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Legal Q&A: how can you protect yourself from bad charter guest behaviour?

When you open your private yacht for charter, there are some risks that come with it. One of these is the guests, since you may not know who will be stepping onto the passerelle - and you need to know how to protect yourself and your yacht.

Thankfully, there is a smart way you can arm yourself against badly behaved charter guests. John Leonida, partner of superyacht law firm Clyde & Co, explains how some superyachts have used very clever wording in their charter contract to ensure that antisocial guests can be dealt with.

“We have, on occasion, drafted language to go into a charter contract such that it would allow the owner to remove charter guests for antisocial activity,” he says.

What might surprise you is the foundation of this approach: the wording comes from the UK’s introduction of antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs), which came into force to protect communities from antisocial behaviour on land.

As Leonida explains, although ASBOs were designed to stop nuisance neighbours from carrying out a range of behaviours deemed antisocial such as vandalism, street drinking, or dumping rubbish – and you would be unlikely to witness such activities on a yacht – superyacht owners can, at last, use this piece of law to make concessions that protect themselves from bad guests.

“The language proved very, very useful in framing the kind of antisocial behaviour order that we’ve worked into a number of yacht charter contracts,” he explains.

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