Owning a Yacht in Monaco – Advice from Peter at MooringSpot

Many of our clients choose to invest in property in Monaco due to the fantastic yachting facilities in the Principality. As one of the most popular yachting hubs in the world, yacht berths in Monaco are in great demand. We spoke to Peter from mooringspot.com to find out more information about keeping a yacht in or near Monaco.

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LCPM: First and foremost, let’s start with the advantages of owning a berth in Monaco. Are there specific reasons you would want to own a yacht here?

Peter: Monaco is a rare place. Because Monaco is not in the South of France, you cannot buy a berth, you can only rent one. In France, authorities have been able call upon private investors in marina construction in exchange of the right to use a berth for a certain amount of years. In Monaco, the government has always been very careful not to do this and has always kept control of its marinas. It is usually people who live in Monaco or live very close by that rent berths here. Of course, they like Monaco because of the proximity and because it’s safe. If they’re high profile individuals, they know they’ll be treated as they would expect to be treated in Monaco. That’s a key advantage.

Port Hercules – Video credit to Vladimir Drozdin.

LCPM: That does actually bring us on to another of my questions. Do you have to be a resident to rent a berth in Monaco?

Peter: Berths here are mostly for residents. What you have to realise is that there are, in fact, a lot of people that want to rent a berth in Monaco, but there are only about 1,032 berths in the whole of Monaco. There are far fewer berths than there are residents and boat owners. There is a priority system in place. Priority goes first to Monaco nationals. There are about 8,000 of them. Not all of them own a boat, but quite a few of them would like to own a boat, and they naturally get priority over anyone else. Then, residents come next in order of priority but many cannot get one. If you’re a resident of Monaco and you own a superyacht, things get even tougher because there aren’t that many berths for superyachts. There are more berths for day boats. Unless you’re a Monaco national or unless you’re a resident, you’ve got very little chances of obtaining a berth.

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LCPM: That brings us on nicely to the port of Ventimiglia. Is this a popular choice for people that cannot get a berth in Monaco?

Peter: It is an alternative. Probably not the preferred alternative for most Monaco residents because what every yacht owner or boat owner dreams of when they live in Monaco is just being able to walk down to the boat. You cannot walk down to Ventimiglia. However, I think the plan for the ports of Monaco is to use the Port of Ventimiglia as an antechamber. There are many residents in Monaco who travel a lot and they do not necessarily need to be able to look at their yachts from their balcony every single day. It is possible that there will be a sort of a commuting system or a rotation system where yachts or boats will be staying in Ventimiglia when they’re not actively being used, and then they will be able to secure a berth for the duration needed in Monaco.

LCPM: What are the tax implications when renting a berth in Monaco, and are they different to those of another marina in another country?

Peter: The taxes are pretty straightforward. There’s VAT, as you find in any marina in the world, in fact, and that’s all there is. Priority tends to be given to yachts flying the Monaco flag. To have a Monaco flag, you need to be a resident anyway, but of course, as you walk around Monaco you’re bound to notice that there are yachts from all over the world. There are no real tax advantages in berthing in Monaco.

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LCPM: How do you actually get a berth to rent in Monaco?

Peter: Well there are four ways of getting a berth in Monaco if you’re a resident:

1) Option number one, is to go to the company we were talking about, the SEPM, which is the company that was created to manage both Port Hercule and Fontvieille. There is one office managing applications for both marinas, so it is quite convenient in a way.
Suggested for you: Property for sale near Port of Fontvieille. Of course, there will probably be a waiting list. You are usually unlikely to obtain a berth right away. It’s usually problematic because there’s a lot of people applying to rent berths annually.

2) Then the second option, which has now been in place for about one year, is the Yacht Club de Monaco. The berths right in front of the yacht club are in fact managed by the yacht club itself. However, to be able to benefit from these, you need to be a member normally, and as you can imagine there are more Yacht Club members than there are berths in this basin of Port Hercule.

