Coronavirus: What is a Social Distancing Yacht Charter?



Social distancing yacht charters are expected to become the future of luxury travel amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Yachts are hygienic, self-contained and controlled environments that can offer extremely limited contact with other people. Where could be better for a social distancing vacation?

Experts predict that social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19 will continue until long after travel restrictions are lifted and the world comes out of the self-isolation lockdown.

In fact, it’s likely that socially disruptive measures will continue to affect travel and vacations until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed and distributed across the globe. 

But until then, how will people adjust to social distancing vacations?

For the yachting industry, it’s likely COVID-19 will stop causing travel disruptions sooner than other areas of the travel sector such as hotels or cruises. That’s because yachts are sterile and self-contained, and yacht charters are private, exclusive and offer flexible itineraries that allow you to choose where you charter. 

In the context of Coronavirus, what factors are impacting yacht charter?

luxury charter yacht practising social distancing in sheltered cove

The biggest factor affecting yacht charter are travel restrictions. 

Travel bans, regional restrictions and airline suspensions might stop charter guests from being able to travel to meet their yachts.

As well as aviation, the travel restrictions also affect ports, meaning that many yachts are currently unable to leave marinas or move freely between ports.

When travel restrictions are lifted, we can expect many people turning to private yacht charter in favour of hotels, cruises or other luxury travel options. 

That’s because yacht charters are the ultimate Social Distancing Vacation.

What is a Social Distancing Yacht Charter?

charter guest relaxes in pool on superyacht while social distancing

We’ve coined the term ‘Social Distancing Yacht Charter’ to set out how yacht charters will be affected after we come out of quarantine, and what you can expect from a superyacht vacation in the era of pre-vaccine Coronavirus.

But what exactly is a Social Distancing Yacht Charter? 

A Social Distancing Yacht Charter is similar to a normal superyacht vacation, but it involves a few key differences. 

These are put in place for your health, safety and peace of mind while chartering.

1. Preventative health and safety measures on board your yacht

yacht crew cleaning and creating super hygienic environment on board

Already, we’re seeing more health and safety measures being introduced to help ensure a safe and hygienic environment on board charter yachts. These include: 

  • Sanitizing the yacht regularly, including a full decontamination of the yacht after charters.
  • Sanitizing provisions on the dock before bringing them on board the yacht
  • Control over who steps on board the yacht
  • Daily temperature checks for crew
 photo 12

In the future, we may see new measures being introduced for yacht crew. These include:

  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing 
    Already, rapid-result Coronavirus diagnostic test kits are becoming available to superyacht crew. As they start to become more widely accessible, we can expect more tests to take place to ensure yacht crew are diagnosed with a negative COVID-19 result before charters take place.
  • Face masks
    Some yachts are currently considering face masks for all crew on board.

2. End-to-end private transport

woman arrives to private jet practising social distancing
tender of yacht in blue sea
private helicopter arriving at airport

End-to-end private transport ensures you have limited contact with people every step of the way, and it means you can continue practising Social Distancing while en route to meet your charter yacht. 

Private jets will be the most regular method of travelling to meet your yacht. By flying privately rather than commercially, you don’t have to worry about fellow passengers and the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

Once you’ve arrived in your destination, private cars will be on hand to transport you from the airport to your embarkation point.

3. More time mooring or at anchor, rather than berthed in port

yacht moored to allow social distancing

Marinas are busy, and it’s challenging for individuals to maintain Social Distancing in ports. (However, we’re starting to see promising developments in technology that will facilitate contact-free reception services for superyachts arriving in marinas.)

Until this becomes more widespread, your charter yacht will probably spend more time at anchor or moored close to shore to avoid busy ports. 

This also means that destinations with lots of coves, bays, and good anchorage spots will be popular for yacht charters. 

These include Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and the Bahamas, where there’s plenty of little islands and secluded beaches that create great places to spend a night out of a port.

4. New ways to enjoy yacht charter

yoga on deck of luxury yacht
jet-ski riding alongside yacht
charter guest jumps off yacht into blue water
woman social distancing on luxury yacht charter vacation

While on your yacht, you will probably be spending less time on shore. This opens up so many possibilities when it comes to enjoying your yacht to the fullest, and taking advantage of the huge range of leisure and entertainment facilities at your disposal.

