Covid 19 places the yachting sector in “unchartered waters”. However, there may be many reasons why with good management yacht charters could offer one of the most secure holiday in the post Covid 19 era.
Even prior to the outbreak of Covid 19 yachting holidays offered an environment with heightened biosecurity measures. Yachts always operate as routine with high levels of cleanliness with surfaces regularly scrubbed and general hygiene maintained to the highest standards. Yachts are normally maintained at a much higher level of hygiene than pleasure boats or cruise ships and yacht crews work tirelessly to ensure an extremely clean environment on board, both in the crew and guest areas.
Special cleaning measures
With the increased risk of the presence of the virus, yacht captains are extremely vigilant and cautious about possible exposure to the coronavirus. Between each charter, as well as at least once a day, the vessel is subjected to special cleaning and disinfection measures. All surfaces that have come into direct contact with passengers are cleaned with a virucide, bactericidal and fungicidal surface decontamination/disinfection product. A further preventive protocol for frequently affected surfaces concerns: stair ramps, handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, seat backs, reception counter, gangway, reinforced cleaning of bathrooms & toilets. Bleach can be used on floors when appropriate.
Educating our guests on the “new now”
Greater training and information is to be available during boarding and relief. When passengers embark, a discussion with the captain and crew members will clarify the measures to be applied on board and during the stopover, and ensure that no passenger fears she or he may be affected with COVID-19. A protocol may be put in place for any discovery on board of a possible COVID-19 case, both for this person’s medical safety and for the safety of other passengers and crew members.
Close monitoring of crew and guest health on board is crucial and daily temperature checks can be taken to ensure this. Yachts should have temperature measuring equipment and the necessary materials to treat a passenger in confinement, until disembarkation and delivery into the hands of hospital staff.
Monitoring the situation onboard & onshore
Once biosecurity is established on board, contact with land remains one of the greatest risks to coming in contact with the virus. Therefore limiting exchanges with land will be important such as reducing the need for provisioning at port of call. Depending on the authorisations to stay in ports and anchorages, and on the rules specific to each country, certain restrictions may be prescribed on the activities of passengers during stopovers.
At the contractual level, the Customer may benefit, in the specific clauses of his contract, from the possibility of cancellation and reimbursement if the Yacht is forced to cancel the voyage. It is recommended that the Client, for his part, consider being covered by cancellation insurance and/or additional medical and repatriation insurance.