How To Ensure You Have A Great Time On Your First Charter Vacation…

How To Ensure You Have A Great Time On Your First Charter Vacation…

Have you been toying with the idea about chartering a sail or power boat for your next vacation?

From 20 years of boating experience, I can promise… if you’ll follow these helpful tips, you’re practically guaranteed to have one of your most adventurous and fun vacations ever.

There are a few basic decisions for you to make, though…

1) You have to choose your destination

2) Determine if you want to charter a sail or power boat

3) Choose between a bareboat (one where you captain and provision) or a crewed boat where you don’t have to do any driving, provisioning or cooking; you just leave everything to the crew.


4) Think about how much room you need and the category of the vessel you want to charter. Both sail and power boats are available in monohull and multihull designs. Multi hulls include catamarans and trimarans. You can charter a bareboat or a crewed boat or just hire a captain without any crew.

All have their distinct advantages though. If you’re experienced enough to qualify to captain the boat on your own, and have good nautical skills, a bareboat could be the right thing for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a less stressful and laid back charter, leave it to the crew. They’re pros at making sure you and your family… or friends, will have a great and memorable time.

Chartering is all about getting away from crowds and seeing things most vacationers wouldn’t ordinarily see. It’s more of a laid back, adventurous type of vacation away from the throngs and hustle bustle of being a tourist. Chartering a boat is exciting, adventuresome and relaxing.

There are so many great destinations for you to choose from. The East coast, Gulf coast, Pacific Northwest, Mexico, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and down island into the Caribbean. My wife and I once chartered a boat in Auckland, NZ and sailed to the fabled Bay of Islands, and another trip was from Marathon, FL to Key West… both great trips. But the destination I personally recommend is the Virgin Islands.

Most people don’t know this, and think only of the British or US Virgin Islands, but there’s actually one more… the Spanish Virgin Islands near Puerto Rico.

There are several reasons I recommend this as a charter destination. The water is clear and a color that stays in your mind forever. There’s a lot of history (Columbus sailed through here in the late 1400’s) and you are almost always in normally calm conditions. But the most important reason is that you are hardly ever more than a mile or two (sometimes just several hundred yards) from any of the 50 or so islands that make up this beautiful boating paradise.

Part of your charter vacation planning should include guides on navigating the waters of your chosen destination. If you are a scuba enthusiast, don’t forget your guide to dive sites. Charter vacations can be booked through any number of charter companies. Caution: check out your broker and make sure they are reputable. Your charter broker can suggest a popular itinerary for you and you can also determine where and when you want to stop. Remember… you are in the drivers seat and can pretty much make the decision on what you want on your boat as far as food and drinks are concerned. Just remember if there a special need, you should make sure you discuss it with your broker as some brands and types of food are not available in all places.

After answering the questions above, you should have enough knowledge to call or email a yacht broker and discuss your needs. My suggestion is that this year, don’t just talk about it , do it. It really doesn’t matter what type of boat you’re chartering. What does matter is that you’ll finally be taking part in one of the best kept vacation secrets around; a relaxing, laid back, sun-kissed adventure that few people ever get to do… a fun-filled charter vacation.

by Terry Hudson