Whether you’re buying roses or toilet tissue, when it comes to stocking the yacht for a charter trip, proper use of the Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA) can be a bit of a mystery for crew.
Depending on which charter contract is used, a FYBA (Florida Yacht Brokers Association) Demise Contract or a MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) Charter Agreement, there are subtle but important differences regarding the crew’s rightful use of the APA. According to Lara-Jo Houghting (“LJ” to those of you who know her), a charter manager with Northrop and Johnson, crew commonly misallocate APA funds for certain items including flowers, cleaning supplies, sundries, crew food, service providers and off-yacht excursion expenses.
According to the guidelines established by FYBA, “The presentation of the yacht to the charter party…includes floral arrangements at the owner’s discretion and expense.” Houghting says there is some implied flexibility in the FYBA contract, but table centerpieces should be provided by the yacht. Guests should be given the option of additional arrangements; these would then be an APA expense.
The guidelines for a MYBA contract regarding flowers are very similar. The initial arrangements should be provided by the yacht, and the stewardess should offer to replace them as needed at an additional expense taken from the APA. (It's important to first communicate to guests that the additional arrangements come at their own expense.)
Since a FYBA contract is technically a bareboat agreement, there’s a gray area regarding sundries, but most charter agents expect basic sundry items to be included in the charter fee. Should guests request brands or amenities other than those typically provided by the yacht, then those items can be purchased using the APA.
The MYBA guidelines are much clearer: The charter fee covers, “basic consumable stores, which should include filters, lubricating oil, paints, varnishes, etc. as well as standard sun lotions, soaps, shampoos, tissues, magazines not specifically requested by the charterer, etc. [And] in the galley, salt, pepper, spices, herbs, sugar, etc. are all basic consumables and should be stocked at the yacht’s expense.”
Neither the FYBA nor MYBA agreements entitle the crew to spend APA funds on cleaning supplies. Dish soap, paper towels, laundry soap (for boat linens and crew laundry), bathroom tissue, Cinch, Windex, etc. are included in the charter fee. The exception is laundry supplies used for guest’s personal laundry; those can be paid for with the APA.
There’s a major difference between the FYBA and MYBA agreements in this area. Under a FYBA contract, the charter guests pay for the crew’s food. However, under a MYBA contract, the yacht pays for the crew’s food.
Houghting says, “It’s complicated for the crew to sort out who ate what, so it's pretty standard for the captain to deduct $35 per crewman per day from the expenses to compensate for crew food in the Med and $20 to $25 elsewhere.”
Both FYBA and MYBA agreements require that the charter client pays for food provisions at cost. According to MYBA guidelines: “Since the charterer is to be charged for provisions at cost, it's highly recommended that the use of agents should be considered only if necessary when buying provisions. All professional brokers should be in a position to assist captains and crew in finding the best local addresses for provisioning…. If it's necessary to use an agent, captains are requested to be judicious and prudent about the costs and to check invoices carefully.”
Houghting says one of the most major misappropriations of the APA comes when the captain uses those funds to pay for the guests’ land-based activities or off-yacht excursions. According to FYBA guidelines, “The APA is an agreed deposit against expenses incurred aboard and is not intended to cover expenses of the charter party ashore such as shore-side tours, meals, entertainment, etc.”
If a crew is ever in doubt about an expense being covered by the APA, Houghting advises that they contact their charter manager. Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances where charter guests must take responsibility for exceptional expenses or incidents of unusual wear and tear. However, the captain should not arbitrarily use APA funds to cover these expenses without first consulting both the charter manager and booking broker regarding a deviation from the contract terms.