A yacht’s base rate is the weekly price for chartering the boat—but often it does not include things such as food, fuel, dockage and other common expenses that can increase the yacht’s total cost by 25 percent or more.
These expenses typically are not included in base rates because different people use yachts differently (that’s a primary benefit of chartering your own yacht—getting to do whatever you want). Some people speed from anchorage to anchorage burning through fuel, perhaps stopping to eat caviar and drink Dom Perignon just steps away from the Monaco Grand Prix. You might prefer to cruise under sail instead of engine power, munching on gourmet pizzas while drinking a Heineken in quiet harbors instead of at expensive marinas. Same boat—far different usage expenses. That’s why they are tacked on from the starting base rate.
When you’re trying to figure out the kind of yacht you can afford, you have to apply your budget to total expected costs, not just the yacht’s base rate. This is true even of yachts advertised with inclusive rates, which do not include dinners ashore, crew gratuity and other expenses you are likely to encounter.
Start by assuming that you’re going to have to pay more than the yacht’s advertised rate. If it’s an inclusive rate, add 5 to 15 percent to the cost for things like onshore meals, the crew’s gratuity and incidentals. If it’s a base rate, expect to pay at least 25 percent more than the listed base rate.
When it comes to determining how your personal preferences will affect your total costs, the best tool you have is the help of a reputable charter broker. They know whether the kind of food you like is available in the region where you want to cruise, or whether it will have to be flown in at greater expense. They know how much fuel one yacht burns compared with another. They know how much other couples have spent to enjoy similar charters in the places that interest you.