– Business – Dealing with uncertainty


As the world begins to open up, Pantaenius examines how charter and yacht operations have been affected …

Pantaenius team discusses uncertainty in rental market and superyacht owners

Dependent on the free movement of guests and yachts across the globe, the superyacht rental market has been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020. With bookings postponed to be satisfied, as well as a pent-up demand, this year has seen confidence return. to the market in time for the Mediterranean summer season.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had to juggle so many demands,” comments Jacqui Lockhart, retail charter broker at Camper and Nicholsons. “I have a few charters carried over from last year but on top of that I get a lot of requests from repeat clients as well as new clients that we have never dealt with before and it is getting harder and harder to find the right boats that are available. Looks like everyone has woken up – people want to get away from it all and they see these yachts as a safe way to go on vacation.

Eleanor Bloodworth, Yacht Charter Broker at Y.CO, has also observed an increase in activity. “It’s very different from last year where there was a lot of fear and worry about travel,” she adds. “This year, a much higher proportion of customers want to travel, especially because many are fully immunized.”

While the vaccine rollout and the lifting of travel restrictions across Europe have created a window of opportunity for many to go on vacation, the changing travel requirements and restrictions in some countries continue to present challenges and uncertainties for the market, and add another layer of complexity to every request and reservation. UK customers, for example, have faced some of the biggest issues when booking charters due to last minute decisions by the UK government regarding its quarantine requirements for travelers returning from overseas.

“We’ve seen a lot of customers contract and be 99% of the way, but not book at the last minute due to fear of changes in travel restrictions,” says Bloodworth. “But that’s the reality of the charter market right now. It takes willing clients and a lot of flexibility on everyone’s part – client, owner, broker, and charter management company – everyone has to be very solution-oriented to make things happen, which is a state of affairs. slightly new to the market.

Due to this uncertainty, the most popular destinations for charter this summer have been those most open to tourism, which include Croatia, Greece and the Balearics. Many US customers who would typically charter in Europe have chosen to charter closer to home, with increased demand for New England charters, and some charter yachts have even sailed to the UK in an attempt to attract UK customers. “Any owner with a commercial mindset will take their yacht somewhere where there is a lack of competition,” advises Lockhart.

Another additional consideration for charter yacht owners and their crews in a post-COVID world is incorporating new health and safety measures on board. This includes putting systems in place to manage efficient turnaround times, such as granting an extra day between charters and hiring external cleaning companies to ensure the yacht is thoroughly sanitized for new guests.

Crew and guest testing, as well as social distancing before and during a charter, are also essential. “Limiting contact with others ashore is a big change for the crew, but necessary to ensure that all charters can continue,” Bloodworth adds. “If a crew member or guest took COVID-19 on board while on a charter, that charter would be affected as well as the next, so there’s a lot at stake for everyone. “

While charter bookings have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, there are definite signs of a return to confidence and increased activity. As the world begins to open up again, the charter market is perfectly positioned to offer high net worth individuals the opportunity to travel and vacation again in a safe and stress free environment, and it makes no difference. doubt that this aspect of the charter of superyachts will appeal to more than already.


From an insurance point of view, preparing a charter is straightforward: an email or phone call to Pantaenius is enough to start the process. As chartering means increased risk, insurers will generally apply an additional or higher premium to the existing policy to include business activities. It is important to disclose the circumstances under which the charter activity will be carried out, so that we can assess the risk and propose new terms.

Once the new conditions and premiums are notified and approved by the insured, the extension can be implemented very quickly so as not to delay charter activities. However, there are other questions that the owner or operator of the yacht should ask when it comes to chartering:

· Does the owner have to comply with local requirements?

· Does the owner have to comply with labor regulations on commercial vessels?

· Will the superyacht participate in superyacht races?

· Does the owner need a local tax representative?

· Are the terms of the charter contract consistent with the yacht insurance coverage in terms of e.g. accident insurance, personal effects, emergency accommodation, etc. ?

· Will there be any annexes or additional or rented toys used during the rental that must be declared to the insurer?

· Does the crew have the necessary qualifications?

· Does the crew have sufficient medical and accident coverage to comply with the MLC 2006?

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