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Yacht Ownership vs Charter: What’s Best for You?

The yachting world is divided into two types of people; owners and charterers. Both encounter specific benefits and drawbacks in their day-to-day yachting lives. But which lifestyle is right for you? Read about the differences between owning and chartering, and pick your side!

The Yacht

MOONBIRD yacht

Both owning and chartering affords you access to some of the world’s most exclusive, incredible yachts. However, there is no doubt that ownership brings a higher level of customisation. Your yacht belongs to you and you alone, so every aspect of it can be made to suit your taste. On picking your yacht, you can take your time talking to multiple yacht brokerages to find the style of yacht that best suits your personality and needs. Decide between incredible new builds where everything is designed to your preference, modern yachts which are already in perfect condition, or older models which you can put love and care into refitting.

Once you have chosen from the vast selection of superyachts for sale, every onboard decision comes down to you. Want to install a new cinema room below deck, build a thermal spa suite or extend a grand dining room to host 20 guests? There’s no-one stopping you; in fact, your crew will be at your beck and call to help you arrange it.

With a charter you never have the luxury of knowing that the vessel has been bespokely crafted for you. However, it does offer a good chance to try out a range of boats and work out what you like, often as a precursor to buying later on. Go between motor and sailing, sleek superyachts and older, classic boats, without having to commit to one specific vessel. Charter can be great when you start out, but generally, by the time you have chartered quite a few times, you have a good idea of what you want.

What’s more, although there are some amazing charter yachts out there, they can be lower quality due to the fact that some owners don’t plan to use the vessels themselves, and so decorate them to a lesser standard. For example, they may try to squeeze an extra room in to the vessel so that it will charter for more money, knowing that this lack of space would be less of an issue for short-term guests, or fail to install the latest modcons. This generalisation does not apply to across the board, however owning a yacht is the only way to ensure you get the best of the best.

The Freedom

illusion plus ocean lounge

This really depends what kind of freedom you want. Ownership means no compromises with how and when you go out on the yacht. From the moment you sign the deal with your yacht brokerage, your boat will always be in the cruising location that suits you. You can step onboard wherever and whenever you like and be whisked away to your next dream destination by a Captain and crew who know your exact preferences. You have a permanent holiday home to which you can escape whenever you please. You can travel to any region of the world at the drop of a hat, without having to worry about sticking to charter itineraries or disrupting other guests’ plans.

When chartering you can be restricted to specific dates and regions, especially during the busy summer season when availability is limited. Yet you are free to travel onboard a beautiful yacht without having to worry about any of the maintenance that goes on when you step off deck. Running a boat is a laborious and ongoing process, which should be made clear to you during the luxury yacht sales process. Many people prefer to simply dip into the yachting lifestyle for the most fun parts. It can also be freeing to have your yachting holiday planned for you, especially if you are unsure about the best spots to visit. This really comes down to what type of person you are, and how you think about yachts.

The Investment

wally kokonut yacht

Luxury yacht sales brokers often say that purchasing a boat should not be a financial decision. If you are considering buying a yacht, the primary reason should be your love of yachting, as there is no guarantee that your boat will be a good financial investment. However, this isn’t to say that it never will be.

After all, unlike cars and more conventional vessels, luxury yachts do not always automatically depreciate in value. Some manufacturers and models stay in higher demand than others due to the known quality of the brand, and the reputation of the designer and/or naval architect. You can contact a skilled yacht brokerage for advice as to which boats are likely to hold their value. However, this lasting worth will also depend on how well you keep the boat maintained.

Of course, once you own a vessel you have the option of chartering it out when you don’t want to use it, which can be a good way of making money from your purchase. But in general, the best return on your investment will the increase in quality time spent with family and friends, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

On the other hand, chartering means no investing in something that likely won’t bring you any financial gain. You are paying a premium for each yacht experience, but there is no need to worry about the cost of continuous maintenance, paying crew salaries or the multitude of other fees that come associated with owning your own yacht. Then again, you will never have anything tangible to show for our money spent on yachting, or a vessel you can be proud of for having kept shipshape over the years. In this case, it depends on whether you would rather partake in a risky investment, or no investment at all.

minderella yacht

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