What You Should Know Before Renting or Chartering a Boat


Renting or chartering a boat has become one of the most popular activities for a holiday, with the boat often being centric to the getaway. Hitting the open ocean or working the waterways on a sunny day can offer relaxation, seclusion from everyday life, and a unique experience. All-in-all a day or a week on a boat can prove to be exactly what you need to unwind and enjoy your getaway.

Here, we’ll be going through everything that you need to consider when planning on renting or chartering a boat – with a specific focus on chartering – as well as some of the more popular types of boat that you can base your getaway around. But first, let’s explain the difference between renting and chartering.

Renting a boat versus chartering a boat

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At their base level, renting and chartering a boat are the same thing: you pay money to lend someone’s or some company’s boat for a period of time. The core difference when discussing the two is the length of time and the type of boat involved.

When people discuss boat rental and renting boats, it tends to concern the fast motorboats, plastic boats, or inflatable boats often for use on a river, a lake, or close to the coast. Most people who rent a boat will do so as a day trip, aiming to travel around the area for their allotted time and then heading back at the end of the day.

Chartering tends to be for a greater period, often from three days to a week, or possibly longer. The boats at hand are generally bigger, spanning large sailboats to motorised yachts and will most likely require a crew, washing and cooking facilities, cabins, and some refuelling stops throughout the trip.

So, if you want to use a boat as part of your getaway and spend the day on the water, then you’ll be looking to rent. But, if you want to cross the sea or travel down a coastline for a few days to visit many destinations, chartering a boat is what you’ll be looking to do.

In this article, we’ll be focussing on chartering as there are many more aspects to consider when planning such a trip. Some of what is detailed as chartering needs can be applied as general boat rental rules.

What you need to consider when chartering a boat

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While the size of the boat, the duration of your charter, and location will influence how much these elements are needed or will cost, they need to be considered prior to any boat trip.

First off is the season in which you wish to charter a boat. For the most part, people tend to stick to seasons of favourable weather, especially if sailing on the open ocean. But, the peak seasons for chartering differ between regions. In the ever-warm climates of the Caribbean, the season for sailing is from September to around the New Year, while around the Mediterranean the prime time is from April to September. During the offseason, prices can be as low as half of their peak season costs, but unenviable weather conditions may ensue.

You’ll also need to figure out how long you and your party want to spend chartering. Most chartering durations tend to start from a three, sometimes a two-day trip all the way to a week or more. Given the capabilities of chartering and all of the places that you can explore during these near-limitless holidays, many opt to charter for a week.

As is the case with most rental services, it’s important to read the insurance policy, if provided, or take out your own insurance. As you can’t get an insurance policy on a boat that isn’t under your ownership, you will sometimes be offered insurance by the company renting the boat to you. If not, you can inquire if there are any similar options on offer or what would happen if something did go wrong during your trip. It’s always best to check and get cover just in case.

Only a very small proportion of people who go out on a chartered holiday know how to drive or sail a boat, and even fewer end up putting that knowledge to the test. Most chartering agencies will provide a captain and crew for your trip, tending to much of the navigation, directing, upkeep, refuelling, and – if needed – catering and cleaning. There are many boat types, so a full crew may not always be necessary, but most chartering expeditions will require a skipper. The bonus of having a crew is that they know where all of the best places to explore, drop anchor, refuel, and restock supplies are, making your trip even easier.

Many people who charter from companies will discuss with their skipper and the company as to the destinations and course of the trip. But, there’s no reason why you can’t plot a general course prior to getting the wheels in motion for your boat trip. It’s good to know the region that you can explore as it’s one of the many perks of chartering a boat. You’ll most likely already have your passport to hand if you’re travelling to charter a boat, but be sure to keep it on you if you explore new countries during your trip.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to consider when planning to charter a boat. Most expenses, such as the crew, food, and fuel will cost extra on top of the cost of hiring the vessel, but some chartering companies will package it all together in a deal. Now that you know what to plan for, it’s time to see which type of boat you’ll want to set off on.

The many types of boat for your chartering adventure

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Once you’ve found a chartering agency in the region that you wish to explore or set sail from, they will be able to point you in the direction of the type of boat which is best for your party size and what you wish to do with the vessel. But, there’s no harm in eyeing up some types of boats so that you have an idea of what you’d ideally like to hire.

Sailboats are often the boat of choice for people who want an authentic ocean excursion. Sailboats are powered by the force of the wind in the sails and can come with one, two, or three hulls, but here, we’ll be referring to those with a monohull. The monohull sailboats are very common across the world and can be relatively cheap from around £85 (€97) per day with a skipper.

There is a lot of debate as to what constitutes a yacht these days, but here, the yachts in question are the motorboat variations. These are the ones that you see rich celebrities party on in billionaire playgrounds like Monaco. They come in many sizes and capacities often with a lot of space due to the absence of sails. To charter a yacht, you’ll most likely need a crew, but can get yourself on a decent-sized yacht from around £15,800 (€18,000) per week.

Catamarans are elegant boats with two hulls of equal size and operate on wind power through its sails. With more space for living and general enjoyment, they have become the preferred choice for small to medium-sized parties who want to do some sailing. Like their monohull counterparts, catamarans are relatively cheap, with some being available for as little as £110 (€125) per day.

For a very special sailing trip, set your sights on a schooner. With massive sails, many cabins, social rooms, bathrooms, and a long deck, schooners offer an incredible way to take a trip. Schooners are majestic vessels, and many of the ones used for tourists feature stunning interiors. They can cost around £15,250 (€17,360) per week for a large, 14-guest schooner.

There’s a lot that you need to consider when planning your boat charter, but at the end of it all, you’ll get to spend days out at sea, visiting incredible places while being in ful control your getaway.