While chartering a boat can be an amazing experience, it can be a long journey from making the initial decision to finally hitting the waves. Searching “boat charters near me” is only part of the process; to make the most of your nautical vacation, you need to follow several steps.

  1. Determine Your Ideal Experience

Before you start making reservations, it’s essential that you have a clear idea of the vacation you want to have. There are many options when it comes to chartering, and they offer very different experiences. Once you’ve decided what you want from your trip, you can use that information to guide your research.

Charter Type

If you’ve never chartered before, you may not know that there are several types:

  • Fishing
  • Crewed
  • Bareboat
  • Cabin

Each of these offers different benefits. Fishing focuses on getting you to the best spots where the fish are biting. Crewed means the boat is manned by staff, which may include servers, caterers, a skipper and crew. Bareboat is the exact opposite; you’re the captain and are therefore responsible for running the watercraft. Cabin chartering allows you to work as part of the crew under the supervision of a professional skipper.

Destination

Once you’ve decided the type of charter you want, it’s time to pick your destination. Are you interested in San Diego sightseeing tours or are you intrigued by more tropical waters? You can go pretty much anywhere in the world:

  • British Virgin Islands
  • Scotland
  • Croatia
  • Iceland
  • Bahamas

Before you set a destination, make sure you research the climate and sailing conditions so you know what to expect. For example, a trip to Alaskan waters isn’t a great idea for someone who hates the cold.

Time Frame

The last major decision you need to make about your experience is how long it’ll be. A chartered trip typically lasts at least a week, and if you plan to sail to your final destination, you may want to plan for longer.

  1. Find the Appropriate Boat

Now that you have a clear picture of your future vacation, you can start looking at charter companies. There are many makes and models of watercraft available, but most of them fall into one of the three categories: sailboat, yacht and superyacht.

A sailboat travels by wind power, which means you may have lulls. If you’re interested in a leisurely journey, this could be a good option. A yacht is motorized, so you can travel when you want. A superyacht is also motorized, but is also the epitome of luxury; they tend to be very large and boast extras such as hot tubs, swimming pools and TVs.

  1. Hire the Crew

If you opt for an all-inclusive charter, the company may include staff as part of your package. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire a skipper, crew and any additional serving staff yourself. In this situation, you may want to enlist the help of a broker. Brokers typically have networks of sailing professionals they know and trust.

Now that you’re familiar with the chartering process, it’s time to plan your dream vacation. Before you know it, you could be sipping piña coladas on the open ocean.