Renting a Boat Versus Chartering a Boat

Renting a boat basically refers to using someone else’s vessel temporarily for an agreed fee. While boat chartering also alludes to the same thing these terms are not interchangeable and this guide will help point out the differences.

The lowdown on boat rentals

Rental boats are usually personal or smaller vessels which are charged by the day or hour. They are normally the inflatable power boat types or the more agile varieties although it’s also common to see smaller plastic boats advertised as boat rental models.

So what else do you get apart from the boat with a rental? Well, freedom; you are your own captain and answer to no one. You determine where you sail to and who you sail with. Aside from the boat, you get not much else which means you have to carry your own equipment- sporting or fishing gear- and refreshments/meals.

The lowdown on boat charters

Boat charters are normally for motor yachts and large vessels which are usually great for extended durations of sailing lasting more than one week. Three varieties of charter boats exist namely; crewed charter, cabin and bareboat and here’s what each entails:

• Cabin charter: Here, the crew- which includes you- hire an adept captain who’ll be in charge of operational duties such as sailing and meal provisions. You pay for your slot on the vessel and agree to boat under the supervision of the chosen professional whilst meeting new faces.

• Bareboat charter: As with boat rentals, you get the boat and all the financial and legal obligations that come with the vessel. You’ll be on your own with regards to operating costs such as port, crew and fuel charges. The bar is set quite high for this package as you need to have the right qualification, which is usually a valid skipper license, so as to get the boat. Also, everything pertaining to the vessel rests on your shoulders from picking out your crew to buying food items for your trip.

• Crewed charter: In this case decisions such as hiring a skipper (captain), hostess, cooks etc are all on you. You also get to decide who your crew members will be.

There is also a fourth option known as the “pre-provisioned” offer or modular program where the company gives you the boat as well as the cook or captain for your trip alongside other important services.

The right time to rent a boat and when to charter a vessel

So when should you rent a boat and when should you charter? It depends on several factors such as the type of relaxation or comfort you desire, how you feel about each option and the duration of your trip. The bareboat charter is an excellent choice if you have the required expertise of being a captain as well as an insatiable sense of adventure.

If you are planning a sailing trip spanning a period of more than seven days, then chartering a boat is definitely the way to go. It’s quite similar to a cruise with the notable difference of being able to create your own schedule as opposed to going wherever the wind blows you. On the other hand, if you are planning a short-term trip no more than two-days long, then renting a boat is more ideal.

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