How Much is a Yacht Charter? 3 Main Costs Explained
Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Chartering a yacht can bring a lot of enjoyment and is one of the best ways to enjoy being out on the water for a variety of events and celebrating special occasions. Coordinating your charter and estimating the true cost of your excursion can be a challenging exercise. There are a variety of ways brokers and charters structure their fees and additional costs that we will break down while noting things that you should consider. We will also describe how rates can vary if you are looking to charter a yacht for a few hours, on a per-day basis, a long weekend, or more than a week.
As a general rule, the longer you commit to being on the yacht, think a week or more, then the more your rate for the yacht will decrease, but note that this is just for the boat. The primary factor driving the discounts is that the owner is securing more usage of the vessel and will happily discount the rate, but other costs will still increase for you. This brings us to the first major additional fee impacting the final cost of a yacht charter; the cost of operating.
1. Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA)
Get ready to put down your credit card because selecting a yacht for your needs is just half of the journey and cost as you see in the below breakdown. Charters often change you all or a portion of the costs they intend to incur for operating the yacht. Not only are you charged for each item, but you pay upfront in the form of APA. This payment advancement is established to hold funds that will cover operating costs and the APA typically starts at around 30% to 40% of the cost to reserve the boat. The APA covers just about anything that goes into operating the yacht during your charter. It's important to note that the 30%-40% hold may cover all costs, but if you go over expect additional charges or if under the APA hold, a return of unused funds.
Below are the main items that typically fall under APA and an estimated cost per day for a 70-foot yacht accompanying 12 guests.
Fuel - $150 to $400 per day
This will vary depending on your itinerary, engines and fuel type, running efficiency, as well as the actual cost of fuel. Expect fuel prices at the dock to be 10% to 35% higher than at a traditional gas station. Diesel fuel, most common on larger boats, tends to be marked up less than gasoline. For a standard day charter, the boat typically will be out cruising for around two to three hours each day if staying local.
Food and Drinks - $50 to $150 per day per guest
Your food and drink budget can add up quickly depending on your tastes, how many meals you are eating on board, and of course the number of guests. If you are eating three meals plus snacks on board then the cost will increase vs two meals and snacks. Prefer steak, lobster, and fine wine to sandwiches, pizza, and beer, then expect the price to increase even more. One other thing to note is that if your requests require specialty shopping then there may be a fee added to the total food and beverage costs.
Chef - $250 to $750 per day
Some chefs will include their fee into a cost per person, which also includes the cost of the food. However, there are some chefs who will come on board to prepare the meals you've chosen and then charge a flat fee per day or meal for their time. Some celebrity chefs, think Top Chef contestants, will demand a higher fee, but we've estimated this cost without the celebrity factor.
Entertainment and Amenities - $200+ per day
Depending on the size of the yacht, it may include a tender, jet ski, water pads, slide, stand-up paddle boards, SEABOBS, flyboards, snorkel gear, kayaks, and inflatable islands, or more with their standard boat fee. With all of the options available, it's unlikely that most yachts will be able to have all of these items available for your charter. This is why most charters offer add-on options which are then charged as an additional cost and deducted from the APA. Entertainment such as live music, DJs, wine tastings, seaplane tour, photographers/videographers, and more is most likely another add-on, and the cost is a pass-through deducted from the APA. Internet and other utilities may be charged back to you as well.
Harbor and Docking Fees - $100 to $225 per day
Planning on visiting a different marina or making a few stops throughout your charter? Prepare to pay any harbor fees and/or docking fees. Some harbors, not as common in the U.S. for recreational charters, charge visiting vessels a harbor fee which is used to maintain the harbor. If the yacht you are on spends any time at the dock of a marina there is oftentimes a fee based on the yacht length and time spent at the dock. Reservations may be required but some marinas are making it easier to book and manage through services like Snag-A-Slip. Note that this should only apply if you are booking multi-day charters.
Delivery and Pickup Fees
If you want to be picked up or dropped off at a location outside of your charter's marina, there oftentimes is a cost associated that covers the yacht's time, crew, and fuel. This can vary based on a variety of factors, but if you want to be dropped off at a different location to end your charter and the return trip back is two hours, expect to pay $1,000 to $2,000 for the empty leg trip the charter makes back to its homeport.
Tip - $1,000 to $1,750 per day
Most charters strongly encourage tips for the captain and crew who are taking care of things before, during, and after your charter. How much you tip the crew of a yacht is dependent on the level of service and your satisfaction. It's completely discretionary, but usually expected and ends up being 15% to 20% of the charter cost. This can be deducted from your APA if there are funds remaining or added on at the end of your trip.
Captain and Crew*
The asterisk* is here because most characters include the basic crew required to operate the yacht in their base boat charge, typically a captain and one deckhand. See point number three below for potential additional costs.
2. Charter Duration
There are many charter operations that only offer half-day or full-day charters. This is due to some complexities that arise once you mix in overnight charters. Overnights require a 24-hour crew, hotel-like amenities, and a few other logistical items. As a general rule, if you book a longer charter, then the less expensive it is on a daily basis. Charters may offer multi-day discounts because of the reduced prep work, cleaning, onboarding, offboarding, and the most important factor is that the yacht is actually working and making money compared to sitting empty at the dock. Some charters will offer between a 15% and 40% discount on the yacht/boat fee for longer bookings. This is because, as mentioned above, most of the operational costs are still passed through to you in the APA, so adding days to a charter doesn't increase the operational costs because that cost is passed on to you!
3. Number of Guests - $200 to $400 per day per crew
Most charters have a cap of 12 guests due to various regulations of the charter business. When charters quote you the yacht/boat fee, it typically comes with a captain and one crew member. If you are hosting up to 12 guests, then it will indicate to the charter if additional crew members are needed. For instance, if you add on specific water activities, it may require a dedicated crew member just to manage the usage of those add-ons. If there is a high demand for food and beverage, that may also warrant another dedicated crew member for prep, serving, and cleanup. If there are a total of 12 guests, the odds are that the yacht charter may require a minimum of three total crew members, not including the captain. The additional two crew members are not free and their costs will be added to your bill. Yacht charter crews are paid anywhere from $200 to $400 per day plus tips at the conclusion of the charter.
As an example, let's say you are trying to figure out how much it costs to charter a yacht for three days on a 70-foot yacht for 12 people. There are some other factors to consider such as the specific type of yacht, age of the yacht, location, and time of year, so use this as a rough guideline.
Items for Three Days
Artizia Yachts - Executive
$500 - $2,000 +
Port Fees / Docking
Food & Beverage
Tender / Jet Ski
Water Activities / Toys
Taxes / Fees
Tip / Gratuity
Equivalent of $13,500
The daily breakdown for traditional charters is approximately $10,700 per day. Artizia Yachts is a unique and exclusive membership program growing across the U.S. and eventually overseas. There are three different membership options that can cut the cost of charters in half while still providing a private and luxurious all-inclusive experience. Membership spots are limited for each yacht in order to allow easy booking and availability to members.