This year’s coronavirus challenge has certainly turned the yacht charter scene upside down and inside out. Like everyone else the world under lockdown, the majority of our yachts and crews have been “sheltering in place” for the past few months. For charter yachts in the BVI, that has meant anchoring in one location, with the crew only allowed to leave the yacht for a quick swim to stretch their legs. Similar restrictions have also been enforced in Mediterranean ports. Yachts and crews have remained quarantined at the dock with the necessities being delivered to them.
Safeguarding the health of yacht crews and owners has obviously been at the forefront of the coronavirus response in our industry, yet as the situation improves in many yacht charter destinations, the focus is now firmly on safeguarding future guests – a pivotal prerequisite for the upcoming 2020 Summer charter season.
Although major industry organizations have yet to release a single set of protocols for preventing COVID-19 infections on charter yachts, several dedicated agencies have been proactive in creating and sharing comprehensive guides to the best practices and guidelines for charter yachts to follow. These guidelines cover everything from yacht sanitization to onboard testing, boarding procedures, interactions during charters and even delivery procedures.
Here are the most important steps that will be adopted to safeguard yacht charter guests and crew . Also, read on to understand how all of this is likely to affect the 2020 yacht charter season.
Safeguard Measures for COVID-19 Prevention on Yacht Charters
Routine disinfection – Our yachts have always maintained the highest level of hygiene and this is one of the main reasons luxury yacht charters have been favored by those in the know. Keeping a small yacht squeaky clean is paramount and something with which the crew are well-versed. Routine cleaning and disinfection include:
· All linens (including mattress, pillow protectors, towels and robes) are laundered and stored away in clean, airtight bags until needed
· All utensils (including cooking) and dishes are sterilized AND dried in dishwashers at high temps
· All cabins and bathrooms, which are normally disinfected once a day (from towel racks to door knobs, tiles, floor etc) will now be disinfected twice a day
· Disinfection will be undertaken using National Drug Organization-approved substances, with crew donning PPE as per international health and safety guidelines
In-depth disinfection – If the yacht has come into contact with a suspected (or confirmed) case of COVID-19, safeguarding practices will take disinfection up a notch by engaging with a company that specializes in the managing of hazardous materials. Yachts will have full access to specialized disinfecting equipment and the yacht in question will not be available for charter until it has been given the all-clear by the head hygienist
Crew will maintain distance – Firm handshakes and warm hugs will be replaced with floating high-fives, elbow bumps and beaming smiles – yacht charter crews have undoubtedly been among the most isolated people right now (most have barely touched dry land in two months!) and in order to maintain good health aboard our yachts, physical contact between crew and guests will be kept at a minimum
Cancellation Without Penalty:[LP1] Some yachts are offering penalty-free cancellations should your charter be affected by the current pandemic. You can plan your summer vacation and book your yacht charter with confidence.
COVID-19 tests available – We also have a few yachts with access to COVID test kits. Their crew have been tested and have been cleared to charter and tests have also been made available to guests. Please inquire with us.
Government guidelines followed – All yachts will strictly follow the guidelines dictated by the International Maritime Organization, pertaining to COVID-19 health and safety regulations. Moreover, yachts will continue to follow new guidelines as they are released, both by the maritime bodies and the World Health Organization
Coronavirus Covid-19) Challenge: How To Vacation Safely With Friends and Family
If feasible, you should consider isolating yourself (as much as possible) for 14 days prior to travelling, to ensure you reach us in tip-top shape. Follow travel-safeguarding guidelines during your flight, which includes wearing a mask, and wiping down all surfaces with which you come into contact with a disinfecting cloth/spray. Kindly wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face.
We’ll also kindly ask you to have a set of fresh clothes at the ready to change into once you board your yacht. Your travel clothes will then be laundered and disinfected (on a superyacht) or placed in a plastic bag and stowed away.
We’ll have hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes at the ready, to clean everything from cell phones to shopping bags, shoes, sunscreen bottles and anything else that may be taken off the boat at any time.
Many yachts will implement the use of thermometers both before and during charters – we ask you kindly to comply with any specific safeguarding measure your particular charter yacht has implemented.
After all…everything will be done to ensure your safety and that of everyone around you.
How will COVID safeguards affect 2020 yacht charters?
More time onboard, in more isolated destinations – Essentially, the current health crisis means this is the perfect year for more yacht-centric charters in remote locations. Charter a catamaran in the USVI for an exceptional week of adventures, and you’ll probably come across fewer people than you ever would back home – all the while enjoying a restorative sailing vacation
Contact with outsiders can easily be limited – While the crew will limit their shopping trips ashore in favor of on-board deliveries, guests can take advantage of remote and isolated coves, bays and beaches for the on-shore excursions
Smaller yachts & smaller groups – If the Covid-19 spread on mega cruise ships has taught us anything this year, it is that when it comes to health and wellbeing, travel-group size really does matter. 2020 may well go down in history as ‘the year of family togetherness’, the one (and perhaps) only real silver lining. Big group vacations will be replaced by intimate charters this year, as joining a large group of strangers in tight quarters, whether on a cruise ship or a resort, will no longer be the best and safest holiday option.
Sharing information will be important – Upon request, guests can receive a detailed history of the crew and their movement in the last few months and, in return, the yacht’s captain may request the same from guests. Transparency and the sharing of information will be a pivotal part in our safeguarding measures for guests and crew of yacht charters
Yacht toys and services will be the highlight – Perhaps you’ve never really given a second-thought to the collection of water toys a charter yacht carries yet this is set to become an important priority for many of our guests. Given that itineraries will include more time onboard and less time ashore, guests will no doubt be looking for entertainment, games and a wide range of water toys. From snorkel and diving gear to Stand Up Paddle boards, kayaks and canoes, not to mention all manner of inflatables like sea pools and yacht slides, the list of fantastic toys a yacht can carry can be extensive. Special requests can also be accommodated so if you’re in the mood for some sea zorbing, kite surfing or fly-boarding, simply let us know!
While there may not yet be a standard protocol all yachts must follow, we’re happy to report that the yachts we have available for charter in 2020 have already implemented their own sweeping reviews of hygiene practices. As always, your health and wellbeing is our utmost priority so we are ready to answer your queries and listen to any concern you may have and, without any trepidation, are ready to welcome you onboard.