What is a Yacht Charter Contract?

A yacht charter contract is a very important document which outlines the details of your upcoming yacht charter. It is a very detailed document, and contains information such as the date of charter, the name of your yacht, head charterer, cost of the yacht charter (charter fee, VAT, APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance)) and any special conditions as agreed between the yacht owner, yacht broker and charterer. Once all parties agree to the yacht charter contract, then the contract is signed and the process can begin to start organising an unforgettable yacht charter experience on water!

In order to ensure a successful yacht charter, a comprehensive yacht charter contract is essential

Understanding this yacht contract will give you peace of mind throughout the charter process

A good and experienced yacht charter broker will always have their client’s best interests at heart, and hence will do everything to ensure that the client’s requirements are best met in the details of the yacht charter contract. However, it is important to understand the yacht charter contract for yourself. The yacht charter contract is a very important document, particularly if something unexpected occurs such as a yacht breakdown. Do not worry, this yacht charter contract guide will provide a comprehensive overview of what a yacht charter contract entails, and what you need to know prior to signing one.

What Is Included in a Typical Charter Contract?

As mentioned above, there are several key pieces of information that are typically found in a yacht charter contract. The most common form of yacht charter contract is the internationally recognised MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) contract. Although originally designed just for yacht charters based in the Mediterranean, MYBA contracts have evolved to cater for yacht charters worldwide. Only a select number of yacht brokers around the world have been granted permission to be a member of MYBA, allowing exclusive access to an international database of yachts. 212 Yachts are proud members of MYBA for several years, with our clients knowing that they are in safe hands with a trusted and well-established MYBA member.

In addition to MYBA contracts, there are also ECPY (European Committee for Professional Yachting) contracts, which will be discussed further in this comprehensive guide.

Key Yacht Charter Contract Terms

We know that reading a yacht charter contract for the first time may be daunting! Read on below to see some of the most common terms found in yacht contracts:

1. Charter Fee

Definition: The total cost of chartering the yacht for the agreed period, excluding any VAT if applicable.
Details: This is the yacht’s rental price and the cost of the crew onboard. This amount does not include a tip, learn more about tipping yacht captain and crew here.

2. APA (Advance Provisioning Allowance)

Definition: An upfront payment, usually 30-40% of the charter fee, covering expenses such as fuel, food, drink, berthing fees, etc.
Details: This fund is used for provisioning, fuel, port fees, and other costs during the charter. Any remaining amount is refunded to the charterer at the end of the charter.

3. Security Deposit

Definition: A refundable deposit held against potential damages or breaches of the contract.
Details: This is typically a percentage of the charter fee and is returned after the charter if no issues arise. This will not be requested by all yacht owners.

4. Delivery/Re-Delivery Fees

Definition: Costs associated with moving the yacht to the start or end locations of the charter.
Details: These fees apply if the charter starts or ends in a different location from the yacht’s home port.

5. Charter Period

Definition: The specific dates and duration for which the yacht is chartered.
Details: It’s crucial to clearly define the start and end times to avoid any misunderstandings. This will be a requirement in your yacht charter contract.

6. Itinerary

Definition: The planned route and destinations for the charter.
Details: While subject to change due to weather or other conditions, the itinerary outlines the expected journey and stops.

7. Crew

Definition: The professional staff on board the yacht, including the captain, chefs, deckhands, and stewards.

8. Cancellation Policy

Definition: Terms under which the charter can be canceled and the associated penalties.
Details: This includes deadlines for cancellations and the percentage of the charter fee that is non-refundable.

9. Force Majeure

Definition: Events beyond the control of the parties that may prevent the charter from taking place.
Details: This clause outlines what happens in case of natural disasters, war, or other unforeseen events.

Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association – MYBA Contracts

As previously mentioned, MYBA contracts are internationally recognised and respected in the yacht charter industry- and for good reason! Established in 1984, the MYBA The Worldwide Yachting Association was created to uphold the highest levels of ethical conduct in the superyacht industry. They also own the yacht charter platform YACHTFOLIO, of which 212 Yachts are exclusive members.

MYBA Contracts are the Industry Standard for Yacht Charters

Tried and tested over several decades, these contracts offer a comprehensive framework for all parties

A MYBA yacht charter contract provides a standardised contract, offering clear and consistent terms that are understood by all parties involved in the chartering of a yacht. The parties include the yacht owner, the yacht manager, the yacht broker (oftentimes the yacht broker also has the role of manager) and the charterer. The clauses included within the contract are comprehensive, and have been crafted to account for all possible scenarios.

MYBA contracts also allow for security deposits, an outline of APA as mentioned previously, and special clauses that can be included at the request of a particular party. Like all professional contracts, it’s terms are not agreed upon until it is signed by all parties. This ensures that the charterer and the yacht charter broker are fully satisfied with the terms before signing and organising the finer details of the charter.

Overall, MYBA contracts are the most tested and tried yacht charter contracts, they have been around for the most time, and in that sense have a bit more credibility compared to other alternatives.

Unexpected Yacht Charter Occurences

In the event of an unexpected occurrence such as a cancellation or yacht breakdown, the MYBA contract is fully equipped with the details and regulations necessary to adequately deal with such occurences. It is so important that you can feel confident knowing that your yacht charter contract leaves no ambiguity in terms of the rights and agreements between the yacht owner and the yacht charterer if something unexpected was to occur. Moreso, it is the duty of your yacht charter broker to fully understand the MYBA contract from top to bottom. You should feel assured that they will have your back no matter what. Let them take the stress out of the process so you don’t have to!

