If you’re looking to charter a boat, we’ve put together an information guide about how it works. From what you need to do when choosing a boat, to how to pay and what to expect on the day.

Here you’ll find all the useful information you need about how a boat charter works. You’ll also find our mini charter checklist to give you an idea of what to bring with you.

Choosing A Boat

We have a comprehensive guide on how to choose a boat for charter. This discusses the different types of charter and boats and offers advice about what you need to consider when choosing a boat.

When it comes to choosing a boat, you will often get in touch with a yacht charter broker. You may visit their office, if you’re situated in the area you plan to charter, or you may find their website. Like us, a lot of boat hire agencies, will have the boats you can choose from listed on their sites. You can then navigate through their options to see pictures of the vessels, rough prices, their facilities and features. You should also find some detailed information discussing what each vessel is like and what types of occasion it may be recommended for. The website tells you everything you need to know, and you can see for yourselves the options you have. You don’t need to look through the website at the boats, but you have the option.

When you’ve found a boat hire company you want to book with, you will then need to get in touch. They will often ask you about your occasion – the purpose for your charter, your party size and your budget. This information is crucial to finding a boat that suits all your needs. Yacht brokers have the ability to arrange deals with boat owners so once they know your budget they can see what they can arrange. They need to know about your party size as boats have different people limits. They need to know about your purpose, so they can recommend boats that are great for those occasions – e.g. fishing boats have different requirements to a party boat. They will also need to know about your purpose due to the boat size. For example, boats have different people limits for standing, seating, dining and sleeping. If they know your occasion, they can use that information to perhaps find a suitable boat at a lower cost. For example, if you are having a party for 50 guests, but it’s a lunchtime charter and you want to bring your own food and do a BBQ, you may be able to cut costs because you’re bringing your own food.

When choosing a boat, the broker will do all the work on your behalf. You can have a look at options on a website but get in touch, tell them your requirements and they’ll find a boat fitting for your event.

You will also need to consider a pick-up point and drop off wharf for your charter. We have a guide to the wharves whereby we tell you all about their facilities and nearby amenities, but if you’re new to the area ask for advice when booking. Multiple pick-ups from different locations cost extra but they can be accommodated for.

Booking A Boat

When you know what boat you’re opting for, you will need to contact the agency and put down a deposit. Deposits differ on a per boat basis. Popular days of the year and more luxurious yachts will require a larger deposit. You put down the deposit when booking and you will usually pay the rest of the charter costs a week or two before.

What To Take With You

Different charter types have different needs. If you’re staying over, you will need to pack additional clothes plus any cosmetics you want to use. Towels and bedding should be included in your cabin already.

If you are having a party onboard or an event, you will need the resources for your occasion. You may be able to arrange for decorations to be set up by the crew beforehand so check this when booking.

If the boat has BYO facilities, you will need to take your supplies. Alcohol, food, BBQ, whatever you plan on eating, you will need to stop off and get this beforehand.

You won’t need ID for accessing the boat, but you should take it in case as the legal age limit applies onboard and if the crew don’t think you to be of the right age, they can refuse not to serve you.

If you’re skippering the boat yourself, you should also take with you navigation tools and maps. Some boats will provide these but best to bring your own in case.

What To Expect Onboard

If you’ve opted for a crewed charter, you will often meet them at the pick-up wharf you decided upon when booking your boat. It is recommended you and you your guests arrive at least 15 minutes early. The crew will meet you and they will give you a run down of the safety procedures and then you will board and start your charter.

What happens onboard will depend on the type of charter. You may want to talk to the captain about an itinerary or specific places you want to visit, this may be prearranged if you’ve opted for something like a fishing charter. You may want to talk to the crew about dining arrangements – if you’ve prepaid for a meal and made menu choices, check with them when food will be served. Visit the bar, start the party, get changed in the cabin, the rest is up to you. We have a guide to onboard etiquette but what you do on the boat will depend on your occasion and your guests. Once you’re onboard however, it’s time to enjoy your charter and relax with your friends.

If you’ve opted for a bareboat charter, how it works on the day will depend on the type of boat you are chartering, whether a license is required and how much experience you have driving a boat. Often you are met for a safety briefing before your charter and a skipper will teach you the ropes of how to drive the boat and dock, etc. As this will differ on a per boat basis – some boat owners require different things – it is better to check with the agency when looking at the self-drive boat options.

Boat Charter Etiquette