How much does it cost to charter a yacht?

Published by on Wednesday 14th of June 2023 01:23:57 PM

Possibly not as much as you might think. Chartering a yacht is not just for the super-rich and famous and for a family or group of friends you needn’t pay much more than the cost of a very nice villa rental or luxury inclusive resort. As a very rough indication the starting point for a good-sized catamaran in the Virgin Islands for eight guests with four cabins and two crew will be from around US$30,000 per week, inclusive of food and standard bar. At the top end of the charter market however, a 90m (295ft) luxury motor yacht in the South of France this summer with six cabins for up to 12 guests and 24 crew might set you back well over a million euros, but there’s a vast range of yachts of all shapes and sizes in between to suit most pockets for instance in Greece there are 35m to 40m motor yachts with five cabins at very attractive rates. Generally speaking, the newer and larger the vessel, the more you pay. And remember, these costs are for the whole boat, and which might be shared between two families or several couples.


When looking at charter rates it’s important to look at how the rate is quoted. For instance, most catamarans and smaller sailing yachts in the Caribbean will be quoted according to the number of guests on a seven-night, all-inclusive basis. This rate will include almost everything - three meals a day, snacks, standard ship’s bar (regular spirits, beers, good quality house wines and soft drinks) and local cruising taxes. Even with an inclusive charter rate there will be additional costs including special requests such as premium spirits and champagne, dockage (if used), airport transfers and local customs/immigration costs. Crew gratuities are at the charterer’s discretion, but it is customary to give between 15 and 20% of the charter rate.


The sailing super-yachts and most of the motor yachts structure their charter costs on a base charter rate PLUS all expenses which are an extra cost. For a motor yacht for example, the expenses can add up to another 35-40% of the charter cost to cover things like food and drinks, fuel costs for motoring and tenders, dockage etc. It is normal practice with this type of price structure that you pay an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) which is an estimate of what your expenses are likely to be. At the end of the charter if this expense allowance has not been spent then you will receive a refund. 


Value Added Tax (VAT) in some parts of the world can add a significant sum to the charter cost. In Europe the VAT rate payable on yacht charters is between 12 and 22% depending on the country. In the Bahamas there is a 4% Bahamas Tax and a VAT rate of 10% to pay on top of the charter rate. 


When comparing the price of different charter yachts take a good look at what’s included and what isn’t. We will always endeavour to make sure that the full cost basis is given to you very clearly right at the start of the booking process when we send you a list of proposed yachts. We hate unpleasant surprises and we know you will too.

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