Understanding the price of your yacht charter and how to avoid hidden costs

03.10.2019 Natalya Walker

In the yacht charter market, unless you have rented a boat at least once before or better yet a few times (or you work in the industry), understanding and comparing yacht prices can be tricky. Especially when you are bombarded with advertising promising a day on a yacht from 200 EUR only to have a final quote come in at close to 2’000 EUR. Or worth yet hidden costs start to pop up even before you set foot aboard.


The thing is that yacht charter costs are very heavily influenced by a number of factors and customizable elements. This is why, even with the best intention companies find it very difficult to show more or less exact pricing. And if they do – well, in many cases there are quite a few “hidden costs” you only discover when you actually commit to a deposit (very often it may be non-refundable too).

This is why in this blog we will discuss the way prices are formed for yacht charters in different parts of the world, what to look out for when booking and how to avoid hidden costs. We also decode some of the languages you can come across in your offer for the yacht charter.

Let’s look in more detail into the price components which you need to take into consideration when looking to book a boat.

1. Yacht charter (base) fee

This is normally what it costs to rent a boat itself. Very rarely a yacht charter fee would be all that you would pay. Unless it explicitly states that this yacht charter fee is all-inclusive (and lists all that is actually included in the price) then you should always check what is included and what is extra in addition to the charter fee. Sometimes the yacht charter fee has compulsory extras (such as skipper, welcome pack or transit log) but even though those extras are compulsory they can be quoted to clients separately in addition. This is especially true with European charters and some platforms not being very transparent and trying to win a client based only on price – showing what will be deemed “lower” price in their offer without explicitly showing all the compulsory extras a client will still need to add to the total amount of charter.

2. Crew: skipper, hostess, chef, deckhand

You need to check whether your yacht charter fee is for bareboat charter, skippered or even crewed charter. You may be thinking, "do i need a crew for my yacht?" Well, as a general rule, yachts and catamarans over 50-55 ft would include a skipper at a minimum and in many cases would have a crew of 2 – do check if the crew is included in your price. If it is not included, this cost will be outlined per crew member per day or per crew member for the whole duration. You can read our blog post to find out more about how many crew you need for a yacht.

Always check which one to be clear if it’s not specified. Example: skipper EUR 180 plus meals will mean that the cost of the skipper is 180 euros per day plus you are also responsible for the food (meals) for the skipper. Hostess/chef cost will also be quoted in the same manner as a skipper. If the charter already includes the crew, check what crew it includes – crew of 2 usually includes skipper plus hostess/deckhand. You then always have an option to add another crew member, for example, a chef at an additional cost

3. Fuel, port fees, other boat consumables (water, electricity etc.) 

These costs are usually not included in the charter rate. This is mostly because they are not fixed and can fluctuate based upon consumption. For example, if you charter a sailing catamaran and you decide to cruise on a motor for 10 hours a day then your fuel consumption will be significantly higher than if you spend time on anchor or sailing with only small distances cruised on motor. Same applies to Marina fees. If you choose to spend every night on anchor, then your Marina fees will be considerably smaller or near none than if you spend nights berthed in a marina or port. Usually, fuel and marina fees make up the biggest chunk of extra costs. Water & electricity costs make up a considerably smaller proportion. If you are chartering a motor yacht, fuel cost needs to be considered seriously together with your itinerary – the yacht manager or broker can usually advise in advance what fuel costs you are likely to be looking at. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask what the estimate is. Of course, fuel cost corresponds to the destination prices – in some places fuel costs much less than in others.

4. Food & drinks

Food and drinks usually come at an additional cost, especially on longer charters. They also heavily depend on consumption and personal preference. Some guests would like to include champagne and more expensive produce which would, of course, cost more. Basically, this is entirely up to the client what food consumption will be. Normally, the yacht manager would assist with getting provisions onboard from a local trusted partner, where you can order online, and it will be delivered to the boat on the day.

5. Water toys

Part of the fun of a boating holiday is all the water sports and water-related activities you can indulge in. From snorkelling to SUPs (Stand Up Paddles), jet skis, water skis, tubes and donuts. The list can be long of all the fun things you can have on board. Some of the longer yacht charters are likely to have a few things included already (snorkelling gear for example or a SUP) or you can rent them at an additional cost. Check what’s included in your yacht charter and enquire what you can add. You may also want to check if the cost is per day or per whole trip duration when renting the water toys.

6. Understanding APA %

In many cases with a crewed charter especially, you will see in your offer the APA is 30% of the charter fee. What it stands for is Advanced Provisioning Allowance. It is basically to cover the variable costs including fuel, port fees, food & drinks. This means that you will pay 30% of the charter amount in advance to be spent on those items. The skipper or crew are responsible for keeping track of the spending and keeping all the receipts to give back to you. If you overspend than you will be asked to add to the APA; if something has remained unspent than it will be refunded back to you.

7. Security Deposit

Normally the security deposit applies for some of the charters. It is fully refundable and usually pre-authorized on the credit card upon embarkation and released upon disembarkation. With some charters you can pay a one-off insurance fee (non-refundable) which would then cover forgoing a security deposit (or will substantially reduce it).

8. Transfer fee

The transfer fee is a cost of transferring the boat from the Marina it is normally berthed in, to a different location upon client request. If the client wants to embark at a different marina or disembark at a different marina than the transfer fee usually applies. It can be one way or a two-way fee.

9. VAT & Insurance

Insurance should always be included in the charter. The type of insurance can however vary. If you want, you can always check the type of insurance there is and if you as a guest will be covered. It is always a good idea however to ensure that you have personal liability insurance in place if it comes to a bigger charter. VAT varies from country to country and sometimes by yacht whether it’s included in the price. Better to double-check if VAT is already included as in some cases in can be quite hefty (such as 21% in Spain) and will influence your end price considerably.

Finally, after having looked at the offer presented to you, think about the overall picture – did you have to dig to understand what is included? Was it not transparent enough? Did the company you enquired with tell you upfront about all the costs before you had to ask? If the answer is no to one or more of these questions, we advise clients to be very careful. Chances are very high that the company does not care about your experience, it cares about a one-off sale to you.

This is why at Boataffair we carefully vet what professional yacht owners and managers we work with and we always present our offers in a transparent manner, so that our clients are aware of all costs before they book. No nasty surprises and no ruined holidays because you are suddenly presented with a hefty additional bill (fuel for example) at the end of the yacht charter.

After all, you deserve to not just rent a boat – you deserve an unforgettable experience. And this is priceless.

For a no-obligation concierge consultation about your next holiday, contact Jessica on

Understanding the price of your yacht charter and how to avoid hidden costs
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