Chartering a yacht is a unique experience that can be both exhilarating and stressful. While the thrill of sailing the open seas and exploring new destinations is unparalleled, it can sometimes be marred by unforeseen issues and it’s important to know how to raise complaint.
As a charterer, it is essential to understand your rights and responsibilities, as well as the potential problems that may arise during your voyage.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most common charterer complaints and how to avoid them.
1. Delays and cancellations, communication issues...
One of the most frustrating issues that charterers face is delays or cancellations. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as adverse weather conditions, mechanical problems with the yacht, or issues with the crew.
To avoid these issues, it is important to choose a reputable charter company that has a history of providing reliable service. Additionally, it is advisable to book your charter during the optimal sailing season for your chosen destination, as this can help minimize the risk of weather-related delays.
We strongly recommend that you read – and uderstand the terms – of your charter agreement to find out more about this issue (MYBA contract page 4, Clause 10).
Effective communication is crucial when chartering a yacht, and misunderstandings or language barriers can cause significant problems.
It is important to establish clear lines of communication with your charter company before you embark, and with your crew once you are on board.
This includes discussing your expectations, itinerary, and any special requirements you may have. Additionally, it is important to ensure that everyone onboard speaks a common language or has access to a reliable translation service.
Finally, during the charter period, the yacht may become disabled or malfunction and other problems may arise which affect the use of the yacht.
4. How to raise complaints during a charter?
According to the Clause 21, page 7 of the MYBA agreement: “Complaints must be reported immediately to the Captain, who will inform the Broker and the Stakeholder (the broker who holds the balance of the charter fee) of the nature of the complaint and when exactly it was made.”
According to the Italian lawyer Marco Santini: “It’s the captain duty to try and resolve the matter on board immediately; if this is not possible, the charterer must notify the owner or the broker of the complaint in writing within 24 hours of the occurrence of the event, unless impracticable to do so due to malfunctioning communication channels or other problems; in this case, the charterer must provide evidence that the complaint could not be made promptly.
In any case the complaint may initially be made verbally, but must be confirmed as soon as possible in writing. The prompt written notification obligation is essential since, although not expressly provided in the contract, failure to do so may result in the charterer’s inability to subsequently claim for damages.”
5. Arbitration and law
If you are chartering a yacht on MYBA terms, the signed agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and any dispute arising out of or in connection with this Agreement shall be submitted to arbitration in London in accordance with the Arbitration Act 1996 or any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof.
The arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) Rules in force at the time the arbitration is commenced.
Big change: The new ECPY Yacht Charter Contract is governed by and construed in accordance with French law.
6. A lawyer's perspective...
Federico Santini has written interesting articles in Barche Magazine: