16 mistakes to avoid when chartering a yacht

Avoiding common pitfalls when you charter a yacht is crucial to ensure your journey is extraordinary.

With our expertise in luxury yacht charters, we guide you through the top 16 mistakes to avoid, ensuring your adventure is both unforgettable and exquisite.

1. Matching the yacht to your needs

Choosing the right boat goes beyond aesthetics and size.

It’s about matching the vessel to your group’s needs and requirements. Whether it’s child-friendly features, gourmet dining options, or water toy equipment, communicate your desires to your broker through the preference sheet.

His expertise and knowledge of the fleet ensure a perfect match for your unique charter experience.

2. Communicating your preferences clearly

Your yacht charter is a canvas for your personalized experience. Clear communication with your yacht charter broker is essential to paint this picture perfectly.

Do not hesitate to tell your broker about your likes, dislikes, and must-haves.

Using our preference sheet, share your specific needs, from dietary preferences to desired destinations. This clarity allows us to tailor every aspect of your journey, ensuring a customized charter experience that meets your expectations.

Sample preference sheet

Download our sample preference sheet here (PDF)

3. Passport validity checks, mandatory paperwork

A critical yet often overlooked detail is your passport’s expiration date. Ensure it remains valid for at least three to six months beyond your trip’s end.

This foresight prevents any unwelcome surprises and guarantees a smooth journey from start to finish.

Visitors without a visa will not be allowed to enter a state if it’s a travel requirement.

Don’t forget to declare cash amounts exceeding €10,000, including traveler’s checks.

4. Planning your arrival

To avoid the stress of last-minute rushes, plan to arrive at your port city at least a day before your cruise.

This buffer prevents travel delays and ensures you and your luggage are ready for embarkation. Early arrival also offers a chance to explore the local area, adding another layer to your luxury experience.

5. Choosing the right luggage

Space on a yacht, even a superyacht, is a premium.

When embarking on a yacht charter in the French Riviera or Corsica, it’s advisable to opt for soft luggage.

Remi van der Deure, our Senior Charter Broker, advises opting for soft-sided luggage: “Hard-shell suitcases can damage delicate yacht interiors and are challenging to store. Soft bags are more adaptable and easier to tuck away, keeping your living spaces uncluttered and serene.”

6. Packing wisely

Overpacking can lead to clutter while underpacking might leave you missing essentials.

Create a packing list with versatile cotton clothing, essential toiletries, personal medications, and special gear for planned activities to ensure you have everything you need without excess.

7. Appropriate footwear for yacht and shore exploration

Footwear is a crucial aspect of yacht charter etiquette: read the barefoot rule of our yacht charter etiquette for more information.

As a general practice, shoes are usually not allowed on yachts.

For shore excursions along the French Riviera’s cobblestone streets, comfortable shoes are advisable.

8. Passerelle protocol

The passerelle, your gateway to the yacht, should be treated with respect.

Always board one at a time. This not only preserves the passerelle’s integrity but also ensures safety for all.

Remember, the person leaving the yacht has priority – a simple yet vital rule for smooth boarding and disembarking.

9. Timely booking of onshore experiences

The allure of the French Riviera extends beyond its waters. Book your onshore experiences well in advance to fully immerse in its charm.

Early planning is critical, whether it’s a guided shore expedition, a coveted table at a high-end beach club in Saint-Tropez, such as Nikki Beach or Club 55, or a gastronomic delight at the Mas du Langoustier or Louis XV in Monaco.

10. Respecting the yacht crew

The crew is the heart of your yacht experience. Their expertise ensures safety, comfort, and access to unique destinations as well as superb service to your guests.

Respect and appreciation for their hard work enhance the journey for everyone.

While tipping is a personal choice, it is a recognized gesture of gratitude in the yachting industry. Your broker can guide you on appropriate practices.

11. Flexible itinerary planning

Flexibility is critical in yacht chartering.

Weather, maintenance, or crew health can impact your plans. Be prepared to adjust your itinerary, possibly skipping a planned stop if needed.

Familiarize yourself with your destination’s specific conditions and regulations, allowing for a smoother, more enjoyable experience.

12. Don’t pack too much into your itinerary

At Charterminute, one of the frequent missteps we observe is the urge to cram too many destinations into a short charter period.

Clients often envision a week-long itinerary brimming with activities and locations. However, this approach can lead to a hectic and less fulfilling experience.

Our advice: opt for a focused cruising area. This allows you to immerse in the region’s essence, from the sun-kissed beaches of Saint-Tropez to the vibrant allure of Monaco.

A more relaxed pace offers the luxury of spontaneity – perhaps uncovering a hidden cove or a quaint seaside village.

13. Budgeting for additional expenses

Understanding the total cost of your charter is crucial.

Beyond the base rate (i.e., charter fee), consider additional expenses like VAT, local taxes, dockage fee, and fuel. These can significantly impact your budget.

Discuss with your broker to set up your APA well in advance, ensuring a clear understanding of the financial commitment.

The average Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) for a motor yacht is usually 35-40% of the yacht’s charter fee. On the other hand, the average APA for a sailing yacht is 30%.

14. Building a connection with the crew

Engaging with the yacht’s crew can significantly enhance your experience.

They offer valuable local insights, from the best dining spots to hidden gems along the coast. Building a rapport with the crew enriches your journey and opens doors to authentic, local experiences.

15. Balancing activities and relaxation onboard

While packing your itinerary with activities is tempting, remember to allocate time for relaxation.

Limiting land excursions to one or two per charter week allows you to fully enjoy the yacht’s amenities and the beauty of the south of France.

Take the opportunity to unwind and enjoy the stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean while lounging on deck or relaxing in your jacuzzi.

16. Enhance your experience to the fullest

Your yacht is a floating sanctuary equipped with various amenities for your enjoyment.

Experience a luxurious yachting vacation with exciting water sports, shore excursions, and locally sourced gourmet cuisine prepared by your personal chef.

Immerse yourself in the region’s cultural and culinary delights by going ashore. Your crew can assist you in planning these experiences to make your adventure all the more fulfilling.

Remember, the yacht is yours to enjoy, and the crew is dedicated to creating your perfect vacation.

As experts in French Riviera luxury yacht charters, we offer tailored advice to make your charter a seamless and memorable experience. Our team is committed to providing unparalleled service and expertise from the initial planning stages to the final disembarkation.

Contact us: begin your luxury yacht charter journey

Ready to embark on a luxury yacht charter along the French Riviera?

Contact our brokers to start planning your dream voyage. With our expertise, personalized service, and commitment to excellence, your journey promises to be as unique and unforgettable as the Riviera.

And remember, your yacht charter broker is your ally, guiding you to the best experiences and ensuring your requests, such as themed dinners or surprise events, are communicated and executed with finesse.

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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