Bareboating FAQ Index

This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that pertain specifically to bare boating.
There are over 100 FAQs that pertain to chartering in general that are listed in our Crewed Charter section. Most of these are also pertinent to the bare boaters as well.

In that section you will find all the answers on the booking process, how to get there, what to pack and just about anything else you could imagine.

Click here for our other page of Frequently Asked Questions..

 


sunsets on another perfect day on the water.BareBoating FAQ
Is this you?

What is a Bare Boat.

What is the difference between bareboating and a crewed charter?

Can I rent a captain for a day or 2 to get me settled?

What qualifications/experience do I need?

Getting a bareboat certification.

How big of a boat can I rent?

What sort of briefing will I be given about the boat and sailing areas.

When is the best time of year to bareboat?

What size bare boats are available?


women enjoying the boating life.BareBoating FAQ
Typical summer weather in the Caribbean!

How do I provision the boat?

What about phones and internet?

Isn’t summer a bad time to bareboat in the Caribbean?

What about last minute deals?

Using my credit card while I am away?

Can I join racing weeks?

Women only bareboaters?

Scuba diving while bareboating?

Will I be able to brew coffee on board?


Enjoying some beach time!BareBoating FAQ
Enjoying some beach time.

Whats the fuel policy?

Snorkeling gear.

How to anchor my boat!

How to pick up a mooring ball!

Different colored moorings for different uses.

Can I bring my pet with me?

Can I rent a boat on my own and go chill?

What else should I pack thats not already on the packing list in the crewed FAQ section?

 

The answers to all those frequently asked bare boating questions.

Click here for our other page of Frequently Asked Questions..

 

What is a Bare boat?

A bare boat is an empty boat. When you rent one it comes without any crew or provisions (liquor,food etc). Boats come with linens, pillows and towels and some come with a small starter kit of dish soap, some dish sponges etc.

Galley items like pots, pans, plates and cups are all on board, as are all safety items and anything you will need to operate or navigate the yacht. Things that are not on board are the sport and personal items such as water skis, fishing gear, scuba gear and a selection of music and dvds etc.

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What is the difference between bareboating and a crewed charter?

On a crewed charter yacht everything is done for you. The food is prepared, drinks are blended and the boat is kept clean. All you need to do is relax and enjoy. Everything to do with the boat is taken care of.Think of it as an all inclusive resort.

On a captain only charter, the yacht comes with a captain. He/she will take care of the boating aspect of things. He will drive the boat, anchor and moor the boat. He will do all the daily checks and do the worrying if the wind picks up.

Your duties on a captain only is everything else, The cooking, cleaning and all aspects of day to day vacation life. Think of it as renting a vacation apartment with cooking facilities. On a bare boat everything is up to you, you have no outside help at all. You get to charter your own destiny. It’s not as daunting as it may sound. In areas like the British Virgin Islands, the whole area is set up to make bare boating as easy as possible. You will need to be able to either anchor your boat overnight or pick up an overnight mooring.

I have spoken to bare boaters who have visited the BVI for a week vacation every year for 12 years and never anchored a boat in their life. They always use moorings and therefore just didn’t need to learn how. You will also need to do daily checks on the engines and battery charge levels, you will be shown how to do this.
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Can I rent a captain for a day or 2 to get me settled in?
Absolutely. It is a great way to start your first bare boat adventure. He will help and mentor you on everything you need to know to have a successful bare boat vacation. Some even rent the captain for the whole duration of the charter.

Renting a captain is a great way to hone up your skills, give you confidence in yourself and perhaps give other members of your party a piece of mind that “we can do this”. Captains usually run about $200 per day. You are expected to feed them and tip them as well. This is usually $40 or $50 per day, if you have one for the week then 10 to 15% of the boat rental cost.
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What qualifications/experience do I need?

Inside a voyager cat.BareBoating FAQ
Salon of a typical bareboat catamaran.

You will need to show that you have experience in a similar sized yacht. They will let you take out a vessel up to about 10 feet longer than your experience. If your experience is in a monohull they will allow you to take out a multihull and vice versa.

