The joy of yachting can be limited to those who can afford the costs associated with this expensive activity; fractional yacht ownership is one way to include more people in this enjoyable recreational activity without adding significant costs. Fractional yacht ownership is akin to a timeshare method commonly employed in real estate: several people own a percentage of the boat and are entitled to use it for a certain duration according to the amount of shares they own in the vessel. This means a person can feasibly be part owner of a yacht for significantly less money than owning his or her own yacht in full.
Several advantages and disadvantages to fractional yacht ownership must be considered before anyone plunges into the commitment. The low cost is, of course, an exceptionally attractive feature of this method of yacht ownership, but the new owner should remember that he or she will only have access to the boat for a certain amount of time each year. That length of time is determined by how many shares of the boat the owner purchases, as well as how many other people have taken part in the fractional yacht ownership of that particular vessel. A person who buys more shares will get more time on the boat, while a person who buys fewer shares may only get a week or a few days on the boat each year.
Maintenance costs associated with owning a yacht are greatly reduced when an investor participates in fractional yacht ownership. A third party company generally maintains the yacht, and that same company may staff the boat. When repairs need to be done, the maintenance company will perform them; the costs of those repairs may be spread out among the many owners of the vessel, meaning lower maintenance costs per owner. Fuel costs and storage costs can also be doled out to the various owners according to how many shares are owned by each person.
One of the downsides to fractional yacht ownership is the liability for repairs. One owner may damage the boat, but all owners may be responsible for repairs. Each owner will also have little or no control over maintenance, repair, upgrades, and other customization, since any changes to the vessel will probably need to be approved by all owners. Some companies may prohibit any customization to avoid this often problematic situation altogether. Fractional owners sacrifice control for lower cost and lower responsibility for the vessel itself.