  • Opportunities to learn new skills
    A yacht charter presents an unmissable opportunity to try your hand at new skills and learn some new hobbies. From Windsurfing to sailing, there’s plenty to experience on the water.
  • Wellness charters
    Take some time to rebalance and refresh with a wellness charter. Look for a yacht with a well-equipped spa, on-board masseur and yoga instructor. Make sure you opt for healthy cuisine on your preference sheet.
  • Water toys and accessories 
    Choose a yacht with a huge toy locker, and you’ll experience incredible thrills on a yacht charter. Zoom around on the back of Jet-Skis, experience a Flyboard for the first time, or explore underwater with the help of Seabobs.
  • Work from home at sea
    If you’re working from home, you can escape office life even further with a yacht charter. Look for one with an office suite or conference centre, and it won’t be difficult to stay connected and keep up to date with any business that needs attending to while on charter. 

5. New itineraries

yacht in the open sea, with tenders alongside

As charterers continue to practise social distancing, itineraries will change and adapt to offer a new type of charter experience. 

  • Less time on land and fewer on-shore excursions
    Itineraries won’t be so heavily focused on land-based activities. Popular attractions and cultural sights on shore that generally attract large crowds won’t be a key focus anymore, unless you can view them from the comfort of a yacht. 
  • Increased focus on stopping potential spread of Coronavirus to small communities
    Yachts will be vigilant about potentially introducing COVID-19 to small communities that haven’t been affected by the virus, such as remote islands. While itineraries might include such areas, there will be limitations in place to curb people stepping on shore. 
  • Less focus on restaurants and beach clubs 
    COVID-19 has caused many restaurants, beach clubs and other social venues to temporarily close their doors. It’s possible that even when yacht charter resumes, many venues will still be closed in an effort to comply with Social Distancing regulations. 
  • An opportunity to spend more time on your yacht
    As yacht-goers adapt to spending less time on shore, there’ll be ample opportunities for enjoying the leisure and entertainment facilities on board your yacht. From playing with water toys to enjoying wellness and relaxation, a Social Distancing Yacht Charter offers you the prime opportunity to unwind and recharge. 
  • Itineraries that offer nature, scenery, serenity and peace and quiet

6. Different destinations

a yacht anchored by a quiet cove with evergreen trees in the middle of summer where guests are enjoying their self isolating yacht charter vacation
 photo 1
the dramatic coast of greece is endless and makes a special anchorage for a self isolating charter where guests will be in complete privacy
the galapgos islands are an amazing place to charter as practically no one lives there, making it an ideal destination for a self isolating yacht charter vacation

As we approach the summer charter season, here’s how Social Distancing will affect yacht charter destinations.

  • Destinations close to the USA
    It’s possible that yacht-goers based in the USA will be looking to charter closer to home this summer. There are some great destinations close to America, including the Bahamas, Alaska, Miami and New England.
  • A long summer season in the Mediterranean 
    While certain parts of Europe have been heavily affected by COVID-19, other areas have been quick to slow the spread and ‘flatten the curve’. This means that we can expect most parts of the Mediterranean to be open for yacht charters this summer, particularly around the East Mediterranean in countries such as Greece, Croatia and Montenegro. 
    These destinations typically have hot temperatures until well into September and even October, so we can expect bookings on yacht charters in these destinations later in the season, as many people will have missed out on yacht charters in the early part of the season.
  • Increased popularity in the Caribbean for winter
    Since many people will not have booked yacht charters in early summer, we can expect the winter Caribbean season to enjoy a bumper number of bookings on superyacht charters.  
  • Remote destinations
    For those looking to get truly off-the-beaten track on a yacht charter,  destinations such as Norway, Tahiti, the Maldives, Galapagos and the Seychelles will become increasingly popular.
social distancing on a superyacht

YachtCharterFleet is continually monitoring this rapidly-evolving situation. If you have any advice, updates or information about yachts and port closures, please get in touch with us.

If you would like more information about booking a yacht, please reach out to your preferred yacht charter broker.

For more information about COVID-19, superyacht charter, travel updates and news, please refer to our Yacht Charter and Coronavirus Guide.

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