Typically no formal license is required, except in Greece or Croatia. A bareboat certification is available and can be obtained while on your vacation. more on that is in this FAQ.

Your yachting credentials will need to show the experience of skippering, anchoring and boating skills in a similar setting to the area you intend to charter. Of all the charter areas world wide, The British Virgin Islands require the least amount of skills.
You can bolster your ability to charter by taking on a paid captain for the first day or two or by joining up with one of the bare boat flotillas. These flotillas travel as a group, they anchor together at the same spot each night and the flotilla leader will make sure you are tucked in nicely. They are there to guide you through any questions that may arise during your vacation. Next morning, all captains in the flotilla have a meeting and discuss the day, then as you’re ready you head off on your own way and meet up again that night. There is a small extra charge to be in a flotilla. It is customary to tip the flotilla leader at the end of the week.
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Getting a Bareboat certification.

Bareboats at home base.BareBoating FAQ
Lots to learn about on one of these!

There is an official bare boat certification available. It is available through the ASA. It requires you to do some pre study at home of items ASA101 ASA103 and ASA104. The course materials cost about $100 per person.

The method followed by most to obtain this certification is to take a 10 night bareboat charter. The first 7 days you have an ASA instructor on board. Some of this time must be on a monohull yacht. If you have rented a multihull then often the instructor has a small monohull sail boat available for this part at a small charge.

The instructor will cost about $200 per day plus food plus gratuity. You will also need to allow for a berth on your boat for him. After the 7 days you get your certification, then drop off the instructor and spend the next 3 days honing your skills and gaining confidence. This certification will allow you to bareboat anywhere and will allow you to go into areas that non licensed skippers can’t. Once again, because of the perfect weather conditions and abundance of facilities, the British Virgin Islands is the best area to obtain a bare boat certification.
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How big of a boat can I rent?
You can rent a boat up to about 10 feet longer than you are experienced in. It does not matter if you’re experience is in a monohull and want to charter a multi hull or vice versa. Having a bareboat certification or recognized captain license may get you a larger boat.
Go back to FAQ index.Cats at home base.BareBoating FAQ

 

Cats line up at the dock waiting for there new captains.


What sort of briefing will I be given about the boat and sailing areas.

You will be fully briefed on the yacht, the briefer will spend about an hour or 2 with you. Your first mate should also be present.
You will be shown where all the safety equipment is stowed, how to use the dingy safely, the operation of the anchor and its windlass, where the back up anchor is stowed, how to use and care for the heads on board, how the refrigeration and oven works, where the VHF radio is and how to use it for emergency and calls back to base, How to operate the engine and how to check its oil level etc,How the navigation instruments including GPS and chart plotter (if fitted) work. If your vessel is a sail boat then you will also be instructed on all the sailing control lines etc. Do not be in a rush, if you’re not 100% sure on what was just said, ask him to repeat it. There is no such thing as a dumb question!

You will be given a separate chart briefing. This is usually done at a set time in the morning before your departure and is done with all the other captains who will be heading out that day. You will get a thorough description of the area, its anchorages, where not to go, what to look out for and a weather forecast for the week and what that forecast means to you. With having other captains present, many questions will come up that you have not thought about, so the group meeting is very beneficial. You will also be told how you will be getting your daily weather updates. Some tips on itinerary will be given based on the weather forecast, but remember it is your vacation to do as you please.
Go back to FAQ index.Many boats in Cane Garden Bay.BareBoating FAQ

 

New Years is always busy.
When is the best time of year to bareboat?

This depends upon where you are thinking of chartering. The high seasons for the Caribbean and Mediterranean are directly opposed. The busiest time in the Caribbean is from xmas to the end of march. This is also the time of year when the wind blows the strongest in the Caribbean. April, May and June are a bit less busy and winds are more pleasant. This is the time of year that is favored by many.

July and August as well as November are my personal favorite time of year in the Caribbean. The winds can be light and the sun can be strong during these months. The days of very light winds make for some wonderful diving and snorkeling. I have gone a whole week in these months with only seeing a hand full of other boats. The rates for bareboats can be cheaper than in the prime months. The months of September and October are the 2 months that the Caribbean is likely to see a hurricane.

