From our Nomad: Life on Water Series
We all dream of a gorgeous luxury vacation at one point or another… someplace where you can feel the sand between your toes, hear the rush of the ocean waves, and simply relax. Maybe your dream includes adventure sports like jet skiing or parasailing, or maybe you’re more interested in simply exploring new destinations. Perhaps you want to float between islands in the teal waters of the Caribbean, or maybe the deep jewel tones of the Mediterranean call to you like a siren song.
Maybe you’re looking for more than just a vacation, but an entirely new lifestyle…Yachting is the solution.
Yachts come in all sizes and types and charter for (or book to go to) all kinds of destinations. Yachting can be a luxury vacation, a new lifestyle, or even a new vocation. Yachting is a rich world of exploration and enjoyment for just about anyone (not just the uber wealthy!)
In this beginner’s guide to yachting we will cover all of the basics about yachting including:
- What is Yachting?
- History of yachting
- Who goes yachting?
- Where do yachts go?
- What kind of yachts exist?
- What amenities do yachts have?
- How do I book a yacht?
- How much does it cost to take a yacht vacation?
- Who crews a yacht?
- How do I work on a yacht?
- Yachting terminology
- Yachting Safety
And much, much more. So if you want to uncover all the secrets in the yachting world, let’s dive in!
One of the most important parts of yachting is staying safe while overseas. We always recommend travel medical insurance that includes adventure sports coverage. To learn more about travel medical insurance and what plans are available, click here!
What is Yachting?
Yachting is the use of a boat designed for recreation or leisure to cruise or race.
Yachts are boats that differentiate from working boats like shipping or fishing boats because they are specifically tailored to include luxurious amenities and travel to various vacation destinations.
Boats that are considered yachts can typically house up to twelve guests in staterooms onboard, as well as crew members like deckhands and stewards to keep the boat in “ship shape”, or clean and ready to sail.
Yachting can be a short charter for a vacation of one or two weeks, or it can be an entire lifestyle.
History of Yachting
While sailing has been around since before recorded history, yachting has its roots in more recent nautical history.
The first mentions of the word “yacht” appear in reference to boats designed for racing in 17th century europe. Boat racing became the pastime of the royals and the wealthy in England, Holland, France, and Spain. Eventually open ocean yacht racing became popular all the way to America and Australia.
Yacht races are still commonly held to this day, and include various lengths from crossing small bodies of water all the way up to racing around the world.
Yachts originally were designed as light, nimble ships in the water custom designed for speed. Their sizes ranged from that of a dinghy to ships that rivaled military battleships. These racing vessels were eventually classified into different sizes resulting in some of the terminology used to describe different ships to this day.
These days yachts are not only defined as ships designed for racing. In fact, the majority of yachts are not designed for speed at all. Now yachts are known as the height of luxury in life on water, specializing in leisure over work.
Who goes yachting?
The simple answer? Anyone!
Yachts are designed for so many different types of lifestyles and people that there is no one kind of person that goes yachting.
These ships are great for people who want to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of a 9 to 5 job and enjoy being on open water for a few days. Yachts are also great for large families or groups that would like to vacation privately together. Yachts are even good for small families looking to explore many different destinations in one single trip!
As you can see, there is no single group or type to go yachting because each charter is tailor made for the person or group booking the ship.
Like a tailor-made yachting charter, it’s also important to protect yourself with a tailor-made travel or expatriate medical insurance plan. Learn more about travel medical insurance that includes adventure sports in the video below!
Where do yachts go?
Yachts can go pretty much anywhere where there is relatively smooth sailing water and reasonable access. Depending on their size yachts can be on smaller bodies of water like lakes such as the Ozarks and Great Lakes in the United States, or they can call the entire ocean home and sail around the world regularly.
According to LuxuryDefined some of the best destinations for yachts include:
- The French Riviera
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Palm Beach, Florida
- Costa Smeralda, Italy
- St. George’s Parish, Bermuda
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island
Yachts typically have a “season” in which they are most active. Depending on their home harbour, yachts will be most active in the summer months (May- August in the northern hemisphere) or the winter months. Spring and Fall seasons are generally times in which the boat is resting or preparing for the next active season.
What kind of yachts exist?
There are many different types of yachts from those that sail exclusively with motors, to those with two hulls called catamarans. Here is a basic run down of the different types of yachts and their definitions:
Sailing Yacht: a yacht mainly propelled via wind and sails
Motor Yacht: a yacht propelled via one or more motors
Gulet Yacht: a hybrid yacht with both sails and motors
Open Yacht, Cruiser, Cabin Cruiser, Express Cruiser: an otherwise uncategorized standard yacht for cruising and entertaining
Luxury Yacht: a yacht that includes high-end finishes and features and the latest in modern performance technology. The term ‘luxury’ can precede any type of yacht, i.e. “luxury motor yacht”, “luxury sailing yacht”, etc.
