Will I Get Seasick?
The destinations that we recommend are usually fairly calm most of the time. If you tend to be mildly motion sick this should not affect you very much. If you suffer quite badly from motion sickness, however, then it may take you a day or two to get your sea legs and after that you should be fine. There are many safe and effective remedies that one can use to combat seasickness as well.
Do I Have to Tip the Skipper & Crew?
It is at the charterer’s discretion and is customary to tip your crew. Depending on the quality of service it is recommended that you tip between 10-20% of the base charter rate.
Could I Get the Charter Cheaper if I Go Directly to the Boat Owner or Operator?
As an agent, the boat owner pays us a commission out of the charter fee for finding the customer and taking care of all questions, paperwork, and payments. Our prices are the same or lower than the prices that the charter operator offers to the general public, and normally they will not reduce these prices for individuals. So, the price that we propose to you is normally the best price you will receive. If you are looking for a discount, ask us and we will see what we can do – we have a lot more leverage with the owners than an individual would because we do a lot of volume with them and know each operator on a first name basis.
How Do I Know the Yacht Is Going To Be in Tip-Top Condition?
First and foremost, all charter companies must adhere to the local maritime laws and regulations. This is your primary protection, and in most cases the rules are quite strict. All operators also must carry insurance by law. You have every right to see these papers prior to embarkation. Beyond this, we work only with proven operators, who have a track record of success and happy customers. Before we work with an operator, they must agree to meet our high standard of customer satisfaction, and agree to provide boats that are clean and in excellent condition for their age. Finally, we personally view the yachts and meet with the crews each year at designated boat shows around the world.
Can I Charter for More and/or Less Than One Week?
If you are chartering a bareboat then you will usually be asked to charter in week increments with a designated day for boarding and disembarking. With a crewed yacht there are no criteria. One can charter for less or more than a week, which rates will be pro-rated to cover. There is usually no designated pick up or drop off day. This is the choice of the charterer, depending on the yachts booking schedule.
What Are the Hidden Extras?
Bareboats – There are extra costs which will be itemized on your invoice so that there are no surprises. Even estimation on food provisioning can be requested.
Crewed Yachts – Inclusive rates option. The rate includes the yacht, crew, food, standard bar, fuel for up to two hours of cruising per day, and use of water sports equipment onboard. Not included are dockage, shore excursions, onboard communication costs, cruising taxes, and crew gratuity.
Crewed Yachts – Plus all rates option. A base rate is charged and then a 30-35% APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance) is added to this rate for expenses relating to your charter. These will include, but are not limited to: food, bar, dockage, fuel, running costs of generators and onboard equipment, flowers, and any other costs incurred during your stay onboard. Crew gratuity is not included in the APA and is customary at 10-20% of the base rate.
What Is an APA?
APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance) is a percentage of the base rate of the charter, usually 30-35%, and is charged to cover the expenses relating to the charter as mentioned in the item above. The captain will keep a running tally of the expenses and will, on occasion, let the charterer know what has been spent. Should the cost of the charter exceed the APA then the charterer is required to cover these costs before he disembarks from the yacht.
How Can I Trust That the Boat Will Be There When I Arrive & My Payments Will Get to the Owner?
Richleigh Yachts has been in business for 21 years and our reputation precedes us. Unlike many of the e-Based companies, Richleigh Yachts is run by owners Richard and Leigh Ford and exists in real time. We have offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, and you will always get a person on the telephone when you call. Apart from selling charters, we also manage a number of charter yachts ourselves and we ensure that these yachts are kept up to 100%. All monies that are paid for charters are held in Escrow accounts until such time as it is dispersed to the yacht. Your funds are secure on payment. We do, however, recommend that you procure Trip Cancellation Insurance to cover you in case of any eventuality that may arise between the time that you book your charter and the time that you travel.
Once I book a Charter, How Do I Pay?
The two most common means of paying are by bank transfer or credit card. Prior to payment, we will give you a full invoice that clearly shows the payments due in the currency of your charter. We often have the opportunity to buy forward cover on foreign currency and can sometimes pass this savings onto our clients. Unlike some large charter companies – we do not charge extra for credit card payments. If you book within six months of your trip a 50% deposit is required for the booking and the balance is due 45 days prior to your departure.
Should you book outside of six months, 25% is taken at booking, 25% is due at the six month mark, and the balance is due 45 days out. While we can accept the first 50% by credit card, the balance must be paid by check or wire transfer. All of our charters are done via a contract that provides significant protection for you. Please read the fine print, or ask your representative how you are protected against failure to deliver a boat, or technical problems along the way.
To ensure your arrival is best coordinated with your yacht crew, please advise the crew of your flight details or tail number if flying privately. A uniformed crew member will then meet your flight with ground transportation to bring you to your charter yacht.
Dockage arrangements during peak periods, especially in the most popular marinas for most destinations, can be difficult to secure without advance notification and often require a deposit. We will, in collaboration with the yacht’s captain, try our best to organize your requested berths if you let us know in advance. Nothing is guaranteed and some marinas only confirm bookings a few days before arrival.
You may wish to assign staterooms aboard in advance to allow the crew to deliver luggage to the appropriate cabin and escort the guests. This will ease the settling in of the charter party. Notify your charter specialist and we will inform the captain of your desired requests.
