What is a Yacht Charter

What is a Yacht Charter

Welcome to Compass Yacht Charters. We are so glad you are here. Whenever we tell someone that we arrange term charter yacht vacations they will invariably ask "So what is that?". The short answer is that a charter yacht vacation is touring an island chain or coastline on a private yacht for typically 6 to 7 nights. This vacation includes island hopping, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, sun bathing, and fun in the sun specifically planned for you or planned by you! There are four types of term charters.

Bareboat: Ahoy Captain! Do you have the experience and willingness to take responsibility for the yacht? If so, then this may be the charter for you. You and your crew do all the work and bring the yacht back like you found it. (more info)

Captain only: So if you don't feel comfortable with the whole responsibility of running the boat you can hire a captain. The Captain has full responsibility of the boat and the safety of the passengers. You and the other passengers are responsible for everything else including meals for the Captain. (more info)

All Inclusive Crewed Yacht Charter: This is the most popular type of charter we arrange. A fully crewed charter includes a Captain, Chef and crew if necessary. These charters are all inclusive which include your food, drinks, ships bar and wine. A crew gratuity, and drinks or meals you decide to take ashore are not included. The meals are amazing and created for your palate. The Crew's goal is to provide a fun, stress free vacation you will want to repeat every year. (more info)

Cost plus Expenses: You will find this option on the larger and more expensive charter yachts. The yacht goes out at a fixed cost that includes the yacht and crew. All other expenses such as food, beverages, bar, fuel and crew gratuity are in addition to the yacht cost. (more info)

What Our Clients Say?

  • Bob and Deb are an amazing team and will make sure your sailing experience is everything you could ask for and more. We recently went with a different company on our last trip, and the whole time I was emailing Bob for recommendations as our crew did not have the depth of knowledge that Bob and Deb can provide. You cannot go wrong with Compass Yacht Charters.

    Raelynn and ShaneAboard One Love

The Details?

Unfortunately the charter industry can be a bit complicated to the uninitiated. So I will start at the beginning.

First off it depends on what kind of charter you are interested in. There are basically four types of charters:

1. Bareboat
2. Captain Only
2. All Inclusive
3. Yacht Plus Expenses

Bareboat Yacht Charters:

Lets start with bareboat. Bareboat means that there is nothing but the boat. It's a bit like renting a car. You have to drive the car, fill it with gas when you are done, and return it in the same condition as you got it. In the case of a boat you have to prove that you can actually drive a boat. So experience is necessary. Unlike a car where you have a drivers license to prove that you can drive, you have to submit a sailing resume to show that you have experience. In most cases you (The Captain) and crew will have to do a check out sail.

The check out sail is performed by one of the staff at the charter station. He or she will have you take command of the yacht then perform a series of maneuvers. This will include but not necessary limited to the following:

1. Do a check out and inventory of all on board equipment.
2. Determining the best course to the harbor
3. Starting the engine and turning on the nav systems
4. Assigning crew responsibilities
5. Releasing all lines and leaving the dock under power
6. Once you are in open water, you will raise the sails
7. You will have to perform several sailing maneuvers as they deem necessary.
8. They may have you reef the sails to show you can do so
9. Furl all the sails and stow
10. Proceed to the fuel dock and make an approach
11. Return to the charter station

If you successfully complete the check out you are good to go sailing. If not then they will require you to take a captain on board for a day or two to help you. The cost of the captain will be an addition to the original charter fee. I will get into those costs a little later.

Now comes the provisions. You can provision yourself or have the charter company do it for you. The less expensive way is obviously to do it yourself. Wherever you are chartering they will be able to advise you on where to provision. Usually they also can suggest someone to take you to the stores and bring you back to the dock. I would suggest that you bring your favorite spices with you so you don't have to purchase more than you will need for the time on board. The charter company normally provides salt and pepper but that is about all. They do provide dishes, silverware, pots and pans, and dish towels. So you will have all you need for galley equipment.

If you choose to have the charter company provision for you then all the provisions you choose will be on board when you arrive or shortly thereafter. You will have to stow everything yourself. I recommend that you do a 1/2 provision as you will probably what to sample the local cuisine as you move from location to location. The broker or charter company will normally provide a form for this purpose.

Also provided will be all your linens, safety equipment, snorkel equipment and nav equipment. Everything you will need to have a safe and comfortable cruise.

What is not provided, besides provisions, are things like paddle boards, kayaks, and floating mats. They are available at some additional cost.

