When you charter a yacht from a reputable charter broker a written agreement will be drawn up for you to sign, a contract between you and the boat. It is nothing to be nervous of. It simply details what you’ve paid for, and it works to protect you the customer. Some people don’t look at it, some go through with a fine tooth comb. Something in-between these two extremes is probably appropriate and without exhaustively going in to every line we’d like to draw your attention to key points that you may want to check out.
The agreement will name the yacht owner and where they are domiciled. This is important information that can also tell you about the vessels ‘flag’, the State it operates under. If it is unclear it may be prudent to ask your broker what flag the vessel flies as not all countries regulate their commercial vessels to the same standard. Your broker will gladly resolve any concerns.
The number of guests, the number of days, and the cruising area, are usually un-changeable without financial penalty so check these details are correct.
What is included in the agreed price, and importantly what is not included, is usually set out at the start of the contract. Check that this is the same as you were told by the broker. Included items are usually most expenses related to the running of the vessel. Things like fine wines, off-yacht excursions, and airport transfers are usually excluded. Make sure you know what ‘extras’ you are liable for. A lot of power boats, for example, exclude fuel costs. Any additional conditions, for example if smoking is permitted, or what happens to the price if the number of guests increase, will be shown as well.
After details on payment and cancellation there may be an important note on delivery of the vessel and what would happen if, very unusually, the yacht is not delivered for the start of your charter. It may stipulate the condition of linens and furnishings you should expect. Take a close look at this and any accompanying note on the definition of Force Majeure.
There is usually a reminder that for the period of the charter it is your yacht to do with as you please and to go where you like within the agreed charter area. That said, the Captain is in command not you and all decisions relating to the safe operation of the vessel are up to him or her. This means that the choice of sails, or which anchorage, are ultimately determined by the Captain.
There will be a line or two about the responsibility of the owner to ensure adequate insurance, and what the owner is not liable for. In practice this amounts to loss or damage to your personal property, or if you undertake hazardous or dangerous pursuits.
Most yachts make a note in the contract about the use of drugs or any illegal activities and how this would result in immediate termination of the charter without any refund.
It is worth taking a brief look at the procedure in case there are any disputes and the venue for mediation or action.
Finally, there is often a reminder for you to take out your own Trip Cancellation Insurance. Talk to your broker about this.
At Yacht Charter Specialists we use agreements that are in a standard industry format that are proven and exist to ensure clarity and understanding while protecting you the client. Seldom does it get in the way of a blissful charter experience, the intention being to provide the charterer with peace of mind and confidence in the professionalism of both boat and broker. Contact Yacht Charter Specialists for more information www.yachtcharterspecialists.com