gratuity equal to 10% of the charter fee may be fair. If the service has been exceptional, 20% and higher might be warranted. The tip is handed to the captain at the end of the charter to distribute fairly between all members of the crew.
OPERATING EXPENSES - These vary depending on the area you cruise and the yacht you choose. If fuel economy is important, discuss this with your us at the beginning of your selection process. There also may be some positioning or repositioning charges if your charter involves meeting or leaving the yacht in an unusual location.

HARBOR FEES - Often called dues in Europe, these vary from port to port. Normally, this is a small item in the charter budget, especially in the Caribbean or Pacific Northwest.

How do I figure costs and expenses?
Charter costs range widely depending on the yacht, location, season, number of guests, dis­tance cruised, days spent in ports, and the level of luxury provided. Rates will be quoted either as "all-inclusive" or "plus expenses." A guideline often used for estimating expenses is to factor in an additional 25-35% of the base charter rate. Taxes are not included in base charter rates. Charter rates, which are listed in this guide in U.S. dollars, will be subject to varying rates of government-man­dated taxes fyAT within EC community waters). Local taxes may also apply in certain areas outside the EC. Your broker will have the most recent information for your cruising area as well as any additional insurance requirements.

When you charter on a plus-expenses basis, the captain will give you discreet updates on such items as fuel usage, telephone/fax charges, and liquor/wine consumption. You will also receive detailed accounts at the end of the holiday.

It is customary for the charter party to leave the entire gratuity, usually 10 to 20 percent of the charter fee, with the captain. The captain should be made aware of any special services provided to you or your charter party by members of the crew that you think should be rewarded, however, even those members of the crew you might never have seen - engineers, deck hands or perhaps a laundress - have contributed to the success of your yacht holiday and the captain is best qualified to determine how your tip should be distributed.


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