A vacation, or even a day trip, on a private yacht is certainly a luxurious indulgence. If your budget allows, you can arrange such a voyage yourself and select all the details to suit your personal tastes. If you have the necessary experience and licenses, book a bareboat charter and captain your own yacht. Less-salty dogs should hire the services of a captain and crew, or at least a skipper.
Plan as much of your yacht trip as far in advance as you can but leave some room for maneuvering until the rental is finalized. Renting a yacht should not be a last-minute or rushed decision, as many parameters and considerable expense are involved. Write down your ideal travel dates, the place you wish to depart from, the duration of the trip and your desired destinations and activities to help establish your total budget.
Research the companies, brokers and private parties offering yacht rentals that might match your plans. Start with an Internet search. A search for “yacht rental” generally yields plenty of options for luxury yachts with captains and crews. If you just want to rent a yacht without a crew or skipper, use the term “bareboat” in your search. Include the region or port of departure in your search for more specific results. Other research options include advertisements in yachting and boating magazines and on their websites. Yachting Magazine yachtingmagazine.com), for example, has a customizable search option on its site. Try contacting the appropriate port authority, harbor master or local yacht club to ask for referrals or recommendations. If possible, visit your intended port of departure. You may find bulletin boards with ads displayed, and free newspapers, magazines and fliers advertising yacht rentals.
Compare the various yacht rental options you have discovered. Look at the size, amenities and comfort level of the yachts you are considering. If the yacht rental includes a crew, find out specifically what services they provide. If you’re planning to spend your voyage sunbathing and relaxing, make sure services provided with your charter are sufficient to allow that. A simple fishing trip for a day with your family will call for a considerably smaller crew, if any. Find out about limits on how far or where you can take the yacht.
Compare the total costs of each yacht rental you are considering and eliminate any options that don’t match your budget. In addition to the base price of the yacht rental, find out the cost of a deposit, insurance, fuel, customs fees, if applicable, and any other miscellaneous fees. Factor in payment and tips for the skipper or crew if you are hiring them. Ask if food and drinks are included. Carefully read the terms and conditions of the company or person who would be renting you the yacht, and make sure you are comfortable with them.
Make a reservation, read and sign any required contract, and make the initial payment with a credit card. Establish the logistics for embarkation and disembarkation. Confirm the reservation a day or two before leaving for your voyage.