Qualifications To Charter
"Am I qualified to bareboat?" is one of the most commonly asked questions, both from seasoned sailors and those that are relatively new to the sport. It's certainly useful to know "up front" if you're going be required to carry a captain.
All bareboat companies require you to complete a sailing resume when you book your yacht. They will evaluate your ability to command the yacht by yourself based upon what you put down on your resume and either approve it or reject it. It's important to be truthful when completing your resume because if the manager feels that your abilities don't measure up to your resume when he checks you out, he has the right to place a captain aboard at your expense. If he can't find a captain immediately, you'll remain tied to the dock until one is located.
In most areas including the Caribbean you don't not need "Bareboat Certification" from a sailing school in order to rent a boat. Most bareboat companies would much rather see years of experience in boats approaching the size that you wish to sail than certification from a sailing school. For those with limited experience, taking one or more sailing courses is certainly recommended.
In some destinations, particularly Europe and the Med, a sailing license may be required, and "bareboat certification" from a sailing school might not qualify. As such requirements vary, it is best to contact the bareboat company or agent that you are working with to find out what licensing requirements apply, if any.
CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT A SAILING RESUME and receive a free evaluation of how you would probably be rated by most bareboat companies.
If your sailing resume is not strong enough you will be required to hire a checkout captain at your expense. The captain may be required for just one day or perhaps the duration of the charter, depending on how quickly you can demonstrate your ability to handle the yacht safely.
Taking a captain with you can result in a "Catch 22" as the captain is usually required to have a private cabin. This means you'll need a larger yacht than would otherwise be necessary. The larger yacht will cost more and the captain may have to stay on board longer than he or she would have needed to were you to have hired the smaller bareboat that you really wanted in the first place!
If you need a captain for a few days we suggest that you ask for a sailing instructor rather than a normal helmsman if this is an option. While sailing instructors cost around $20 to $30 more per day, such individuals are trained to help you learn faster and may not need to stay aboard as long. Some bareboat companies may be able to arrange for you to obtain bareboat certification at the same time!
eBare used to arrange charters, and in the hundreds that we booked we never had a complaint that a captain stayed aboard the yacht longer than was necessary, or than was specifically requested by the charterer.
If you don't qualify presently and yet don't want to have a captain aboard during your bareboat charter, consider taking a course at a sailing school near you. Click here for a list of sailing schools or look in your local phone directory. Unless you know a school well, we would suggest choosing one that is certified by ASA, the American Sailing Association or by US Sailing, the sailing authority for the USA or by an overseas authority such as RYA.
|The Crewed Yacht Alternative|
When you hire a captain for a bareboat it is similar to hiring a driver for your rental car. You are still responsible for the operation of the yacht and the captain is treated as your employee.
As an alternative you may want to consider a crewed yacht charter. In high season, a crewed charter could actually cost less than a bareboat with captain as nearly everything is included. Added benefits are that you avoid the lengthy check-out /check-in procedures required when bareboating, and that someone else does the cooking and cleaning, leaving you more time to enjoy yourself. Food is included and often bar is as well.
Some crewed yacht captains are experienced sailing instructors and a few may even provide ASA or US Sailing certification upon request, though most provide other forms of certification.
Click here if you would like information on crewed yacht charters.