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Pros and cons of chartering your yacht

Chartering Your Yacht

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Chartering Your Yacht

 

Picture this scenario – you have just returned home from your very first outing on your brand new luxury motor yacht. While on holiday, you enjoyed a two-week, fun-filled vacation cruise down to California.

Returning home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you look forward to the next chance you have to take out your yacht again, only to realize that the next opportunity you have to escape is still weeks or months away.

In the meantime, your yacht goes unused and un-enjoyed, when in fact it could be making you money while being well-maintained as part of a chartered fleet.

If this sounds appealing to you, read on to learn more about yacht chartering and to see if entering your yacht into a chartered yacht fleet could be a possibility for you.

What Does It Mean to Charter Your Yacht?

Chartering your yacht, or enrolling in a yacht charter income program, refers to private boat owners making their yachts available to others to rent out while they are not using them. This is typically done through a yacht charter company.

Companies typically ask their chartered boat owners to make the boat available for a minimum of ten weeks a year. Owners can reserve or block off time in advance for their own use, and earn about 60% of the income generated by the charter company.

Boat Owner Responsibilitieschartering your boat costs - moorage

When chartering your yacht, you as a boat owner are responsible for:

  • Paying for moorage and insurance
  • Paying for all routine and required maintenance costs
  • Ensuring your boat is moored at the home of the charter company, as needed
  • Providing all required safety equipment in good working order as mandated by Transport Canada
  • Providing dinnerware, stemware, and cooking utensils for the galley

Charter Company Responsibilities

When your vessel is in a charter company’s hands, they are responsible for:

  • Paying for promoting and selling time on your boat
  • Providing fresh linens and bedding
  • Screening all new clients and showing them around
  • Inspecting, cleaning, fuelling, and restocking the boat once returned

Yacht Criteria

Not all yachts are eligible for chartering. Before considering if chartering your yacht is right for you, consider the following criteria. If you have yet to purchase your yacht and are planning to rely on chartering to offset yacht ownership costs, check with the chartering company first to see what types of vessels they are accepting.

The majority of yacht charter businesses are looking for vessels that:

  • Are a well-known, highly sought after make or model
  • Are no more than five years old (with exceptions!)
  • Are in immaculate condition
  • Are equipped with a reliable engine or solid sails
  • Are equipped with a motorized dinghy or tender
  • Have a well-equipped galley
  • Are in the 40 to 54-foot length range
  • Have 3 double cabins and more than one head (bathroom)
  • Vessels that are slightly smaller or larger than the 40 to 54-foot range may still be accepted, depending on their condition, amenities, and make and model.
  • Yachts that can sleep more than one couple, for example, a 33’ or 34’ boat that has a double bed and toilet ensuite, with another single or double bunk, are also sometimes accepted, based on need.

So, if your yacht, or the yacht you’re thinking of buying, meets the criteria above, it’s time to consider the pros and cons of chartering.

Pros of Chartering Your Yacht

Offsets the Costs of Owning a Boat

While chartering your yacht won’t be a huge income generator, a successful chartering season will likely bring in enough to cover dockage, routine maintenance, and insurance fees. This works out to be a 30 to 70% reduction in operating expenses, which can make a significant difference.  If you’ve been on the fence about buying a luxury motor yacht due to your budget, there are two main things you can do to mitigate the cost of boat ownership:

  • Find an older boat or yacht to renovate; or
  • Charter your motor yacht through a reputable yacht charterer.

Chartering is considerably less work than renovating an old boat, and comes with added perks such as:

Gentle Use is a Good Thing 

Boats benefit from getting a little bit of exercise out on the water. Although it sounds counterintuitive, a yacht that doesn’t get used much tends to have more issues than one that is used routinely. The reason is because fuel lingering in tanks isn’t good, and the boat doesn’t get much air circulation when it’s sealed up in storage. On the other hand, when you have your yacht in a charter program, it typically means nothing will seize up or mold out on you.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Routinechartering your yacht requires maintenance

Having your yacht in a charter fleet is a great way to ensure it will get professionally maintained, as they typically have a stricter maintenance schedule. These regular servicing appointments will serve you well into the future after your yacht “ages out” of the fleet. As for cleanliness, the charter company staff will ensure your yacht is cleaned and made up for the next guests after every charter.

