Frequently asked charter vacation questions index.

This is my collection of 73 most frequently asked yacht chartering questions. This list has been compiled from 20 years of working charters and brokering charters. These are some of questions and miss understandings about the charter industry that have came our way! As time goes by and more inquiries lead questions that add merit to this list, we will just keep adding them. The questions are listed first and the answers at the bottom. Clicking the question will take you straight to the answer.


Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
Some beach time?

The booking process.

Do charter brokers own the yachts.

Who owns the yacht?

What is a clearinghouse?

Why do most sites seem to have the same yacht search engines?

How do the brokers know the yachts?


Crystal blue Caribbean.Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
The crystal blue Caribbean.

What is my relationship with a yacht charter broker?

Will different brokers all have different prices for yachts?

Who pays the commission amount to the broker and how much is it?

Can’t I just book the yacht directly myself?

How do I reserve a yacht I want while I am confirming all the transportation issues? How long before I have to put down the deposit?

What and When are the payments due for the yacht?

What does the broker do with my money.

How do I know it is secure?

How will the yacht know our particular dietary wants and needs?



photo of dolphins from Crewed Yacht Charters,Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
A captain knows where to find the action.

What happens if I have to cancel the vacation?

Why book with us?

What does “Fully Crewed” mean?

What does “Partial Board” mean?

What does “Captain Only” mean?

What is a “Bare Boat”?

What does “All Inclusive” mean?

High and Low season.

Mono hull verses multi hull.

What is a “Cabin Only” charter?

Will I get sea sick? 



Bathers enjoying the Baths in the BVI,Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
Family fun at the baths.

What aboutTipping?

What about trip Insurance?

How many days is the right number to charter?

Chartering with kids or the elderly.

Do charters have to start or stop on specific days of the week?

Island hopping verses one destination.

Fly into the BVI or USVI.

Why does one boat cost twice as much as another?

Why are there so many boats based in the British virgin islands as apposed to the US virgins?

Do I need a passport to go to the Virgin Islands?

I have a group that’s too large for one boat!

What does willing to do “Tandem charters”mean?

What should I pack.?



An old English Phone Booth in the BVI,Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
Remember “Life before the internet”.

My luggage didn’t arrive! !

I will die if there is no internet…..!

Special diets!

Whats the difference between “cook” and “chef” onboard?

Can someone call the boat in an emergency??

Will there be power on board??



picture of White Bay, Jost Van Dyke,Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
Typical crewed charter tender.

Tender size and how does it effect me?

What is a “Sleep Aboard”?

Staying before or after my charter!

Will I be able to help drive / sail?

Will I have to help drive / sail?



cannon balls from the virgin islands,Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
Owner operators will often take you to their special place, like where they found these cannon balls from the 1600’s.

Smoking or not smoking on board!

Illegal drugs on board!

What is owner operated?

Fully or partial air conditioning and wind scoops.

Ice makers and water makers!

Can I drink the water?

Showering on the boat?

What about going to the bathroom!

I want to catch fish.!

Scuba diving questions!

Need to be active or just relax.

Partygoers.

weddings,honeymoons, registrar, performs weddings.

Special / specific events. sailing regattas.

Family fun.

Whats a Bimini?



Close up of barracuda,Frequently Asked Yacht Charter Vacation Questions.
These guys are inquisitive but not aggressive!?

Will stuff in the water hurt me?

Hurricane season.

Clothing optional / gay friendly / adults only/ 18+.

Jet Ski’s.

Medical Emergency.

I want to do it again.

How do I list my charter boat on your web site?

 

