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3 Things to NEVER Do (and 1 to ALWAYS Do) During Thailand Yacht Charter Vacation

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Recently, we blogged about the Thai government’s efforts to lift the restrictions that kept superyacht charter vessels away from Thailand.  Now that the door has been opened for foreign-flagged yachts (and American charterers and tourists), let’s look at some cultural taboos that could save you from being branded an “Ugly American.”

Woman making shocked face - black and white


Keep in mind almost 95% of the Thai population is Buddhist. As in much of southeast Asia, there are cultural taboos that non-Buddhists would not know, some of which are considered religiously offensive.


Three things NOT to do on your yacht charter Thailand:

  • Avoid touching or passing any object over the top of anyone’s head, as a person’s head is viewed as the most sacred body part.  Related to this  – Do not touch anyone’s head.
  • Don’t point your foot at any person, and don’t use your foot to move anything, as the foot is viewed as the lowliest body part.  Remember to never put your feet up on a table or any furniture. [I thought my mother-in-law was Italian, but now I’m thinking she was Thai, as she always scolded her son for putting his feet on the coffee table while watching TV!!!]

Baby between two adult feet with traditional no symbols on the feet

  • Try never to point, especially with your index finger, as it is considered extremely rude. [Think of President Bill Clinton – he always used his thumb to point, never his index finger.  Funny, he doesn’t strike me as a Buddhist!]


Here’s one thing to ALWAYS do:

  • Always use your right hand to pass or receive an object.  [Sorry left-handed charterers.]

Right hand thumbs up

One of the great joys of a yachting vacation is the Superyacht Experience – the chance to embrace diversity, participate in unique cultural events, and rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit.  By avoiding these taboos, think how much more enjoyable your Phuket yacht charter vacation will be.  You won’t offend the wonderful people of Thailand, and your mother won’t scold you for putting your feet up on the yacht’s furniture!


For more information on chartering a yacht in Thailand, contact 1-800 Yacht Charters at +1.800.922.4824 (toll free in North America) or +1.305.253.7245 (local and international) or use our convenient online contact form right now. #knowbeforeyougo #yachtcharter

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Ask the Pros: Are Private Yacht Charter Boats As Safe As Cruise Ships?

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“My neighbor recently rented a boat with a crew for a family vacation in the Virgin Islands. It sounds like fun but I wonder if it’s safer to take a cruise on a big ship.  Any thoughts that might sway me? Thanks.”

Marilyn W, Miami, FL

Great question, Marilyn. In our opinion, private yachts are actually safer.

Cruise ships visit numerous ports of call (often referred to as, “tourist traps”).  It’s no secret that pickpockets and other petty-theft criminals prey on unsuspecting tourists in these busy tourist areas.  Private yachts tend to stay away from these hot spots, and since the yachts are smaller, they can anchor in small, quiet (un-crowded) coves.

Speaking of crowds, there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of strangers onboard a cruise ship. We’ve all seen the news reports about Norovirus breakouts on cruise ships. In their defense, the cruise lines are diligent in cleaning their vessels, but with so many people onboard, it’s a tough task.  That’s not the case on a Virgin Island yacht charter vessel – the only people onboard are you and your private crew.

Children jumping off of the back of a sailboat into the ocean

In terms of training, both the crews on cruise ships and private yachts are trained to international standards in case of the rare chance of an onboard emergency.  Remember – the crew on a private yacht has to attend to the yacht’s owner when charter guests are not onboard. It’s a safe bet that most yacht owners want the finest professionals operating their yachts!


What do you think?  Do you agree with our opinion?  Are private yachts safer than cruiseships?  Please comment below.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Ask the Yacht Charter Pros: How to Pay Less VAT (Tax) on a France Yacht Charter Vacation?