Marketing Your Boat 

Having your yacht out in a charter will give your boat a higher profile within the yachting community. This will help with re-sale, as the more people who become familiar with your boat and get to experience it, the better. We have found that a lot of prospective buyers of motor yachts are looking to buy because they have had a good experience using a chartered yacht previously.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing the beauty of your yacht with others can be a bit of an ego boost for proud yacht owners, providing a psychological benefit on top of the financial benefit. If you’ve gone to great lengths to customize your yacht, you’ll certainly appreciate everyone’s rave reviews on your style and taste. The effect is similar to homeowners who rent their homes on AirBnB.

Tax Advantages 

If you work closely with an accountant, you might be able to write off some expenses as business expenses associated with chartering, or otherwise receive tax benefits.

Cons of Chartering Your Yacht

Strangers on Your Yacht

While the charter company screens guests, you’ll still end up having strangers on board your boat. This certainly doesn’t appeal to all yacht owners. If you don’t think you’d be able to handle strangers occupying your home on the water, chartering might not work out for you.

Not Being Able to Stow Your Own Stuff 

When lending your yacht to a chartered fleet, you’ll be required to remove the majority of your personal belongings, including clothing, towels, toiletries, and groceries. This means having to pack these things back onto the boat each time you want to use it.

Insurance Fees May Go Up 

You’ll likely need to increase the amount of insurance you have on your boat, depending on how often you’ll be chartering your boat for. The price increase could be modest, but it could be substantial, so just be aware.

Increased Usage 

With increased usage comes a small amount of wear and tear. Some wear and tear can be a good thing (see point above about keeping the boat exercised), while some wear and tear isn’t beneficial. For example, chartering puts more hours on the engine, and if your yacht has carpets, these will likely need some TLC after a few seasons of chartering. Fortunately, revenues generated by your charter experience will likely far outweigh the cost of said wear and tear.

To Charter, or Not to Charter?

The pros and cons of chartering your yacht can be complex, as they will be unique to your situation, location, and style of boat you own. After weighing the pros and cons, only you can say for certain whether or not chartering your yacht makes sense for you and your situation. If you’re on the fence, don’t hesitate to interview several charter companies to find the right fit.

 

If you have any questions about chartering your yacht, or about yacht ownership in general, we’d love to hear from you – simply contact us with any questions you might have.

We can also help you find the perfect boat that would also be suitable for chartering. See what boats we have for sale at our sales dock right now. At Van Isle Marina, our brokers are here to help you navigate the world of luxury yachting.

Family Boating Activities

Family Boating Activities

How to Keep Everyone Entertained on the Yacht

On today’s modern luxury yachts, there is no shortage of fun things to do with the family. We know you know the typical activities that keep everyone occupied, like swimming, fishing, floaties, and mealtimes. But what about the rest of the time? Especially if you’re planning on a longer boating trip?

To accompany our article on Boating with Family, here are some great entertainment suggestions to add to your list of family boating activity ideas. These suggestions work just as well for day trips as they do for longer journeys, and they are perfect for creating memories for years to come.

family boating activities - Water Skiing

Water Toys

If your kids are old enough and your boat is big enough to store the equipment needed, try out things like water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, and tubing. Some of this equipment is available for rent, so you can try each watersport without fully committing to one. Snorkeling is also something suitable for all ages and can be a fun learning opportunity.

Kayaks and Stand-up Paddleboards

Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available to rent from various seaside communities if you don’t already have your own. This can be a great way to get some exercise, challenge yourself in new ways, and navigate tighter channels while your boat is docked or anchored for awhile.

family boating activities - raft up with others

Raft-up with Others

If you’re comfortable enough and you spot another boater with youngsters on board, why not get to know your fellow travellers by inviting them to raft up with you? This entails tethering both boats together, either for a playdate, happy hour, or both. If things go well, you can always arrange to raft up again in the future. And if there are more than your two boats, why not raft up to multiple boats to form a full flotilla?

Head to the Beach

If everyone’s in the mood to get off the boat for awhile, head to shore to spend a few hours at the beach to enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, fly a kite, explore the tide pools, go crabbing, collect seashells, play some badminton, or throw a ball around. Depending on where you end up, there might even be some great hiking trails nearby.

Visit Marinasfamily boating activities - Visiting Van Isle Marina

Visiting various marinas is also a fun way to get to know other boaters and learn more about your local area. If possible, pick a marina to visit that has a restaurant and an outdoor play area for the kids. The restaurant visit is often enough to land you free dock time at the marina, and the kids will love having a new playground to check out. Of course this is also a great opportunity to walk the docks and see a bunch of different boats.