Don’t forget a camera! If you shoot with a digital camera, we are able to check with the crew of a particular vessel to determine if their onboard computer system supports your memory card format. Often your selected charter vessel will be happy to provide a finished collection of your own vacation photos to be collected and returned to you in a slide presentation on disk or even in a collection book for you to enjoy.
If you intend to use the powered water toys on board (jet skis, wave runners, etc.) please check with us to determine whether a small watercraft certificate is required within the contracted cruising area. Utilization of the yacht’s dive equipment is only permitted under special circumstances. Rendezvous diving (i.e. private arrangements with local diving schools) is the most common practice during a charter. Please be sure to bring your diving credentials with you.
Although many yachts offer a range of amenities for children, we recommend that you bring a small selection of their favorite entertainment items with you. Advance notice of any special needs or desired amenities relating to children will assist the crew to provide the necessary equipment and guidelines to guarantee the safety of all guests and the children during the charter. Children are at all times the responsibility of the charter guests.
Chances are you will need less clothing than you think. You may spend considerable time in swimsuits (bring several), shorts, and casual resort clothing. Be sure to bring a loose fitting cover-up. Bringing a T-shirt to wear while snorkeling can help to prevent sunburn. A light jacket or sweater may come in handy on deck in the evening or while in air-conditioning.
Ladies may want to bring casual cotton dresses or resort attire for dinner aboard and for local dining ashore. Men may find casual slacks appropriate for dining ashore. If you are chartering in the Caribbean, coat and tie are generally not required in the restaurants and resorts, although the more upscale spots ask that men wear long pants and a collared shirt.
You can expect to be reached on charter via the yacht’s cellular and/or SAT phones. Communication charges are the responsibility of the charter guests and will be charged to the charter guest’s account. Notice of any extensive intended phone use should be made to your charter specialist, helping them to estimate this expense into your advance provisioning allowance (APA). We also recommend having a worldwide GSM phone; check with your cellular carrier for coverage in the areas you are visiting.
At the end of every charter, at your discretion, it is customary to tip the captain and crew. If your time aboard the yacht has been wonderful and you believe it was a result of long hours and personal attention to detail by the crew, then 15% of the base charter fee would be suggested. Exceptional service and innovative ways of making a most memorable experience aboard often warrants 20% or higher, at your discretion.
If you wish to bring electric appliances, we suggest that you inform your charter specialist in advance, so that they can check with the crew about compatibility with the yacht’s electrical systems.
Details of the yacht’s insurance provisions will be laid out in your charter agreement. It is recommended that you carry independent insurance for personal effects whilst on board or ashore and for any medical or accident expenses incurred other than as covered under the yacht’s insurance. Trip Cancellation Insurance is something offered at the charterer’s expense. More information can be provided for you by inquiring with your charter specialist.
Valid passports and entry visas (when required) must be carried by all members of the charter party. Inquiring with your charter specialist to confirm all necessary documents for your specific charter destination will help to avoid any oversights with regard to all required travel documentation.
It is generally suggested that you reasonably limit the quantity of luggage to be brought aboard. Depending on the size of the yacht you are chartering, it is best to inquire beforehand with your charter specialist and/or your yacht captain to obtain information on any possible restrictions. Suggested luggage quantities preferred are largely due to the availability of space for stowing luggage for the duration of your trip aboard.
Motion Sickness & Medications
Acupressure or electric impulse wrist bands reportedly work very well for many people, with no side effects. Ground ginger capsules (available at health food stores) and Tryptone (available at dive shops and pharmacies) are also reported to be most effective. It is best to check with a trusted physician for suggested remedies and bring this and adequate supplies of prescription or any other medications necessary to last the length of your charter trip.
Number of Guests
Your charter contract reflects the maximum number of guests allowed to sleep and cruise on board. International maritime law restricts yachts from carrying more than 12 passengers at sea without special registration. Dockside parties with larger groups can be arranged in advance with the approval of the captain and owner. Check with your charter specialist for details and restrictions that may apply to your specific charter itinerary intentions.
Pets are generally not allowed on board, unless a special approval has been obtained from the owner and captain and this approval has been reflected in the charter agreement. Possible pet deposits may apply. Check in advance with your charter specialist for specific details regarding pets for the charter yacht you select.
Generally speaking, we go barefoot aboard the yacht; boat shoes, slip-on sneakers, or thong sandals designated for use only while aboard the charter yacht are often accepted. Research of shoes necessary for your specific itinerary and locations to be visited is strongly suggested. Inquiring with your charter specialist or yacht captain can eliminate any oversights or inappropriate expectations while aboard with regard to shoes worn.
Sun Protection, Sunglasses, & Eye Wear
Adequate sun protection is a must, even if you never burn – the tropical sun is strong! A selection of lotions with varying SPF will be provided on board. If you prefer to bring your own, please bring varieties without PABA or heavy oils, to avoid staining cushions and decks. Do not forget a hat or visor. You may want to include a (white) lightweight, long-sleeved shirt and loose-fitting cotton slacks as additional protection. Bring sunglasses and a spare pair of prescription glasses or contacts.