Current coronavirus situation affecting yacht charters
As of March 1st, the coronavirus has infected 89,000 people (recorded) and claimed the lives of 3,040, all but 128 in mainland China. See the live Coronavirus map here. There is a travel advisory to avoid Italy, a popular charter destination, for the time being. With Coronavirus cases recorded in both Croatia and Greece, traveling to these popular yacht charter destinations can be affected.
Planing a yacht charter in the world of Coronavirus
There are multiple scenarios that could adversely affect your yacht charter in Greece, Italy or Croatia. The primary risk is getting infected with the virus. The mortality is at 2%, nevertheless, it is significantly higher for people over that it. Please be aware that the flu mortality is .01%, therefore the Coronavirus can in no way be compared. That being said, it appears that the spreading in the US is catching up with Europe. For that reason, we will ignore the speculation of guessing if Europe or the USA poses a greater threat and will focus on practicalities.
The primary concern seems to be getting to and from the yacht charter. At the moment, travel to Italy is discouraged, but technically still possible. Nevertheless, more strict regulations might come at any moment. It is passionately discussed in the industry if such an event can be considered Force Majeure. The conclusion is that it depends on multiple factors, such as if the emergency has been declared by the country or the World Health Organisation. In any case, any complication in that department would create a mountain of issues, as any refunds would be relatively hard to obtain and would initially depend on the owner’s (of the yacht) goodwill, with an option to sue.
The “Coronavirus Clause” for yacht charters
For that reason, we are using a “Coronavirus Clause,” that is negotiated between the yacht owner and the client. In recent days, we have negotiated several contracts that include the clause to mitigate uncertainty in the event of travel complications. The “Coronavirus Clause” specifically addresses the situation and protects the client and the owner in the case of the Coronavirus affecting your yacht charter. Please inquire with us to proceed.
Nevertheless, most boats follow standard contracts provided by the yacht charter associations. These have, as of March 2nd, not released such a clause. Additionally, some boat managers are waiting for these clauses, so signing might not be possible for the time being. Again, charter associations are expected to release a clause any day.
Travel insurance – cancel for any reason
Note that it is not easy to identify all the possible ways the Coronavirus affects your yacht charter. We do recommend travel insurance with a “cancel for any reason” clause. The key attributes of this insurance are 75% coverage and 8-15% cost. A specific quote can be done on request.
I have already booked- what can I do if my charter is affected?
At this moment, only the Italian charters are affected in any way. Nevertheless, clients from all destinations are contacting us with concerns. As of May 2, an industry response is expected early this week. For the time being, there is no reason to postpone the summer vacation booking. We are aware of multiple instances where clients are interested in identical yacht/dates, in which case we can negotiate an option to book the boat once the situation is resolved (if it can’t be resolved now).