Fractional yacht ownership is one of the way to own a yacht that might suit your needs.

For most people, owning a luxury yacht means the freedom to move whenever and wherever they want with maximum comfort. However, it is rare to be able to use it 100% of the time. There are options to counteract the time the boat is not is used, and one of the most profitable and comfortable is fractional ownership.

Shared yacht ownership may be for you. But do you know exactly what it means and entails?

Let’s review the pros and cons of this ownership method to assess whether this can suit you, or whether you should continue chartering yachts or owning one fully.

What is fractional yacht ownership?

Fractional boat ownership is exactly what it sounds like. It allows you to own a part of a yacht for usage time on board. You legally own a piece of it as an asset, and like a company share or a bond, you can sell or transfer it. 

People have been sharing boats through informal partnerships with friends or family members for eons. Fractional boat ownership is simply a formalization of these arrangements which offers you more legal protection in case of conflicts. 

Each owner pays an equity stake in the vessel depending on what percentage of the purchase they want. 

In return, each owner is allotted a set number of days they are allowed to use the boat each year proportionally to their investment. 

On top of the share, the owners have to pay an annual maintenance fee to the management company taking care of managing the calendar, crew, and maintenance of the boat throughout the year.

Fractional boat ownership is different from a time-share which only gives you the rights of property used for a certain amount of time. Once your time is over, your investment also is.

To help you to decide if fractional yacht ownership is right for you, here are the pros and cons you might consider.

The Pros of fractional yacht ownership

By sharing the purchase price, but also the operating and maintenance costs between the owners, fractional boat ownership lightens your investment considerably, allowing you to make serious savings. Financially, but not only.

Fractional boat ownership will also help you to save time on managing different aspects. Indeed, the management company will take care of it – from hiring a crew to coordinating maintenance, to managing the calendar among all owners, to deal with marinas. If you don’t use the yacht, the management company will help you to charter it.

When you use your time aboard, you are free to invite anyone you want. This kind of program is often located in an area, but with the majority of other owner’s agreements, you can cruise the boat in new locations.

If you no longer wish to own a fraction of the yacht, most fractional ownership agreements allow you to easily sell your fractional shares to someone else. Since this kind of program keeps the yachts well-maintained, the value of your share will not devalue so quickly and you’ll be able to more easily change boats than with full ownership.

Furthermore, some fractional ownership organizations maintain fleets that allow you to use a different yacht, enjoy another location, or make up for time lost because of weather or maintenance issues. 

The Cons of fractional yacht ownership

The main drawback of fractional yacht ownership is obviously that you have to share your boat with other owners

Some downsides include that even if you own a part of the yacht, you can’t do whatever you want with it. For example, You can’t personalize a fractionally owned yacht. In fact, you probably won’t have a say on the outfitting or the decoration at all.

You don’t have a lot of flexibility either to use your yacht whenever you want. The yacht isn’t at your disposal all the time and itineraries are planned in a way that you choose your slot in advance. Your last-minute getaways are therefore compromised. 

It also means that the boat might not be available for the particular dates you would like to use it. Read properly the agreement, as some of them allow first come – first served during the unscheduled time if no maintenance is required.

When it comes to moving the yacht, most of the owners have to agree on the destination, so you can be stuck with one area, which can be an issue if you are planning on moving a lot. To relocate your yacht for an extended period of time, you will usually need every owner’s approval. 

On the other hand, most owners may decide to move the boat to an area you don’t particularly like. If you were to charter a boat, you would simply pay a moving fee, but in this case, you are stuck!

Depending on the contract, it is possible that if the majority of the owners want to sell the ship, it can get sold out from under you. So read it carefully!

In fact, the main disadvantage of fractional yacht ownership lies in its name: you only own a portion of the yacht, which means you are not in full control of your property.

Is Fractional yacht ownership for you?

To know  if fractional boat ownership is for you or not, answer these different questions:

  • Is it important for you to be in total control of your yacht?
  • Do you have time and funds to deal with your yacht’s maintenance costs?
  • Are you planning to sail in one area or to explore the world?
  • Is having a customized yacht important to you?
  • Are you flexible on dates?

