When you took your first ASA 101 course this is the moment you were dreaming of. The sailing vacation where you are captain and the entire family is your crew. You could see it happening as you first picked up your Sailing Made Easy textbook. When you took ASA 103 it became all too clear that no matter what happened for the rest of your life, your excursion would not be complete until you chartered your own boat. After ASA 104 all the confidence you had gained led you to this moment when you began your search for a charter boat.
Well, it’s time for you to set off on your own and explore endless shorelines and secluded coves. You have mapped out your plan and you have reserved your vacation time now all you need is a boat. How do you choose a charter company to rent a boat for a week?
First, what type of sailing vacation are you thinking about? We tackled that issue already here , but in a nutshell, are you sailing yourself (bareboat) or are you sitting back and having someone else do the work (crewed Charter)
Now we find a charter company and there are quite a few. For the sake of brevity, we will look at the larger companies that have boats in multiple locations. There might be some great smaller companies but realistically if they only charter in one location (unless it’s BVI) it is hard to comparison shop.
These are 3 of the larger Charter Boat Companies and down below there are links to a few more companies that operate primarily in the British Virgin Islands.
Moorings has been in business for over 50 years and they boast 20+ destinations to charter a monohull or catamaran. Their operation handles everything down to the airport transfers if you need them. They are a one-stop travel agent for would-be charter customers.
Where They Sail
You’ll find Moorings charter bases in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Tahiti, Tonga, Thailand, and Seychelles.
How Big Is Their Fleet
400+ Yachts. Their fleet is seemingly endless with options that vary from their “Exclusive Plus” boats that are less than a year old to “Club” boats that are 3+ years of age up to 10 years old. All of the yachts are maintained to high standards and briefings from Moorings staff prior to your sail are thorough and designed to make you as comfortable as possible with your boat.
Horizon Yacht Charter
Where They Sail
Grenada, British Virgin Islands, St. Vincent
How Big Is Their Fleet
Their fleet is made up of both monohulls and catamarans with a majority being late models and some in the range of 3 to 6 years old. Their fleet varies in age.
A few more charter boat companies for comparison
As you look for a charter company keep in mind that the age of the boat will be a factor in the price. Larger companies will offer more “extras” but that is also a matter of “you get what you pay for.” The price will be the ultimate determining factor so have a good idea of your budget constraints.
Price, destination, and level of service are all important factors when choosing a charter boat company. The larger companies (possibly more expensive) will offer services that some of the smaller outfits will not be able to provide. For example, if an issue arises on your boat a company such as Moorings is prepared to send someone to you within a few hours to fix the problem. Customer service does come at a premium so as you shop for a charter boat company keep that in mind.
Questions to ask as you search for a charter boat company:
- How big is your fleet?
- What type of support staff do you have at your bases?
- What is the age of your boats?
- What amenities are available at your base? Groceries, shuttle service, water toys, etc..
Take a look at our guide to choosing the right boat for your charter.
Before you start your research for a company pick up a Cruising World Magazine and look at their charter company advertisements. They also have an online directory: http://www.cruisingworld.com/charter-directory