French Riviera boat rental: a guide to avoid common pitfalls

The Mediterranean yacht charter market is booming, but navigating it can be tricky, especially for first-time charterers.

With new online players entering the market, fluctuating prices, and varying levels of transparency, it’s easy to fall into a trap.

Looking for a luxurious yacht charter from Cannes to Saint-Tropez or a family boat rental around the Lérins Islands?

This short-term charter guide will help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure a smooth, unforgettable experience on the French Riviera.

How to choose the right charter company

1. Evaluate local expertise

Does the broker or platform have firsthand knowledge of their boats?

Look for established companies with local expertise to ensure accurate information and avoid unpleasant surprises.

To ensure a reliable day charter experience, avoid booking from websites based hundreds of kilometers from your charter destination and lacking local knowledge.

Be cautious of companies with only a mobile phone contact and no physical address.

Are the boats physically inspected by your broker or the rental platform?
Some online services simply provide listings with incomplete or outdated information. This can lead to disappointment when you see the boat in person.

Local companies, with years of experience in the region, can offer valuable advice based on their knowledge of boating and the sea.

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2. Check the broker’s reputation?

How to choose your charter company

Check reviews: Look for reputable platforms such as Google Review, Tripadvisor, or TrustPilot with multiple customer reviews. These platforms and user forums can provide relevant insights.

Rémi van der Deure, Charter Broker at Charterminute adds: Unfortunately, membership in a professional broker association doesn’t guarantee a broker’s reliability…“.

At Charterminute, our commitment to providing fair and unbiased advice sets us apart: we pride ourselves on not being influenced by specific yacht fleets, shipyard interests, or owner affiliations.

3. Benefits of small, local rental companies

The internet has increased the visibility of new players with big marketing budgets and made it easier to access existing offers.

A reputable broker will always specify in writing what’s included (soft drinks, towels, fruit basket, delivery fees, VAT, crew, water toys) and what’s not.

However, online offers can be misleading: boats in poor condition, amateur crew, inaccurate information, low-season rates displayed in peak season, prices excluding 20% VAT or crew fees.

Guide to selecting the right boat for your charter

Luxury day boat at acnhor Okean 55 near Cannes

4. Essential boat rental specifications

Be specific about your needs and expectations.
Make sure the boat you choose meets your criteria, including:

  • Total budget: taxes, fuel, boat rental, delivery fee…
  • General condition: has the boat been refitted?
  • Capacity: guests + crew
  • Equipment: snorkeling gear, water toys, but also fridge, ice maker, hi-lo bathing platform, air conditioning, interior amenities, and space for relaxation.

Rémi van der Deure, Charter Broker says: “Define 3 or 4 essential criteria beforehand to help you narrow down your choices. For motor yacht charters, especially in the South of France where diesel costs €2 per liter in 2024, transparent fuel consumption information is crucial.

More important is the potential for exorbitant fuel costs on high-performance Italian sport yachts due to misinformation or even intentional deception.

For instance, a Mangusta 108 can consume a staggering 1,000 liters per hour at high cruising speeds (27-28 knots).

Detailed motor yacht specifications should always include the average fuel consumption at cruising speed.

Rémi van der Deure adds: “Always request a fuel estimate upfront, including delivery/re-delivery fees and estimated consumption for your trip. Some brokers may offer a similar boat, but at a lower price with twice the actual fuel consumption, leading to a frustrating end to your day at sea.

Prioritize brokers or charter companies that openly provide this information. It demonstrates transparency and helps you avoid unexpected costs, ensuring a more enjoyable and financially responsible charter experience.

What type of yacht to choose?

Sport Yacht: If you crave speed, exhilarating rides, and ample sunbathing space, a sport yacht with high performance and spacious sunbeds is your perfect match.

Flybridge Yacht: For a leisurely cruise along the French Riviera, a flybridge yacht offers unparalleled comfort and shade. Its spacious upper deck provides a relaxing space to unwind and enjoy panoramic views of the stunning coastline, including the dramatic Esterel mountains.

Power catamaran: Power catamarans offer 30% more space than motor yachts of a similar length.

