Photo: the former Dream Yacht Charter base at Stock Island Yacht Club in Key West
Dream Yacht Charter, a global charter management company, recently closed two of their US bases in Key West and Puerto Rico.
Dream Yacht Charter Key West
The Dream Yacht Charter Key West base was opened up during Covid and was always planned to be temporary. With travel restrictions to other popular bareboat charter destinations, it allowed Americans to stay in the country and continue to take charter vacations.
With restrictions easing, the base was shut down in the summer of 2022.
This is not surprising, despite any success they may have had. The Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas are a tricky place to charter. I visited the base in August 2021 for a visit to historic Garden Key. You can read about some of the challenges I experienced in my trip report.
In addition, the yachts in the charter fleet can also likely earn more revenue in the more desirable destinations, such as across the Gulf Stream in the Bahamas.
Dream Yacht Charter Puerto Rico & Spanish Virgin Islands
It’s less clear why the Dream Yacht Charter Puerto Rico base at Puerto del Rey was shuttered.
I also recently chartered with DYC in November 2020 to Puerto Rico, which serves the Spanish Virgin Islands cruising grounds. I got to see first hand why the base might be closed.
Two reasons why they might have done this:
- Not enough demand from charter customers. With lower revenues, yacht owners may have requested their sailboats be moved to busier locations, such as the next-door US and British Virgin Islands. The Spanish Virgin Islands are still relatively undiscovered. I do think in the long-term, popularity will grow. You can read more about them in my cruising guide.
- I think the base was understaffed, which led to lower customer satisfaction. In turn, charter customers chose other options due to reputation damage. It was clear to me the small fleet was had a significant amount of deferred maintenance and a team that wasn’t able to keep up.
Other charter company options in Key West and Puerto Rico
In Key West, the Moorings and Florida Yacht Charters partner to offer a small bareboat charter fleet in the Keys and Dry Tortugas.
Sail Caribe has a Puerto del Rey base for the Spanish Virgin Islands. You can also charter out of the USVIs and clear into customs to visit Puerto Rico. I wrote about how to do that for an upcoming yacht charter trip I have planned to the US and Spanish Virgin Islands.