Before chartering a boat, you need to decide what type of sailing holiday would be right for you and your crew, taking into consideration everyone’s capabilities and desires.


Will it be a carefree jaunt along the coast with the family or a hard open water sail between remote islands? With you can choose from over 40,000 beautiful boats to rent in 75 stunning destinations.

Bareboat charter

Bare boating is popular because you are the skipper of your own boat and can sail anywhere within the recommended cruising area. You must, however, have at least one qualified skipper on board, depending on the country and operator’s rules. An RYA Day Skipper or Yacht Master certificate is usually fine for craft up to 60ft.

The main advantages are that you can sail and stay where you like, for as long as you like. If you prefer peace and quiet over a group BBQ, then you simply drop the hook in a deserted cove and make your own entertainment.

It is advisable to choose your charter area to reflect your experience and that of your crew, though. Some destinations require skilled navigation and have considerably more hazards than others.

Skippered charter

For those who prefer to truly relax, without any responsibilities for the navigation or running of the boat, a skippered charter is ideal. Skippers are commonly hired on a daily basis, so you could just take one with you for the first few days to familiarise yourselves with the boat before going it alone.

Some companies can supply an instructor/skipper who will not only take charge of the boat but can also teach you how to sail as you go along. That way, after an enjoyable and carefree holiday, you could come away with enough knowledge to charter a bareboat next time.

Some crewed charters allow you to book a cabin only (usually on a larger yacht), enabling you to get involved with the sailing or to just sit back and relax.

Where and when?

Sailing conditions vary widely from country to country so take advice from charter experts before choosing your destination and the size/type of your charter boat.

When you go and where is important. In peak sailing season (area dependent) you will need to book well in advance to get your preferred destination and choice of boat.

The least expensive charters will be at the edges of the local season, such as the Mediterranean in April and October, or the Caribbean from July to November. However, this is often when the winds will be stronger and the possibility of rain more likely.

Different charter destinations require differing levels of experience, so before you book a bareboat charter you need to be sure you and your crew can confidently handle the sailing and navigation demands for your chosen area at that time.

That’s not to say you can’t have fine weather outside the quoted high seasons. Often the Med can be perfect in early spring or late Autumn, but you need to be prepared for sudden weather changes.

Associated costs

When comparing boats remember to add in the cost of extras, as some companies charge more than others for items such as linen, towels, dinghies, outboards, kayaks and windsurfers etc. Often these need to be paid for at the base.

SamBoat allows you to compare listings in seconds and to receive quotes with numerous different charter operators all in the one place.

In addition to the cost of the boat and any options you choose, you will be asked to leave a security deposit before you take possession of the boat. Make sure you know how much it is and what type of payment the operator will accept before you go. In many cases you will find you can insure against loss of your deposit (damage waiver insurance) but note that, unlike the security deposit, this premium will be non-returnable.

Budget for fuel, water, mooring and provisions as well as trips ashore and restaurants etc. If you choose a skippered/crewed charter, you will be expected to tip the crew (usually 10% of the charter cost) at the end of the charter.

You can ask the charter operator to provision your boat in advance, which saves a lot of valuable holiday time and avoids you trudging around trying to find and carry provisions back to your boat.

Booking online

Making your booking online is fast, safe and secure with SamBoat. It’s also the quickest way to compare between the huge selection of boats on offer and easy to check user ratings and reviews as you go.

You can be assured that all the boats listed have been fully screened and verified to be of the highest standard for charter. You can also select a suitable insurance package online when choosing your boat to help you enjoy a worry-free holiday on the water.


You will be asked to draw up a comprehensive crew list, which will include the full names and addresses, gender, DOB, passport no. and expiry date, and the relevant sailing qualifications of your crew.

Those with qualifications will need to produce their original documents (including VHF operator’s licence) at the destination office.

Time to set sail

If you’re bareboating your skipper will usually be talked through the cruising area during a pre-sail chart meeting, with ideal anchorages and moorings pointed out on the charts, together with any associated hazards. You’ll be given a chart pack and pilot book of the area but do take a notebook and pen with you.

The base crew will also give you the latest weather forecast and tell you how you can receive them daily – usually by radio.

Once you’ve sorted out your provisions (it’s probably best to stock up on all the dry goods and drinks before you leave the base as the cost of these items will be much higher in remote islands) and checked out your boat (so you know where everything is and how it works), it’s time for the fun to begin.

Check out our listings today on and get ready for the holiday of a lifetime!

SamBoat is the fastest-growing global platform for boat rental, enabling curious travellers and seasoned sailors to experience the joy of being at sea.

Operating in 76 countries and offering the widest range of boats and yachts for both day trips and longer charter, with SamBoat customers can compare thousands of peer-reviewed listings in seconds and book the perfect boating trip at the best price.