CHARTER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Charter destinations around the world are gradually beginning to open up for yachting as we see travel restrictions gradually being lifted. Our team is constantly monitoring the situation in many areas around the world, with information and updates ongoing. For peace of mind and the very latest on cruising options and facilities available, but more importantly for complete clarity on cancellation and postponement procedures, please contact our Charter Consultant
What happens in the event of a cancellation or postponement due to Covid? Most owners are being flexible and understand that you may have concerns over future travel restrictions, therefore we are including a special clause to the charter contract allowing a change to the dates or ports should you not be able to travel to the place of embarkation or disembarkation for the charter period agreed. Clauses can vary depending on the individual owner and the yachts schedule. For reassurance, we are also recommending a 12 month postponement clause to be written into the contract. In some instances we are seeing Owners offering a full cancellation if there is a restriction on travel to the yacht's destination. COVID tests can be arranged for crews prior to guests going on board. Longer periods between bookings are now standard to allow yachts to undertake a thorough COVID clean.
When do I transfer the funds? In most cases you will be required to pay (by wire transfer) a deposit of 50% of the total charter fee upon signing the Charter Agreement. The remaining 50% of the charter fee plus the Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA), and any applicable taxes, delivery fees and security deposit are due one month before the beginning of your charter.
What is the APA (Advance Provisioning Funds)? The charter fee generally covers the rental cost of the yacht and any crew that comes with it. There are some exceptions particularly seen in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia cruising area, these yachts may be detailed as “all inclusive”. In addition to the charter fee the APA covers all other variable expenses such as: fuel, berthing,customs, communications, food and drink. The APA essentially creates a bank account for the Captain (and chef) on the yachts to provision on your behalf.
How does the APA work? This is generally calculated as 30% percentage of the charter fee and is paid before the charter commences, usually at the same time as the final payment, one month before the charter commences. It is paid through the broker to the Captain, who will keep an accurate tally of what is spent, keeping all receipts. And keeping you updated on how much has been spent.
Is there a VAT or a local tax to pay on the cost of the charter? Most cruising destinations do have a local tax or VAT levy to pay which is a percentage of the charter fee (not on the APA). It is fairly complex and varies depending on the region you charter in. Your charter consultant will advise you on this in more detail once you have a better idea of destination.
Is there a gratuity to pay at the end of the charter? If your charter has been everything you hoped it would be, by all means show your appreciation with a gratuity. However, please note that although crew gratuities are customary, they are left at your sole discretion. As a guideline, we would suggest between 10% and 20% of the charter fee to be split equally between the crew depending on the level of service.
What contract is involved? Once you have decided you wish to proceed with booking the charter, you will be issued with a contract. This is likely one of 2 standard contracts depending on the cruising region. The most common is MYBA, endorsed by a leading London maritime lawyer.
This contract has evolved over the last 20 years and is now regarded as the reliable industry standard. The 2 part AYCA is primarily used in the U.S. and with U.S. flagged vessels, also adopting terms from the MYBA Agreement.
Should I take out insurance?
We would strongly recommend you take out Cancellation and Curtailment Insurance to protect your investment if unforeseen circumstances prevent or curtail your charter plans. Additionally, all guests should be covered by Personal Accident and Medical Insurance, with their personal effects insured against theft, loss or damage.
Other forms of insurance, such as Charterer’s Liability may also be prudent. Our Charter Consultants will be pleased to assist you with additional advice in this matter.
Useful things to know when planning for your charter
How should I pack for my trip? We suggest packing your personal items in soft luggage bags as this enables easier storage on board.
Can we bring pets with us? No pets are allowed on board unless previously agreed and permitted by the Owner.
How do we arrange the menu with the chef? Culinary excellence is often the highlight of any charter and your yacht’s chef will customise this and arrange a menu selection in advance. Prior to your charter we will ask you to complete an information sheet noting your culinary preferences or any special dietary requirements, beverages, newspapers, flowers or other special requests. Details on any medical issues, allergies and special occasions can be noted. We encourage you to give as much information as possible, as it helps the crew to have a detailed understanding before you step on board.
What shoes can I wear on board? It is perfectly acceptable to go barefoot on the yacht, most guests find it is more comfortable as well! Deck shoes may be worn but shoes for ashore should be taken off before coming back on board.
How far should you cruise? Cruising distances will vary according to your preferred itinerary, however to maximise your enjoyment we suggest cruising 6 or less hours per day and being flexible to change course for weather or more time to enjoy a particular new location.
What personal watercraft can I use? In most cruising destinations, use of personal watercraft (i.e. wave-runners) may be restricted, forbidden or require a license based on local operating regulations. We can advise where these licenses may be obtained.
Is scuba diving available on board? If a yacht does not advertise scuba diving as a guest facility, it is usually possible to arrange a local shore based diving company to bring all the necessary equipment and take you and your guests on a specific diving trip subject to local law restrictions. This is commonly referred to as “rendezvous diving”.
Can I smoke on board? In most cases, smoking is not permitted inside the yacht for safety reasons. Many yachts operate a policy of smoking permitted on deck only, however, please check the policy as each yacht varies in their approach to smoking on board.
How does the yacht accommodate personal laundry? It is common practice on most yachts for small quantities of personal laundry to be carried out by the yacht’s crew as a service. Please note that these terms also allow the crew to refuse politely to do excessive quantities of laundry on board or to handle particularly delicate items. It may be possible to have certain laundry done ashore professionally if time allows, the cost of which will be deducted from the APA.