Renting a yacht is now as easy as renting a car or a hotel room. There are several ways to go on a yacht trip, depending on your experience, qualifications, and capabilities:
- Cabin charter is the easiest and most affordable yachting option. A huge number of proposals for yacht cruises and signature tours with a prepared itinerary and an experienced skipper. To participate in such a trip, it is enough to pay for a seat or a cabin, and the organizer deals with the rest.
- Skippered yacht charter or crewed yacht charter – if you are going to sail in a small group, we recommend renting a yacht with a captain. For a family or a group of friends, you can take a yacht with 3-4-5 cabins. Renting a yacht with a crew does not require experience, special knowledge, and skills. This type of charter includes hiring an experienced skipper who will take over the full management of the yacht. Also, if you wish, you can use the services of a hostess and a cook. Renting a yacht with a crew is an interesting alternative for corporate parties, weddings, and other special occasions.
- A bareboat charter is an advanced level of a yacht charter that requires a skipper’s license and experience in management. You independently manage the yacht as the owner, plan the route, and are fully responsible for the yacht. A yacht charter is done through a charter agreement between the charter company and you.
It is possible to hire a skipper directly from a charter company when renting a boat or find him independently through specialized sites and groups. Pay attention to the charter conditions when renting a yacht with or without a crew. In the case of hiring a skipper not in a charter company, all responsibility falls on you, even if the breakage occurred through the fault of the captain unless otherwise specified in the agreement between you and the captain.
What documents are required to navigate a yacht independently?
Renting a yacht requires certain practical skills and knowledge, confirmed by an official document. Only holders of a special skipper’s license are allowed to navigate the boat, which can be obtained after graduating from a yacht school and passing the exam. But at the moment there is no unified system for certifying yacht captains, as well as unified requirements for a skipper’s license.
Now the terms of a yacht charter are determined by the laws of the country where the yacht charter is planned and the rules of the charter company that provides yacht rental services. For example, in the UK and many Scandinavian countries, you do not need at all a license for yacht charter, while most of the charter companies in the Mediterranean can scrutinize your license and put forward additional requirements, such as the presence of a VHF Radio certificate.
There are a large number of yachting schools and skipper license options. Conventionally, all skippers’ licenses can be divided into national, which are legitimate in the country of issue (and can be recognized in other countries at the discretion of the charter company) and international licenses, recognized by most European countries (but not the whole world). The most common licenses, which can be classified as international, are issued in schools:
RYA (Royal Yachting Association) – training centers of the English Royal Association. Training takes place in English. These centers are characterized by high training requirements and a rather complicated exam passing process. The licenses of this school are known almost all over the world.
Amateur qualification levels for yachts up to 24 meters:
- Competent Crew – sailor
- Day Skipper – up to 20 miles offshore during daytime and fine weather
- Coastal Skipper – up to 60 miles offshore in fine weather
- Yachtmaster Offshore up to 150 miles offshore
- Yachtmaster Ocean – unlimited.
IYT (International Yachtmaster Training) – affiliates of the Canadian IYT school located all over the world. The network is especially developed in Russia and countries close to it – Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states. Training is conducted in the national language of the country where the branch is open.
Amateur qualification levels for yachts up to 24 meters:
- Competent Crew International – sailor
- Flotilla Skipper / Watchkeeper – independent control of a yacht sailing in a flotilla or first mate
- Bareboat Skipper – up to 20 miles offshore during daytime and fine weather
- Yachtmaster Coastal – up to 60 miles offshore
- Yachtmaster Offshore – up to 150 Miles offshore
- Yachtmaster Ocean – Unlimited
ISSA (International Sailing School Association) is a European public organization. A huge number of yachting schools operate under the ISSA organization in more than 30 countries around the world, which have adopted the ISSA standard for amateur and professional yachting training. Countries where it is possible to rent a yacht with an ISSA certificate: Australia, Belgium, Croatia, Montenegro, France, Greece, Holland, Spain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, USA.
- Yacht Crew (Competent Crew Member)
- Inshore Skipper (Coastal skipper)
- Offshore Skipper (Open sea skipper)
- Master of Sailing Yacht (Captain)
It is worth separately noting the ICC (International Certificate of Competence) certificate – this is a sample certificate presented by the resolution of the 40th Transport Commission of the European Economic Committee of 1998. This certificate can be obtained from an ICC accredited school.
In addition to being licensed, charter companies pay particular attention to experience and may request your logbook with verified charter miles. In some cases, this will play a crucial role in the decision to grant the right to a yacht renting. If you are rejected by one charter company, this is not a reason to be upset – you should try another one. Even within the same region, the requirements of charter companies may differ.
In 2018, in Greece, many RYA Day Skipper Course licensed yachtsmen found themselves in an embarrassing situation when they were not allowed to operate an already rented yacht after the introduction of new rules. Now for a yacht charter in Greece skippers must provide ICC, IPC, ASA 104-105, or equivalent licenses. Therefore, we strongly recommend asking the charter company for license and experience requirements before renting a yacht.
What is the cost of renting a yacht?
You decided to rent a yacht and study the price lists of charter companies. The cost of renting a yacht is not the only indicator that you should pay attention to. Each charter company that offers yachts for rent also generates a list of mandatory and additional payments that can significantly increase the final cost of a yacht charter.