Booking Process.
If you do not have much experience in chartering yachts, you may be confused by the amount of websites and brokers that seem to offer and “own” the same boats. Let me try and explain to you how the process works. Sorry, but this is the condensed version! The next 14 answers will give you some insight to the process.
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Do Charter brokers own the yachts they offer?
Think of charter yacht brokers as travel agents specializing in yacht vacations. Most charter brokers do not “own” any yachts.
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Who owns the yachts?
Lets start with the yachts. Most yachts are independently owned. Some are part of a fleet, ie Voyager, but mainly an owner decides that he wants to offer his yacht for charter. He then has many steps to get it ready. He or she has to decide what market he is going into, whether he will run it himself (owner operators) or hire a crew. He makes it “charter ready” and produces the material so charter yacht brokers have the information to book it. He ensures that the boat and the crew have all the correct operating licenses ,insurances etc for the area they want to charter in.
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What is a clearinghouse?
The yacht owner chooses a clearinghouse. A clearinghouse is different than a broker, each boat will have one, and the clearinghouses role is to be a “go between” in effect, between the boat and the broker. Many years ago boats did not have communication technology while they were out sailing the seas, so the clearinghouse would keep all the details of each boat they represented and answer questions on it. The clearinghouses still have a large role to play, as they keep the yachts calendars. That way everyone is able to find out when a yacht is available or not. The clearinghouses also arrange to collect the money for the charter, and keep it in escrow until it is time to release it to the yacht. Although there are many charter brokers, there are only a few clearinghouses, and they generally are in the background.
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Why do most sites seem to have the same yacht search engines?
Nowadays, if you go on many charter yacht brokers sites, you will see plug in search engines that let you search and know whether a yacht is available or not. These are another level of information besides the clearinghouse. Boats, Yacht Brokers and Clearinghouses subscribe to these services so they can get up to date information and brochures out to as many people as possible. These plug in search engines ARE becoming the back end booking system in many cases. So yes all the brokers offer the same yachts and ALWAYS for the same price. So when your looking for a yacht, your choice of broker is equally as important as your selection of the yacht. Broker experience varies greatly, most have zero experience of what chartering actually entails but more of a blind expectation of what they think that boats and their crews should be able to do. We personally did hundreds of charters and therefore know with certainty what can and cant be done, therefore we will never make you promises that the yacht will not be able to meet.
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How do the brokers know the yachts?
Yachts arrange to show themselves in boat shows that are specifically for yacht charter brokers a couple times a year. Good brokers keep up to date on the shows and attend them so they know which boats have which crews and what is the up to date scoop on the yacht. November is the time for them in the British and US Virgin Islands. St Maarten and Antigua attract the larger mega yachts and have their shows in December. The boat shows are put on by various entities, some of which are “membership” groups of yachts. Oh dear, ANOTHER level in the boat chartering business! Two of the best known in the Virgin Islands are the BVI Charter Yacht Society, and also the Virgin Islands Charter League. We attend both Virgin Island and the Antigua show every year. We take our own photographs and quiz the crews in depth. As an example most boats say they have fishing on board but when quizzed very few captains actually encourage fishing as it adds to their work load and they dont want the mess. This is why we can always give you correct answers and also show you up to date pictures of a yacht and not use their stock 5 year old brochure pictures. Also as crews change regularly on the yachts quizzing the chef gives us true information on what special diets can be catered for.
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What is my relationship with a yacht charter broker?
Ok, loosely this brings you to your part. You arrive at a site such as this. Each broker has their own set of boats that they “prefer” booking. This is for as different of reasons as there are brokers! Some are totally professional and truly try to find out what you are looking for and match you up with the perfect boat. Others may sell any yacht to anybody who has the ability to sign a check. Some get a bit more commission from some yachts, so they will push those. Others have had such success in past charters with some boats that they prefer booking them. Some brokers represent a specific fleet and therefore “push” their fleet regardless of whether they are your perfect match. Yachts that generally just come into the market are an “unknown” quantity, so they will often offer specials or price themselves lower then comparable yachts to get bookings in the hopes that they will have some great reference letters to entice other brokers to book them. We facilitate the booking process and are there to give you guidance. We are available for support right up until you get home from your charter. Then after your charter we want to know from you “how was your charter” and if you would like to write a reference letter. This gives us up to the minute information to pass on to other guests that may be thinking of choosing the same vessel. If you had any problems with your charter we are still there to help you work with the boat.Some boats and all the bare boats will sell directly to the public. They still offer the exact same rate as we do, Their advice can be somewhat biased as is to be expected when they are selling their own product, but the main concern is if you have any problems with the yacht, crew or service, you are on your own without a broker. We are totally independent from any yachts and you are our only concern, not the yacht. Being as our service is totally free to you why would you not use it?
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Will different brokers all have different prices for yachts?
Brokers will not be in business long nor will boats if they are not very good. Trust your instincts. As I said before, all brokers can sell all yachts, so emailing a hundred brokers to try and get the best price is not a good strategy. The industry is set up so a broker, any broker, receives a set commission from the yacht when they send a charter their way. The boats are forbidden from offering their boat at a lower price than they offer it to the brokers to sell. Now sometimes a boat will have a gap in their calendar that they want to fill so may offer brokers an extra commission on those dates as an incentive to fill them. Some brokers will pass this on to the client, we do, so this is where you will sometimes see things like 5% off for charters before xxx The boats however can still not offer the discounted rate direct to the customer. That just how the industry works!
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Who pays the commission amount to the broker and how much is it?
It is important to note that the commission is paid by the yacht to the broker, NOT by the person booking the charter! It costs you no more to go through a broker. Boats who offer a lower price then they would offer a broker for a charter by going direct, quickly would be blackballed in the industry. Sometimes the boat will give more of a discount on a week they want to sell, or for repeat clients. Same with a broker. They may offer a bit of their commission back to repeat clients or add in extras that the yacht does not cover.
The commission rate is fairly standard throughout the industry. The yacht pays 15% to the broker, or 20% if the broker is working with a travel agent, which is common as well. You may have a travel agent at home that you book all your vacations through. Some yachts pay a 20% commission as a matter of course.
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Can’t I just book the yacht directly myself?
Some yachts also book direct, although they should not sell it for less then what they do to a broker, you will often find that owner operators sell direct and through brokers, which is understandable, as everyone wants to make sure that their business thrives! A broker is trained to look past the nice website and glossy pictures and know whether those pictures are ten years old, if they take the time and pay the expense to attend the industry shows yearly to view the yachts. The broker will also have “inside information” and know how past guests enjoyed the trip on the yacht you are thinking about. Remember, no boat owner is going to give you un biased information concerning there own boat!
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How do I reserve a yacht I want while I am confirming all the transportation issues? How long before I have to put down the deposit?
Working with your broker, you will be recommended several yachts that fit your idea of a perfect yacht charter vacation. The charter broker will check on availability and let you know that, as well as the price, any specials and other tips on the perfect vacation. You find the perfect yacht and say “yes”! The broker puts a “hold” on the yacht with the clearinghouse that represents it. A “hold” lasts two weeks and gives the broker and you the chance to do the contracts, look into air fare, and make the deposit. No one else can hold the yacht while you are holding it, EXCEPT if someone else has guests for the dates you hold and are ready with cash in hand. You can be “challenged” on the dates. Being challenged generally means that you have 48 hours (business) to deposit the dates you are holding or “lose” the dates.
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What and When are the payments due for the yacht? What does the broker DO with my money. How do I know it is secure?
Upon getting the all clear that the dates you want are open and the rate has been checked, you sign the contracts and make the deposit. The broker puts the money into escrow, either with the clearinghouse or the yacht brokers trust fund. The boat gets notice from their clearinghouse that they are booked for which dates and the financial arrangements. If you are more than 6 months out from your charter date, you pay a 25% deposit immediately and then a further 25% 6 months out. The remaining 50% is due generally 2 months out, but different boats have different arrangements on how and when they want the final payment. Some take it on board in cash or travelers checks, some only want it in advance. Your broker knows all that. 10 days out from the charter 35% of the charter fee is released to the boat from the escrow account this allows them to provision for your charter. The balance is paid out to the yacht on the day your charter goes out.
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How will the yacht know our particular dietary wants and needs?
We will work with you to make sure the boat gets the correct food and beverage preference sheets, and that you get exactly what you have paid for. In most cases, the yacht will call you in advance to go over your preferences with you. Because we visit each boat and quiz the crews we have a good idea on what each chef can do, then we double check any special requirements when we check the availability dates and prices during the booking process.
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What happens if I have to cancel the vacation?
What happens if you have to cancel? The broker will immediately call the clearinghouse and “open up the dates”. If the boat is rebooked for the same period and at the same rate, you receive a refund, less the brokers commission. If only a few days of it are rebooked, then the refund is prorated. In some cases, a boat will be happy to move the dates around for you with no penalty at all. Each case is different. Travel insurance is always a good idea!
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Why book with us?
If you have read this far I am truly impressed! In short,we have the knowledge to
-Help you choose the right yacht
-Take care of all the financial arrangements, making sure your money is secure
-Help with traveling arrangements
-Give you an “insiders” view of the yacht and area
-Make sure the charter goes off smoothly, and if there are any difficulties, be a mediator if required

