Charter yacht ownership review: the owner experience

1st December 2023

If you’re the sole owner of a large luxury yacht, running and maintaining it can be a costly and labour-intensive venture. But by offering a yacht for charter, the yacht owner can ease the financial burden and safeguard the condition, value and effectiveness of a yacht, while also retaining a great many of the pleasures that compelled the purchase in the first place. In 2021, we spoke to the former Head Of Charter at Princess Yacht Charter, Rita, for the inside story on what offering your yacht for luxury charter is really all about…

Charter owner

Does your yacht qualify for luxury yacht charter?

According to Rita, there are several yacht features that lend themselves to luxury charter. In addition to a blend of private and open areas that enable guests to be flexible in their choice of eating, lounging and entertaining, the tenders and toys need to be well chosen and properly tailored to the yacht’s cruising region. An even spread of cabin sizes is also very useful, as it enables large groups to feel that everyone has an equally exclusive slice of the yacht charter experience. But with such fierce global appetite for luxury yacht charter, Rita is very clear the charter industry is now more accessible to luxury yacht owners than it’s ever been before:

“If you have a well-maintained yacht of 20m or more, hire a great crew. Of course, the location, age and fit-out of your yacht will always have a bearing on bookings and profitability, but as a trusted charter company, were perfectly placed to advise on where and how your money should be invested for the greatest financial return.”

As regards the décor of the yacht, Rita is equally clear about what most charter guests want to see: “A successful charter yacht needs to feel relatively neutral – almost like a blank canvas on which the charter guest is free to paint their own experience. What the charter guests really appreciate is a fresh and clean looking interior with high quality bedding, linen, crockery and a great water toys collection.”

What do you have to do to make your yacht ready?

While the RCD pleasure craft threshold of 24m means that large yachts and superyachts (of 100 feet and more) are routinely required to operate in accordance with commercial codes (rather than owner-driver recreational rules), all charter yachts need to acquire commercial status and be operated as formal business concerns. In addition to flag registration and compliance with the various codes of the jurisdiction of your charter operations, a classification society needs to be appointed to oversee the yacht’s surveys and certification. For chartering within the EU, the yacht owning company also has to be registered for VAT, with a fiscal agent in the country of charter to make any payments. And whether you have an existing crew on board or not, your treatment of them needs to comply with the requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention for the proper treatment of professional seafarers. Issues like contracts, wages, sick pay and working conditions all need to be considered, and additional training might also be required, alongside specific endorsements from the flag state, as well as upgraded insurance policies.

However, Rita is adamant that there is no reason why a charter yacht owner should feel in any way burdened by such concerns. On the contrary, with a proven charter company and in affiliation with the management company  to take care of these issues on your behalf, the key difference for the owner is not then one of logistics but of mindset. After all, the fact that your yacht has to become a formal business asset means that if you want to use it, you need to book a slot and buy a week aboard your yacht, precisely like any other charter guest. And as Rita points out, the personal impact of that is actually much more positive for the charter owner than most people imagine: Counter-intuitive though it might seem, a lot of charter owners actually find themselves enjoying their yachts much more than they would do if they were reserved for private use. By taking a lot of the expense and stress out of large yacht ownership, we often find that charter yacht owners use their yachts more frequently – and with significantly more satisfaction – than ever before.”

What do the owners themselves think?

The positive feedback and industry-leading retention of charter owners at Princess Yacht Charter is the result of some very powerful operational protocols. With offices in London, the Channel Islands, Spain, the Balearics, Portugal, Turkey, Germany and Switzerland, it has access to the finest yachts and the most exciting destinations in the world. And when a potential guest approaches Princess Charter, its brokers are extremely well versed in the creation of uniquely tailored charter itineraries. As a well-established company with a formal affiliation to the MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association), it provides back-up whenever and wherever it’s required – and that goes for charter owners as well as charter guests.

Seven key benefits of chartering your yacht

  1. An effective charter and yacht management company can take full charge of your yacht, managing it through the annual charter schedule in a way that yields substantial returns.
  2. A well-run charter can keep your yacht in first-class condition, your systems in prime working order and your crew fully up to speed in terms of training and operational effectiveness.
  3. By making your personal yacht a business asset, you may also benefit from some very welcome tax relief.
  4. If the charter company is able to manage the schedule in a way that is tailored to your preferences, the restrictions in terms of your personal use need not be prohibitive.
  5. Feedback suggests that owners of charter yachts tend to find themselves using their yachts more frequently and more pleasurably than ever before.
  6. By selecting a MYBA member like Princess Yacht Charter, you can be assured that levels of safety, service and quality are first-rate.
  7. Charter guests often become yacht owners – and the fact that potential buyers will have been able to witness your charter yacht first-hand can bring elevated interest and a more lucrative deal when the time comes to sell it on.

If you’re thinking of placing your yacht for charter, then give Rita a call on +44 (0)207 499 5050 or email

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