Bareboat Charter Frequently Asked Questions
Bareboat yacht charter is a very independent form of holiday and you are likely to have questions reflecting your individual needs. Please ask us about anything which may not be explained here, but in the meantime we hope the following is helpful.
What qualifications do I need to charter a bareboat sailing yacht?
Who decides who's 'qualified' and who isn't?
Do I need a professional skipper?
Which days of the week can I begin and end my charter?
Does a 'one-week charter' mean a full seven days?
Are there any hidden charges?
What is a Security Deposit?
What do I need to bring with me?
What about provisioning?
Where can I get more information?
How do I book?
Q. What qualifications do I need to charter a bareboat sailing yacht?
A. It depends where you want to charter. In the Caribbean, for instance, relevant experience is more important than paper qualifications. Certificates are useful but, depending on your home country's traditions or law, they may be neither issued nor required there (the UK is one of these, there are many more), so if you have no certification, a short sailing resumé, extract of your log, yacht club reference, or similar documents to verify your sailing competence may be required.
Q. Who decides who's 'qualified' and who isn't?
A. Depending on the country, it may be the yacht owner/operator, or the local port authority. If it's the port authority and the Skipper (and, ideally, mate or "co-skipper") have a sailing licence, permit, or certificate, the port authority will accept this. Virtually everywhere in the Med recognised sailing certification is a legal requirement for bareboat charter. Exceptions are France & Turkey, where a résumé is usually sufficient (though a fleet operator in Turkey may require one). Spanish authorities are particularly strict and in Greece two crew members must produce evidence of competence. For Croatia, one crew member (not necessarily the skipper) must also have a VHF licence.
All you need to do is provide us with the necessary information and we'll ensure the formalities are dealt with for you.
Q. Do I need a professional skipper?
A. Two answers:
(a) If you cannot satisfy any of the bareboat criteria for the place you want to sail, yes. A professional skipper may be hired for any bareboat yacht, for any length of time, from one day to the entire duration of your charter. The cost is the same regardless of yacht type or number of people aboard. Although not always professional instructors, many skippers are, so if you specifically wish to learn we'll arrange it.
(b) Even for an experienced sailor, a skippered yacht can be a relaxed and informative way of exploring new cruising grounds or experimenting with unfamiliar yachts. Professional skippers are also tour guides, almost by default, who enjoy showing people new places and letting them into their secrets. Their guidance enables you to sail the yacht yourself, even if you are inexperienced, in the knowledge that a trained eye is in constant attendance.
Q. Which days of the week can I begin and end my charter?
A. It depends on the country and its tradition. For some, any day is possible; for those which operate a weekly schedule, the answer is generally that they begin and end on Saturdays and last for multiples of seven days: one week, two weeks and so on. Whatever the local situation, we shall always try to accommodate your wishes for different days of the week and uneven periods of time, such as a ten or twelve-day charter. We shall advise you and discuss the possibilities, according to where you're planning to sail.
Q. Does a one-week charter mean a full seven days?
A. Again, it depends on the country, local custom, and the owner/operator. In the Caribbean, Seychelles, Polynesia (but not only these), the term is usually a full seven days, from noon to noon. In the Mediterranean it's usually seven days less several hours, as charters are booked back-to-back (you disembark in the morning, it leaves again in the afternoon). In such cases yachts are thoroughly inspected between each charter to ensure you leave in a safe and reliable vessel. Following the yacht's previous charter, any items lost must be replaced, running maintenance carried out, small repairs put in hand. In the unlikely event of severe equipment failure, a replacement yacht must be supplied. It all takes time. Your contract times will therefore vary. We'll advise you as necessary.
Q. Are there any hidden charges?
A. No! We guarantee you will have no unpleasant surprises, everything will be explained, all costs accounted for in advance. All yachts we offer are comprehensively insured, licensed for charter, all taxes paid. Unless you wish to include items from the list of optional extras (in which case they will be itemised), there will be nothing further to pay. In your own interest, we strongly advise that you buy suitable travel insurance before leaving home, including cancellation insurance to protect your booking deposit. Please also bear in mind that a yacht's Security Deposit will usually be required before embarkation.
Q. What is a Security Deposit?
A. A yacht's Security Deposit amounts to the excess in her insurance policy, covering loss or damage to the yacht or her equipment. This amount is refundable and is notified for every yacht we offer. Return the yacht (and her equipment) in the same condition as you took her and your Security Deposit will be refunded in full. The cost of rectifying any damage or loss will be deducted and the balance refunded. Normal wear and tear is excepted.
Some owners/operators offer a non-refundable alternative to the Security Deposit. This is a much lower figure than the refundable equivalent and, like any insurance premium (which it is, in effect), it is not refunded in any circumstances. PLEASE NOTE: for skippered charter it is usual that only the non-refundable Security Deposit is accepted.
Q. What do I need to bring with me?
A. Not much! Every yacht we offer is fully equipped for charter, from every imaginable viewpoint. Apart from stowing your personal possessions, you could step aboard any one of them and leave the dock without a further thought. Bring your own beach towels, sun tan lotion, sun hat and so on, but that's about all.
Q. What about provisioning?
A. If you list your requirements two to four weeks before your charter, your shopping will be brought directly to your yacht. You will be charged for the shopping at cost price. Some bareboat fleets make no extra charge for the service, some do; we'll advise you.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. First, here. If your query isn't covered, call, or
us and ask.
For specific sailing information there is a wealth of pilot books available; we'll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Q. How do I book?
A. Once you have decided which yacht you wish to charter, when and where, we shall "option" the yacht to hold it for you, without payment or commitment from you. You may need to make travel arrangements and/or agree final points with your crew and we understand this cannot always be instant. Options are usually held for a few days, while your Yacht Charter Agreement is prepared and sent to you for signature. Upon receipt of your signed agreement and deposit, your charter booking is firm.