-We have a ton of information that we share with you that can only come from being out there doing it for 20 years
-We look forward to helping you book your charter yacht vacation! I believe that you have the right to know exactly how the process works and will gladly answer any questions you have!
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Fully crewed.
Fully crewed means that the vessel you are chartering has crew on board that will take care of everything. That is the sailing, the cooking and the cleaning etc. Fully crewed usually means fully crewed and all inclusive unless otherwise noted. Click on the boats rate plan for full details of any extra charges. The crew should be tipped at the end of the week.
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Partial board.
Partial board is the same as fully crewed except that some meals are not included. These are to be taken ashore at your expense.
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Captain only.
This is where you charter a vessel and it comes with a captain and sometimes a mate as well. The captain will be fully responsible for the boat at all times. He may require some help to sail or set anchor etc. Any tasks he requires help with will be fully explained to you before you do the task. This is a fantastic way to increase your boating knowledge! The captain will allow you to do more than just what he needs help with if you would like more experience. The charter terms of a captain only boat have you rent the boat and captain only. You pay extra for food, fuel and water etc. You will need to do the cooking and cleaning etc. Some captains will cook one or 2 nights in the week. Some captains will go out and get provisions that you want before you board. The captain should be tipped at the end of the week.
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Bare boat.
This is just as it says, it’s a bare boat. They usually come with linens and towels. Some also come with a starter kit that contains dish soap, dish sponge etc. The rest is up to you. You need to provision the boat yourself, drive the boat yourself and cook and clean yourself. Nothing but the boat is included.