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“I’m planning a 10 day private yacht charter in St. Tropez and the South of France in July. My broker say VAT is 20%. That’s seems a lot. Is there way to not pay this?”
Xavier E, Barcelona, Spain

Answer provided by Jana Sheeder, President 1-800 Yacht Charters:

“The bad news, Xavier, is all charters that take place in a European Union (EU) country are subject to VAT (Value Added Tax). However, we have good news as well – there is a simple, legal strategy that can cut your VAT expense in half.

Instead of paying 20%, this strategy will reduce your VAT to 10% of your base charter fee – a significant savings!

VAT EU logo yacht charter france
Each EU country can set their own level of VAT on commercial yachts for hire. In France, if the yacht undertakes a coastal cruise in French territorial waters, the VAT is 20% of the base charter fee (the base fee is the cost to rent the yacht before factoring in other running expenses such as food, dockage, etc.). So, for example, if you began your charter in Saint Tropez, and cruised along the Côte d’Azur and concluded your trip in Antibes, you would incur a VAT expense of 20%.

However, IF you plan a portion of your charter to cruise in international waters, your legal responsibility for VAT drops to 10% – a savings of 50%!

So how do you do this? Here’s how: When you are planning your itinerary with the yacht’s captain prior to the commencement of your charter, let the captain know that you would like to, “visit a port that requires you to cruise in international waters and beyond the coast of France.”

You could, for example, leave the French coast and cruise to the island of Sardinia. This is approximately a 5-7 hour cruise from the South of France.

{TIP: ask your captain to undertake this crossing overnight, while you and your guests are sleeping. Then, when you rise in the morning, you’ll be able to spend a full day, or longer along the coastline of this fabled Italian island before heading back to France}.

So there you have it – with a little strategic planning, a slight deviation in your St Tropez yacht charter can result in big savings; possibly thousands of Euros depending upon the cost of your charter.”


Photograph of Jana Sheeder sitting on a yacht

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters and 1-800 BAREBOAT

Have a question about a yacht charter vacation?

Submit your question to me, and our team will help you.

If we print your question in our blog, we’ll send you a complimentary Eco-tote bag.

Email me at

Thank you and keep those questions coming!!!


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Debunked – 3 Common Myths About Hiring A Private Yacht Charter Broker

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While direct booking of a self-drive bareboat is common and the norm, the same cannot be said for renting a crewed yacht. Organizing vacations on crewed yachts, especially ultra-expensive superyacht charter vessels, requires the assistance of an intermediary since few owners have the time, patience, or interest in dealing directly with prospective charter customers.  After all, few yacht owners became billionaires by chatting with strangers on the phone!

It’s hard to dispute the important role retail brokers play in arranging crewed private yacht charter vacations. Most have an extensive understanding of the industry, including the first-hand experience of inspecting charter yachts, interviewing the crews, and preparing charter agreements.  A good broker is key to a successful and unforgettable superyacht experience.

Using a retail yacht charter broker, however, is not a guarantee of a great yachting vacation.  There are many misconceptions – some promulgated by the brokers themselves.  Exposing these fallacies can save headaches and’s look at, and debunk, three common myths associated with the services of a retail charter broker:


MYTH #1:  Every Broker will get you the Same Exact Price.

This is the most common misconception, and many brokers will quickly use this line to encourage a prospective client not to call other competitors. While it’s true there is a published “rack” rate available to all retail brokers, just like upscale resorts, villas, and jets, sometimes there are multiple pricing options.

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters explains: “In situations where we have delivered multiple charters to a particular yacht owner, we are in a unique position to secure ‘best column pricing’ for our preferred clients – prices that other retails brokers cannot obtain.

Jana Sheeder photo

Sheeder goes on to explain how relationships and reputations also play a role in securing preferred pricing.  “If you’re honest and respectful, over the years, you build relationships with captains and yacht managers.  I can’t tell you how many times we have reached out to a captain to ask for a professional courtesy discount for one of our clients.  The captains have the ear of the owner and often can encourage an owner who would normally not offer any discounts, to give our client a special rate.”