Captain Only:

If you don't feel qualified to be the skipper then you can have a captain on board. You will need to provide him or her with meals and a gratuity is normally expected. The captain will also require sleeping quarters. Where they will sleep is determined at the time of booking and what size and type of yacht you are chartering. Costs for a captain vary depending on the type of yacht you choose. For more information please contact our customer service representative at 615-686-0432 or fill out a contact request.

All Inclusive Crewed Yacht Charters:

This type of charter is just what you would expect, everything is included. At least almost everything. Your air fare, transfers, and crew gratuity are not included. If you want premium wines and alcohol that is not included in the ships bar then that is extra also. If you decide that you would like to take a night off the yacht and have dinner ashore that is your responsibility as well. Crew gratuity is normally 15% to 20% of the charter fee based on the level of service and is at your discretion. Normally the gratuity would be paid in cash at the time you disembark.

What is included is awesome. You have a professional captain and chef whose only objective is to take you where you want to go and where you will have the most fun according to your preferences. You have a chef that is there to prepare meals that are especially designed for your palette. Not to mention all your beer, liquor and wine to accompany these feasts.

It's important to note that we will spend time with you to determine your special needs and desires for your trip. This could include scuba diving or specific beach and stops during your trip. We also will discuss any food allergies or dietary requirements well in advance of your travel. The crew reaches out a few weeks before the charter to discuss itinerary and any special need to insure that they have exactly understood your requirements. We will help with any confusion between your party and the crew.

When you arrive the yacht will be waiting at a designated marina that was determined beforehand. Once everyone is aboard there is a safety briefing and then your are off. The yacht is usually required to leave the dock by 1pm so they may be in a hurry to get away. Depending on the time of arrival there will be a lunch served either at the dock or the first stop. Assuming that you arrived late the yacht will proceed to the first anchorage for the night where you will have a chance to swim, lounge, or try out the toys. Happy hour commences at 5ish followed by appetizers. While you lounge on deck the chef will prepare your dinner. This is normally three courses designed around your preferences. These meals will be a highlight of your vacation. The best food in the islands is prepared on these charter yachts. You won't be disappointed.

The next morning when you all have come on deck you will be treated to breakfast based. While the crew cleans up you can swim or lounge around. Once everything is stowed your crew will lift anchor and head to your lunch location for a snorkel or beach time. Transit time is usually only a couple of hours at most.

Everyday you will experience a new spot filled with water sports, beaches, beach bars, and stunning scenery. Nothing but luxury for you and your family or friends.

Yacht plus Expenses:

Plus expenses is reserved for the larger yachts and mega yachts. When you book a yacht of this type the booking fee only covers the yacht. All expenses are covered separately. Expenses include but are not limited to: provisions, fuel, docking fees, custom and immigration, crew, and gratuity. When you reserve the yacht there will be an APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance) of 25% to 35% depending on the yacht. This is a downpayment for the expenses that will be incurred during your trip. At the end of the charter the captain will present you with an itemized expense report at which time you will either get a refund or have to remit the difference. The crew gratuity is not included in the expense report and is 15% to 20% of the booking fee at your discretion based on service you received while on charter.

All other particulars are similar to a crewed yacht charter as described above. The biggest difference is the unprecedented level of luxury you can expect on this type of charter.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the yacht negotiate on price?

No. Yacht prices are fixed by the owners of the yacht and are not negotiable. You can sign up for our newsletter (link) to get notifications when there is a special available.

Can I charter for less than 7 nights?

Yes. There is normally a 5 night minimum and the cost per day is determined my taking the 7 night cost and dividing by 6 then multiply by the number of days you wish to be on charter.

Is there a premium cost for holidays?

There is for Christmas and New Years but not for other holidays. Christmas and New Years book up very fast so it is best to arrange your trip 6 months or more in advance to have the best chance of securing the yacht of your choice.

How do I get started?

The first step is to contact our customer service representative (CSR). They have exceptional experience in arranging charters for our clients. You can review the selection of yacht on this website or your CSR will work with your particular needs and recommend a selection of yachts for you to choose from. They will be with you through every step in the process.

When do I book air fare?

After you have selected the yacht you would like to charter, we will put a hold for the dates you chose. This will give you a couple of weeks to arrange for air fare without worrying about losing you place. It's important to get everything arranged within the two weeks so that we can get contracts signed before the hold expires.