Golfing

Yes, you read correctly! When you’ve tried just about every other activity while out at sea, why not plan for some good old-fashioned golf on the next boating trip? You could bring your own putting green and keep it as traditional as possible, or practice your long drive by rigging something out in the water. Simply toss out a floating inner tube and practice whacking biodegradable golf balls towards your target and voila! Golf at sea.

History Lessons

Depending on your location, you might stumble across some waterfront locations with heritage status. Around the Pacific Northwest, there are several fishing towns and historical landmarks to check out, some of which that have an aquarium or museum nearby. Here’s your chance to turn your boating trip into a teaching moment – possibly for more than just your kids!

Scavenger Hunt

Hand out lists of nautical objects you’re likely to see during your trip to everyone on board and offer up a prize to the first person who spots all the items. Some ideas for your list include kayaks, sailboats, seabirds, tugboats, BC Ferries, a person fishing, floating driftwood, whales, sea lions, a houseboat – you get the idea!

Treasure Hunt

Depending on the ages of those on board and the size of your vessel, you can create a small treasure hunt that takes place on your boat. It’s a little bit like the childhood game, Find the Object, only the object might be something of value that the winner gets to keep. Or, if you’ll be heading to the shore, you can even try geocaching, which has been rightly coined as the world’s largest treasure hunt.

family boating activities - Pirate Party

Plan a Pirate Day

With a little bit of planning ahead, you can plan a pirate party for the kids. This would tie in nicely with the treasure hunt idea already mentioned. It would also be a great theme for a child’s birthday party. All you’ll need is a pirate’s flag to raise, costumes and accessories, and a little knowledge of speaking “pirate-ese”.

family boating activities - Fireworks

Find Some Fireworks

Throughout the summertime around the Pacific Northwest, there are a few major events that kick off or conclude with a grand display of fireworks. Viewing these types of light shows from your boat is truly a remarkable, memorable experience.

Shoot Some Hoops

Find a portable basketball hoop for your cockpit, or one that you can temporarily hook or suction onto the side of your boat temporarily to see who can score the most baskets from the water.

Install a Slidefamily boating activities - waterslide

An inflatable slide provides some easy onboard entertainment for guests of all ages, providing there is easy access for everyone to re-enter the boat after each slide. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.

family boating activities - water trampoline

Water Trampoline

Not your average floatie, a water trampoline will turn you into the coolest boat owner around. Completely inflatable and portable, water trampolines are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles and take just 20 minutes to set up. Young children will require constant adult supervision and lifejackets.

Deck Dance Party

Get everyone dancing on your deck, including the little ones, who tend to be the best dancers on board! Teach youngsters the old classics from your hey day, and then have them show you the trending dance moves of their generation.

Build a Fort

If you have enough equipment, have the kids build a little fort on the deck using oars, floaties, lifejackets, towels, and more. They’ll stay occupied and afterwards they will have a little shelter from the elements.

Camp on the Deck

On a particularly hot, clear summer night, why not plan to sleep under the stars on your deck instead of in the cabin? Or at least encourage the kids to do so. They can sleep in the fortress they made earlier that day, or perhaps under the Bimini top if there’s room. Encourage kids to bring snacks, flashlights, and books and games with them.

Rainy Day Entertainment

When night falls, or when it’s rainy, get cozy in your cabin with nautical-themed colouring books, story books, and crafts. Discover Boating has some great boat-themed colouring pages to get your started. Also plan ahead for pirate and mermaid-themed movies, smartphone apps, card games, and board games.

Remote Control Boatfamily boating activities - remote control boat

For the younger ones aboard your boat, you can’t go wrong by bringing a small remote-control boat for them to play with. This can be great if they are too cold or too tired to be in the water swimming. Even the grown-ups on board can have a lot of fun with this one.

Day to Day Operations

Lastly, try to involve children in all boating activities, including tying knots, preparing meals in the galley, steering the boat, and tidying up the cockpit. While you want to do whatever you can to make this boating vacation fun for your children, it’s important to involve your children in the day to day operations on the boat so they get the true experience. You’ll find out quickly what sorts of things interest them, whether that’s learning how to read tide charts, or knowing the ins and outs of the VHF radio.

 

Boating with your family can build fantastic memories for everyone involved. Don’t forget to take pictures and videos along the way! And for more boating tips from Van Isle Marina, be sure to check out the rest of our blog, including an overview of boating with pets – because they’re family too!