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Charter School

Learn about the possibilities for your next boat.

August 24, 2010
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Charter School: Scott Free is a 157-foot Christensen built in 2006 with room for 12 guests and nine crew. Contact Merle Wood & Associates at 954-525-5111 or visit merlewood.com.

Scott Free is a 157-foot Christensen built in 2006 with room for 12 guests and nine crew. Contact Merle Wood & Associates at 954-525-5111 or visit merlewood.com.

If you’re considering buying a yacht of a certain size, you’re likely a knowledgeable customer, weighing all the angles for each option. While it’s smart to look at a boat purchase in terms of your enjoyment, thinking about the amusement of others can open the door to opportunity.

“It is often something that is a consideration: how charterable the vessel would be in the market,” says Josh Gulbranson, a broker at Fraser Yachts in Fort Lauderdale (fraseryachts.com). “Typically buyers consider charter because they realize they only have so much leisure time in their lives to spend on the boat. To have such a high-value asset sitting idle is often hard for them to digest, so they think it’s best to put it to work and help offset some of its costs of ownership, meaning maintenance and crew.”

Of course, some boats are better suited for charter than others. “A lot of it has to do with good crews quarters so the yacht has the ability to comfortably carry enough crew to properly service the number of guests that are aboard,” says Crom Littlejohn, a broker at Merle Wood & Associates in Fort Lauderdale (merlewood.com). “Today we’re seeing a lot of boats that have five staterooms and can carry three crew. Three crew cannot properly run the boat and service the guests in a five-stateroom boat.” A good number of talented crew keep the service level up. But toys and amenities also enter into the equation.

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“Most people on a vacation on a yacht want to see a jacuzzi, some decent water toys that probably include wave runners, and more and more these days charter brokers are looking for at-anchor or zero-speed stabilizers,” says Neil Emmott, a broker with Yachtzoo in Fort Lauderdale (yachtzoo.com). “Most successful charter boats in the 130-foot size range upwards have got zero-speed stabilizers.”

Those features cost money up front, but the buyer willing to upgrade in size and amenities may see dividends in charter.

“I would say that [charter] plays into their budget process,” Emmott says. “Everybody will look at a larger boat and see larger expenses. But if they can put it into charter… I would say that [buyers] would definitely look to size up a little bit and give themselves a little more space when they’re on board, a little more stability and seakeeping, and then earn a little bit of a better dollar on their charter revenue for that larger boat.”

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Guests aren’t the only ones to enjoy a boat that’s equipped for charter. “When a boat is available for charter, there are typically additional toys that an owner may not have had on the boat just for himself,” Littlejohn says. “While he’s put those toys on the boat to increase charter bookings, when he is aboard, he gets to use those toys. And with the proper crew and the proper maintenance schedules, the boats don’t take the beating that I think we saw years ago in the charter market. Chartering is typically providing you a better-maintained boat.”

What’s the best way to know the charter market for the boat you’re considering? Your broker will have the answers.

“Many boats that we have can often be listed for sale and offered for charter at the same time,” Gulbranson says. “So at boat shows we’ll often see the newest boats coming into the market, and they’re also coming into the charter market, so we’ll be looking at them from both perspectives.”

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Reach Out: Touch is a 120-foot Louisbourg custom trideck built in 2004. With room for eight guests and seven crew, this aluminum-hulled motoryacht welcomes friends and family to her spacious sundeck with bar and integrated sound system. Contact Fraser Yachts at 954-463-0600 or www.fraseryachts.com.

West With the Night: Arioso is a 130-foot Westport built in 2006. Topping out at 25 knots, she has a range of 3,450 nautical miles and offers guests such amenities as WiFi and a jacuzzi. Contact Yachtzoo at 954-767-1035 or www.yacht-zoo.com.

Need for Speed? Maverick is an 85-foot Scarborough sportfisherman built in 2008 that sleeps 12 guests. She boasts a 32-knot cruising speed and a 41-knot top speed. Contact Yachtzoo at 954-767-1035 or www.yacht-zoo.com.

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