Charter Programs vs. Tailored Charter Ownership Solutions

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“Easy yacht ownership” is what many big charter fleet operators promise to those looking for an uncomplicated start into yacht ownership or those looking for an alternative way to finance their desired boat. For private investors, these so to speak “hassle-free” programs might look like the best choice.

If this sounds attractive to you too, continue reading! We will explain below what you can expect from a yacht ownership program and what other options you should consider.



You buy an option for a boat and can sail without worrying about the costs. These programs require the would-be yacht ‘buyer’ to pay an upfront cost, and they receive an annual income equivalent to approximately 6-9% of the purchase price during a contracted period, usually 5-7 years. Alternatively, he pays a lower upfront cost but won’t receive income (part financing/leasing programs).

Throughout this contracted period the charter operator is responsible for and pays for all the boat maintenance and management costs.

Shared or fractional ownership (also called time share) is a slightly different form of charter ownership programs. Fractional ownership means that you buy shares on a boat, but don’t have any influence on its maintenance and use.


  • It’s a less costly way of owning and maintaining a yacht.
  • It’s easier to get it financed (often by the charter fleet partner itself).
  • We can call it “hassle-free” since the charter fleet operator manages everything, and you don’t have to worry about your boat.
  • It’s standardized (again less to worry about).


  • Unlike buying a boat on your own and investing in your own charter business, with the programs you basically invest in another company (= the charter fleet operator).
  • You buy an option for a boat and the boat is not yours until it is fully paid or taken out of the program.
  • You will only get standard and not specific maintenance and you cannot choose the equipment. 
  • Owners in charter ownership programs normally have limited number of weeks per year available for their own use of the boat. Furthermore, you need to book the weeks much in advance and avoid the high season. Often, there is an automatic and impersonal point system used for this purpose.
  • You have a minimum contract duration (usually 4-7 years). 
  • The accounts are not transparent. As the owner, you would get no insight in the accounts and would not know exactly how your boat is performing in charter.


Most of the programs are available with big charter fleet operators like Sunsail, Mooring, Dream Yacht Charter just to name some. But there are also smaller, family run medium size fleets that also offer standardised programs with more personal approach. If you think that charter ownership program could be a good fit for you, do ask us for advice about how to choose your partner.

Let’s now see what other options there are and if or how they are better!


The alternative to a standard program is the tailored charter management.


Being the owner of your boat from the beginning, you assign a partner to find the best flexible solution for your needs and to run the charter management for your boat.


  • This solution, as the name already says, is tailored and flexible according to your wishes.
  • You invest in your own charter business from the beginning.
  • It is a much more personal approach, where you as owner can be part of the planning and the decisions.
  • You can have unlimited number of own weeks on your boat and decide yourself about the periods you want to use it.
  • It is unbound to a specific sailing region and you can switch the region whenever you like.
  • There is no minimum contract duration. Usually the contract is for one year or one charter season  and can be revised, renewed or terminated after that.
  • You will have a personalised maintenance according to your wishes.


  • You need to pay the full purchase price. The financing can be arranged with your local bank or a yacht financing company. 
  • There’s no “flatrate” or fixed amount for your annual income. Your income depends on the performance of the yacht in charter (= the number of booked weeks).
  • You need to be part of any decision or planning regarding your yacht.


Tailored charter management is offered by independent charter management companies with worldwide partner network who bring their own interest in representing you as owner and being your yacht’s central agency.

If you want to read further about the charter ownership programs and charter management, these articles might also be helpful:

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