Bareboat Charter vs Purchase

There are a number of considerations to make when deciding between purchasing a new or used boat vs bareboat chartering. Let’s start with some common reasons people choose bareboat chartering with Ellis Charters.  

REASONS TO CHARTER (instead of purchasing)
• I am provided with a boat that I do NOT need to insure, register, clean, maintain, or outfit.
• I am able to walk away from the charter free from all boat owner responsibilities.
• I have the Ellis service team available with immediate support if the boat has an issue.
• I have access to a variety of different boats every year.
• I do not have to divert retirement funds to purchase a boat.
• This is going to be a one-time trip – I otherwise do not do a lot of boating in this area. 
• I can charter from the Ellis Charter Fleet for 7 to 9 weeks a season and it will be less costly than ownership. (see spreadsheets below for cost comparison details). 

We have put together spreadsheets to compare the annual costs of owning vs chartering the same yacht. We started by looking at a new 2023 Ellis 36 Express Cruiser – currently listed for $950k. You will see that chartering for up to 9 weeks per year is going to be less expensive than boat ownership. I included ALL boat owner costs – including depreciation, 2% annual inflation, and the fact that there will likely be a 10% broker commission when you eventually sell the boat.

We also looked at a used 2003 Ellis 36 Express Cruiser with a $375k value. In this case, chartering this boat every year for 7 weeks per year is going to be less expensive than boat ownership with a similar vessel.

For many folks, the numbers may support the decision to charter instead of jumping into boat ownership. However, there are also some very compelling reasons that someone may opt for purchasing instead of chartering a boat from the Ellis Charter Fleet. 

REASONS TO PURCHASE (instead of chartering)
• Ellis Boat Charters does not have the kind of boat I am interested in.
• My boating area is outside of the Ellis Charter insured range (Eastport, ME to Morehead City, NC).
• I would rather have my own boat and do not want to learn a new boat every season.
• I plan to put my boat in the Ellis Charter Fleet to earn up to 75% of all charter fees.
• I need access to a boat outside of the standard Ellis Charter Season (May through October). 
• I would like to have unfettered access to a boat from the Spring to the Fall and do not want to limit my boating season with a date-predetermined charter

Here are two more interesting options for Chartering and/or Purchasing a yacht with Ellis Boat Brokerage and Charters. Perhaps they fit your current boating situation.

• Some charter clients who have a residence near Southwest Harbor have opted to charter from the Ellis Charter Fleet for the entire season (May to October) while maintaining an option to re-book (for a 75% return on charter fees). This initially guarantees a boat for the whole season but leaves the door open for getting a financial return when the boat is not utilized. This is ideal for folks who have summer/family plans that are constantly “in motion”. It also works well if you simply do not want to burden of boat ownership, but you want a boat. We often set up these kinds of arrangements a year in advance. 

• On select vessels, you can “try before you buy” with a long-term charter agreement and a purchase and sale agreement written side-by-side. Should you opt to purchase the boat, the charter fee becomes a deposit on sale. Should you decide not to purchase the boat, the charter fee is retained by Ellis Charters as a fee for the charter. 

Further questions? Feel free to reach out to me directly.