If you want to try something new for your next trip, charter a boat. You get all the fun of sailing without the year round cost of docking and maintaining it.
If you've never been on a boat for an extended period of time, you should definitely try going on a day voyage if possible to make sure you're OK staying on the water for hours at a time. If you know the water is for you, here's how to charter a boat for travel.
Go Over Your Options
When you charter a boat, there are several things you'll need to decide to narrow down your options. Before diving into any of these areas, have an idea of what kind of budget you want to spend. Keep in mind that in general the cost of chartering a boat can be similar to staying at a nice hotel (although with a boat you get transportation, a home base to sleep, relax, and cook meals all rolled into one place).
- Make sure someone knows how to sail. One option is to hire a skipper to operate the boat. This will increase the cost of the trip but can be worth it if no one in your group knows how to sail. If you choose to go bareboat, where you sail the boat yourself, the charter company will put you through a brief test to see your skills in action.
- Pick a location. This can be influenced by the season. Some areas are much nicer to sail in during certain times of the year -- but that will often push the price up. You might also want to use the boat as an alternative to other forms of transportation, such as ferries or planes between islands.
- Figure out what features you want the boat to have. Choose the size of the boat based on how many people you're travelling with, so there is enough space for everyone to sleep and hang out. If you want certain features, like an advanced music system or an area to hang out, then make sure to look for those during the selection process.
Once you have all of the above figured out, the most laborious part is done and you'll pretty much be set until you actually arrive at the boat rental site.
Most charter boats will be equipped with emergency supplies such as a rubber dinghy, flares, some replacement parts, life vests, first aid kits, a fire extinguisher, and sometimes emergency rations. However, you'll generally need to provide food. You can pay the company to stock the galley, or you can buy the food yourself. Either way, make a meal plan to have all the food supplies you need for the trip.
Make The Most Of The Boat
Most boats come with kitchens, showers, music systems, and maybe even a BBQ, so utilise everything to make for a great trip! If you choose to tie up at night, you'll likely pay a fee but will have closer access to land and its amenities. Get as much use out of your boat rental as possible by using it as a place to relax, hang out, sleep and eat.
Clean Up And Ship Out
In order to avoid fees, leave the boat in the same condition that it was when you arrived including removing trash. This will help you get the deposit back, which is usually around 25% of the overall charter cost. If you like the company that you've used, keep them in mind for future travels since you know they provide an acceptable level of quality both with equipment and customer service.
While it isn't for everyone and it can be expensive, sailing offers a relaxing and unique experience not easily found on other forms of transportation. If you want a way to get away from it all without having to be too far from civilisation, try charting a boat for your next trip.