This does not mean that you can’t bareboat in these months but do have trip insurance. If a hurricane is on the horizon your bareboat company will call you back to base, take care of the boat for you and put you up in a hotel. These months have interesting weather. Typically you get 2 or 3 days of dead flat weather, then a huge electrical storm passes that will last a half day then go back to dead flat seas. Not a good time to sail but a great time to rent a power boat. If you are a scuba diver then this is a perfect time to boat. Super great bargain prices can be had at this time, like pay for 7 nights and get 10.
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What size boats are available?
Bare boat sizes range from low 30 feet monohulls up to cats and monohulls in the high 50 foot range.
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food at the table.BareBoating FAQ
Boating makes everyone hungry.

How do I provision the boat?
You have 2 choices here. Either you can do it yourself or the Bareboat company can do it for you. If you get the company to do it they will send you an email of what’s available. You tick off what you want and they get it and put it onto the boat for your arrival. There is of course a fee for this service.

If you choose to provision yourself, you still have 2 options if you are bare boating in the BVI. We can send you contact information to the major suppliers. You go to their website and place an order. They will then deliver free of charge to your boat. They also usually give a small percentage discount on your order.

Of course the other option is to provision yourself. This does take some time and effort but for many it’s the best option. Generally most will buy too many provisions. You’re not likely to take any left overs home. You will probably have more unplanned food ashore than you thought you were, so stock up on snacks and remember that you can top up on provisions as you go along.
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What about phones and internet?
Phone service is available in pretty much any area that you may be boating in these days. There are always bays that have limited service but the next bay along will have good service. Some bare boat companies have local cell phones for rent and you can just get a pre paid sim. Some companies actually include a phone with the boat that you pay for your personal calls on but all calls back to base are free.

Using your own cell in roaming mode is an option for emergencies however in the Caribbean, calls to the states on roaming can be up to $4 per minute. For internet there is always wifi hotspots around. Some bareboat companies have wireless modems for rent that you buy a pre paid sim for.
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peter island.BareBoating FAQ
Not many days this flat in winter!

Isn’t summer a bad time to bare boat in the Caribbean?

Some say its too hot, others say “but what about the hurricanes”. Yes it is hot in summer, But the ocean is still wonderful. The winds are generally much lighter to even non existent. This makes sailing difficult but either a power boat or sailboat under power move quite quickly when the seas are flat. There are so many less people out boating that this alone would be enough to draw me in. This is by far the best time to come if you are a scuba diver. The water is in the mid to high 80s and the flat seas allow for exploration on more remote sites.

During September and October, the Caribbean goes into off season mode. Many of the bars, restaurants, resorts etc close down completely. Many people who are in the boating industry go away on vacation and the islands become ghost towns. Personally I like it. This is not the time to come if you are the going out every night to the wee hours.

Yes they are the months that hurricanes are most likely in the islands, However, they are few and far between. We see a dozen or more every year on the news, but a particular island is not likely to feel the full effects of one for more than a couple of days in every 3 or 5 years.
Yes it could be the week you decided to go on vacation if you are super unlucky. That’s what trip insurance is for. Insurance generally costs about 7% of you total vacation cost. However, at this time of year the price of airfares are as cheap as can be and the price of renting a boat can be as little as 50% of that in peak season. The math looks great.
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many charter yachts provide the opertunity for casual diving
Sitting here they are not making money!

What about last minute deals?

