Top Charter Tips from our experts


By Vikki Keil • 14 May 2014
Our experts give you key insights into making your Charter special.

1. How do you select a yacht?

Choosing a yacht for your first charter can be an intimidating task, a Charter broker is the best person to steer you in the right direction and advise you on which yacht, will best suit your holiday needs. The first question you will have to answer is ‘Where do you want to go?’

Mediterranean coast and Italian Riviera is best in spring and summer, March through to September, July through October in Thailand is humid and rainy, while the Caribbean is a sought after destination from October to February.

2. How to plan your dream yacht Charter?

Selecting a yacht, destination and itinerary is a complex task that requires detailed information to deliver the perfect holiday. All yachts are designed by the owner and therefore offer a complete variety of layouts, styles and facilities. The crew that work on these yachts also differ in character, creating a specific feel or personality to each yacht.

To be sure to book the right yacht for you and your desired experience, it is key to have the knowledge and experience of a reputable charter broker. They will have detailed knowledge of all the yachts on the market, personal insights into their crew and of course their cruising areas and availability.

At Bluewater we are a reputable agency, covering all categories within the sector, and are registered and hereby governed by all the trade associations. (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association & Central Yacht Agent USA).

3. What information will we require to get you started?

The first thing your broker will need to know is your budget for the trip, along with what type of yacht you would prefer, a motor yacht or a sailing yacht. Then they will go onto a more detailed description of the charter party or your guests for the trip. For example how many people, ages of the guests, is it a family charter or a business activity, all this information is to outline the living arrangements and size of the yacht that would best suit your experience.

If your charter is for business associates or entertaining, perhaps a more sleek yacht with a larger deck is required accompanied by a chef who is accustomed to silver service dinner parties or large scale buffets. This selection of yacht would be drastically different to that for a family charter, with children who want to take advantage of the water toys, and perhaps be a lot more sturdy decoration wise.

Other items they might ask of you;

Your preferred cruising area
Your dining preferences
Water sports and activities you would like on board
Electrical or AV requirements (high speed wifi, game stations)

Following this information your broker will send you a selection of key yachts to view via email. Once you have notified your broker of your selected vessel, it may take a few days to actually book the yacht and confirm your exact dates and budget with the owner.

4. Charter contracts & additional charges

After your yacht has been confirmed a charter contract will be issued to you, bear in mind that this is a legally binding document. The conditions of this agreement will be signed by four people, the head charterer, the owner, a stakeholder and your broker.

You should be aware that the quoted charter fee is only a part of the total cost, and you should ask your broker about any additional charges that may arise. As a round number you can expect to add an additional 25 to 30% to cover your charter costs.

5. Importance of crew and their roles on board?

The size of the vessel will dictate the amount of crew on board. This can vary from a 2-3 person crew on a smaller 25m to up to 50 crew members on the larger 80-100m vessels.

Crew have specific positions and responsibilities on board.

The Captain is ultimately responsible for the yacht and therefore has the final say in all decisions regarding safety, especially where weather plays a role. For any cruising or itinerary requirements you should speak directly with the captain.

Deck Crew – This includes the first officer down to the deck hands who run the tenders. All members of crew are there to assist you, so feel free to speak with any of them directly.

Interior Crew- This includes the Chief Stewardess, who oversees the rest of the Interior crew. They are responsible for serving you during meals, the cleanliness of the cabins and overall cleaning of the yacht’s interior. For any requests such as extra towels, a wakeup call or favourite refreshments they are the ones to ask.

The Chef is a vital part to your charter experience, he will plan, prepare and source all the ingredients for your meals. Should you have any specific requirements like a romantic candle light dinner, a French specialty or Asian delight he will plan the menu around your desires. It is important to make it clear beforehand (on your Charter Preference Sheets), what foods you prefer and what you or your guests may be allergic to, along with any additional dietary restrictions.

Engineers are the guys who make the yacht run. They spend most of their days below deck, and out of the sight of guests.

Whatever the size of your crew, they are there to serve you and give you the holiday experience of a lifetime.

6. General etiquette while on your charter

• Suitcases - For yachts smaller than 50m it is best to pack your luggage in soft, fold-able bags, as there is little storage space for these bulky items.
• High heels – These in general are not allowed on board as they cause extensive damage to the decking.
• Laundry - Most yachts have an extremely efficient dedicated laundry service, so there is no need to over pack.
• Smoking – The majority of these vessels do not allow smoking inside.
• The Yacht – Treat this as you would your own holiday home; take care of this precious commodity.
• Crew – Try to treat the crew as valued employees, they are there to help and guide you through your holiday.
• Childcare – Should you bring smaller children on board it would be wise to appoint a child minder to come along on your holiday, as the crew will be busy with their daily responsibilities to actually take on the additional task.

7. Gratuities explained

The world of tipping comprises of a variety of attitudes and beliefs, depending on your nationality. The general rule is to tip between 10-15% of the Charter fee, which the captain will then distribute amongst the crew. This is only if you are happy with the level of service the crew have provided and have felt like it was a successful charter.