Depending on your answers, fractional yacht ownership can be, or not a good option for you.  If you want to save on costs, if you are likely to use it several times throughout the year in one particular region, if you know which boat you want or if you want to invest in a yacht to charter it, then go for shared boat ownership.

For people who don’t want to deal with the hassles of single-ownership, it is also a solution to consider.

On the other hand, people who like changes, whether it’s to try out numerous yachts or to change regions often, are better off sticking with yacht chartering.

For those who don’t want to share and can’t stand the idea of being a co-owner, buying your boat is likely your best option if you can afford it. 

Keep in mind that most fractional yacht ownership programs concern large yachts, like superyachts and mega yachts which require crew. If you enjoy captaining your boat and your friends and family enjoy being the crew, you may lose that aspect of yachting in some way.

The costs of Fractional yacht ownership

You pay your share at the beginning to purchase your portion of the yacht. 

There are no traditional yacht ownership expenses in fractional ownership programs like dockage, moorings, insurance, or boat maintenance costs. But depending on the program you go for, either you will have to pay a certain amount every year to the management company or it will be covered by the charter revenues or a mix of both.

As an example, for a 63-foot yacht with four cabins, some programs offer the cost of the eighth share in the Mediterranean around $180,000 with annual costs for maintenance, crew, insurance, and anchorage around $24,000. Owners will be able to use the boat 4 weeks a year. Another management company offers a California program from $300,000 to $735,000 plus operating costs for quarter shares of vessels ranging from 52 to 82 feet. At this price, the four owners will each be able to use the boat 72 days a year.

The main regions in the world for fractional yacht ownership

Fractional yacht ownership can be done everywhere. 

Popular destinations include Europe, in particular, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, especially the Bahamas.

Among the main regions in the US for fractional boat ownership, you have Miami and Fort Lauderdale, but also Cape Cod and Nantucket.

Some programs also offer Asian destinations mostly in Hong Kong, Thailand, and the rest of South-East Asia.

Read also : Sustainable Yachting: How is the Boat Industry Becoming more Eco-Friendly?

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What does Fractional yacht ownership mean?

Fractional yacht ownership means that you legally own a portion of a yacht, along with co-owners. Therefore you are entitled to use the yacht based on your ownership agreement and must share revenues and costs with other owners.

What is the best between fractional yacht ownership and yacht charter?

It depends on your desires and your personality. If you like changes, try out a different yacht model every year and change frequently of destination, then go for yacht chartering. If, on the contrary, you have a crush on a yacht, want to start owning it at a lower cost, and avoid the management requirements, fractional boat ownership is ideal. Unlike chartering, fractional ownership means you can invite as many guests as deemed safe and as long as you have proper safety equipment on board.

What are the costs of fractional yacht ownership?

The costs include the purchase price of your ownership share and yearly exploitation and maintenance fees to pay to your management company.

What is the best between fractional yacht ownership and full ownership?

Hard to tell. This depends on your availability if you have time or not to take care of your boat, and your budget. If you don’t want to worry about the management aspects and only have a small budget to invest, go for fractional ownership. If you want to have perfect freedom, use your boat anytime and wherever you want, go for full ownership.

Can I sell my shares in fractional yacht ownership?

Yes, you can. As long as the share belongs to you, you can sell it whenever you want as long as the agreement doesn’t stipulate anything against it. Be aware that the other owners can also do so.

What are the popular regions for fractional yacht ownership?

The most popular regions for fractional ownership are the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. But also, the US and some Asian areas.

How can I share the ownership of a yacht?

You can buy a fraction, or a share, of a yacht. You will be the co-owner, or the fractional owner of the yacht and its cost will be spread among all owners.

Is yacht sharing the same as fractional ownership?

Yes, fractional ownership and yacht sharing or even co-ownership are all synonyms. You still become the co-owner of a yacht regardless of how you decide to call it.

What is a yacht sharing program?

A yacht sharing program allows you to co-own a yacht, so that you spread its maintenance cost among all owners. It is also known as fractional ownership or co-ownership programs.