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Billionaires are chartering superyachts for months at a time to ride out the coronavirus pandemic

Billionaires are hoping to avoid the coronavirus pandemic by self-isolating on superyachts, The Telegraph’s Alan Tovey reports.

Tovey spoke with Jonathan Beckett, the CEO of yacht broker Burgess. Beckett told The Telegraph that wealthy people are looking for ways to “weather the storm” and that a yacht “in a nice climate isn’t a bad place to self-isolate.”

Large yachts have enough storage room to hold supplies that can last for months, Tovey notes, meaning the vessel can spend a longer amount of time at sea without docking. Of course, renting superyachts for months at a time is pricey, with some charging £100,000 ($118,944) a week plus crew costs and the largest of yachts costing over £500,000 (almost $600,000) a week. 

“One family has taken a yacht for nine weeks, and we have also had two long-term bookings for yachts of 130 ft and 230 ft,” Beckett told Tovey. “Clients are arranging for their children to be schooled on board, with cooking lessons from the yacht’s chef and time with the crew in the engine room learning about technology.”

The travel industry at large is suffering, but certain luxury travel sectors are actually seeing a boost

The travel sector has been hit hard amid the coronavirus pandemic, though not all areas of the industry are suffering. As commercial airlines ask for a bailout and hotels empty out, private jet and helicopter use has been on the rise as the very wealthy flee coronavirus hotspots. 

Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported that though cruise ship ports have closed, superyacht marinas have remained open. Experts told Hoffower that this is because yachts are believed to be more “hygienic” and less “monitored” than cruise ships. As Hoffower pointed out, poor hygiene was one reason why the Diamond Princess Cruise ship went from having 10 cases of the coronavirus to 700 in the course of two weeks.

“Each yacht is disinfected between [charter] groups on board, the air is purified on most yachts, and cleanliness standards are very high,” reads a press release issued by superyacht firm IYC in early March addressing coronavirus concerns. “Some of the yachts use special air filters that control [and] reduce the spread of pathogens.”

While superyachts typically have a “diligent” cleaning crew, close quarters can still put those aboard on risk for contracting the virus. 

“If you are passing by other guests in a marina it’s outdoors, whereas cruise ship terminals and luggage pick up is indoors,” Stefanos Makrymichalos, CEO of superyacht firm IYC, told Business Insider. “Ports of entry for ships are being monitored while marinas are not, as there is no evidence of risk.”

As a result, yacht charters are still being encouraged (with precautions), though many boat shows have been called off. 

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