Over $97 million is spent on boat charters in the US every year. For a unique trip or a fishing excursion, getting out on the ocean can be a rewarding experience for people of all ages. But if you want to charter a boat for the first time, do you know where to start?

While it can seem confusing to begin with, chartering is extremely simple. Read on as we give our essential guide on how to charter a boat. 

Types of Charters

There are several options when it comes to charter boats. You must get the right charter for your needs, so you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Bareboat Charter

This is the most common type of charter. You pay for the use of a boat or yacht but are expected to provide everything else yourself. This means you are the captain who must plan and sail the whole journey yourself. 

Of course, this requires that you or a member of your passenger group have a license and experience. Monohulls and catamarans are the most common types of boats for this, though motor yachts are also available in certain areas. 

Despite this, you won’t be left to your own devices. Most companies will provide provisions, either full or partially. As well as helping you select a vessel, they will take you through the boat’s equipment and provide you with highlights of the local area and discuss things to avoid. 

Fishing Charter

fishing charter is a great way to have a getaway filled with adventure, sport, and relaxation. Begin by working out how many people will be joining you.

Boats can vary in six, ranging from six people to larger ones offering around sixty passengers. If you are going alone, you may be able to go on organized excursions with others who are doing the same. With this vast difference in size and boat type, it helps to do your research. 

Most important is to know what fish you want to catch. This will help the crew stock up on the right bait and decide on the best spots. If you have a good catch, a tip of around 15 to 20% is advised. 

Fishing charters generally include the cost of fuel, dockage, the captain, and the vessel itself. Food and beverages may be additional and costs will be added if you have overnight stays on the boat. 

Crewed Charter

A crewed charter is the hire of a vessel inclusive of a boat captain and crew. Smaller boats may just have the captain and chef, while others may have a range of helpers onboard. 

The benefits of having a captain are vast. Not only do you hand responsibility over to someone else allowing you to relax, but a captain will have experience of local waters. They will take you to places you wouldn’t know otherwise.

Cabin Charter

With this type of boat, you pay for a cabin. Other passengers will also have their own room, so you share the charter with others. These work out cheaper as you are splitting the cost of the captain and boat, with the downside being that you do have to share with people you don’t know. 

What Do You Take on a Boat Charter?

Some items are universal and should be taken on any trip, while others depend on your boat charter. Begin by packing the essentials, such as clothing, medication, sunscreen, and towels. If you are on an overnight charter, you may want to take reading material for relaxing onboard.

If you need to supply your food and drink, it is always better to have excess than to run out while on the water. When you have a fishing charter, the captain may provide the bait and rods for you, though you may prefer to take your own equipment.

For longer trips, you may want to pack toys and items for the water. Snorkels, paddleboards, and inflatables, if you have children coming with you are great ideas.

Essential Tips When You Charter a Boat

The tips below don’t apply to all charters but can help make your first trip a success. If you have a bareboat charter, make sure you use them all to prepare fully. 

Read the Agreement

Before signing any lease agreement, make sure you read it thoroughly. This will help you understand everything you are financially responsible for. Double-check the cancellation and refund policies and take out the maximum insurance if you have a bareboat policy. 

Know Age Limits

To rent charter boats you need to be at least 18 years old as a legal requirement. Some companies may raise this to 20 or higher. Make sure you know the age requirements before approaching a charter company. 

Be Flexible With Your Plans

Flexibility is the key to a successful boat holiday. You may have an idea of a destination or type of fish you want to catch, but it may not be the season for it or the best time of year to go. Be flexible and listen to the experience of your captain. 

If you have a bareboat charter, then make a plan in advance, but be willing to change. Having a plan lets you reserve mooring balls in advance, but if you are at a place you enjoy, you should be willing to spend a few more days there. 

Preparing to Charter a Boat

Now that you know how to charter a boat, you can set your plans in motion. Decide on what type of charter you need, then speak to a few companies for prices. Know what you need to prepare or bring with you, then sit back and relax on the waves. 

Carbon Cat Charters should be your first stop for comfort and style. You can cruise the waterways of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in our power catamaran. Contact us here to discuss your next fishing or cruising charter.