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3) Then, option number three: very few people realise this, but there are two companies in Monaco that have a concession over pontoons on Quai Antoine Ier. That means if you cannot rent via the SEPM, or you cannot rent via the yacht club, there’s always this option. You cannot rent the berth alone there; you buy a service package. You subscribe to a service of renting a berth plus having guardianship services. This includes maintenance, washing down of the boats, checking the boat if the weather’s bad. Because it’s not just renting a berth, it is substantially more expensive.

4) The fourth option is the port of Cap d’Ail, which is not in Monaco, but is right on the border. You can buy a berth there, because it is a private marina in France. Depending on the size of boat you have, the prices can be relatively competitive because you buy a lease for up to eleven years, which is the longest period you can get for a berth lease in France at the moment.

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LCPM: How often do you have to renew your lease in Monaco?

Peter: I believe it’s annual contracts that you get; you’ll never get your guarantee to multi-annual rental in Monaco. Usually once you get a berth and then your berth contract, if you behave and if you prove to be considerate boat owner and marina user, and that the port authorities have no reasons to send you out, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to renew. There are, however, two events in the year where a lot of boats have to leave for a few days: the Grand Prix, and of course the Monaco Yacht Show. That’s something to bear in mind. When you have a berth in Monaco you have to plan an alternative place to keep your boat around these periods.

LCPM: Approximately speaking, how much does it cost to rent a berth in Monaco?

Peter: Well the rates are in fact very competitive. What is nice is that the information is very accessible, it is on the SEPM website and you can download the rental rates from it easily. However, the trick is not being able to afford, it’s being able to find an available berth.

Full price list for Port Hercule.
Full price list for the Port of Fontvieille.

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LCPM: Are there any restrictions with regards to length at Port Hercule and Fontvieille?

Peter: Port Hercule is clearly the one with the bigger yachts, the only marina that welcomes cruise ships. There are no real limits I guess in Port Hercule because there’s a very long the floating jetty. It is used to welcome cruise ships and megayachts as well. Of course it has dual use, so you cannot moor a mega yacht there all year round. However, if you’re talking berths of over forty meters, you’ve got to realise there’s about forty of them at Port Hercules, so these are the figures to remember. Port Fontvieille is a much smaller marina, and it’s really for smaller boats. I think the biggest size I’ve seen is maybe around thirty-five meters – ZACA.

LCPM: Moving onto mooringspot.com, could you tell us a bit about what you do?

Peter: Mooringspot.com is a website designed specifically to help boat and yacht owners find where they can keep a yacht by renting a berth for a long period, or buying the lease on a berth. It’s a platform made to bring more transparency and enables you to compare long term solutions to keep a boat, so that you have all the elements you need to make a decision and see the pros and cons. We are a platform, we’re not brokers, we are a tool used by brokers, berth owners and marina operators throughout the Mediterranean to advertise and show what they have for sale or for rent. A great part of our work at MooringSpot is in fact verifying the accuracy of the information we are given to display. The last thing we want is to see a berth advertised that isn’t real, or that isn’t really available to rent or to buy. Our users rely on us to provide accurate information and we never let them down.

Port of Fontvieille – Video credit Vladimir Drozdin.

LCPM: If it’s impossible to get a berth in Monaco, where would you advise owners of larger yachts to keep them?

Peter: Well there are places in Italy where you can rent, like Ventimiglia. Then further along there’s the port of Sanremo called Portosole, where there are quite a lot of superyacht berths there, and there are services and facilities as well. The largest berth is 90m in length. Then, as you go further down the coast, there are Marina Degli Aregai, Marina di San Lorenzo and there is also the Port of Imperia, which tends to be very competitive in price because it’s an unfinished marina, but it is “open for business”. Then you can carry on further along to the East. You can go all the way to Genoa even, where there are a few marinas: there’s the old port, Port Antico, and there’s Marina Genova, which is a recently built marina just next to the airport. Even further along you can go almost to the boarder of Tuscany, such as the Gulf of La Spezia, where you will find for instance Porto Mirabello, which has a great infrastructure and services, and offers very competitive berth rental rates. Then of course there’s France, but you have to buy a berth in France. You cannot rent for longer than one year at a time (provided you find a berth available to rent of course).

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