How to Charter a Yacht

Chartering a Yacht Should Be Easy, Fun and Inspirational

From the moment you make your first charter inquiry, your experienced Northrop & Johnson charter expert will be on hand to guide you through the entire process, inspiring you every step of the way. However, before you touch base there are a few things you might like to bear in mind as the more information you provide the more efficiently and effectively your charter broker will be able to assist you. Browse through our charter experts’ guide to chartering and, armed with a handful of ideas on the type of charter you would like, simply contact the Northrop & Johnson charter team and let the fun begin.

A Guide to Chartering
  1. What type of charter are you interested in?

    There are no hard and fast rules as to which to choose first: the yacht or destination. Start off by thinking about the type of charter experience you would like, and the time of year you want to cruise, and the rest will fall into place. Think about your interests and what appeals to you about chartering a yacht. For example, if you are looking to relax and unwind then a yacht with a spa and an onboard masseuse would be ideal, while a yacht with an aqua park, plenty of water toys, onboard games and perhaps a dedicated movie room would be great if you have younger guests or even teenagers in the charter party.  The opportunities are endless on board a luxury yacht charter, and your Northrop & Johnson charter expert will be able to suggest lots of exceptional activities to make your charter as luxurious, relaxing, active, fun or dynamic as you could wish for.

  2. What type of charter yacht is most suitable for you?

    Think about the type of yacht that would best suit the size and character of your charter party. Although most luxury yachts have certain details in common, they are all unique and offer a range of different features. For example, a traditional motor yacht is ideal for a family charter, while a sailing yacht would be a fantastic choice for a real yachting enthusiast. If the jet-set lifestyle appeals to you, then a fast, modern motor yacht offers the utmost in style. Gather as many ideas as you can regarding the facilities and accommodation you would like a yacht to offer and then browse through Northrop & Johnson’s portfolio of charter yachts. There you will find information on yacht sizes, guest capacity, price, leisure facilities and where they are available.

  3. Where would you like to charter?

    The time of year during which you wish to charter may well determine the destinations and yachts are available to you. Whether there are specific areas you would like to visit or particular activities you would like to pursue, your charter broker will be able to recommend the most suitable cruising grounds for your charter party. One thing to consider is peak-season availability; for example, almost 80 percent of the biggest yachts are found along the Côte d’Azur during the height of the summer season, but this is also the area with the greatest demand for charter. Wherever you have your heart set on cruising, it really is worth planning ahead as finding the perfect yacht in the right location with availability for your preferred dates is paramount to your experience.

  4. What facilities can you expect to find on board a charter yacht?

    From entertainment facilities to water toys and audio-visual equipment, the following are just a few of the facilities charter clients can expect to find on board a luxury charter yacht. If you are looking for something in particular, ask your Northrop & Johnson charter expert. They know all of the yachts available – their crews, the ambiance and the details that make each one unique – and they can suggest yachts based on particular amenities and facilities.

    Outdoor entertainment – On the larger charter yachts Jacuzzis and spa pools are a given. There also will be a combination of shaded and unshaded areas in which guests can lounge. Another outdoor offering is alfresco dining with enough seating for the number of guests the yacht can sleep.

    Indoor entertainment – Internet connections and satellite TV should be found on board most charter yachts. A library of books and movies, board games and game consoles are usually carried on board to keep guests entertained on rainy days, and gym equipment is increasingly common on board.

    Water toys – From Jet Skis, water skis, kayaks and snorkeling equipment to tenders and even small sailing dinghies, water toys are a main attraction of a superyacht charter. Flyboards, jetpacks and Seabobs, alongside windsurfing equipment and additional items usually are found aboard larger yachts. Inflatable waterslides, trampolines and towable toys for children can usually be found on family friendly yachts.

  5. Charter rates explained

    Rates are usually quoted by the week, with seven nights on board being the standard yacht charter period accepted and quoted by most yachts. Charters also can be for durations longer than seven nights. Some yachts may consider charters of less than seven nights, offering long weekend charters to fill gaps to take advantage of the quieter, low-season periods, or for special sporting events such as the Monaco Grand Prix. During the peak seasons of July and August and Christmas and New Year, rates are usually higher, while some yachts also have mid-season rates for the months of June and September, and low-season rates apply to all other months that the yacht is available.

    Alternatively, some yachts will quote the same rates all year round but are far more prepared to negotiate off-peak. On top of the weekly charter fee, when using the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) charter contract, which is the most commonly used, the charterer also is responsible for the food and drink consumed on board, the fuel (not just for the yacht but also for the tenders and any motorized water toys), harbor fees and dockage, and communications. Depending on where the yacht is cruising, the charterer is responsible for the Value Added Tax (VAT) on the charter. This is complex and depends on where the yacht is boarded. It is the responsibility of the retail charter broker to advise charter clients on all VAT matters concerning a superyacht charter. The Caribbean Terms Inclusive (CTI) is, as its name indicates, more inclusive. Three meals per day and fuel for four hours of cruising per day are included. Some yachts operating under CTI terms include basic beverages.

    Crew wages, maintenance, onboard laundry and all other fixed running costs involved in the yacht’s operation are the responsibility of the owner. However, the charterer is responsible for any gratuities.

  6. Advance provisioning allowance explained

    Whatever the terms of your charter contract, a charterer should understand how the Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) works. The APA is an amount of 20 to 30 percent of the charter fee for a “non-inclusive” charter and about five percent for an “all-inclusive” charter. It is sent to the yacht before the charter to provision the yacht according to the charterer’s preferences.

    During the charter, the captain will provide a running account of the usage of the funds and, at the end of the charter, the captain will present a detailed account along with any unused funds in cash.

    If the APA balance runs low during the charter, the client is expected to provide the captain with a sufficient amount in cash to cover the needs for the remainder of the charter. Since many charterers prefer not to carry quantities of cash, the charter broker can hold an amount and release it to the captain as needed.

    Remember, planning a superyacht charter should be a fun experience, but to be fully covered you need the right charter broker by your side. Once you have chosen your desired yacht, your Northrop & Johnson charter expert will prepare all the necessary paperwork to secure the yacht. They will then liaise with the yacht’s captain and together they will arrange every detail. From menus to cruising locations to on-shore activities, special needs and dietary requirements, they will ensure you and your guests enjoy the ultimate charter experience.

How to Charter a Yacht

Featured Charter Yachts

View More

Browse through Northrop & Johnson’s portfolio of stunning luxury charter yachts and, with a few ideas, contact the Northrop & Johnson charter team and let us create a unique experience that exceeds expectations.

Contact our Superyacht Charter Experts

New to Charter?

All you need to know about yacht charter is in the pages of our expert guide

Find the Perfect Charter Yacht

Search the largest global database of yachts for charter

Travel the World

Explore yachting's hottest spots and off-the-beaten-path locations