The bareboat industry has always had some great off season last minute deals. At a couple of weeks out from a charter date they know exactly how many boats they are going to have sitting at the dock not earning money. They can be very motivated to shift those unused boats of the dock to earn some revenue. If you’re planning to get away in the next few weeks, give us a call and we can “do the rounds” and see what we can come up with.
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Using my credit card while I am away.
There is nothing more annoying than being thousands of miles from home and having your credit card company freeze your account thinking there is fraud going on. Generally speaking, if you use your card away from home to purchase something, unless it’s for a very large amount, it will not raise a flag. However, put your card into an ATM away from home to get even $10 out. Bingo it’s flagged. The best bet is to call the number on the back of your card before you leave home, tell them where and how long you will be gone for. Then all should be ok.
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Can I join racing weeks?
You sure can. Many bareboat companies organize race weeks. Teams get together and rent a specific type of boat, each day another leg is raced from one perfect anchorage to the next. You don’t have to be good to enter, just willing. Many are super keen and the top place getters are cut throat. Many though dont really care where they come, its more about the comradary. All the boats are exactly the same so competition is close. No spinnaker or poles are allowed.
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Women only bareboaters.
Many charters are all about getting together with old friends. Often this is all the guys, but it is also sometimes just the girls. There is no reason at all why it can’t be all the girls either. If you intend to have a rented captain on board please make sure to mention if you specifically want a female. There are many of them available but if you don’t ask, you may end up with a guy!
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a scuba diver while on charter in the caribbean.BareBoating FAQ
Dropping into the depths.

Scuba Diving while bare boating!

There are a few options for scuba diving while on charter.
You can have us organize rental gear for you, tell us what you need and it will all be delivered the morning of your charter. You are then free to go dive at will. Air fills are available all over the place, or if you are on a larger cat and are doing some serious diving, then you could also rent a compressor.

Going it alone does not get you to the secret spots that only local knowledge brings. If you are wanting to do some serious diving then I would highly recommend looking at a dive dedicated crewed boat. We know which boats just offer diving and which ones have keen diving crew.
Another option is rendezvous diving. That is where you arrange with a dive store to either meet you at the dive site or meet your boat elsewhere and take you to the site. This is a good option if the skipper is a non diver as he can take the rest of your party elsewhere, then when you are done, the dive boat will drop you back off in your boats new location.

You can always walk into one of the dive stores and see what they have going on! If you are bringing your own reg or computer with you and are heading to the Caribbean, make sure you pack them in carry on if you don’t want them to mysteriously disappear. Don’t forget your dive card.

We personally have ran a dedicated dive crewed charter boat for 14 years in the BVI and can be a wealth of information. We will be happy to answer any questions either via email or online chat. Check out our dive section for more information.
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Will I be able to brew coffee on board?
Yes. If the yacht does not have a generator or inverter large enough to support an electric coffee maker then a stove top model will be on board.
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Whats the fuel policy?
All power yachts and most sail yachts you start with a full diesel tank and have to refill it before you return the yacht. Moorings sail yachts are an exception within the Caribbean, they usually include fuel. For both Sunsail and TMM non generator yachts, they have a pre pay option so you don’t need to refill the tank if you don’t want to.
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Snorkeling with a ray.BareBoating FAQ
Taking pictures of a southern ray.

Snorkeling gear.
Most companies include snorkeling gear. Horizon yacht charters and Virgin traders do not. They have you rent from local dive shops. Most only have adult sizes so you may want to bring stuff for the kids.
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How to anchor my boat

Click here for our complete page on anchoring..

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How to pick up a mooring ball!

Click here for our complete page on the intricacies of mooring.
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Different colored moorings for different uses.
In the BVI there are 3 types of mooring balls.
The first are private moorings and should be left alone for 2 reasons, firstly the owner might return and want you to move but more importantly you have no idea as to what the condition of that mooring is, it may not have been service for years and be down to its last threads.

The second type are overnight moorings. These are a great option to anchoring. They give you peace of mind and are serviced regularly. They are in most of the major anchorages and will have the mooring company’s name and usually a number painted on them. They are free to use during the daytime except in White bay Jost Van Dyke and in Sprat bay at Peter Island Resort., but there is and overnight fee.

Sometime between about 4 pm and sunset, a small skiff will come around and collect the fee. Prices range from $25 to $35 per night. A cheap price to pay for a good nights sleep. If you are not the one to visit the bars and moor with the crowds, you will be looking to anchor rather than the overnight moorings.

The overnighters are usually white in color but some of the BVI national parks moorings are also white. These will not have a company name on them. On St John on the US side it is pretty much all national park and moorings must be used. You can overnight on these and the cost is $25. No one comes to collect the fee here, instead you need to jump in your dingy with your $25 and a pen.