European Committe for Professional Yachting – ECPY Transport Contracts

The ECPY (European Committe for Professional Yachting) was created in 1993 with a focus on bringing excellence and professionalism to the yacht charter industry. ECPY provide yacht transport contracts, and are used for many yachts within Europe. Although not as common as MYBA contracts, ECPY contracts are gaining popularity among yacht owners for a variety of reasons. With this being said, there are certain limitations to the use of these transport contracts, particularly in relation to locations and itineraries, which we will discuss further in this yacht charter contract guide.

ECPY Transport Contracts Offer Reduced VAT Rates in Certain Countries

This makes ECPY quite appealing to yacht charter clients, although the majority of yachts are still only accepting MYBA contracts

Key Differences Between MYBA and ECPY Contracts

The key difference between an ECPY transport contract and a MYBA contract is that a fixed itinerary has to be decided and determined within the ECPY contract. This itinerary must be exact and put into the contract before the charter. The only scenario where this could change is if weather did not allow the yacht to travel to a certain destination. Hence, an ECPY contract is only suitable for people who know what their itinerary will be in advance. The purpose of an ECPY contract is to demonstrate a fixed travel itinerary, and as such customs checks frequently check yachts to ensure they are complying with whatever contract is being used for the charter. For guests who do not know where they want to go, or are not sure what they want to do, we strongly recommend sticking with MYBA contracts.

One of the biggest advantages of using an ECPY transport contract is the reduction in VAT. Although guests who choose ECPY contracts are currently limited to starting their charter in France, if they choose to charter to Italy you can reduce the VAT to 0%. The VAT rate in France with an ECPY contract is 10%, and the same goes for Corsica. However, not all yacht owners currently accept ECPY contracts, and although the numbers are increasing, if you are exclusively looking for the lower VAT rates then your choice of yachts will be limited. MYBA contracts are applicable to more standard rates of VAT based on the country of departure, which you can learn more about in this first time on a yacht charter guide.

Pros and Cons of Different Yacht Charter Contracts

When comparing ECPY and MYBA yacht charter contracts there are a variety of things to consider. As previously mentioned, MYBA contracts have been around longer and are therefore for tried and tested. With this being said, ECPY transport contracts certainly can be credible and trusted, it is just important to understand and consider the pros and cons of using such a contract. ECPY are constantly trying to branch out the validity of their contracts into the wider European community, and your yacht charter broker should be knowledgable in this regard. All yacht charter brokers at 212 Yachts are trained extensively in both MYBA and ECPY contracts and regulations, so you can rest assured the best decisions will be made with regard to your yacht charter contracts.

Yacht Charter Contract Red Flags

If your chosen yacht charter broker is asking you to sign a yacht charter contract that is not through MYBA and ECPY, we strongly advise to be very cautious. Yachts are very expensive ‘floating villas’, and as such, the contract used to determine the rules and regulations surrounding that charter are crucial. If you are unsure of a particular broker, we strongly recommend contacting our team, and we would be happy to provide advice free of charge. Our team have extensive knowledge in the yacht charter industry, and with over a decade of business with thousands of successful charters and happy clients, we can confidently say that we know our stuff!

Hidden Costs and Fees

If you think there may be hidden costs and fees in your yacht charter contract, our best advice is to liaise with your yacht charter broker. If you are not trusting of their advice, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our yacht charter experts. All costs should be clearly defined in your yacht charter contract, including the charter fee, VAT, APA, and security deposit if applicable.

It is important to note that any unused APA after your charter should be returned in full to the head charterer. Your charter broker should adequately estimate the amount of APA necessary prior to starting your yacht charter. However in certain scenarios, such as a change in itinerary that would require more fuel, APA may need to be added to the original figure. This will all be openly communicated between all parties. In this case, an addendum to the original yacht charter contract will have to be drafted and signed again by all stakeholders to the contract. Again, if you are unsure of why you are being asked to pay extra APA, do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team for a confidential conversation. We are here to help.

212 Yachts Yacht Charter Contract

We Know Yacht Contracts Can Be Complicated

That's why our team of yacht charter experts are fully trained in both MYBA and ECPY contracts and regulations, so you can relax and look forward to the holiday of a lifetime!


What is the most commonly used yacht charter contract?

By far, the most commonly used yacht charter contract is the MYBA contract. As explained, this contract has been tried and tested over many decades, and is the international standard in yacht charter contracts. As such, only a select number of yacht brokers have been granted exclusive MYBA membership, of which 212 Yachts are proud members.

How can I verify a contract a yacht charter broker sent?

To verify if a contract is an authentic MYBA-endorsed E-Contract, you must check the serial number using the serial number validator on their website. Any other format will not be recognised as a valid E-Contract and, consequently, will not be considered a MYBA-endorsed contract.

Can I negotiate the terms of a yacht charter contract?

Yes, you can negotiate the terms of a yacht charter contract. While standard contracts like those provided by MYBA and ECPY offer a strong framework, many elements can be customised to suit the needs of both the charterer and the yacht owner. These include the charter duration, certain elements of the APA, and the payment schedule.

Finding the Right Yacht Broker is Key to Understanding a Yacht Charter Contract

To conclude, understanding the complexities of yacht charter contracts can be daunting, particularly if it is your first time organising a yacht charter. However finding and organising your yacht charter through a well-established and trusted yacht charter broker is imperative. We recommend that you get in touch with a few yacht charter brokers until you find one that you feel comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews or testimonials from their clients! Our team at 212 Yachts are always ready and willing to assist people with their dream yacht charters, and with over a decade of experience, we know how to do things right. So feel free to get in touch for a free consultation and one of our expert yacht brokers will send you a personalised yacht proposal for your request.

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