If you’re in two minds about chartering a boat, Jane Gentry CEO of the YBDSA has a few choice reasons for getting on and doing it!
1 You can create a boating trip or holiday to exactly suit your needs
There are a host of charter companies offering different deals, different types of boat, bareboat or skippered charter - a huge variety! Our advice would be to research the type of charter you want carefully – from a week’s flotilla holiday in the Med, to a one-day “experience” with RIBs and jet-bikes.
2 You’ll fall in love with sailing or motor boating
Of course this is a great way to introduce your family to sailing or motor boating - to find out if it is something you enjoy or not. Many people who charter a boat discover a new passion that will bring years of pleasure and adventure. The next step after a successful charter holiday might be to buy a boat
of your own!
3. Learn new skills that might even lead to qualifications
Chartering a boat really will lead to new skills – sailing, boat handling, navigation, teamwork, to name just a few. Once you have established your interest you might want to consider doing one of the Royal Yachting Association training courses – there are courses to fit all needs from powerboat to competent crew and on up to Yachtmaster. (www.rya.org.uk)
4. Experts in the boat charter market can assist you all the way
When chartering a boat you are tapping into a wealth of boating expertise. There are a number of big companies that run charter fleets and have terms and conditions on their websites you can view. Charter companies can advise you from the start. It is useful to visit one of the larger boat shows and talk to a number of charter companies, look at their displays and brochures and also go online and look at the opportunities. When signing up, remember to view their contract carefully before signing, to ensure you know what you are signing up to.
5. Boat charter trips make special occasions even more memorable
Charter companies can help you take events to a whole new level, whether you’re organising a corporate charter for a fun day out, or perhaps taking a group of close friends to watch the Cowes Week racing. Trips like this can make significant birthdays, anniversaries and stag parties really memorable and fun, while for some a charter trip has proved a poignant way to scatter a loved one’s ashes at sea.
Further advice on chartering a boat
There are several organisations that charter companies can belong to – the British Marine Federation (BMF), the trade association for the UK marine industry, the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA), which deals with the superyacht industry including brokerage, charter, technical management and construction, and in the UK the Professional Charter Association (PCA) – for professional skippered charter.
Importance of MCA certification
It is a legal requirement that all vessels used for charter activities must be certificated to the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) codes by a Certifying Authority. The vessel will have a current certificate issued by the Certifying Authority - don't be tempted to go with someone who doesn't have a coded boat because it is cheaper. He won't be insured properly for an accident, he may not have adequate life-saving equipment and he could be stopped by the MCA during the charter, following which he could be prosecuted.
- The Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association - is the umbrella organisation for three of the UK’s leading associations of independent marine professionals, comprising ABYA, YDSA and PCA.
Photo: Professional Charter Association