Set Up a Yacht Charter Business in the United Kingdom

How to Set Up a Yacht Charter Business in the United Kingdom Set your compass to success as 3E Accounting explains how to set up a yacht charter business in the United Kingdom.

If you have a passion for sailing, a skippered charter business might be an excellent way to utilise your entrepreneurial skills. The global yachting industry is expected to reach USD83.2 billion by 2025. In the United Kingdom, the superyacht industry is quite robust, with an annual turnover of GBP700 million. To commercialise your sea-faring hobby, you should know how to set up a yacht charter business in the United Kingdom. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you have a charter for success.


Raising the Sails of Success

The yacht or superyacht industry is considered a prestigious business – it is expensive, standards are high, and compliance is stringent. Yachts can be privately or commercially chartered, either all year round or ad hoc when not in use by the owner.

To give your business a competitive edge, do get a great website and consider niching. You can offer bareboat charters (for those with experience) or have skippered charters (i.e., captain, crew and chef onboard). Charters can also be:

  • Themed getaways such as proms or executive launch parties, etc.
  • Day sails, fishing or diving trips.
  • Sailing school, etc.

As you write your business plan, one of the first things to consider is how much start-up capital you will need. Due to the high price tag of yachts (and especially superyachts), there is usually a group of owners. It is not unusual for conglomerates or syndicates to be formed to enter this business. Hence, popular structures include a limited company or limited liability partnership. Due to incorporation, these entities offer the protection of limited liability. Owners can also draft founders’ agreements and issue preference shares as needed.

Of course, if you have the resources, you can always operate as a sole trader or partnership. Whichever business entity you choose, you will need to register with HMRC for taxes. Reliable company formation firms such as 3E Accounting can advise you VAY and Capital Gains Tax savings, etc.

Your yacht charter business may just sail around the English coast or take to the open seas at some point. As such, it is essential to know about local and international regulations such as the MARPOL and SOLAS conventions. These govern pollution and safety at sea.

You will need to name and register your boat with the United Kingdom Ship Register. The United Kingdom Government website has comprehensive information and guidance on ship registration. Your certification requirements will need to comply with the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The MCA implements the United Kingdom’s maritime safety policy as an extension of the Department of Transport. Approvals needed include, amongst others:

  • Certificate of Competency
  • Health and safety certificates
  • Seafarer certification
  • Medical fitness certification
  • Boatmasters’ licence.
  • Radio licence

These are just some of the basics of how to set up a yacht charter business in the United Kingdom. For more in-depth guidance or assistance, get in touch with 3E Accounting. We offer company formation packages that are comprehensive and customisable. Our team of experts will take care of all the nitty-gritty details, allowing you to focus on running your business. Contact 3E Accounting today to experience an innovative and fully digitalised suite of business solutions and services.

How to Set Up a Yacht Charter Business in the United Kingdom