Sports Yacht: a yacht geared towards fishing, water sports, or cruising with a sleeker design and more powerful motor for faster cruising speeds. The term ‘sports’ can precede other types of yachts as well, i.e. “sports motor yacht”.
Catamaran Yacht: a yacht with two hulls (pontoons) often made of fiberglass that can be used in shallow waters.
As you can see, yachts include a wide variety of types of ships with different methods of propulsion and design. Just like there isn’t one type of person that goes yachting, there isn’t just one type of yacht available. The opportunities and options are boundless when it comes to yachting!
Stay tuned for our next blog article all about sailing and the different types of ships that can be commissioned for vacation, or even a new lifestyle powered by the wind!
What amenities do yachts have?
Basic yacht charters include provisions (food and consumables) as well as entertainment such as adventure sports equipment like scuba, snorkeling, or other water sports. Many yachts will include lifestyle amenities like wifi, cable TV, pools and jacuzzis, and indoor and outdoor seating or gathering areas to enjoy all the views the yacht will have to offer on charter.
Amenities are dependent on the yacht itself, so be sure to clarify with your broker what specific amenities you want when booking your vacation, or hiring crew.
Some of the craziest yacht amenities we’ve heard of include:
- Tennis Court
- “Nemo Lounge” or underwater observatory
- Drive in Tender Bay
- Outdoor Cinema
- Golf Tee
According to boatinternational.com some of the amenities you can expect to be available on different yachts include:
- Beach Club (water level rear deck)
- Salon Services
And of course, plenty of places to work on a tan.
How do I book a yacht?
Booking a yacht can seem like a daunting process, especially if you’ve never been before. Well, the experts at International Yacht Charter Group have put together a guide to make it much easier. Here are their steps:
1. Choose a Yacht Charter Specialist.
Find a specialist who makes you feel comfortable with the process and who willingly seeks your input. This is the best way to ensure you book the ideal charter yacht. Choose a specialist without ties to specific charter yachts; you want information on the whole range of options, not limited to a small “in-house” selection. The specialist should be experienced and very competent so that you will feel confident about your yacht charter booking.
2. Select the Yacht and Destination.
Browse online to start gathering information about all your yacht and destination options. You will choose between motor and sailing yachts as well as what part of the world you want to explore. The specialists at International Yacht Charter Group visit many yachts worldwide each year and have extensive knowledge about what will work best for individual clients.
3. Fill Out Paperwork.
Once the ideal yacht is chosen for the dates you want, it will be reserved with a yacht charter contract between you and the charter yacht owner. Booking a yacht charter is different from reserving a plane ticket or villa! A standardized contract is drawn up, which is then discussed in depth with your specialist. The signed contract and 50% deposit will prevent anyone else from booking the yacht.
4. Prepare to Travel.
Prior to boarding the yacht, your charter specialist and the Captain and crew will prepare the yacht for your vacation. You will have filled out a preference sheet regarding food, wine, and activities (as well as your arrival/departure information). That way the yacht will be provisioned according to your preferred items. The Captain will prepare a draft itinerary for your yacht charter based on your thoughts and ideas, which you are encouraged to discuss via email or phone prior to departure.
Before you depart make sure you purchase travel medical insurance for all travelers that includes emergency evacuation. You can see travel medical and evacuation plans here and get a fast and simple quote simply by clicking on the orange “Quote” button in the top right corner.
5. Enjoy the Vacation!
While on charter, the Captain and crew are obviously your primary point of contact for questions about activities, meals, etc. Your Captain and crew act as concierge for your land-based adventures and on board activities. It’s recommended to discuss plans in advance whenever possible. Overall, a private yacht charter means there is no fixed itinerary, and typically some plans change en route.
You can contact international Yacht Charter Group to book a yacht by simply filling out their contact form: https://www.internationalyachtchartergroup.com/contactus/contactus-landing.php
How much does it cost to take a yacht vacation?
The cost of renting a yacht depends on the size and type of ship, and the kinds of amenities desired in a ship.
According to worldwideboat.com, “the average weekly cost of a 100-foot sailing yacht is between $50,000-100,000. A weekly 80-foot catamaran charter runs around $40,000-100,000, and a week-long 100-foot motor yacht rental is anywhere between $50,000-80,000.”
A 100-foot yacht will typically comfortably house 12 guests in complete luxury, meaning each person can expect to contribute around $5000 for their week long vacation. While this is quite the luxury vacation, it is priced similarly to a high end all inclusive resort, and less expensive even than some of the high end cruise lines where your vacation is shared with hundreds of people!
If booking a yacht for a vacation isn’t the right choice for you, but you are interested in exploring the world or working on a yacht, this next section is for you!
