Living in Silicon Beach means constant temptation to be on the water. Whether its enjoying a sunset cruise in Marina Del Rey, an afternoon on a sailboat, or a day out chartering a yacht — this time of year it seems everyone is out on the water. A popular option for those who don't want to own a boat but still want to spend summer days on the water is a yacht share. Below we break down everything you need to know about yacht shares as well as the pros and cons members face. 

 

What is a yacht share?

Joint ownership and yacht shares can come in a variety of forms, some more structured than others. Typically a boat will be owned by a syndicate of members who will take their own share of the boats financial and practical commitments. This is a more cost effective option than buying a yacht completely, but more convenient than chartering a boat. 

 

How is this different than chartering a yacht? 

Chartering a yacht is the lowest commitment option, best for those who just want to use the boat from time to time — as opposed to a yacht share where you actually own a portion of the boat. The downfall of chartering a boat is that certain times of the year (I.e. 4th of July Week, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.) it can be difficult to get a slot. The boats are also typically worked hard, and subject to high levels of wear and tear because they are not used by the same people regularly.

 

Pros to having a yacht share?

    • Less time invested than owning: Not only do yacht shares cut costs, it also cuts down on your time investment. Most shared arrangements include the yacht’s management, so you don’t have to worry about lining up contractors or dealing with maintenance. 
    • Can change ports: As long as all of the owners agree, it is not uncommon for shared yachts to be cruised to new locations and different ports.
    • “Club” style memberships: According to YachtWorld, some shared ownership organizations allow you to test the waters. Instead of buying in right from the start, you can start with a “club” style membership and find out if fractional ownership is right for you. 

 

Cons to having a yacht share?

    • You might need to hire a crew: Many of the shares on for larger yachts require a crew. If you like captaining your boat and your friends and family enjoy being the crew, you may lose this aspect of yachting to some degree. There is also an additional cost to hiring a crew that needs to be budgeted in. 
    • All owners might not agree on everything: Anytime a group of people are all putting their money into something there can be some disagreement. Whether its the cleanliness of the boat, or the destination you are sailing to, there is a good chance not everyone will always agree. 
    • Pre-scheduled time: According to YachtWorld, a lot of shared yacht time is pre-scheduled. That means those spur-of-the-moment boat rides at sunset may be a thing of the past. YachtWorld recommends you read the fine print. Some fractional agreements allow first come-first served availability of the yacht during unscheduled “flex” time, if maintenance is not required.