Cruising & Sailing Information

The Bottom Line on Yacht & Boat Charters

Whether you are considering your first yacht charter vacation or simply looking to live the experience again there is a lot of vital information you need before planning and embarking on your voyage. Firstly, you need to consider the type of yacht charter that is suitable for you. There are crewed or unscrewed yacht charters, bareboat or even a motorised yacht. Each have their advantages and personal preference will dictate the chosen charter for you.

One thing for certain, though, whatever type of vessel you go on, there are many destinations to choose from each of them offering beautiful islands and shimmering seas by day and exciting or romantic night life. As with any vacation you need to plan carefully, but when chartering a yacht it is absolutely imperative that you take the essentials and spares. Once you're out to sea there will be few opportunities to stock up and an emergency is much of an emergency when you're hundreds of miles from the nearest chemist or shop.

Many who are chartering for the first time do so for a little quality time with family, friends and loved one because chartering a yacht is one of the most tranquil and peaceful vacations you can decide on.

What experience is required for charters.

The experience you need is dependant on the type of charter you are looking for. A bareboat charter means you and a group of family or friends charter the boat with no crew to assist. For a bareboat charter, you are always required to have some former sailing experience and usually need to submit a sailing resume to the charter company. Many will require that you have experience on a similar sized boat and with similar displacement and rig. A number of chartering companies may request that you go on a short sail around the harbour to make sure that your actual skills match your resume.

If you or a member of your group does not have this experience then you should consider chartering a crewed yacht. Chartering a boat and crew requires little or no experience. You may decide that your sailing skills are a little rusty, in which case you can take a captain or small crew for the first few hours of your trip to help you get your 'sea legs' back. Alternatively, if you have no experience whatsoever with yachting then you can take an entire crew and spend your vacation safe in the knowledge that your boat and your vacation are in safe hands.

What insurance do I require, and what is available?

As well as the usual travel insurance, you may want to consider further insurance for your yacht charter vacation. In fact, some charter companies will demand it. Accidents happen in everyday life and this is no different when chartering a yacht, however, there are some vital differences; the cost of a yacht and any parts of the yacht can be very pricey. The charterer is responsible for loss or damage to any of these parts. While many charter companies offer insurance that will cover a certain amount of damage, you should consider taking extra Charterer's liability insurance, usually costing approximately $250 for $1m cover. This figure can change depending on the terms of the agreement and the time of year you intend to charter the boat.

Additional health insurance is advised but not essential, although you should especially consider this for foreign travel of any kind not just charter vacations.

Another good idea is to take cancellation or curtailment insurance because many charter companies require a deposit of up to 50%. If you any of your party cancel or need to finish the vacation early, this insurance will become invaluable.

Charter vacation destinations.

But where should you go? There are many places you can charter a yacht, so you should consider exactly what you are looking for in your vacation.

The Galapagos is an archipelago that consists of 13 volcanic islands as well as 40 small islands. It is a haven of beautiful plants and exotic animals including marine iguanas and sea lions, the weather is very good, and there are many coves and incredibly picturesque beaches to relax on and around.

The Bahamas is a popular destination consisting of more than 700 islands. There are countless cays and beaches to explore as well as some incredible nightlife and beautiful settings. The reef and shallow waters make this a safe place for families to charter a yacht.

And then there's the Greek Islands. One of the world's most enchanting cruising grounds, with ancient history and culture at every turn. Islands such as Lesvos, Mykonos and Paros offer a combination of breathtaking scenery and history.

Still in the Mediterranean - at the western end - there are the Balearic islands off the coast of Spain. There's Majorca, it's smaller sibling Menorca, and the hedonistic playground of Ibiza. You'll find it a little busier than the Greek islands, but on the plus side the back up and support is first class.

On to the Caribbean: It has it all. Many different cultures and nationalities, hundreds and hundreds of islands to explore, and clear blue waters. Yachting at it's best.

The choice of destinations is amazing, and the beauty of chartering a yacht is that you are free to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, drop anchor, pour a stiff drink and soak up the sun!

2005 John Thompson

John Thompson is webmaster for, an online information resource for yacht and boat chartering.


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