THE DOLLARS AND SENSE
With The Moorings Power ownership program
( www.mooringspower.com), you are buying into the
Moorings “family.” Your new 37- or 47-foot power cat,
with your chosen name, will be put into one of the
Moorings Power fleets in Mexico, the Bahamas, or the
British Virgin Islands.
Although every charter company handles its fleet
differently, Barb and Vic Hansen’s Southwest Florida
Yachts ( www.swfyachts.com) is a good example of a
successful private company. Based at two modern resort
marinas on Florida’s west coast, Southwest Florida
Yachts currently has more than 15 powerboats in charter
service. There are no limits on the time you can use your
boat, and if you’ve scheduled a cruise and a charter is
requested, you’ll be given the choice of chartering the
boat or continuing with your own time aboard.
SFY offers fleet insurance and discounted dockage, for
which the owner pays. The owner also is responsible for
maintenance and annual haulout costs. In return, owners
receive 50 percent of the gross charter revenues, paid
on a monthly basis with detailed accounting.
In the Pacific Northwest, the Ouilette brothers, Nick
and Dean, have expanded their 25 years of experience
at Bellingham Yachts’ sales and brokerage to include
charters of the Downeast-style Sabre and Back Cove
boats they sell. They’ve also added a Selene 53 trawler
to the charter fleet, the first of several they expect to offer.
Their flexible program lets owners manage as much or
as little of the charter operations as they wish. Putting a
boat into charter allows owners to avoid the Washington
State sales tax, but tax is collected on the charter fees.
our horizons are drawn to a diameter of our cruising
speed multiplied by a day or two. A long-awaited
annual vacation may put only a few hundred miles
in your logbook.
Chartering, on the other hand, allows you to explore
the world—one chunk at a time. A few hours of seat
time in a modern jet can take you to places that you’d
need months to reach by water. Depending on
your tolerance for jet lag, you can even spend a
long weekend cruising new waters many time zones
Even if you’re able to take the time for a long
cruise, you may want to charter in a few spots that
you’d otherwise miss. If you’re cruising the Caribbean,
it’s a long haul by boat to see the fjords of Norway
or the Swedish archipelago. With the swipe of a
credit card and the purchase of a trashy novel for
in-flight entertainment, you can be chipping ice
from a glacier or sipping aquavit literally in hours.
Isn’t chartering wonderful?
Besides being a great way to sample the smorgasbord
of great boating destinations worldwide, chartering also
is pretty easy on the pocketbook. Unless you go off the
deep end and pick a megayacht with a dozen crew
members, you’re probably not going to spend much
more than you’d invest in a week at a five-star golf
resort. Add up the cost of the rooms for two or three
couples, the cost of dining at the hotel (not to mention
having to wait for seating!), and then the nickel-and-diming for beach chair rentals and tropical drinks that
cost more than a bottle of rum.
Besides, when you grow tired of the view from your
“room” on the charter yacht, you can hoist anchor and
find a new vista without having to tip a single bellman.
THE CHARTER AS MARRIAGE SAVER
If you’re reading these pages, you’re as much a
romantic as I am. Your dreams probably run heavily
to postcard views of the peaks of Moorea, reefs packed
with colorful tropical fish, and the joys of cruising.
But—and this is important—those dreams may not
be on that mental movie screen inside the eyelids of
your spouse. Some people love the sea and everything
about it. Others can take it or leave it. And more
than a few think that living aboard is tantamount
to waterboarding at Guantanamo. Round up some
terrorists, pack them on a boat, and send them cruising:
they’ll tell you everything.
Chartering for a week or two can, pardon the cliché,
test the waters for your future plans. Living in relatively
close quarters, especially if you’ve enjoyed thousands of
square feet of home, can be daunting. The military
understands the problem clearly and spends a great
deal of time and effort screening candidates for duty
on submarines and at remote outposts.
Any cruising boat, large or small, can be a petri dish
that serves as a breeding ground for emotional conflict.
Stir in some bad weather, and you can reach the
It’s likely that you chose your mate long before you
selected a boat, and I can assure you that, based on my
personal experience, it’s a lot easier and less expensive
to get rid of a boat than a mate. Before you sell the
house and car to head over the horizon, use chartering
to see if everyone is as enthusiastic about cruising as
you. If not, well, the cost of a charter is nothing