If you’re planning a boat charter for the first time, there’s a few things you need to know about how the costs work. We’ve put together an explanation of the yacht fees and what they cover so you can be informed when choosing your charter.

High Season

What counts as high season? You need to know this as it will have an impact on your charter costs. High season refers to the most popular times of year and this differs on a place by place basis. Some places may be classed as high season due to their weather conditions – for example the Caribbean is less humid, slightly cooler and drier from December to April. This is their peak season as the weather is the most preferable. In Sydney the weather is good all year round but while their hottest days are between December and February, these wouldn’t necessarily be their recommended months. Slightly cooler warm weather in March/April and October/November would be classed as peak season on a weather basis. It’s more bearable so people can enjoy a variety of activities. High season is not just about the weather however. For places that experience a lot of tourist activity, high season can be about when places are at their busiest. Sydney is most busy throughout the Christmas holiday period. The weather is not only warmer, the Harbour hosts key events and festivities such as the fireworks, Australia Day and the boat races. You’ve also got your key holidays as well where families come together. During high season charter costs increase because there is greater demand. This also means charters are hard to come by. A lot of people book New Year’s Eve charters months in advance, some people come off the boat from the firework celebrations in the New Year and immediately start planning again for the year after. It’s something to bear in mind when booking your charter but it also gives you an idea why the costs can be considerably higher. How much the cost increases for charters during peak time will depend on the demand and popularity, and will differ on a per boat basis.

Low Season

Low season is not as commonly used a term as this refers to simply the rest of the year (any time outside of high season). This time of year, tends to be less busy however and the weather may be slightly poorer (for charters in Sydney however this is not necessarily a problem as the weather is great all year around and there’s normally you don’t have to worry about Maritime warnings.) Low season charter costs are often reduced and in some places, they can be up to 20% less compared to other periods. Bear in mind that since Sydney’s weather isn’t dramatically different at any point of the year, tourism tends to be good and charter costs may not differ as much as other places. There may only seem to be an obvious difference in costs during high season periods. High and low seasons are not necessarily just about weather however. The day of the week can also play a factor in costs and weekdays tend to be cheaper than weekends.

Type of Yacht

Luxurious yachts will also be priced differently to smaller boats. Vessels with advanced features, additional facilities, larger decks which can accommodate more people – these boats come with increased costs and that’s to be expected. You get what you pay more and the higher quality, the more expensive it will be. It is also worth noting that larger, more luxurious yachts also require a higher deposit to reserve. Luxury yachts are higher in demand so to give you exclusivity and guarantee their availability, you will find you need to pay more of a deposit. The length of hire won’t affect your charter costs but the type of boat you opt for will. When considering the type of yacht, you want to charter, make sure you discuss your budget with your broker.

What’s Included in your Charter Cost?

When booking your boat, your broker will go through all the costs with you and make sure you’re fully aware of everything. Costs do differ on a per boat basis. Your charter cost should cover as a minimum the boat hire itself and fuel costs. The rest of the inclusions will be dependent on your package. You will discuss this with your broker but you the fee may also include waiting staff, yours and your guests catering costs, and some drink packages while onboard the yacht. You will normally need to pay surcharges for waiting staff, pick-ups, drop off, and food and drink. Specific inclusions will depend on the arrangement you’ve made with the broker, but it will clearly outline the package in your contract.

You will pay the cost of your charter in advance; this will include any additional charges such as dining and decorations. Before you board however you will normally need to authorise your credit card for a bond payment. The bond covers the owner in case of any damage, and providing the boat is left as it was found you will have this money returned to you after departure. The time period for monetary returns will be specified in your contract’s terms and conditions. The credit card you authorise for the bond payment can also be used for any additional charges you accrue onboard. For example, if you decide to expand your charter or purchase additional food and drink packages for your party.

How Much More Does it Cost to Charter Through a Boat Hire Company?

Nothing to you. Boat hire agencies and yacht brokers don’t charge you a thing for finding you a charter. They actually end up saving you money. Yacht brokers build relationships with boat owners to bring you exclusive charter deals. They negotiate with them to try and reduce your costs so will often be able to find you better rates than if you were to approach the boat owners directly themselves. Boat charter agencies do receive funds for helping you find a boat to hire but they receive them directly from the boat owner. They receive a proportion of the fee from the charter. You just pay your charter fee as normal, and the agency will distribute the fee to the owner per their arrangement.

Are Boat Charter Companies Worth It?

Boat charter companies can save you time and money, and if you’re new or unfamiliar with the area, their knowledge goes a long way. Using a charter company also provides peace of mind. If you’re planning an occasion or taking multiple guests onboard with you, they will make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible to make sure your charter is a success.