To begin with, let’s analyze what is included in the base price: a fueled yacht and equipment for a charter yacht, with all the necessary inventory (sails, navigational devices, radio equipment, electrical equipment, chargers, etc.). You can request in advance a list of equipment for the yacht you are interested in, clarify the availability of an air conditioner, a watermaker, a generator, etc.
The price also includes full technical support during the yacht charter and life-saving equipment (individual life jackets and a rubber boat). Paid separately, but included in mandatory payments:
- Bed linen sets with towels;
- Cooking gas;
- Final cleaning on board;
- Outboard motor for dinghy;
- First and last night at the marina;
- Security deposit (will be returned to you at the end of the trip in case of no damage)
The list of additional services and equipment is determined by each charter company independently. The most common additional options are:
- Staff on board: skipper, hostess, cook;
- Services in the marina: ordering a transfer, delivery of products to the yacht;
- Equipment: water skis, SUP boards, kayaks, snorkels, fishing tackle, and more;
- Outboard engine for dinghy;
- Additional sails (gennaker, spinnaker);
- WiFi on board the yacht;
- Net for rails or cockpit cushions.
Besides, you need to take into account the costs that will arise during the rental of the yacht. These include additional tourist taxes, permits to visit reserves, mooring in marinas, port taxes, fuel and food costs. All this must also be included in the budget.
Insurance deposit when renting a yacht
Like any vehicle, the yacht is insured against possible damage during the trip within the rental period. When renting a yacht with a captain, the insurance deposit is less, and you are responsible only for internal breakages (broken hatches and door handles, clogged latrines, etc.)
When renting a yacht without a crew, the insurance deposit is higher and includes not only possible internal damage but also external damage as a result of mooring and other maneuvers. The amount of the insurance deposit is set by the charter company and depends on the yacht model, year of manufacture, yacht equipment.
There are two options for making an insurance deposit
The full amount of the insurance deposit is blocked on the client’s card for the period of the yacht charter. For example, for a yacht of about 40-50ft, the insurance deposit can be 2000-4000 euros. If the insured event does not occur after returning to the base within a certain time (depends on the bank), the amount on the account will be unblocked.
To minimize the risk of losing the deposit, some yachtsmen prefer to use the deposit insurance service. In this case, you pay a certain amount of a non-refundable amount (for example, 25 euros for each day of the charter), but do not pay the entire amount or pay nothing at all. But not all charter companies support deposit insurance when renting a yacht.
To maintain the charter deposit, be sure to thoroughly conduct a technical inspection of the yacht before the charter. After returning to the base, the yacht is re-examined for damage by the charter company, and the underwater part is additionally examined by a diver.
Restrictions when renting a yacht
To avoid fines and even license revocation, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the possible restrictions and rules of the charter company, which are prescribed in the contract and may relate not only to navigation but also to behavior onboard.
The main prohibitions are related to going out to the sea in adverse weather conditions. Most charter companies do not allow pets on board and may impose age restrictions on children. The use of diving or spearfishing equipment is generally prohibited and requires an additional permit. Grilling may also be prohibited.
Stop at anchorage only in the designated areas and do not go beyond the agreed sailing area. We also recommend that you adhere to yachting etiquette: do not walk on the deck in dirty shoes, change your shoes when entering the yacht, be careful with red wine and any dyeing products, be polite with neighbors in the berths, and marina staff.
When to book a yacht? Seasonality and early booking.
The Mediterranean Sea is an excellent option for summer yachting: the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Mallorca), Greece, Turkey, Croatia, and Montenegro. Many different routes, well-developed yacht infrastructure, and a large number of proposals. The high season here is in July / August, the cost of yacht rental and other services can reach its peak.
You can rent a yacht at a reasonable price in the Mediterranean during the period April-May, the cost is up to 50% lower than at the height of summer. The velvet season begins in September, yacht rental prices are pleasantly lower, and the air and water temperatures are still warm. The number of tourists is noticeably decreasing as most families return due to the start of the school season.
There are also many options for where to go yachting in winter. Many yachtsmen prefer the Canary Islands for its affordable yacht charter deals and a good selection of boats. The yachting industry in the Canary Islands is very developed, the rest on a yacht will be comfortable and interesting. The ocean temperature does not drop below 20 ° C, and the air temperature is around 20 ° C – 25 ° C.
Winter is the high season for yacht charters in Thailand, the Caribbean, and Seychelles. A special peak falls on the New Year holidays. The cost of renting a yacht in these waters is much higher.
Here are some tips on how you can save money when renting a yacht:
- Most charter companies offer early booking discounts. Typically, these discounts are available for bookings for six months in advance or earlier.
- If you find it difficult to plan your vacation in advance, but you can easily go on a trip at any moment, then keep an eye on the last minute offers and boats that customers refused at the last moment. Sometimes discounts for such boats reach 50%.
- Learn about the loyalty program. For example, re-booking discounts are always available for regular SAILME customers. Subscribe to our newsletter in order not to miss all the current offers.
We will be happy to offer our fleet for rent in the summer in Ibiza and Mallorca and in the winter in the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. The current cost of renting a yacht with SAILME can be found here. Schedule of combined crews here.