In my case the guaranteed income
will end up being about 45% of the cost of the boat, but their guaranteed trade-in is about 50%, so over the course of the contract
, the income
probably won't quite keep up with the depreciation. The real cost is the cost of your money
. One either has to come up with the cash and forgo what you would have earned on that money
or has the cost of a loan on a rather expensive boat. If you'd be spending this much on another boat anyways, this isn't an issue, but personally, I'd otherwise be buying
a used boat
for about 35-40% as much. Also, I have to declare the guaranteed income as income at tax time, and although this is largely offset by the writing off the depreciation, it does have a negative effect on the bottom line. The last thing is that even though I own the boat, I still have to pay an "owner's fee" (about $50/day for the boat for me, but this will vary depending on the boat.) This covers all the things I don't own such as the dingy, dishes, linen service
, etc as well as all the water
, ice and fuel
one needs from the Moorings Base. I feel it's very reasonable for "vacation cruising" - but again, it's different than the costs you'd see with a boat not in charter and should be considered in your decision making.
As you said, they pay all my storage
. Maintaining the paperwork and deciding when I want to use the boat are about the only obligations I have. The big question about the economics of course, is what the boat is worth at the end of the charter period. However, even if the boat was worth nothing at the end, I'd probably still come out ahead compared to chartering for the same amount of time.
Previous to buying my Moorings boat, I owned a couple pocket cruisers one of which I kept in Florida
that I usually sailed about 7 weeks a year (and worked on for another 2 weeks). When I wanted to upgrade to a larger boat, I realized that for about the same average yearly cost of owning, insuring and storing a 40K used boat
, I could own a new 120K Moorings boat. The weeks of owner use were similar to what I'd use anyways. In addition to not having maintenance costs, I don't spend any of my vacation
time doing boat maintenance and have no maintenance headaches. It's also nice to not be tied to one cruising area. I should also mention that as the owner, you don't have some of the limitations and encouragement the charter people would have. For example, on my last trip to the Virgin Islands
, I didn't do the chart briefing and headed almost immediately outside their normal area and down to the Spanish Virgins.
Obviously, when a boat is in charter, you as an owner can't go sit on it for an evening or take it out for a weekend sail. I also can't take the boat on an extended cruise
(longer than 8 or so weeks) while it's in charter. Since I live over 1000 miles from the nearest ocean, and this fits my vacation
time well, these things are not issues for me, but would be for many cruisers.
The one criticism I often hear about owning a charter boat is that they get a lot of use by people who may not care or be knowledgeable in taking care of the boat, and therefore the boats end up in bad shape. So far, I personally have mixed reactions to this idea. On the one hand, I do think it's true that charter boats get a a lot of use and some abuse. On the other hand, charterers are paying a fair bit to rent a boat for a week, so companies like the Moorings have a good incentive to keep the boat operating in good condition. I also like that they have been in the business long enough to know how their boats will be used and many of these things have been incorporated into the design from the beginning and are not retrofitted later. (For example, built in autopilots, roller furling
, gravity fed holding tanks
, fridge, chart plotter, etc.)
Personally, if my goal was get a fairly new boat inexpensively, I think I'd be disappointed in the end because of all the wear and tear. Even though I own the boat, I view it more as buying into a program that allows me to sail at a fraction of the cost of chartering and without the geographic limitations and upkeep headaches of normal ownership
. From this respect, I've been very pleased - at least two years into the program.
A couple added notes:
I also have mixed feelings about some of the comforts added to charter boats. For example: Hot and cold pressurized water
is something many guests appreciate, but it also makes it easy for people to waste water and if you want to keep the boat at the end of the contract
, you have more complex systems to maintain. In my previous pocket cruisers, I could easily identify, get at and fix any electrical
problem myself. I know I'll never understand all the intricacies and complexities of these systems on my Moorings boat. Many are hidden behind liners and bulkheads. While this isn't an issue while it's in the charter program, it's one reason, I'm tentative to keep the boat after the program is over. I forsee more cruising time in my future, so I think I'll probably go back to traditional ownership after the contract is up, but I have no regrets so far about buying a Moorings boat. I'm doing as much sailing as ever, in more locations with few headaches.
I also looked into Sunsail. For me the decision to go with the Moorings was based mostly on the fact that their owner time schedule worked better for me. Also worth mentioning, is that while Sunsail and the Moorings are now owned by the same parent company and are sharing some resources at the Tortola base, according to the owner, there are no current
plans to murge them, for the near future at least, will remain fairly independantly run. Also of note is that at the end of the Moorings contract, one can put their yacht into the Footloose program for an additional three years. If you want to continue on indefinately, it makes more financial sense to take the guaranteed trade-in on another Moorings boat, but the footloose option is a great backup if you want to put your boat on the market, but not have insurance
and storage fees
, or you are a couple years away from wanting to take the boat and run (sail).
The above are all my personal feelings as an owner in the program, but please don't take any of it as fact as to how anything now operates. Contact the appropriate charter companies to learn more about their current