The bottom line  – the best brokers can, on occasion, secure rates not available to other brokers.  When considering the hiring of your charter broker, directly ask the broker if all brokers gets the same prices.  If he or she says “Yes,” move on and find another broker!


MYTH #2:  The Charter Broker’s Commission is Paid by the Yacht Owner, and not by the Charterer.

While it serves as a great marketing phrase for many brokers, saying “My advice to you is free,” it’s simply not true.  Yes, the commission check received by the broker comes from the yacht owner’s account, but just as in real estate, the list prices have been adjusted to account for the fees earned by brokers.

Sheeder bristles at the notion of free advice. “Many brokers are quick to state their services are free, and you’ll see this marketing slogan prominently displayed on their websites.  We have greater respect for our clients.  While there is great value in the services we offer – nothing is free, and an educated consumer is aware that the prices offered by a yacht owner include the cost of the retail charter broker’s services.” 

This is even more evident when booking a bareboat yacht charter, as bareboat companies take in direct reservations and will often give customers discounts of 10 to 15%  – the amount they save if no charter broker is involved.

Sheeder feels complete transparency is the best course of action.  “We tell our clients exactly how much our services cost in terms of a commission.  We don’t apologize for what we earn, and we bend over backwards to deliver killer customer service.  I believe our clients appreciate our confidence and our candor.”

Sample luxury yacht charter competitors’ promises to you:

“Our advice is free…”
“…provide you with free advice…”

The bottom line
– don’t fall for flashy marketing terms and buzzwords.  Nothing is for free, and you, the buyer, are paying the cost of the charter reservation services rendered to you.


two hands, palms up, holding a green post-it not that reads, ADVICE



MYTH #3:  Charter Brokers Offer Unbiased Advice.

Many brokers are employees of large yacht management companies.  These companies, sometimes called “Central Agents,” handle crew placement, yacht sales, and charter management.

Sheeder explains how this multi-service model can lead to bias on the part of a retail broker:  “A retail broker who is employed by a central agency is in a position to present a potential charterer with yachts that are managed in-house.  Not only is a commission generated when an in-house managed yacht is booked for a charter, but an additional ‘management’ fee is earned by the central agency.” 

In other words, a central agency makes more money when their own retail brokers book yachts in their own fleet. Those yachts are not necessarily the best choice for your customized charter.


The bottom line – To minimize bias, Sheeder recommends retaining an independent retail yacht charter broker.  Similar to hiring an independent insurance agent who represents multiple product lines, an independent charter broker is more likely to present prospective clients with yacht selections from a multitude of Central Agency fleets.


Understanding the myths and misconceptions of the role of a retail yacht charter broker is fundamental to any successful yachting vacation.  Having a full-time industry expert to offer objective, transparent advice can be invaluable in creating your ultimate superyacht experience.


Thinking about a private charter vacation?  Speak to the industry team with more than 30 years’ experience.  Call 1-800 Yacht Charters today at 1-800-922-4824 or 305-253-7245, or fill out our convenient online contact form here.

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FWC: Boating safety education requirements in FL change for 2010

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Thanks to Lee Stephens for this article. 

This article is beneficial to people who enjoy private yacht charter vacations or who operate their own private yacht or enjoy sail boat charters.

Boating safety education requirements have changed in Florida effective January 1, 2010.

Boat operators who were born on or after January 1, 1988 must pass an approved boating safety course and possess photographic identification and a boating safety education identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to legally operate a boat with a motor of 10 horsepower or more.

We want to encourage everyone, regardless of when they were born, to take an approved boating safety education course, because all of us can learn something new, even if we have been boating all our lives,” said Captain Carol Keyser of FWC’s boating and waterways section. “For some, it is now required to take the course.”

There are a few exceptions. For instance, a person born on or after January 1, 1988, who operates a boat within 90 days after purchasing it, does not need a boating safety education identification card if a bill of sale, which meets the requirements of Florida law, is onboard. After the 90-day period ends, the boat operator needs to meet the educational requirements. Those who possess a current United States Coast Guard license are also exempt.