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All inclusive
This means that all food and beverages are taken care of. The crew would have received a preference list from you and provisioned the boat as best they can from your preferences. This is both for food and beverages. Boats have a standard ships bar that includes all the regular spirits like vodka, gin, rum, baileys, etc. They include ships wines, and beers. The quantity is termed reasonable. This will cover 99% of you. Some however have an appetite beyond reasonable, if you want something special in the way of beverages, or quantities beyond reasonable, these are usually at an extra cost.
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High and Low season. 
The Caribbean has 3 separate priced seasons. High, Low and a Holiday period that overlaps the high season. The Holiday season is from December 16th to January 5th. These dates usually have a 10% or more surcharge over the high season rates. High season is from December 16th through to April 30th. This leaves May 1st through to December 15th as low season. High season rates are generally a little more than low season. There are many more boats available during high season as many boats leave the Caribbean in low season to charter either in the Mediterranean or the east coast of the United States.
The Mediterranean also has 3 distinct periods. High season is July and August. Shoulder seasons are June and September. With low season being  October through to May.
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Monohull verses multihull.
A monohull has just 1 hull, where a multihull may have 2 or 3 hulls. 2 hulls makes it a catamaran and 3 hulls make it a trimaran. Multihulls are much more stable when at anchor than monohulls. They tend to have more interior volume and more deck space. Also they do not lean while sailing like a monohull does. Both sail and power boats come in either mono or multihull. Multihulls tend to hold more guests and are generally slightly more expensive to charter than mono’s. There are many more multi’s in charter than mono’s. If you have a fear of sea sickness or are first timers then a multihull is a good choice.
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Cabin only charters
This type of charter is where you do not exclusively rent the entire yacht, but rather a single cabin or even a bunk in a shared cabin, on a mixed client vacation. There are a few boats that do this type of cruise on a regular basis. Some of the trips have a specific orientation. Scuba diving is often a specific trip type, One yacht even has a couple of swimming training trips each year. Women only trips, and just general trips are also common. There is often a no children policy on these trips. For more specific information please either use the live chat or send us an email and we will be happy to steer you in the right direction.
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Will I get sea sick. 
This is a concern for a lot of people that are new to the idea of going on a charter vacation. If this is a concern to you then you should pick a multi hulled boat. This is not the case with large mega yacht that are over 100 feet in length, this is because they will employ an active stabilizer system. Multihulls come in catamarans and trimarans. Having 2 or 3 hulls means that these vessels are much wider and therefore are not affected by the “motion of the ocean” as much. There are many remedies for sea sickness. The best plan is to be pro active. Many have great success with the Scopolamine patches that you wear behind one ear. It gives 3 days of medicine and does not make one as sleepy as say dramamine. Ginger is a very good natural stomach settler. Either a ginger capsules or glazed ginger can help. The electric wrist watch type unit also works well. These give out a mild electrical stimulation on your wrist. This is the only non drug remedy that is acknowledged by the FDA. Do not confuse this with the gray accupressure bands that are worn on the wrist. These have little plastic balls that create pressure on the wrist. Some say they work, but you can also give people a sugar pill and the placebo effect will help them! The first day is always the worst, crews all know this so they try to plan the first day to be quite gentle until everyone settles in. Staying topside while the boat is underway will go far towards keeping you on an even keel. All the while you can see the horizon you should be ok. If you think you may get seasick do not read books or computers while underway. If you feel queasy, tell your crew, If they do not know how you feel they may not take appropriate action before its too late. Crews are good at spotting the beginnings of sea sickness, they are often aware of it before you are even aware of it yourself.  On of the things that make a charter area popular is the fact that the weather is normally conducive to great boating. Unlike the closest place to home to go fishing, if the area is normally rough then no body would ever charter there! The boats always find somewhere very calm to go overnight. Often once it gets dark, you are hard pressed to tell that you are afloat. One thing all charter captains experience is the guest that gets up in the morning and complains how rough it is, even when there isn’t a ripple on the water. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the quart of rum last night would it?
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Tipping. 
Tipping is a big part of the charter industry income. Crews are at your call for 16 hours a day. Usually no request is too much. They started working on your charter at least the day before you arrived. Often spending countless hours looking for something that was on your preference sheet. Tipping in the industry is expected! The tipping rate is usually 15 to 20 % of full charter rate. This can be adjusted with 10% considered “we didn’t do a great job”, and 20% being that “all the going out of your way was appreciated”. Tips are usually handed to the captain at the end of your trip. He then hands out the tip to each crew member. On most boats everyone gets an equal share. Cash is always king! Those old fashioned travelers checks also work, some boats will take credit cards or paypal. If you intend to use cards or paypal you should check this out with your crew before hand.
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What about insurance.
Trip insurance is always a good idea. There are many reasons why you or someone in your party may not be able to make the trip or have to leave early. Not only are you insuring for your vacation but also for getting too and from there. Basic insurance starts at about 3% of your total vacation cost. This can rise to 5 to 7 % for full coverage deals. During the 2 months of high hurricane season in the Caribbean.(September and October) some vessels may actually require you to take insurance, otherwise it’s up to you. If you are the person who always gets to the airport 3 hour early then it will help your peace of mind to take insurance.
Another completely different insurance is insurance on the yacht. If you are taking any option except bareboat then you do not need insurance for the vessel. If you are bareboating then you will be required to have accident insurance.
Look at our bare boat section for more information.
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How many days is the right number to charter.
There are no set rules, some boats do have minimum number of nights that they will go out for, some also have a maximum. By far the most usual number of nights for a charter is 7. I think this has a lot to do with the work week rather than the perfect vacation length. From my observations while doing hundreds of charters, I think that any less than 4 nights is too short. It takes the first 2 days just to settle into the slower pace and find your way around the boat. More than 8 days is starting to become too long for some. The dirty laundry is starting to pile up and being away from home for more than a week seems to have a psychological barrier for some. Small kids under 7 or 8 are put right out of there schedule while on vacation. Generally by night 5 they are showing signs of being over tired. It’s hard to get them to go to bed before they fall asleep with all the excitement going on. Then they are up before the roosters. So 6 or 7 nights is about right.
