ZEDRA – The buyer’s journey

Andrew Wilson Zedra Aviation and MarineAndrew Wilson, Head of Aviation and Marine, ZEDRA, Isle of Man, looks at the points to consider if you’re relocating your yacht from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean this autumn

The Mediterranean marinas from Kalamata to Capri to Ibiza have thinned out as work and school resume and summer yields to autumn. The sensible option is to ship your yacht across the Atlantic, however if you’re planning to cross under your own propulsion – either for chartering or for the winter holidays – below are tips to consider before crossing.

It can take about two weeks to do a transatlantic crossing. First, ensure the seaworthiness of your yacht and make sure you’re in compliance with safety regulations, the Atlantic can be tough on the yacht and crew. Lock down all moveable items from furniture and galley items to anything else that can move. Loose items can fly around during rough seas and hurt a crew member, damage your yacht, or both.

Have your crew confirm they are well prepared and discuss their plan in as much detail as possible. Determine whether your regular crew or a delivery crew will do the crossing. You won’t need a full crew, but you will need a sufficient level of coverage to operate safely. Make sure your crew are certified and insurers well informed of any crew changes.

Your captain will take weather forecasting, currents, and a fuel stop into account as part of the route planning process. The route from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean is through the Strait of Gibraltar and then westward across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. Some crews may stop at the Canary Islands, Cape Verde or the Azores to fuel-up and break up the journey.

The typical time of year for these crossings is mid to late autumn, which is the end of the hurricane season. Make sure crew monitor weather to avoid hurricane and storm activity. And ensure that your yacht’s technology and navigation systems are in top form. Also, make sure there are up-to-date emergency plans in place and agreed with insurers.

Fuel stop(s)
Remember to contact the fuel provider and schedule your fuelling appointments well before the journey begins and build any stops into your itinerary. If fuel quality is a concern, have it validated as quality can vary around the world. Plan this aspect of the journey out carefully and build in a contingency plan.

Make sure the route you’re planning to take is covered by your insurance policy. A simple read through the policy wording and geographic coverage will suffice. However, it’s crucial to share your itinerary with your insurance broker before the voyage so there is awareness and underwriters confirm cover. In the event of an insurance claim you will have comfort that full disclosure was made at the outset. Speak with your insurance broker to ensure your regular insurance is appropriate coverage for the crossing.

After the budget is finalised, make sure the committed funds will be available to pay additional delivery crew, fuel, taxes (if any), and operational costs. Note that fuel will be the single largest expense item in your budget. It will be at least 20% of the total budget, for regular fuel.

Also, if you plan to charter your vessel in the Caribbean, keep in mind the time commitment needed to pack up on both ends of the journey plus the time to do the crossing and make the yacht ‘guest ready’. Cleaning required from the crossing will take extra time. This time should also be backed out of earnings projections for your chartered vessel.

Depending on where the yacht is in the EU there could be a customs export declaration to make for departing, and despite the act of crossing the frontier from domestic to international waters is well recognised and written into the EU Customs Code, there is increased awareness to support this with a formal customs declaration. The type of export declaration will depend on the current status in the EU and future plans to return to the EU or not.

In the Caribbean, charter taxes may be due depending on size and cruising itinerary, a local agent is essential to avoid non- compliance, your charter manager should know the rules locally. This is not an operational cost but a consumer tax collected from the charterer and paid to local authorities.

A transatlantic crossing is a significant undertaking. There are multiple variables to be carefully managed. Make sure you have an excellent crew, plan early, and incorporate safety into every aspect of your planning.

Yacht ownership – regardless of yacht type – is complex. Having the right partners on hand who can support an owner with their structuring needs is key.

For more details
Tel: +44 1624 850500
or visit www.zedra.com