Boating safety education course - Florida Bobbercard

For inquiries, contact FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement at 1-850-488-5600.

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Is it a yacht, ship, or boat?

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What is the difference between a yacht, a ship, and a boat?

What is the difference between a yacht, boat, and a ship?

One naval recruit said that it is common lore that a ship rolls outward in a turn, while a boat rolls inward.

Other definitions:

  • You can fit a boat inside a ship, but you cannot fit a ship inside a boat.
  • A ship is a commercial vessel such as a passenger ship, a freighter, or a tanker. A boat is smaller – could be a fishing boat, a dinghy, a sailboat, a row boat, a charteryacht tender, etc., and could actually be fairly large.
  • Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters and 1-800 BAREBOAT says that a yacht is a personally-owned pleasure “boat,” often used for super yacht charters or crewed catamaran charters, and is either a sail boat or a power boat or both — but it is not a ship.
  • A ship is used for commercial purposes, whereas a yacht is used purely for recreational purposes, like yacht charter vacations. Size does not matter.
  • The distinction between a ship and a boat varies depending on regional definitions, but as a general rule, a boat can fit onto a ship, but a ship cannot fit onto a boat. A ship, in other words, is a very large ocean-going vessel, while a boat tends to be much smaller. Additionally, a ship usually is defined as having a displacement larger than 500 tons. During the age of sailing, a craft with three or more rigged masts was considered to be a ship, but this definition has been superseded, as different methods of power generation are used on modern ships.
  • Watercraft that we typically associate with the category of “ship” include cruiseships, container ships, aircraft carriers, destroyers, tall ships, and frigates. All of these ships are extremely large and are designed to endure potentially long ocean voyages. Traditionally, they required a very large crew of skilled sailors to manage them, although some ships, especially container ships, are growing increasingly easier to run with only a small crew. This is thanks to the development of sophisticated computer systems and improved mechanization, among other things. These ships are also capable of carrying a large volume of cargo, people, or a combination of both.
  • Typical examples of boats include powerboats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, umiaks, and tugboats. Boats tend to be easier to maneuver than ships, but they are not capable of carrying as much cargo. Boats are also not equipped for long voyage, and some boats will not fare well on the open ocean.
  • A ship requires a crew of people to run smoothly, while a boat can often be handled by one person, alone. The system of authority on board a ship is also very clear-cut, with crew members organized into ranks. When a boat is large enough to have a crew, the members of the crew often work together under the captain. Depending upon the size of the yacht and the amenities and lifestyle promoted aboard, private luxury yacht charter vessels can carry as few as 2 crewmembers to as many as 40, with crew members including captain, first mate, mate, chef, hostesses, masseuse, and others.
  • Ships also usually carry boats on board, in the form of life rafts and rescue boats. These boats are also sometimes used to transport people and supplies between the ship and the shore, since very large ships cannot fit into some harbors, due to their draft or inability to fit under a particular bridge. [Thanks, wisegeek!] 


Many articles have been written about 1-800 Yacht Charters (aka SailAway Yacht Charters), crewmembers, celebrity clients, and yachting vacations.

Do you have another answer for the difference between a yacht, a ship, and a boat? Contact us HERE and let us know! 

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Malta Eases Restrictions On Private Yachts That Carry Over 12 Passengers

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Yacht marina in Malta with superyacht in foreground and Maltese flag flying above marina



One of the biggest hurdles for large families and groups seeking to enjoy a private yacht charter vacation has been partially lifted by the yachting registration authorities in Malta.


In late December, 2016, Transport Malta, the administrative authority that oversees regulations for yachts flying the flag of Malta, introduced new guidelines for private yachts that carry more than 12 guests.