Teenagers have a blast once they get over the first 2 days of “I refuse to let my parents see me have fun” mode. We have had several teenage girls hanging on to the mast at the end of the week, crying and saying “no you can’t make me leave”
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Chartering with the kids or elderly!
Most boats do not have a minimum age limit on children. Just water safe. Others do have a minimum. Children can do very well on charter vacations. Many parents find that it makes the perfect vacation to bond with the family. The boats chef will always make kids meals if asked. Hot dogs and mac and cheese are always liked by the kids. There are tons of activities for the kids both on the boat and ashore. Most boats have kid games and video games on board, fishing or movies are a popular evening past time. The crews will often have some special activities planned for the kids each day. The children are your responsibility, some boats do offer nanny service where they will officially take care of the kids.  Unless the crew offer nanny services, then please do not expect them to be baby sitters. Some families bring along a nanny or an older relative child to purposely help watch over the young ones.
The elderly are also accommodated on board. Three generation charters are popular, with the grand parents, parents and kids having a wonderful bonding time. If the elderly have mobility problems then please either shoot us an email or ask in the online chat about it. There are many fine boats that are easy for the elderly to get around on. Some however have stairs and these are generally quite steep. We have toured most of the vessels in our data base and can give first hand advice about each vessel. Multihulled boats are the best choice for the young and the elderly.
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Do charters have to start or stop on specific days of the week.
No not usually. Usually it’s just a matter of where the gaps are in the yachts booking calendar. The only exception is the Christmas and new years weeks. Boats always book both these weeks so they have a specific change over date from the Christmas charter to the new years charter.
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Island hopping verses 1 destination
The term island hopping is a bit of a misnomer. True island hopping is when you go from destination to destination. For example, you could be picked up in Martinique, travel south, visit the islands (countries) of St Vincent and St Lucia and end up being dropped off in Grenada. This type of trip is vastly different to say a British Virgin Island trip. In the BVI you would go to many Islands within the BVI. The distances for each sail would be between 1 and 4 hours generally. The sails would be in sheltered waters and chosen according to how you feel each day and also chosen according to the weather forecast. This is a much more relaxed type of vacation with more time to enjoy the destination and get in lots of activities like snorkeling or water skiing etc. Island hopping on the other hand is a much more intense vacation. You often have time restraints at each stopping point, you may have to sail when the weather is not co operating, and the sailing is over open ocean passages with passages being much longer in duration, even up to 24 hours straight. This leaves much less time for enjoying the destinations, water sports etc. There are several smaller yachts that love to do this sort of trip. Stopping in at some special, seldom visited out of the way anchorages along the way. A cautionary note! The notion of island hopping and visiting many different destinations is very romantic, but unless you are a serious blue water sailor, you may be very disappointed in this type of trip.
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Fly into the BVI or the USVI.
It is usually much cheaper to fly into the US Virgin Islands (STT) rather than the British Virgin Islands (EIS). Once in the USVI you have a choice between taking the commercial ferry service to either West End or directly into Road Town Tortola. Or take a private water taxi from Redhook on St Thomas over to Tortola. The commercial ferry leaves from Charlot Amalia harbor. This is about a ten minute taxi ride from the airport. Redhook is a 30 to 45 minute taxi ride. The commercial ferry costs $35 pp each way. The water taxi is about $85 per person plus tip with a minimum of 5 people. Plus a $25 fuel surcharge. This includes customs and immigration service. Both services (without accounting for waiting time once your at the ferry terminal) will burn 2 hours of your day. The other option is to fly directly into Beef Island airport, the way to beef is usually via San Juan Puerto Rico. Once in San Juan you can either continue with American or take one of the puddle jumpers. If from your home airport there is not an easy flight to St Thomas then the Puerto Rico, puddle jumper rout is more attractive. Please do not plan your arrival to be close to your charter boarding time if you can. Many a charter has started hours late due to delayed flights.
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Why does one boat cost twice as much as another.
You pay for new and for luxury. 2 boats that take the same guests on the same dates at the same location can be priced way differently. Usually the more expensive boat is a much newer boat and has more conveniences and is more luxurious. It may have a more upscale menu and wine list. Just how different the the boats are will vary. Older boats tend to have slightly smaller cabins, not a big deal if your charter is in the tropics as you will spend all your waking moments outside. If you’re going to the far north west coast of the States in winter then a larger cabin makes a difference. The newer boats will often have larger bathrooms with a separate shower from the head. Both the cheaper and more expensive boats have a/c  and TV etc. The more expensive may have a tv in each cabin and perhaps satellite service. All the boats have excellent food, the more luxurious boats may have slightly finer dining with more emphasis on presentation as opposed to family style. They will also serve a “better” wine etc. The more luxury boats may have higher cabin service. Both boats are going to go to the same bays to snorkel, the same bars etc. They are going to have comparable toys on board. Some feel more at home on the more casual boats especially if there are young children in the mix. Others enjoy the being pampered feeling.
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Why are so many boats based in the British Virgins as opposed to the US Virgins?
Once upon a time there were more boats based in the US Virgin Islands than in the BVI. Then the US coast guard made it difficult for vessels that were not built in the US, or crewed by US citizens to operate in US waters with more than 6 passengers on board.  At that time the charter fleet sailed east to the, what was then, much less advanced BVI. Now the BVI is close to on par with the USVI as far as amenities etc. Most of the charter destinations were always in the BVI. There are many more sheltered anchorages and many more quiet places to visit within the BVI than in the USVI. Finally after seeing the loss of economy this has caused the USVI, they now allow non US citizen captains to pick upup to 10 passengers in the USVI. Then they typically sail on to the BVI after spending only a night or two in US waters.
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Do I need a passport to go to the Virgin Islands.
US citizens do not need a passport to return home from the US virgin Islands, but DO require a passport to enter the British Virgin Islands, even for a day trip.
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I have a group that’s too large to fit 1 boat.
What does tandem charters mean.