Who crews a yacht?
Yachts can have crews anywhere from a single captain to nearly 100 people. Depending on the size and amenities of the ship, the crew will include many different positions. Yacht crews are divided into four different departments, or categories: deck, interior, engineering, and galley.
On deck there are different levels of crew, the names of which are classically in the common lexicon including members like the captain, the first mate, and deckhands.
The people on deck are responsible for the navigation and bridge operation, safety, maintenance of the exterior, communication, and tender and recreation activities.
The interior department includes stewards and amenity specific positions like bartenders, salon services, masseuses, laundry, and finances.
Those assigned to the interior are responsible for the service on board, cleaning and maintenance of the cabins and living spaces, event planning and entertainment, and the indoor amenities offered onboard.
The engineering department is responsible for all things related to the engine, electrical system, sanitation and environment control, planned maintenance, and troubleshooting issues on board.
Engineering generally consists of a smaller department of a chief engineer and either several specialists or simply a 2nd under them.
The galley department is responsible for all things food and beverage related. This department is always run by the head chef who will place provisional orders and with the help of a sous chef or other cooks will design and prepare a menu specific to the preference sheet of the guests. The galley is also responsible for provisions for the crew most often.
How do I work on a yacht?
Getting a job on a yacht starts with appropriate training. Depending on the department or type of work you want to do, the training can vary from a few weeks all the way up to getting licensed as a captain.
Most deck crew have what is called a 6-pack captains license which allows them to captain the tender, or the smaller boat that takes people to and from the yacht when it is anchored.
Generally, the interior crew and galley crew are required to have food handlers certifications as they are serving food and alcohol regularly to guests.
After training, typically you would apply for positions in the months before a season and then maintain a position on a specific vessel for the entire season. Some crew management companies specialize in placement on different types of yachts, but typically the first year or two is spent on smaller vessels.
Getting into the yachting industry can be difficult as there is always competition due to the shorter seasons of work. Yachting requires workers to be away from home for many weeks at a time as well as includes strenuous physical labor. This means most yacht workers are young, single, and highly independent.
Before taking off on your new yachting job, make sure you have the right kind of international medical insurance. Learn more about international medical insurance to cover a roaming lifestyle at sea now!
Start your yachting career by searching for specific entry level positions in the department you’re most interested, and be prepared to travel!
Want to know more about yachting? Well, here are some terms we’re sure you’ll run into throughout your adventure:
1. Aft – The back of a ship. If something is located aft, it is at the back of the sailboat. The aft is also known as the stern.
2. Bow – The front of the ship is called the bow. Knowing the location of the bow is important for defining two of the other most common sailing terms: port (left of the bow) and starboard (right of the bow).
3. Port – Port is always the left-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow. Because “right” and “left” can become confusing sailing terms when used out in the open waters, port is used to define the left-hand side of the boat as it relates to the bow, or front.
4. Starboard – Starboard is always the right-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow. Because “right” and “left” can become confusing sailing terms when used out in the open waters, starboard is used to define the right-hand side of the boat as it relates to the bow, or front.
5. Tender- a vessel used for servicing and providing support and entertainment to a private or charter yacht. They include utilitarian craft, powered by oar or outboard motor, and high-speed luxury craft, supporting superyachts, powered by inboard engines, some using water-jets.
6. Charter- the practice of renting, or chartering, a sailboat or motor yacht and travelling to various coastal or island destinations. This is usually a vacation activity, but it also can be a business event
Now you know the lingo, it’s time to get off on your adventure!
Whether on crew or on vacation on a yacht, one of the most important things is safety. While yachts are remarkably safe on water, it’s important to always listen to crew members and follow instructions.
By nature yachts can be slippery due to moisture on deck, difficult to balance due to waves and wind conditions moving the boat, and challenging to move through with smaller hallways and lower ceilings than typically seen on land.
Before going on any yachting adventure it’s important to make sure you have the right kind of protection in your pocket. That’s where international medical insurance comes into play.
Protecting yourself with an international medical plan, whether it’s just for a short trip of one or two weeks, or for an entire season offshore, is the most important step you can take to ensure your safety.
Travel and expatriate medical plans can cover you in the event of injury, illness, trip cancelation, evacuation, and much more. Plans are less expensive than you think starting at less than $1 a day, and you can get up to $1 Million in coverage or more depending on the plan of your choice.
Yachting safety starts on dry land with your purchase of the right international insurance plan today. Click “get a quote” to get a quote now for your upcoming vacation, or explore plans by clicking on “plans” in the menu at the top of this page.
Good Neighbor Insurance is always here to answer any questions you may have and make sure you get the best insurance for your situation. Call our Gilbert, Arizona office at 480-813-9100, or click “chat with us” to get started right away!