Long a stumbling block to the charter industry, most private charter vessels, no matter the size, were restricted to carrying no more than 12 passengers, even if enough cabins were available to accommodate more than 12 guests.  Yacht owners who wanted to bypass this restriction were forced to build their vessels to standards established for commercial ships and cruise liners – adding enormous costs to the project.  Most yacht owners elected to avoid the extra costs and burdensome regulations – and built luxury charter vessels for 12 or fewer guests.

Maltese authorities saw an opportunity to reduce restrictions on private yachts built to high safety standards, and to allow these safe, well-built and professionally-operated vessels to carry more than 12 passengers.  Ivan Sammut, registrar general for the Maltese flag, explain how Malta saw a gap in the market. “You have to evolve to stay relevant in this marketplace,” states Sammut. “Malta hopes to be more than just a European flagging alternative; we have a holistic view of the superyacht market and want to become a turnkey destination for private and commercial superyachts alike.”

The new certification, summarized in the “Guidelines for Pleasure Yachts Carriage Capacities,” is part of an ongoing Maltese initiative to introduce contemporary standards in the area of private yachting.  To qualify, a superyacht seeking to register in Malta and fly the Maltese flag:

  • Must be over 24 meters.
  • Not navigate beyond 150nm (nautical miles) from safe haven.
  • Be in class and in possession of the necessary stability booklet.
  • Comply with the Maltese Commercial Yacht Code.
  • Comply with all applicable international conventions.
  • Carry requisite safety equipment based on the number of persons on board.
  • Maintain a crew compliment in line with the commercial yacht code.

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters, views the new regulations as long overdue. “It’s discouraging to turn away a large, extended families of 13 or more from their dream of enjoying the superyacht experience together on one yacht.  We anticipate many superyacht owners with vessels that feature cabins and capacity for more than 12 guests to register their yachts in Malta.  This is one more contemporary component in the growth of our private luxury yacht charter industry, and we hope other flagging authorities will follow Malta’s lead.”

Interested in a luxury yachting experience for your large family?  Text “MORE THAN 12” to 305-720-7245 for more information or fill out our convenient online booking form, and our team will be in touch with you right away.

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New Croatia Yacht Charter VAT Regulations

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Photo of harbor full of anchored sailboat hulls



Back in January, 2014, we alerted our clients to new rules regarding a VAT increase imposed on Croatia yacht charter rentals.  At that time, the government increased the VAT rate from 10 % to 13%, to help combat the country’s economic woes.

To offset this tax burden, we encouraged our clients to commence their charters in nearby Montenegro, then cruise into Croatian waters, tax-free.

Alas, good things sometimes come to an end…

Effective this month, new regulations take effect and eliminate the loophole that allowed tax-free cruising in Croatia.



In February, the Croatian Ministry of Maritime Affairs announced the regulations that govern the Croatia yacht charter market would be amended to, “…bring the regulations in line with other European Union Member States.”  The main change was the imposition of VAT on charters starting outside of Croatia.

As succinctly  explained by 1-800 Yacht Charters company president,  Jana Sheeder,

“As of May 1st, 2018, charters commencing outside Croatia that then cruise into Croatia, will now have to pay 13% VAT on the time spent in Croatian waters.”


The new regulations are not retroactive.  Thus, any charters booked prior to the regulation change are exempt.



On a positive note, other regulation changes designed to encourage an increase in yacht charter Croatia activity will also go into effect.  The government has lifted the restriction that banned non-European Union charter yachts under 40 meters from chartering in Croatia.  As explained by Rory Jackson of SuperyachtNews, “These restrictions, which prohibited non-EU commercial vessels under 40m chartering in Croatia, had been implemented to bolster the domestic market. However, they proved to be more costly than beneficial.”

Non EU flagged yachts under 40 meters will need to secure a charter license to operate in Croatia. The license will be required even if the charter starts outside Croatia.

Are you considering a private yacht charter vacation in Croatia or elsewhere in the Mediterranean this summer?  Click for a sampling of superyachts available this summer.

Come enjoy The Superyacht Experience as only 1-800 Yacht Charters can deliver!

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