Tandem charters are where 2 or more boats are chartered by 1 group. Sometimes it’s a couple of families, sometimes a boat full of the adults and a boat full of the grown up kids. Sometimes it’s a work type thing. This opens up many possibilities. Usually both groups get together each morning and decide where they are going to meet up next, then they can do different things during the day and anchor together at night. One boat might take the ladies out for a shopping or spa day and the guys go for a diving or fishing day. In some anchorages the waters are calm enough for the boats to raft together overnight. We have done this where 1 night the adults eat on one boat and the kids on the other, then the next night they swap over. Or happy hour turn about etc. If you are considering a tandem charter please either shoot us an email or talk on live chat with us about it. It is always much better to hand match 2 or more boats. There are things to consider like matching boats speed, comfort and available toys. No one wants to be on a lower class boat while on a tandem charter. The crews that do tandems have other captains that they work well with, if you select the first boat then we can call the captain and listen to his preferences as well as use our personal knowledge of the boats and crews to offer a well matched partner.
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What should I pack.
This one is easy to answer,”A whole lot less than you think”. We always play the game at the end of each charter,”what did you pack that you did not wear”, the answer for most is about 75% of their clothes. Charter vacations in general are a very laid back type of thing. A couple of pairs of shorts, a couple of shirts, flip flops and swim suits. This will have you covered for most of your trip. If you intend eating ashore then a set of going out clothes may be required. Boats all have shampoo and soap on board, Bring your toothbrush and paste, razor and deodorant. Shoes are not normally worn on board boats so you will not need many. If you have feet that do not like to go barefoot then please bring along a pair of soft soled shoes that will not leave scuff marks, white soles are the best. These should be designated as your boat only shoes and changed out of before going ashore. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Please do not bring sunscreens with artificial bronzers in them. These are sunscreen with color in them, color that is going to paint itself all over your charter vessels upholstery. Many boats will also ask you to avoid sunscreens with PABA in them as well as these also leave stains. If you have your own snorkel or dive gear you may want to pack that as well. Bring your camera, and most will bring either a laptop or Ipad as well. Do not forget your chargers. If you have a label maker at home then put your name on your charger. Having a heap of people and 2 or 3 crew all have their chargers plugged into one power board can make things interesting at the end of the week. It is also a good idea to bring along an empty jump drive or sd card. Then you can collect pictures that other members of your party or the crew have taken. Bring every medicine you may need in the week. Be sure each bottle has your name on it. Some countries can be a bit finicky if you have drugs in a bottle that wasn’t prescribed to you. If you have an unfilled script at home that you think you may need, have it filled. You will not be able to get that script filled in a country that it wasn’t written in. If possible, pack your medications into your carry on bags, just in case your luggage does not arrive with you. All the boats have first aid kits for band aids, Tylenol etc, If you are chartering a boat to drive yourself then have 1 member of your party bring one along just in case. If you are a fishing nut you may want to bring along some of your own gear. Check out our fishing pages for more information. Some like to bring their own favorite board game or card game. As a caution, do not pack valuables in checked baggage. This would include cameras, electronics and dive computers.
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My luggage didn’t arrive. 
Well this is something that will always stress you out after a long day of travel. The crew on the other hand will just take it in their stride. It’s a very common occurrence. In the Caribbean, on a boat that takes 10 guests, I would say that on average at least once every 2 or 3 charters, someones bags didn’t arrive. 90% of the time they will come on the next flight. Go to the baggage counter or airline counter and see what they have to say. They will often have you fill out a claim form and give you instructions on how to check for its arrival. For most charters this will not delay the start of your trip. Give your captain a call and let him know what’s happened. Chances are he will tell you to forget about your bag and he will deal with it. When you get on board he will take your baggage claim form and contact the airline. Most times he can arrange for your bag to be dropped off at another point in your yachts itinerary so there is no interruption to your vacation.
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I will die if there is no internet.
Most boats do have onboard wifi, this comes in many shapes and forms. Mostly it’s done by onboard wifi routers that use a sim card and connect to the local cell services. If you are going to be chartering in the Caribbean or some other third world location, even though the internet may be available, do not expect fast service. It’s not the boats fault it’s just a case of scale of economics. In the British Virgin Islands for example, the territory is the size of a large major city, The client base for that size of coverage may only be a few thousand though. This means the cell companies simply cant afford to have the infrastructure that will give coverage and speed that you would expect at home. Data services are extremely expensive compared to what you would expect to pay at home. Most boats offer some free wifi. Some offer a faster package during your stay. As above, faster is a relative term! Even on the fastest possible service do not expect anything faster than dial up speed. All the cell services will claim speeds up to x speed. This is always the speed that the end users equipment is capable of, not what the cell company’s equipment is going to provide. The provider we use claim up to x megabits per second. The reality of it is that whenever I checked the speeds were in fact only 15 to 20 k. How fast is that? Think 16 hours to download a single 45 minute tv show. Do not expect to stream movies at night. Emails and some slow surfing is about it. One other thing, if your provider has coverage in the US Virgin Islands, you will, in certain places in the British Virgin Islands be able to get service, the rest will be on the dreaded “roaming”. We can tell you if a particular boat provides wifi or not. In the BVI if your going to bare boat wifi routers are available for hire, just ask us. Check with your cell provider if you are going to the BVI. Be 100% sure that if they say that they have a roaming agreement with the BVI that they do mean the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS. Many guest have said that their provider indicated they do when the operator doesn’t understand that the British and US Virgins are different to then go home to bills over $2000
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Special diets.
Most dietary needs can be catered for. Each boat lists what they can do. The one diet that is all but impossible is strict kosher. Semi kosher though is very possible. The specific diets sometimes offered are vegetarian, vegan, food allergies, lactose-free, semi kosher,  kids menus, gluten – free and those who specialize in natural and whole foods.  Please keep in mind that you are going on vacation on a boat. While a separate dish can be combined for someone who has needs, the chef is not able to cater to different meals for each individual person. There is simply not enough time or space on board to store items to make individual meals.
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Whats the difference between “cook” or “chef” on board. 
All the charter vessels pride themselves on their food. You will not get a bad meal on board. A chef is someone who has had official training in cooking and holds some form of documentation confirming this. The rest are cooks. Now most of these “cooks” have been in the industry for a long time and serve delicacies that are every bit as good as you will get from any trained chef in any good restaurant.
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Can someone call the boat in an emergency.
All boats have cell phones. No captain will ever not pass on an emergency call. They will always allow you to make an emergency call on their phone. You will be given the boats phone number as part of your charter information. It’s ok to hand it out to friends but please tell them for emergency only. Everyone has a cell phone these days, turn off roaming and connect to the boats wifi. Then anyone can text you and have you return a call if needed.
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Will there be power on board.
All boats have power on board. Most have power 24hrs. On each boats page, clicking specifications at the bottom of the page will let you know what voltage is available. All have US compatible 110-115 volts. some have European 220-240 volts. Not all the smaller boats have power in all cabins. If you need power for your cpap machine, shoot us an email or ask on live chat and we can confirm that the yacht you are looking at has power in cabins.
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Tender size and how does this effect me?
The tender size, and just as important its engine size, makes a difference if you want to do towed water sports like water skiing and wake boarding. Boats with tenders under 13 feet may offer the above, and may be able to get a small child up on skis but it’s not really practical. 13 or more feet and 40 or more horsepower for wake boarding, tubing, and kneeboarding. 50 horsepower for water skiing. Tenders 12 feet and under generally do not have a flat floor in them. This makes them more difficult to get in and out of. Smaller boats are going to have smaller tenders. Larger boats have larger tenders. It is not always possible to fit your entire party into the tender at once, often 2 trips by the tender are needed to get everyone ashore.
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What is a sleep aboard.
Sleep aboard’s are offered by some boats if there calendar permits. A sleep aboard is when you can use the boat like a hotel the night before your charter starts. Basically you can sleep on board but no other services are provided, just like a hotel room. You will need to go out for dinner and breakfast and supply your own beverages for the night. The extra charge for sleep aboard’s are generally less than that charged by hotels. This accompanied by the fact you do not need to move rooms makes this a great option when available.
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Staying before or after my charter.
Many like to stay at there destination both before or after their charter. It is often a good idea to arrive a night early especially during the winter months and if you are coming from an area that may have weather related delays. This also means that the first night aboard your charter is not lost to being dead tired from traveling. Some boats offer a sleep aboard option for the night before your charter starts. This is akin to a hotel room. You board your boat and the crew will show you around and how to use the bathrooms etc. Then the rest is up to you just like if you were in a hotel. You will need to go ashore to eat dinner and get cocktails etc. Just like a hotel you are just paying for a bed. The next am you will also need to find some breakfast. With a Captain only charter or a bareboat charter, you will have provisioned the boat so eating ashore would not be required. Many of the large marinas that charter yachts operate from have hotel rooms right at the marina. This is convenient for your boarding the next day. Some charter boats can also arrange a deal with onshore accommodation as a sail and stay package. Some like to stay on after there charter finishes. If you want to do land accommodation as well as your charter, please send us an email or chat on live chat for some recommendations.
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Will I be able to help drive/sail, or will I have to help?

