A crewed yacht charter is a fabulous vacation whether with your family, or friends, as this venue offers a full service customized floating hotel and restaurant that you take with you, to explore some of the world’s nicest cruising locations, and is offered in a wide range of budgets from moderate to luxury for virtually every pocketbook.
What doesn’t look great on the internet? Particularly photos of lovely destinations, such as Tahiti, Portofino, Santorini, St. Barths, Nantucket, Sawyer Glacier, Cabo San Lucas, and Harbor Island, all of which are great cruising locations. Can you find information about and photos of yachts available for crewed yacht charter on the internet? Sure, but what you see and read on the internet may not be what you find on arrival for your dream nautical vacation.
Reason #1: Regulations and insurance
The wary yacht charter client should know that there is no minimum safety or licensing requirements with which an Owner must comply in order to offer his yacht for crewed yacht charter via the internet. The yacht is not required to be insured, or the Captain to have a license. Any Owner can place photos and information about his yacht on the internet. However safety and licensing requirements, and yacht charter hull insurance do exist.
What happens to you as the unsuspecting Charterer? You may end up chartering an uninsured vessel and might even be liable. Or, if the yacht or crew is not in compliance with required safety and licensing requirements, your charter could be illegal charter, which could invalidate the insurance coverage.
Most countries, to which a yacht is flagged, called the flag state, have safety and crew licensing requirements with which an Owner offering his yacht with crew for crewed yacht charter on a yacht flagged to that country must comply. The Owner and crew should research to assure that the yacht safety requirements and crew licensing requirements are being met for the flag state of the crewed yacht being offered for charter. Is there anyone in each flag state checking to make sure the yacht and crew being offered are in compliance? Not necessarily, or if there is a government agency checking on safety and licensing compliance, the manpower needed may be stretched too thin for adequate review.
A qualified Yacht Charter Broker, will check that the Owner has his yacht in compliance with the flag state safety regulations, and that the crew are in compliance with the flag state licensing requirements, and supply a yacht charter contract for booking the yacht for crewed yacht charter that requires the Owner and crew to be in compliance with all safety and licensing regulations necessary and for the yacht to be insured.
Reason #2: Charter Yacht Maintenance
Anyone familiar with yachting is aware that nothing can go downhill faster than a vessel floating on salt or fresh water that is not maintained. One of the biggest issues is odor. Whether from something unsanitary in the bilge, mildew, mold, or even spilled fuel, all odors on board are generally due to poor maintenance and can ruin your crewed yacht charter vacation. Unfortunately, while lovely photos of the yacht can be viewed on line, the yacht cannot be smelled on line!
Any yacht in a tropical or warm charter location is sitting and baking under the hot sun. The sun can fade hull paint, cause a powdery film on the hull surface, cause varnish to peel, and cause upholstery, awnings and sails, if a sailing yacht, to fade and the fibers to weaken. Water, salt or fresh, can cause some hulls to rust, cause damage to any of the interior or exterior machinery, and create mildew and mold. Even on a 50 – 60′ yacht being offered for crewed charter, there should be two full time crew on board to provide the service for charter, of course, but to also, in between charters, constantly maintain and clean the yacht from bow to stern. On the exterior, the hull should constantly be washed, polished or painted, teak cleaned or re-varnished, any chrome or stainless polished, and fabrics cleaned or replaced if needed. On the interior, all systems should be constantly maintained and cleaned, the engine room should be spotless, wood should be polished, painted or oiled, all upholstery and carpeting cleaned or replaced if needed, mold and mildew eradicated, and even the tiniest corner should be cleaned, with a toothbrush and cotton swab if necessary.
Anything spilled or dropped inside a yacht always ends up in the bilge, creating an odor or possibly clogging a strainer, so constant interior cleaning is essential. And, of course, all interior goods, such as linens, towels, cutlery, and dishes, should be fresh and clean, having been replaced when worn.
A smaller 50′ yacht that charters for less money than a larger 150′ yacht should still look just as clean and fresh as the larger yacht. An older yacht should look just as clean and fresh as a newer yacht. A lower budget yacht should look just as clean and fresh as a higher budget yacht. No matter what the charter budget, no yacht for crewed yacht charter is worth spending a penny, much less thousands of pennies, if the yacht is not clean and fresh.
The yacht brochure pictured on the internet advertising the yacht for crewed yacht charter may have photos of the yacht taken when the yacht was brand new, and just launched. That same boat photographed and shown on the web when just launched, factory fresh, may, if not maintained properly, look and even smell considerably differently one year later. A qualified Yacht Charter Broker will keep abreast of the maintenance of the yachts offered for crewed yacht charter.
Reason #3: Charter Crew
The crew offered for the crewed yacht charter is very important as well, as on a crewed yacht charter, as the Charterer will be living on board with the crew for the duration of the charter.
Crew should be as well maintained as the yacht, in a sense. Unkempt crew is generally a hint to an unkempt yacht. Often crews, on a crewed yacht charter, are wearing a crew uniform, which should be neat and clean. The state of the crew uniform can also be a hint as to the professional level of the crew. Crew should be well trained and competent. If food is offered, the service should be top notch, and the food should be at the advertised gourmet level using fresh ingredients and good presentation. Interior service can be relaxed or equivalent to 5 star hotel services, depending on the size of the yacht and the service level advertised. A qualified Yacht Charter Broker should check to assure that the charter crew on board a charter yacht of interest are well versed in proper charter service, present well, and are friendly and hospitable.