Why Charter an Older Boat? 

Clément, a nautical expert with GlobeSailor for the past 10 years and a member of our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) committee, considers the question of the lifespan of a rental boat. Many sailors opt for recent models, less than 5 years old, for their yacht charter, but isn’t there a greater benefit to chartering an older boat? 

Boat Maintenance and Refitting 

The most important aspects of a boat’s lifespan are its upkeep and the quality of its maintenance by the owner or charter company. Maintenance between each yacht charter is important, but so is upkeep during winter storage. 

Refitting is a growing trend in the boating industry. It refers to the process of renovating, restoring and modernising a boat. It is completed for various reasons, particularly to extend the boat’s lifespan, improve its performance, update its equipment or give it a fresh new appearance. 

Photo Credit: RYA

Why is Refitting so Popular? 

1. Economic Reasons

The first reason is obviously economic. As you may have heard, we’re in a time of inflation and “everything is going up”! 😊 

The price of new boats is no exception! This is due to rising prices for energy, raw materials, equipment, interest rates for credit and the large order books of shipyards, most of which are full.

Yacht charter companies, which in the past felt pressure to remove boats more than 5 years old from their fleets, are now extending their use cycle through refitting. So today, you can confidently charter a yacht that left the boatyard more than a decade ago. 

Although some charter companies still opt for newer boats, our partner Set Sail, a boat rental company in Toulon, France, are aware of the benefits of refitting: 

“Refitting a boat means extending the life of the hulls without losing its comfort or feel at the helm. We review every part of the boat to ensure reliability and maintain the highest standards of quality and safety”. 

For charterers, the choice of a refitted boat enables them to sail more cost-effectively than they could on very recent boats. For the same size boat, a refitted boat can be up to 50% cheaper than a new one! 

If we take the opposite reasoning, it can often make sense to opt for a larger refitted boat rather than a very recent smaller one. 

2. The Environmental Dimension

Even though refitting older boats has an impact on the environment, it will always be more environmentally friendly than the production of new boats. The greatest waste is the waste that isn’t produced! 

The fleet of boats in the world is already substantial. In the United Kingdom alone, there are over a million registered pleasure boats! The boat dismantling and recycling industry is still in its infancy and even if progress is expected, boats will always be difficult to recycle due to the materials used and their diversity. 

Many associations are now applying the principles of the circular economy, in an effort to reuse and regenerate boating materials, as a means of continuing production in a sustainable or way.

Naturally, economic and ecological constraints will increase the number of older rental boats. This boom is likely to boost the second-hand market in the long term. 

In the yacht charter industry, we all have a role to play in taking care of our planet. As well as opting for a yacht charter on an older boat, sailors can travel responsibly, support the local economy, sail close to home, manage waste correctly, navigate by sail rather than motor and respect marine life.

If you would like to sail on an older boat, contact our expert advisors for advice or search directly below.