While not as fast, their stability and spaciousness make them an attractive charter option. Though currently limited in availability, their popularity is growing on the charter market.

Sailing catamaran: Just like power catamarans, sailing catamarans offer plenty of space to relax. They are not fast (10 knots cruising speed) but are perfect for a day at sea with large families and friends or corporate gatherings during major Cannes events.

Maxi-catamarans can accommodate up to 200 guests for private parties and offer competitive pricing compared to tall ships or superyachts.

5. Understanding the price breakdown

Understanding your yacht charter cost breakdown is key to a successful day charter:
Here’s a price breakdown for a typical yacht rental adventure:

  • Rental fee: Base price for 7-8 hours of charter time.
  • Crew: Qualified skipper (Captain 200 or 500 certification) and optional additional crew (e.g., stewardess).
  • VAT (Value Added Tax): Varies depending on agreement and itinerary. For non-commercial boats under 60ft, the standard French VAT rate in 2024 is 20%.
  • Delivery/Re-delivery Fees: Fuel costs for transporting the boat to and from your preferred boarding location.
  • Fuel for agreed trip: Covers fuel consumption during the charter.

Additional Costs:

  • Crew gratuity: Customary to tip 5-10% of the rental fee.
  • Extra food and beverages: Not typically included in the base price as well as extra activities such as jet-ski.
  • Lunch at local restaurant
Club 55 in Pampelonne is a perennial favorite among our discerning clientele.

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Examining the charter contract

While mid-size and superyacht charters typically utilize standardized contracts like MYBA or ECPY agreements, day boat rentals often rely on less formal, “homemade” contracts.

This distinction is crucial for potential charterers, as it highlights the importance of thoroughly reviewing and understanding the terms of any day boat rental agreement.

6. Key points when reviewing boat rental agreements

  • Cancellation policy: Review cancellation policies and any associated fees, especially for weather-related cancellations or mechanical failures.
  • Rental period: The agreement should clearly state the rental period and the time by which the boat must be returned.
  • What’s included and not included in the price: transfer, water toys, crew tips…

Rémi van der Deure, our yacht charter expert, generally advises that day charter durations are fixed, regardless of boarding time. Arriving 1 or 2 hours late will not extend the charter duration. Punctuality is key to maximizing your time on the water, especially in high season.

Bonus tips and advice for a successful yacht rental adventure

  • Avoiding intermediaries: avoid intermediaries like hotel concierges or chauffeurs, who often take substantial commissions and oversimplify the charter process.
  • Effective communication: ensure your skipper and crew members speak a minimum level of English or your preferred language to facilitate effective interaction throughout your journey.
  • Comfort: if you’re prone to seasickness, prioritize yacht charters with stabilizers. Many yachts are equipped with this technology, ensuring a smoother, more comfortable experience for all charter guests.
  • Planning realistic itineraries: sailing from Cannes to Saint-Tropez or Monaco in a day is unrealistic for most sailing yachts, yet some charter companies might overlook this crucial detail.

How to secure your charter?

Ready to embark on this extraordinary journey?

Booking your dream yacht charter is easy. Contact us by email to find all the information you need and inquire about availability.

Our team is here to assist you every step of the way.

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Post updated on May 31, 2024

Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, we cannot guarantee its completeness or correctness.

Charterers are advised to conduct their own research and adhere to any local regulations and guidelines.

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About the author: Remi van der Deure - French Riviera Charter broker.


I am the senior Yacht Charter Broker at Charterminute, a well-known yacht charter boutique in Antibes.

I have served in the yacht charter industry for over 15 years and have gained a strong reputation among my clients, as evidenced by consistent 5-star ratings on Google Reviews and TripAdvisor.

My specialty is organizing corporate yacht charters for startups and large companies during popular events like the Cannes Lions Festival, MIPIM, TFWA, and MIPCOM.

I am also proud to be a member of esteemed yacht broker associations, e-MYBA and ECPY, demonstrating my unwavering commitment to providing exceptional yacht charter services and memorable experiences in the French Riviera.

You can contact me directly at +33 (0)662.465.991 or