All crewed boats do not require you to help with the driving or sailing. All captains will be glad to let you help and give some informal instruction. Some boats even offer formal instruction at an extra cost to cover the paperwork of your getting some official qualifications. This is a great way to prepare yourself for taking out a bareboat next time.  If you are taking a captain only charter you will probably be asked to help with the sailing. You will be given full instructions at the time and it will be nothing that someone with zero previous experience couldn’t do. If you are taking out a bare boat then it will be all up to you to do.
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Smoking or not on board.
Some crews smoke some don’t. Most allow guests to smoke in designated places, usually on the aft part of the boat. If you want a crew that does not smoke then be sure to check the “non smoking crew” box under crew on the search filters. If you want to be on a boat the forbids smoking then click the “non smoking boat” box under vacation types. If you want to be sure that you can smoke on board a particular vessel, then when you are on the boats page at the bottom of the page, click on amenities and under vacation types, so long as it does not list “no smoking boat” then you will be able to smoke on the aft. No boat allow smoking inside of the boat!
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Illegal drugs
Well you know that I am going to say that it’s a no no. But what if you do bring drugs on board and the crew finds out. GOODBYE, do not pass go and do not collect a refund. Any illegal drugs will get your entire party dropped at the nearest piece of land. If you are lucky they will not call the authorities. In most areas, if a boat is found with even just one joint of yours on board, the boat can be impounded and the crew will loose their trade license. They will also be deported right alongside you and placed on the do not ever return list.
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What is owner operated
This is when the crew on board are the actual owners of the boat. Owners tend to have more homely boats with a few more comforts, after all, when there are no guests on board this is their home. Owners also have a vested interest in making your vacation the best it can be, if they please you enough you may return and that makes a difference to them personally. The industry as a whole is quite transient with a large percentage of crews moving from boat to boat and area to area every couple of years. This means they may not have as much of an ingrained desire to go the extra mile and a half for you that an owner operator might. Over the years we have heard many stories of owner operators getting somewhat stiffed on gratuity at the end of the week. Clients say “well they are the owners and look at this yacht that they own”. Well usually the bank owns most of it. With all investments, they are entitled to a return on there investments. And as stated above they have often put out more effort to make your trip a cut above. So owner operators deserve a tip as much as any paid crew do.
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Fully, partial air conditioning and wind scoops.
A fully air conditioned boat has a/c in all cabins, the salon and galley. Pretty much anywhere that guests are allowed while on board. The one exception to this is often the bathrooms. Partial air conditioning usually means that the guest cabins have a/c but the common areas like the salon does not. Most boats will run a/c 24/7 if required. If you are renting a bareboat or captain only boat, you are paying the fuel bill at the end of the week anyway. If you are taking a fully crewed all inclusive or a partial board vessel, then some of the more budget priced  boats may have a surcharge to run the a/c overnight.
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Ice makers and water makers
All boats have ice available at all times. If a boat has an ice maker then they tend to never have a shortage of ice. This means that at 4pm, when the sun is beating down on you, a frozen margarita shouldn’t be a problem. Water makers are just that. They take sea water and remove 99.9% of the salt by a process of reverse osmosis. In this process they also remove all bacteria, leaving pure water. Water from a water maker will usually have less mineral content than bottled spring water. It always makes me laugh when I read on bottled water “taken from blah blah spring and purified through reverse osmosis” why start with spring water? You will get the same result from any tap or sea water after reverse osmosis!
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Can I drink the water.
Not the sea water, unless your crew has said not to drink the water from the faucet or hose then it will be fine. If it isn’t fine the crew will inform you of this when you get your boat orientation upon boarding. In areas of questionable water quality then boats will make their own with a water maker. This does not mean that the water on land is ok to drink. Nor the ice. If you are in a third world country then ask the advice of your crew before going on land for a cold drink.
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Showering on the boat? 
All the boats have hot showers, many boats have water makers to. This allows them to desalinate sea water into fresh water as your charter progresses. This means that there will not be a need to stop mid charter to pick up more water. Gone are the days of washing in salt water then 1 gallon of fresh water to rinse off. With water makers being introduced to the charter boats, we now have no restrictions on fresh water. All have inside showers, most also have outside showers on the swim platform. Showering here is very convenient when you get out from your snorkel or swim. All boats provide towels. Most have inside and outside towels. Under the vessel specifications, located at the bottom of the boats page we list if a boat has a water maker on board.
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What about going to the bathroom.
The toilet on a boat is called the head. They take many different forms on boats. Some are standard household units that flush the same as at home. Some have electrical motors that operate them. This means they flush with the push of a button. Others are manual heads, these have a hand operated pump that requires the user to pump a handle when finished. Nearly all boats allow for the flushing of toilet paper. On boats the waste needs to be macerated, that is the waste gets ground up. Because of this please do not flush anything except the toilet paper provided and what comes out of you. Therefore no tampons, wet wipes, facial tissues etc. The captains of each boat will give a demonstration of the correct flushing technique for the particular head type when you first board.
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I want to fish.
Fishing is a very popular past time. Close to 13 million Americans wet a line last year. It’s also a fantastic way to get the kids involved in a family bonding vacation. If you like to fish then there is nothing better than sitting on the back deck, looking out at the stars, waiting for the big one, while only wearing a t shirt in the middle of winter. Most boats offer fishing, some more dedicated than others. We have a lot more information on how to make sure the yacht you choose can accommodate your level of fishing. A fishing license is required in the British Virgin Islands. We can help you with those.
Click here for our guide to fishing on charter.
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Scuba diving questions.

