Charter guide
A Guide to Luxury
Yacht Charter
Understanding the charter contract
The base charter fee
Advance provisioning allowance
Fuel and dockage fees
This specialist guide to luxury yacht charter will ensure you are fully prepared for your holiday aboard a private yacht.
Meet Your Broker

West Nautical’s brokers are knowledgeable, approachable and
incredibly passionate about yacht charter. Their insight goes far beyond
the yacht’s specification and statistics, with an in-depth
understanding of the subtleties of each individual vessel. They often
know the Captains and their crew, and have gained a feel for each yacht
by spending time on board themselves.

It is impossible to compare yachts like for like, but we will try! A
GRP sports yacht will offer a different experience to a gentleman’s
cruiser. Cabins will be a different size, the facilities on board will
be different and the crew will deliver a different style of service. A
yacht can’t be judged on its length and number of crew any more than a
hotel can be judged on its location and room numbers.

We know how important finding the right match is, and our brokers go
the extra mile to make sure your experience is perfect whether you’re
looking to party, explore or relax.

Why are the crew so important on a charter?

Great crew are fundamental to delivering a good charter experience.
They can explain how everything works and make sure your every wish is
taken care of. In particular, you will find the Captain to be a fountain of
knowledge – most have lead interesting and varied careers at sea.

Good yacht crew go beyond the ordinary. Arranging for your favourite
food and drink to be on board in advance, arranging transfers ashore, or
ensuring the restaurant you have always wanted to visit has its best
table ready. In unfamiliar waters, they will act as a dependable guide.

Making the best of your time on board the yacht itself is another
area where crew come into their own. On most yachts crew are qualified
above and beyond their duties above or below deck. They will take you
diving, teach you to ride a jet ski, go ashore for a sightseeing
exploration, or show you how to make their signature Bloody Mary in the
galley. Crew love to share a job that’s their vocation.

How do I know if the Captain, chef and crew will suit my tastes?

West Nautical invests significant time in getting to know the yachts,
their Captains and crew before we present them for charter, to make
sure they have the subtleties of character needed to deliver for any
client they may encounter. All yacht crew are highly trained
professionals in their own right and can be expected to be absolutely
discreet, friendly or formal, depending on the occasion and your desired
style of service.

Chefs working in the industry often have background in cooking in top
restaurants on land, bringing their own influences and specialties to a
yacht’s galley. However, above all, a yacht’s chef will have proven
themselves highly adaptable and able to cook a broad variety of styles.

Yacht Captains have generally dedicated decades to get to the top of a
highly competitive industry. You can expect a resolute professional who
upholds their team to the highest of standards who is also personable
and a point of contact throughout your time on board.

The interior crew on board a yacht will be trained in silver service
as standard but many bring other specialist skills on board such as
being a trained yoga instructor or masseuse. They often divide their
time between service and housekeeping duties, where they ensure the
interior of the yacht is immaculately maintained, all the guest laundry
is washed, pressed and hung up before you have returned to your spotless
cabin after a day of indulgence.

The yacht’s officers and deck crew will all be capable mariners,
chosen carefully for their character as well as their qualifications. As
with the interior crew, many will also be specially trained as diving
or water sports instructors, so you and your guests will be well

Highly customised, inherently flexible

The possibilities for your yacht charter are limited only by your
imagination. We will ensure your preferred food and drink is on board,
whether it be your favourite champagne on ice, or milkshakes for your
children. The 5* chefs and interior teams will do the rest, learning how
you like to be served, offering you delicious menus and breaking the
mould of your expectation by surprising you with their hospitality at
every opportunity. Nothing is too much to ask. Working with the Captain
and their crew, we will ensure an itinerary that promises to impress and
is inherently flexible, just in case spontaneity strikes!

Eating and drinking

The yachting industry has a reputation for unparalleled private
dining. The on board chef will be a highly accomplished culinary expert
in their own right, usually well-travelled and bringing flavours from
several parts of the world to what they do. In parallel, the rest of the
team that serves you will be silver service trained and ensure eating
on board is a visual feast.

Eating and drinking on a luxury charter yacht is taken care of by a
highly capable chef that caters for your every need and personal taste.
Wherever in the world, whatever you would like to have on board, we will
make it happen. The chef will know your dietary requirements and any
allergies prior to you embarking, and they will prepare fresh menus
daily to exceed your culinary expectations.

Massage therapist, diving instructor, nanny…

Every yacht’s crew is different; but you can be assured of a warm
welcome, absolute discretion, and the very best service in every case.
Many crew are qualified specialists; massage therapists, watersports
instructors, and fitness experts can be found on the yachts we charter.
We can also arrange for your own private staff to be catered for aboard
upon your request; simply, we try and accommodate your every desire.

Many private yachts have fully trained spa professionals as part of
the regular crew, there to ensure you are totally relaxed. Some larger
motor yachts have complete spa facilities including sauna, steam room
and Jacuzzi. Swimming pools also feature on the largest of yachts.


Watersports and yachting go hand in hand. Many yachts have
watersports facilities, ranging from wakeboarding to deep sea submarines
similar to those found on research ships. The most common watersports
equipment to find on board yachts includes diving equipment, jet skis,
and inflatable slides.

Yacht etiquette and what to expect on board

First time yacht guests are
often surprised how informal the experience on board is. There are very
few rules, but there are a few things worth remembering when stepping

No shoes

At the gangway of almost every yacht you will find a shoe basket –
leave your shoes here. Yacht’s decks are made of teak, a beautiful hard
wood, but one that absorbs dirt and can be easily damaged by high heels.
You will soon get used to the pleasure of walking barefoot on deck.


Soft sided luggage is appreciated by all on board as hard sided cases have a habit of damaging the furnishings.

Nautical language

The language used on a yacht can be baffling. ‘Head’ means bathroom,
‘galley’ means kitchen and ‘down below’ means inside. A wall is a
‘bulkhead’, a floor is a ‘deck’ and the ceiling is the ‘deck head’. The
left hand side of the yacht is the ‘port side’, the right side is
‘starboard’, the ‘bow’ is at the front and the ‘stern’ is at the rear.

There’s no need to learn these terms, the crew will be happy to translate.

Meet the crew

You will usually be introduced to the entire crew by the Captain when
you first board the yacht. They are on board to serve you and nothing
will be too much trouble. Should you have a concern, speak directly to
the Captain or one of his senior crew members.

Crew areas and guest areas

Yachts have separated crew accommodation and crew eat separately from
guests. Every member of the crew (including the ones you don’t see)
will be working hard to ensure you have the best possible time on board,
so it’s good manners to respect their accommodation.

Tipping etc.

It is customary to tip crew 10-15% of the charter cost in recognition
of good service. The tip should be handed to the Captain at the end of
the charter to be divided among the crew, it’s likely that you won’t see
some of the crew, who work behind the scenes, nevertheless they keep
the yacht running to a high standard.

Some charter guests like to take their crew, or sometimes just the
Captain, ashore for dinner one evening. This is however not expected, so
please don’t feel obliged to offer. Also, don’t be surprised if your
offer is politely declined, it’s likely to be because the crew is busy
behind the scenes.