First time on a yacht? Avoid These 7 Amateur Mistakes

While much of the travel industry has struggled to get back on its feet, the yachting industry has had a different problem during the pandemic: serving anyone who wants to charter a boat.

As private jet travel increases during the pandemic, charter demand remains “extremely strong”, said Crom Littlejohn, chief commercial officer of the yacht brokerage firm. Northrop & Johnson. He said he expects interest to remain that way “for the foreseeable future.”

But these are not the same people who have always traveled by sea, he said.

“A large percentage of our business is first-time charters,” Littlejohn said. “They had a ski vacation…they want to try something different.”

Destinations with an increase in yacht bookings in summer

  • South of France
  • Croatia
  • Caribbean
  • the Galapagos Islands

Source: Northrop & Johnson

Insiders share with CNBC seven common mistakes newcomers make to the industry.

Mistake #1: Hard Shell Luggage

There are several reasons to leave hard-shell suitcases at home, Littlejohn said.

The same way they scuff the walls of hotel rooms, hard suitcases can damage the beautiful finishes of yachts, he said.

“Things bounce and hard things can damage surfaces,” Littlejohn said.

Military personnel carry Prince Philip’s garment bags to the Royal Yacht Britannia in Lancashire, England in August 1989.

Tim Graham | Tim Graham Photo Library | Getty Images

Then there is the matter of storing suitcases that do not collapse. “You can imagine how [luggage] ten people or 12 people on a charter could bring if they brought hard luggage,” he said. “You need an extra room to store it.

“The softer the duffel bag-style luggage, the better it is for storage and moving around the boat,” he said.

Mistake #2: high heels

Soft-soled shoes are more appropriate than high heels, Littlejohn said, but “we’re going to ask you not to wear the shoes on board.”

Travelers are free to pack high heels for shore excursions, he said, but even in the south of France – where nightlife is often a big part of the charter – the paved roads can make for comfortable shoes a better option, he said.

Participants remove their shoes before boarding a yacht in Miami, Florida on February 16, 2017.

Scott McIntyre | Bloomberg | Getty Images

But footwear rules may depend on the yacht owner, said superyacht influencer Denis Suka, who is known as Yacht Mogul on line.

If guests are unsure of a yacht’s footwear policy, they can keep an eye out for boarding, Suka said. Search for “pairs of shoes [at] entrance,” he said. This means that shoes are not allowed on the boat.

As for what to pack, Suka recommends “keeping it light” with clothes that have “summery vibes,” calling that part of the rules “that’s pretty much set in stone.”

Mistake #3: Not giving in on the gateway

Passengers must board the gangway – the gangway used to get on and off a yacht – one at a time, said Marcela de Kern, business consultant for the yachting company. On board Monaco.

“It’s quite fragile,” she said. “If you embark at [the] at the same time it can break,” she said, adding that this could create “massive” problems in ports in Greece and Croatia, where it is particularly difficult to get from one yacht to another. port.

Professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and his partner Georgina Rodriguez board a yacht on June 1, 2018 in Marbella, Spain.

Europa Press Entertainment | Europa Press | Getty Images

“Whoever leaves the yacht has priority, so if you get on and someone else gets off, you have to wait and let them get off first,” de Kern said.

Celebrities like the Kardashians “don’t have a yacht tag,” she said, citing a recent video of them landing close togetherone dressed in high heels, from a yacht in Portofino.

Mistake #4: Not planning for additional expenses

New entrants to the industry should not spend their entire budget on the charter rate.

“So you have the rest of your expenses,” Littlejohn said. “With VAT and food and drink taxes…dirty and fuel, you’re going to add another 75-100% to the cost of this charter.”

Weekly charters with Northrop & Johnson range from $32,000 to $490,000, plus expenses, according to a company representative.

“There are charters in all price ranges,” he said. He advised working with a broker who knows the size and location of the boat travelers want to book.

Without a broker, travelers new to the industry “could end up paying more for a yacht instead of getting a better one for the same price,” Suka said.

Brokers can also match clients with the right teams, Suka said. That’s important because travelers and crew members can hang out together for days or even weeks at a time, he added.

“It’s not cheap to rent a yacht, so [clients] we have to make the most of it,” he said.

Mistake #5: Not connecting with the crew

Getting to know the captain and crew is the best way to experience top-notch service, Suka said.

When the “yacht is moored, the crew will definitely give you the best advice [on] what to do and where [go]including “restaurants, cafes or other attractions as they know the area very well”.

Denis Suka, aka “The Yacht Mogul”, advised newcomers to charters to “feel like it’s your own yacht”.

Source: The Yacht Mogul

If all goes well, travelers can re-charter the same yacht, so that’s all the more reason to establish a good relationship with the crew at the start, he said.

Aboard Monaco, de Kern advised travelers to salute the crew at the start of the voyage.

“Ask for their names, shake their hands and show some respect for the captain on board,” she said.

Mistake #6: Planning too many activities

Don’t pack days with activities, Littlejohn said.

For shore excursions, he advised planning no more than one two-hour domestic trip per charter week.

“Most people probably spend half the day on the boat, doing water sports…and enjoying the boat itself,” he said. Then the other half of the day can be spent on an excursion, taking out the dinghy. You could go in and explore… lands and islands.”

Then it’s back to the boat for “a wonderful evening on board”, he said.

Mistake #7: Waiting to book

Littlejohn recommends booking “as soon as possible”. He said to start looking between six months and a year.

Northrop & Johnson is already making reservations for Christmas 2023, he said. Booking this early is not uncommon for larger, more expensive boats, he said, but since the pandemic “we’re seeing it in the mid-range as well.”

But there are still last-minute charters available for this summer, he said.

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