Take note of the number on your mooring ball and cruise around the mooring field until you find a floating National Park Pay Station. There you will find an envelope that has directions on how to fill in the envelope and a box to deposit the envelope in. There will also be pamphlets on the rules of the park.


Many yachts gathered in Great Harbor.BareBoating FAQ
A busy mooring field in the BVI

The third type of moorings are the British Virgin Island national parks moorings. These are located at all the popular snorkeling, diving, and sightseeing sites. They come in 4 different colors. Red is for snorkeling or scuba diving. White is for general use Blue is for dinghies only. Do not under any circumstances tie your yacht to a blue ball.

Yellow are for commercial diving only, These are only to be used by commercial dive boats and yachts that are members of the BVI scuba organization. This counts you out. If you do pick one up and a commercial boat wants to use it, they will ask you to vacate it and you should pronto.

There is some rules for the BVI park moorings that are there to let everyone have a good time. Please keep your stay on the mooring to only a couple of hours if there are other boats waiting for one to become free. Have your snorkel or swim and if others are waiting, move over to one of the overnight balls for lunch and just hang out.
Fishing is not allowed from any vessel that is attached to a National parks mooring either in the BVI or the USVI.
Staying overnight is not permitted on the BVI national parks moorings.

Click here for our complete page on the intricacies of mooring and what to watch out for..

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Can I bring my pet with me?

Nope, no company allows it. There are some crewed yachts that will allow small breed dogs and cats. send us an email and we can point you in the right direction.
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Can I rent a boat on my own?
No unfortunately, as great an idea as it sounds to get some inspiration to write that novel. All companies require at least 2 persons on board.
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What else should I pack that’s not already in the crewed FAQ section.

When bareboating, you need to provide everything you are going to consume.
Many items we take for granted in our daily life or would expect to be on a crewed boat do not seem important until we don’t have them. If you are going to the Virgin Islands everything can be bought locally, albeit at a steep price.
For many things it just does not make sense to purchase. Take for example that favorite dish that you intend to make that requires 4 different spices. Do you really want to go out and buy them? Perhaps bring a small amount of each in a small ziplock. You’re probably going to want a flashlight also there will be one on the boat but more than one is handy. Perhaps playing cards or a board game. If you have a cruising guide of the area then take it along, fishing gear maybe? What about your favorite brand of coffee. Meat in the Virgin Islands is beyond expensive!

Many bring their meats frozen from home wrapped in a dozen layers of newspaper. Sunscreen, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and deodorant are also exorbitant. Just think of it like a hotel room with kitchen facilities. If you wouldn’t find it in the hotel room your not going to find it on board. It takes a little planning, The time to find out that you forgot to get bug spray is not when you’re on the beach with the bugs having you as a snack. We hope this section on Bareboat FAQ has been of some help to you. Please pass it on.
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Click here for our other page of Frequently Asked Questions..

About me- Kerry Hucul.


I personally ran a 10 passenger charter yacht in the British Virgin Islands and up and down the Caribbean chain for 20 years and did over 500 charters. This coupled with the fact that I have personally stepped  aboard each of the several hundred yachts that I represent  and inspected the vessel as well as  quizzed the crews makes my help to you unconditionally qualified to be up to date, informed and independently unbiased. Many in our industry simply rely on information that they have gotten from either the internet or from our other “trade” sources about each boat. Many have ties to particular fleets so will push them even if they do not really match your requirements that well.   I am here for the express purpose of finding the correct match for you and your family’s needs. What I tell or show you is what I have recently seen or personally photographed myself.  I do not rely upon information and pictures from 5 year old brochures.  Our service is completely free to you and there is absolutely no obligations to book through us.

All brokers have the same prices, that’s how the industry works, Your decision on which broker to use should be based upon what the broker can do for you!

The process of planing and getting to your vacation should be as smooth as the waters you’re  dreaming of  sailing upon.

Please let me help make your vacation  the vacation of a lifetime. Either filling out an on line inquiry  form, start a chat below or give us a call and we will get you started in the right direction.

Start planning your next great adventure here!