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Yacht charter and the Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

Industry news

By Katia Damborsky  4 March 2020

The impact of the Coronavirus has left many charterers with questions about booking, and that’s understandable. Get all the key facts and up-to-date information to make an informed decision about your yacht charter vacation this summer.

The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been making headlines around the globe, and concerns about catching the virus have prompted charter guests to call their summer plans into question. 

Only time will tell if the spread of the Coronavirus eases in the warmer months, and it’s important not to let media hysteria and panic impact your decision. 

Take a closer look at what’s being done in the yachting industry to help manage the situation, and read all the latest on cancellations and insurance.

Contents:

> Charter contracts & insurance policies
> Independent insurance
> Private yacht charter: a safer alternative to hotels and cruise liners
> Preventative measures
> Perspective is key

MYBA (The Worldwide Yachting Association) is responsible for the industry’s most popular and widely used yacht charter contracts.

Amendment (06/03/2020)

APOLOGY

On 5 March 2020 we published a statement about MYBA seeking legal advice from Gateley on the effects of coronavirus. 

We now realise that publishing this breached the privacy and confidentiality of MYBA, its President and of its lawyers. 

We have therefore removed the statement. 

We hereby apologise unreservedly to MYBA, its President and its lawyers for any offence caused. 

We undertake not to repeat in any way the content of what was published.

Charter contracts & insurance policies

Brokerage firms are starting to add specialized addendums to the MYBA contract to allow for cancellation. Speak to your charter broker for more details. 

It is strongly recommended that your contract should now include an additional clause to account for any cancellation incurred by the effects of the Coronavirus. 

Independent insurance

Independent insurance firms are also offering special insurance should you decide to cancel your yachting vacation. One such firm is iTravel LX. In addition to covering the cost of the yacht charter, the policy can be written to cover airfare and hotel costs.  

The policy can be written to cover 100 to 150 percent of the cost of a yacht charter in the event of a travel ban or extended delay and will cover up to 75 percent of costs if you decide you do not want to move forward with your intended vacation. The policy can be purchased up to 20 days after you have booked the charter. Policies usually cost between eight and 10 percent of the charter and variables include the number and age of guests.

“We recommend that anyone and everyone considering chartering a vessel anytime in the foreseeable future make this investment,” says Managing Director N&J Private Insurance Services John Gaffney. “During these uncertain times, it is much better to be liable for only 25% than for the full 100% if you decide to cancel. While there are no travel bans currently in place, there is a possibility of governments issuing more advisories and bans at the virus spreads.

“As there are no real insights into what the future holds, the best measure is to prepare yourself for any possible outcome. These types of charter insurance policies are not only are beneficial for charter guests, but they also are helpful for yacht owners as it alleviates possible friction should the guests cancel. It is possible that as the situation with COVID-19 progresses, some owners will require charter clients to hold a trip cancellation policy in order to book.”

“We don’t want charter guests to be discouraged by Coronavirus or any other potential travel pitfalls. Presently there are no reasons to curtail your plans for this summer, but if things change, we are able to protect our clients to ensure they do not lose out."

We don’t want charter guests to be discouraged by Coronavirus or any other potential travel pitfalls. Presently there are no reasons to curtail your plans for this summer, but if things change, we are able to protect our clients to ensure they do not lose out.

JOHN GAFFNEY MANAGING DIRECTOR N&J PRIVATE INSURANCE SERVICES

Private yacht charter: A safer alternative to hotels and cruise liners

While it’s important to note that all travel is not completely risk-free, private yacht charter is far safer than cruise liners or hotel stays. 

On a private yacht charter, your direct contact with other people is very limited. End-to-end transportation is provided by private flights and cars, so you will not need to use public transport during your vacation. 

What’s more, brokerage firms are now being extra vigilant with crew to ensure that everyone on board is safe and healthy. The crew also work tirelessly to ensure a clean, hygienic environment for you and your charter party.

1. Limited contact with members of the public

On a private yacht charter, your direct contact with other people is very limited. End-to-end transportation is provided by private flights and cars, so you will not need to use public transport during your vacation. 

2. Squeaky-clean and sterile setting

What’s more, brokerage firms are now being extra vigilant with crew to ensure that everyone on board is safe and healthy. The crew also work tirelessly to ensure a clean, hygienic environment for you and your charter party.

3. Choose an itinerary away from the crowds

If you are concerned about the Coronavirus, speak to your broker about arranging an itinerary that involves quiet, peaceful destinations.

There are plenty of secluded beaches and pretty coves dotted across the Mediterranean which you can explore. 

It’s also worth noting that even if you do spend time on shore and visit all the popular sites and attractions, your risk of catching the Coronavirus is still very low as long as you take proper precautions. That said, those with pre-existing medical conditions, the elderly and infants should be extra cautious.  

4. Make the most out of the time on your yacht

You can also choose to spend more time at anchor, playing with water toys and soaking up the glorious sunshine! Spend more time on deck, enjoying your yacht and dining on delicious meals prepared exactly to your tastes. 

Preventative measures

According to the World Health Organization, you can take precautionary measures to stop the spread of the disease. 

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Maintain a 1m distance from anyone coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth in public places
  • Practise respiratory hygiene, by coughing and sneezing into your elbow and washing your hands immediately afterward.

Perspective is key

Don’t get swept up by the media. It’s important to remember that while Coronavirus is a serious illness, its transmission rate is lower than the common flu.

Infants, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to be affected by the disease. The majority of people will make a full recovery.  It’s also worth remembering that some health professionals have suggested that the effects of the Coronavirus will ease as the summer months roll in and temperatures warm up; but we'll have to wait and see if this turns out to be the case. 

This article is being updated to bring you all the latest Live updates as YachtCharterFleet monitors the situation. Last update: 06/03/2020

Get in touch with your preferred yacht charter broker for more information.


 
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