This is a question that can have a lot of pre-qualifiers and there’s scope for wide variety of answers as it’s a broad question, but I will do my best.
I looked around the US for all sorts of yacht rentals. I looked at a variety of sailing locations from remote lakes in the mid West to sought after sailing destination in known tourist hotspots. I found that chartering a 30 ft yacht for an eight hour day with 6 guests was around $450-500. If you need a captain they are around $30 per hour with their boat. This cost can vary substantially depending on the what type of requirements you might need.
Here’s a list of some of the boats available with the data I retrieved;
New Jeanneau 40, 3 double cabins, New England , 6 berths, from $3500 per week
New Beneteau 39, 3 double cabins, Annapolis , 6 berths, from $2395 per week
1985 Hunter 40, 2 double cabins, sleeps 6, Chicago, from $450 per half day
1984 Hunter 31, Sleeps 6, Chicago, from $650 per half day (captain included, $1065 full day)
1987 Pearson 31, Sleeps 6, Chicago, from $450 per half day (captain included).
Catalina 32, Sleeps 6, Marina Del Ray, from $289 for 2 hours (captain included)
New Beneteau 43, 3 double cabins, Waikiki Beach, 6 people, from $535 for 4 hours(captain inc)
2006 Catalina 28, 2 cabins, San Diego, 6 people, from $390 per day (captain at $35 per hour)
1989 Beneateau First 22, 2 cabins, San Diego, 6 people, from $305 per day (captain at $35 per hour)
1999 Beneteau 28, 2 cabins, Lake Travis, Texas, 6 people, from $600 per day (captain extra, can rent by the hour)
27ft cruising monohull, Fernandina Beach, Florida, 6 people, $250 for 4 hours ($350 full day, captain included)
2010 cruising monohull 31ft, Boston, Massachusetts, 6 people ($375 per day, captain at $30 per hour)
2006, Catalina 27, 2 cabins, New York City, 5 people, from $445 per day (captain at $175)
So here are some of the things that make yachts more or less expensive than others.
How Luxurious or New is the Yacht
One thing I did find was that luxuriousness or a brand new yacht wasn’t highly significant to the price. Unlike an apartment or villa where this is highly valued, it seems as long as the yacht is a pleasant environment and well maintained then the price charged doesn’t vary too much. The new yachts may go first on chartering maybe but there seems to be demand out there so that well maintained and older yachts can charge similar prices.
I found 1990’s yachts around the 30ft range that were charging similar amounts to 2016 yachts. The pictures made both yachts look well maintained, cared for and safe for use in similar destinations and what struck me was the similarity in pricing. It seems people renting or chartering yachts are expecting an adventure and aren’t too worried if the seats are plush leather. This was a kind of surprising find.
So if you are on a budget, you may have to go for a smaller yacht, rather than one that is older.
How Many People are Chartering the Yacht
The number of people is kind of irrelevant when chartering a yacht as you are renting the yacht for a period of time so the number of people (up to a maximum for safety) does not factor into any pricing. I found no yacht charters that priced by the person as a base level. Some of the bigger yachts added a small premium after a certain amount had been reached but for yachts around 35ft this is not a factor at all.
Where it of course matters is in the sharing of the price. If you want to charter a yacht for a full day with a captain for $600 and you have 6 people then it will obviously be $100 per person as opposed $300 per person for just a couple. Again, if you are on a budget it would be a good idea to find another group of people who may want to share your adventure.
Location, Location, Location
I found a bit of a mixed bag here. While you’d expect Florida to be a bit more expensive than Montana. It’s not massively more expensive in the low season and that varies around the Country. Holiday Season at Fort Lauderdale I would expect to have a higher premium then other places.
How Big is the Yacht
This is an obvious factor and size can make a difference, however it’s not as large a difference as you might expect. The difference between a 30ft yacht to a 43ft Beneteau is quite large from an interior point of view. It can take more people on a days sail yet the price isn’t massively more expensive. Therefore for a large group, the cost per person will be smaller with a decent sized yacht.
What Time of Year are you Going to Charter your Yacht
No surprise here but you will be paying a bit more to charter a yacht in tourist destinations, but again, it does not appear to be massivle y more. I suspect it’s because a yacht is a moveable residence. Yachts can marina up in the winters in cheaper areas and move down to the tourist areas when the season brings in customers. I was a little surprised when I started looking at how much yachts cost to rent in different seasons.
I had expected to see rates much higher in the most common vacation seasons of the year. Particularly in late spring and throughout the summer. What I actually found was a bigger factor was whether you are chartering during a weekday or a weekend.
Which Days of the Week will you Want to Sail
Which days you choose to charter your yacht does effect the price you will be charged. As you might expect, weekends cost more than weekdays at nearly every yacht I looked at. Sailing on Saturday or a Sunday gives a 20% premium above the normal prices quoted.
So if you are on a budget, a big tip here would be to charter the boat on a Mon – Fri and you will receive a hefty discount to doing it on a Saturday,
Chartering For a Longer Period
Rather than choosing a single day to charter a small yacht (or even a large one) they are obviously available to rent for week long periods, particularly in the high seasons. You can save quiye a bit of money here, proportionally at least.
Take the Beneteau 39 I found, available for charter for $2395 per week (without captain). Every day therefore is around $340 per day. As a 40ft yacht with 3 double cabins it can sleep 6 quite comfortably. So if 6 people hire the yacht for a week then that’s less than $60 per person per day. About the same cost as a reasonably decent hotel room, so it could be quite a good holiday getaway if you want to get away for a bit.
Chartering a Yacht – Some Quick Tips
So you may want to charter a yacht? For some it will be because they have never been on a yacht before, and for some it will be to try a different style or size of yacht. For some it will just be a simple adventure.
There is normally a small additional charge, about 30% cost of the yacht for a captain to be present. If you don’t have much sailing experience then one will be required, and if you do then you will often need to provide some evidence of your sailing history. Somebody is giving their precious yacht to you so this isn’t entirely unwarranted.
During research I found a useful site, I would recommend GetMyBoat.com – a good charter can be found there.