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Yacht chartering is the practice of renting, or chartering, a sailboat or motor yacht and travelling to various coastal or island destinations. This is usually a vacation activity, but it also can be a business event.
There are two main kinds of charter: bareboat and skippered. Bareboat charters involve a person renting a boat and skippering it themselves. The other way is gathering up a group and renting the yacht with them. Most bareboat companies also offer courses to teach basic seamanship and prepare people for bareboat chartering. These companies also sometimes provide skippered charters, meaning that boat comes with a skipper but no additional crew.
Skippered charter means the yacht comes with a crew. This can be anything from a 35-foot boat with a two-person team serving as captain and chef to a 300-foot boat with a squad of 30 or more crew members including stewardesses, engineers, mates, deckhands, scuba dive masters, and the like.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (October 2012)
There are also two sub categories of yacht charters:
1. Un-inspected passenger yachts. Also known as 6-packs which are so named because they carry only six or fewer paying passengers.
6-pack yachts are great for smaller groups of six or less, and these yachts have a variety of types and sizes. For example, six packs can be sailing yachts, fishing boats, or power yachts and anything in between. While this type of charter is the least expensive of the two, you will still need a licensed captain, or skipper with you at all times. On six-pack charters you can choose your menu and the type of cruise you wish to take be it bay sailing or an ocean voyage.
2. Inspected passenger ships. Inspected charters are designed to carry groups larger than six passengers. These charter vessels can range from large sailing yachts to dinner cruise ships. These charters are designed to carry up to several hundred passengers. Inspected vessels can offer many different features that an un-inspected passenger yacht can not. Features like catering, live music, or a DJ are available on these larger ships.
Several factors determine the cost of a charter, including the size of the yacht, its age, its pedigree, the number of crew, time of sailing (whether it is the high season or not), and the destination. The worldwide range of charter prices (per person per week) is estimated to be from $1000 up to and in excess of $20,000.
Megayacht or Superyacht that are over 150-foot to 300-foot is estimated respectively to be from $45,000 up to $3,000,000 (per week)
Skippered charter means that the yacht is rented with a professional crew consisting of a skipper/captain who is responsible for the maneuvering of the yacht. In several cases the skipper is aided by other crew members as well.
Skippered charter is normally used for larger yachts for which a skipper/captain with documented special nautical skills and experience is required.
Having become quite popular in the last few years, cabin charters represent the ideal solution to enjoy sailing cruises for those who don’t yet have the skills for a bareboat charter or those who want to board a crewed luxury yacht, but can’t justify the cost of acquiring one.
The charter costs regard just a berth aboard the yacht and the provisioning, both for food and fuel. The cabin can be shared with a friend or even with a travel mate met on board, but the expertise and knowledge of a local skipper is guaranteed and there is no caution to be paid for possible damages to the yacht. The costs vary a lot: from very little like €500 for a week to more luxury offers starting from €700 where each cabin has its own private bathroom and the crew on board will take on all cooking and cleaning duties. Super yacht charters can cost €125,000–€240,000 per week plus expenses.
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