To answer these questions it’s better to visit our scuba diving pages here.

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Need to be active or just relax
This does not mean that if you are one of these that you cant do the other. All boats are great for relaxing on. Some crews are more active than others. If you are a get up at 5 and go go go all day person, it’s better that you are matched up with an active crew rather than a crew that are more into taking you to the quiet spots.
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Party goers.
If you are the group that wants to go out each night and drink, dance and party the week away, then we have crews who are more into it than others. If you are the party goer type than it’s a must that you let us know so we dont match you with a more sedate crew.
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Honeymooners. Weddings/Registrar. Performs weddings.
We have boats that love taking honeymoon couples. They plan all sorts of romantic activities, candle lit dinners, night time walks on the beach, champagne and chocolates etc. some boats also have honeymoon packages. Weddings/registrar is for those who want to get married on the boat or ashore. Crews who do this will help you organize a weeding that all who attend will never forget. The ceremony is performed by a local registrar either on board or on a local beach. Crews can help with flowers, paperwork etc, perform weddings for those who want to renew their vows while on board. The captain performs a ceremony with some romantic backdrop, although not a legal ceremony, it’s no less real for those involved. Shoot us an email or ask on live chat and we can organize a honeymoon, wedding or vowel that all of your friends will be jealous of.
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Special/specific events/sailing regatta’s. 
This is for those who are going on vacation for a specific reason. This may be a work related brain storming getaway, or perhaps to follow a local sailing regatta etc. Crews who indicate that they are willing to do these type of vacations are willing to plan your week around your events schedule, be at the correct destinations, and do all they can to help facilitate events.
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Family fun. 
Some crews love to plan family events. The captain might get up early and go burry treasure on the beach, or plan beach afternoons or other type of activities that are designed to involve the whole family. A great way to re connect with the kids after a busy year of work and school!
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Whats a bimini.
The bimini is the canvas shade that covers the cockpit.
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Will stuff in the water hurt me.
There are many things in the water that we may be afraid of. In 1975 Jaws put a whole generation off going into the ocean. Jaws was 99.9% movie magic with the smallest sprinkling of truth. Where ever there are charter boats, shark attacks are not a threat. If they were then the charter boats could not successfully charter there. There are many fish in the ocean, some more aggressive than others. Like any other wild animal, if you try and feed it, watch your fingers! In most coral areas, there are some corals that can burn if touched. The most common of these is appropriately called fire coral. Corals are a very fragile life form and should never be touched intentionally. Jelly fish can also be a concern in some areas during summer. There are many different types of jelly fish, some do sting. If you see a jelly fish in the water while swimming and are not sure if it may hurt you, then avoid it. Both coral burns and jelly fish stings can be treated with house hold vinegar. Simply pour over the sting and it will help. Anti histamine allergy pills can also help to reduce any reaction. In general if you do not touch things then they won’t harm you. Nothing is likely to come to you with bad intentions. Some fish have spines that contain poisons. In the wild it will be impossible to get close enough to a fish to be stuck. If however you are a fisherman then its possible to get stuck while handling fish. With fish stabs the treatment is to immerse the wound in hot water, as hot as you can without burning yourself. Anti histamines can also help. In some areas you may see urchins on the bottom in rocky areas. These look like balls of very sharp black needles. Once again, it’s not wise to touch a ball of very sharp needles, if you must, then hot water is again the remedy. So it’s easy to remember, if it’s something thats touched you on the outside then use vinegar. If it’s something that has stabbed you then use hot water. Your week on a boat will likely be full of perils like stubbed toes and bumped heads. Having something in the water attack you, should be the least of your concerns.
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Hurricane season.
The high season in the Caribbean is during the winter, This is because there is nothing like getting away from the snow down for a tropical vacation. Hurricane season is in the summer. Technically the hurricane season runs from the first of June until the end of November. these dates are driven by insurance companies. Each area does however have only a 2 month period where hurricanes reach the more probable stage, even though they are possible through out the season but not common. The Virgin islands 2 high months are during September and October. I always recommend that guests take insurance any time of the year. Do take out trip insurance during these months, if you’re on charter and a hurricane is coming, it can have anywhere from little to a large impact on your vacation. If it skirts close by and is only a category 1 storm, this would mean the captain will simply find a secure anchorage for the night and you’re going to get some rain. If on the other hand say a category 3 storm is going to make a direct hit where you are located, the Captain will either put you ashore in a safe hotel or arrange for you to go home before its arrival.
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Clothing optional/ gay friendly and adult only18+
Clothing optional says it all. This means that the crew are ok with nudity on board. This does not mean that the crew are also willing to be naked, but some crews are. Gay friendly is just that, the crew have no problem with your orientation. Adult only 18+ is for the swingers. There are a couple of boats that are into the lifestyle and offer whole boat charters and some cabin only charters. If you are into this lifestyle you know that there are some key questions that you want to ask the crew and that they want to ask you. Shoot us an email or ask on live chat for more details.
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Jet skis.
If a boat has jet skis on board, you will not be able to use them if your yacht is within the waters of the British Virgin Islands. Jet skis are prohibited here and crews can have them seized and be heavily fined for allowing you to use them.
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Medical Emergency.
This is a subject that everyone should think about whenever they leave the comfort of their home town and vacation in some other part of the world.
It’s a subject that we all hope will never come up, however just the very nature of the the fact we are traveling and perhaps even driving in an environment that is totally alien to us, statistics would say that there is an even larger chance of an incident evolving than if we were at home!
Trip insurance can be of great help, however many basic plans do not cover medical insurance.

Many trip insurance policies will only pay for treatment locally. Transport will only be provided to the nearest “adequate” hospital. For full medical coverage with guaranteed transport home requires the purchase of top level plans..
I know that if I was in some third world country and got run over by a bus, I would want to be transported home for care as soon as possible. If you do not have medical insurance, this can then create even more problems because if you are not in a fit condition, airlines can and will deny you transport home. If you don’t have some specific insurance that covers emergency transport, you either will need to get treatment where you are or face some extremely large bills for specialized air transport, Think in the 30 to 40k range.
If you are into scuba diving then DAN has an excellent insurance package. Not only are you covered for scuba related injury but for all medical emergency while away from home. Personally I would never go on any type of trip where I might scuba dive without DAN coverage. It is excellent value for money and if you have a diving incident you have access to dive medicine specialists.
All charter boats carry first aid equipment. Some also carry oxygen and automated defibrillators on board. All captains have done first aid and resuscitation courses as a part of getting their captains license. They all know how to call for help at any time, whether that be the US Coast Guard, Virgin Island Search and Rescue or whatever other agency is available locally.
If you have any sort of ongoing medical condition that may even remotely become an issue while on charter, please be sure to inform your captain in advance. He is not going to stop you from going on charter and it will give him a chance to make enquiries before your arrival so he can be prepared for any eventuality. Be sure to bring any medications that you may require. Do not expect that they can be obtained locally. If you have an issue that has some remote chance that may require treatment while away, bring a letter from your doctor explaining your condition and current treatment. Ensure his contact information is also contained within the letter. This can save large delays in treatment by another physician if the need arises.
It is also a good idea to keep a “to the treating doctor” letter in your purse or wallet. The letter should contain details of who to contact in an emergency, your at home doctors contact details, as well as where you are staying while on vacation. This could be very useful if you should be involved in an accident that leaves you in a condition that you cannot make decisions for yourself. Also, if you are injured while off alone your travel partners can be found.
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I want to do it again.
Well this one is easy. If you had a great time and want to do it again, we are here to help. If you loved the boat and the crew and want to go with them again, let us know. We can check that the crew will be the same, if they have moved on to another yacht we can give you all the details of the new boat. Liked the boat but want a different crew, liked the crew but not the boat layout, have a different number in your party this time, let us know, we can facilitate a change. All boats must offer their charters to all brokers at the same rate. This means they cannot offer a discount to you for being repeat guests. We as brokers can and will reduce the rate on a repeat charter by giving up some of our commission to you, even if your next charter is not with the same boat or crew. Your business and satisfaction is very important to us. We are very proud of our repeat clientele rate.
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How do I list my charter boat on your site?
If you own or skipper a charter vessel that you would like to list on our site, then simply send us an email at [email protected]  with all particulars.
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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!