Put a Boat in a Sailboat Charter Fleet

How do you pick a sailboat to put into the charter trade? Here are some suggestions.

Lyra sunset

Jen Brett

Buy a boat that meets your needs: When looking at options, make sure that you’re pleasing yourself first. The needs of the charter company come second. You want a boat that’s going to make you and your family happy while you’re out on the water.

Pick the right sailboat charter company: If your goal is to have your new boat earn 75 percent to 90 percent of the cost of ownership, you’ll need to consider the charter company’s recommendations. These usually include buying a boat that’s less than 5 years old, has a three-stateroom layout with en suite heads, and an overall length of 37 to 42 feet. Boats that fit these specs will charter the most.

Look at cabin equality and layout: If two couples are splitting the cost of a charter, they may be uncomfortable if one stateroom is far superior in creature comforts to the other. If the staterooms are at opposite ends of the boat, offering increased privacy, that’s a plus, too. If the boat you’re considering is a catamaran, a galley-up design is usually preferred as it allows the one doing the cooking to also participate in the evening’s conversation.


Have the right mindset: Make no mistake, a boat in charter is a business, with some nice perks for the owner, so be sure you think of it that way. Expect to pay a little more for a boat that’s ideal for both you and your charter company. But since your charter guests are helping you with your monthly loan payment, not to mention the cost of insurance, moorage, maintenance, and property taxes, the economics of a boat in charter tend to work favorably for most.

Editor’s Note: This article by Jen Brett appeared as part of an article by David Kilmer called “A Charter Boat Goes Cruising,” which was originally published in the August 2011 issue of Cruising World.

Click here to read more about how to plan a charter vacation.


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