How To Book Your Charter

Choosing a broker with whom to work:

One of the most important things that you can do is establish a working relationship with a reputable broker and then stick with them. A good broker will have access to every yacht that is available and can book any yacht for you even if you see it advertised under someone else’s banner. If you have never chartered before, it is not uncommon to call 2-3brokers initially just to get a feel for the one that best responds to your questions and needs. Above all, it is important to find a broker who “listens” to your needs and what you are expressing. At SWC, we listen – so please allow us the opportunity to share our 60+ years of combined knowledge with you. It will be our pleasure to assist you in planning your yacht charter. Our long term and stable reputation in the industry speaks for itself.

Selecting the right yacht for your personal needs and budget:

Once you have chosen your broker, it is important to focus your attention toward finding the right yacht. Your broker will most likely send you a selection of 4-8 yachts maximum at any one time. After determining which ones suit your own criteria such as accommodations, specs, or price, it is important to immediately eliminate those yachts that do not “fit the bill”. This will allow your broker to have better insight to the type of yachts that you favor and to learn more about your needs.

Determining availability of your preferred yacht:

When you make your original inquiry, your broker will first check yacht calendars for availability during your dates before presenting them to you. This process can sometimes take 1-3 days depending upon how owner or yacht manager responses are forthcoming. Because there are many charter yacht brokers who work the same pool of vessels, the status of a yacht’s calendar can change moment-by-moment; therefore it is very important that your dates are checked again after you review and select the yachts of interest. Once availability is reconfirmed and you are ready to proceed to contract, your broker will ask the manager of the yacht for an “option” to be placed on the yachts calendar. Most “options” are only good for a specific duration (usually 1 week) which allows time for your contract documents to be processed and received back from you. In the interim of this process, your option can be challenged by another brokerage if they have a client who is also ready to proceed with booking your chosen yacht during any portion of your dates. In this case, your option is issued a 48-hour courtesy grace period to allow time for you to submit to your broker the necessary signed contract and in most cases the required monetary deposit of 50%.

Contracts and other details of your charter:

The broker that you have selected will issue formal written and binding agreements and this contract packet is typically delivered via courier service. Your receipt of email attachment or faxed version of the contract terms will give you the opportunity to review the documents in advance and often precedes the packet arrival. This way, if you have any questions at all, these can be resolved prior to the arrival of your hard copy contract package. There is nothing worse than if a potential client indicates to the broker that he/she is ready to go yet delays signing and returning the necessary documents. If this happens, the owner often loses interest and will simply reopen the yacht’s calendar.

A 50% deposit is required for most yachts unless booking less than 30 days in advance. In the case of the latter 100% of all charter funds will be due upon the signing of your charter documents. Please keep in mind that your broker cannot make a 100% confirmation for you until the signed contracts and deposit are received from you in their office.

Guest Information – Food & Beverage Info & Itinerary:

A guest information sheet will be sent to you as part of your contract package. Due to increased security of international travels you will be asked for passport numbers and addresses and citizenship of all persons in your party. This is not required for charters in continental US waters.

You will also receive a Food and Beverage Preference form for your group so that you can express certain food likes and strong dislikes. Your chef will be well accomplished and adept in catering to individual food allergies or restricted dietary needs of those in the charter party. You will have the ability to choose different ethic or regional cuisine and you may also request “theme” dinners. Once you have returned the necessary signed documents, your broker can also arrange for you to speak directly to the chef. It is important to recognize that small owner operator vessels with an all-inclusive rate may not be able to offer the same options of premium upgrade entrees such as filet mignon and lobster as the larger yachts do.

Your broker may also suggest that the captain calls you to discuss your itinerary options. While brokers may make suggestions for you based on their personal experience, every captain will have his own local knowledge. It is often the best advice since operating the charter yacht is his/her livelihood and they know better than a broker what their own vessel can do.

Make certain that you return the Guest Info and the Food & Beverage information to your broker in a timely fashion. The crew wants to make the best possible preparations for your charter so that everything is in order the moment that you step onboard. Delaying the return of this information can result in departure delays as Homeland Security has specific departure rules and regulations that every licensed yacht captain must complete before being given clearance for an international departure.

Checking in on your charter:

Every thorough charter broker will call or email the captain during your charter to see how it is going, although you may or may not necessarily be aware of the contact. Most often, everything is great - but if you do have any problems whatsoever that are a threat to the success of your charter holiday (such as an unforeseen mechanical breakdown), it is very important to notify the broker by telephone or email as quickly as possible.

Your broker may be unaware of any problems that may arise during your charter and it is much harder to “fix” the situation later after you have left the yacht if it was not reported right away. Unfortunately, breakdowns do occur (but rarely)….that is just the nature of mechanical equipment! By promptly notifying your broker, the problem can be rectified more quickly or your broker can negotiate with the yacht owner for a possible future credit or possible monetary refund for your lost time. For the most positive outcome, these solutions are best handled immediately.

Follow-up Questionnaire:

Following your trip, you will receive a Follow-up Questionnaire asking for brief details regarding your yacht charter. You may choose to have your comments shared with the crew, the owner and his agent or kept confidentially for your broker’s eyes only. This questionnaire gives your broker valuable insight to how your yacht charter went and also lets them know how well that the crew performed in their duties.

Your Privacy:

At SWC, Inc your personal details are respected and we have a Privacy Policy in position regarding the handling of your personal and private information. You will receive a copy of this in your contract package.

We also recognize at SWC, Inc that you have the right to work with whomever you prefer but we certainly hope that you will select us as your broker. We give you our promise to offer the very best service and will treat you with the utmost respect. In return, we ask for the same personal treatment from you. We look forward to your call or email.

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