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Superyacht charter contracts explained

Once you have decided on chartering a yacht your broker will compile a contract which will detail the chosen charter yacht, cruise dates, intended destinations and cost.

The various contracts used by brokers can seem a little confusing but recently the various international charter organisations have started making the industry jargon easier to understand.

The two basic terms under which a yacht operates — which are spelled out in the contracts — are the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) terms and the Caribbean Terms Inclusive (CTI).

Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association terms — “plus all expenses”

MYBA terms is best understood as a “plus all expenses” contract. Once called Western Med Terms (WMT), these are popular because the contract allows an “À la carte” approach to services. The concept of these terms evolved because most charterers in the Mediterranean eat ashore regularly, so unused food and beverages would be a waste of their money.

Basic charter fee includes:

  • the yacht and all its equipment from spa to water toys to entertainment systems
  • the crews wages and their food
  • the ship’s laundry
  • operating consumables
  • insurance coverage for the yacht and crew

Other expenses that will be charged to the charter at the cost paid with no markups:

  • food and beverages for the charter guests,
  • fuel for the yacht and tenders
  • harbour fees
  • communications
  • guest laundry
  • dockage
  • shore-side electricity

MYBA terms have proven to be fair to both the charterer and the yacht so most charter yachts operate on MYBA terms worldwide.

Caribbean Terms Inclusive — “mostly all-inclusive package”

CTI is sometimes known as Standard Caribbean Terms (SCT) and is best described as a “mostly all-inclusive package”.

As well as everything in the MBYT basic charter fee CTI terms also include:

  • Three meals per day for the charter guests
  • Four hours of cruising a day
  • Some beverages (some include a selection of standard bar liquors and wines, while others charge extra for all beverages). 

Eastern Mediterranean Terms

EMT are still sometimes used, and these are the same as CTI terms, except they provide only breakfast and lunch on the assumption the charter guests will dine ashore in the evenings.

Non-disclosure agreement

Charter crews and charter brokers have a reputation for being discreet and highly protective about their charter clients. Nevertheless, depending upon who you are and your personal sense of privacy, a non-disclosure agreement won’t be seen as unusual. Whether you’re a celebrity who wants to avoid the paparazzi or a corporate executive carrying insider documents, such an agreement will serve to emphasise your need for privacy.

Use common sense

As with any contract — especially one involving a yacht worth millions — it’s common sense to read it carefully and ask your charter broker any questions that arise. It is even wiser to have your legal advisor review the contract and discuss it with your charter broker.