The Differences Between a Crewed and a Bareboat Charter
Which one should you pick?
When chartering a yacht, there are two options, bareboat charter or crewed charter. In the bareboat option, as the name suggests, travellers get the boat to themselves, while the other option comes with skipper and a full-fledged crew. The question is, how does the presence or absence of crew influence the customer experience, cost and safety of the journey? And what are the legal implications for either choice?
The fun factor
For those who don’t know the first things about sailing a yacht, including a skipper and a crew in the charter is really the only choice. This way, you remain free to fully enjoy your luxurious all-inclusive vacation and outdoor activities with 24/7 pampering, relaxation and comfort.
The crewed charter package will nearly always include meals reflecting the local cuisine, and a wide range of beverages, as well as snorkelling equipment, kayaks and even onboard toys for children. Although every yacht has its rules, the crew looks after every detail, including safety, leaving the passengers free to fully focus on the pleasures of the high seas and beaches.
A bareboat charter is an entirely different approach to a yachting holiday, one that is increasingly popular among more semi-experienced sailors who prefer greater control over the boat and the journey. With fewer people on board, they enjoy greater privacy and can change their itinerary at will, or weigh anchor when they see a pretty spot. Of course, a knowledgeable skipper would know the area better, and be a better guide specially when exploring unfamiliar waters.
The difference in cost between a bareboat and crewed charter is substantial. Crewed charter prices can range from a variety of prices and depend on the size of the yacht, its age, its pedigree, itinerary and the size of the crew. Crewed charters are sailed with a skipper and supporting staff like boat boy and chef. If travellers are interested in saving on their crewed charter, they can inquire about captain only options. Bareboat charter has become a booming business since the early 2000s, mainly due to its lower cost.
In a bareboat charter, the travellers are fully responsible for the boat, the docking costs, daily provisions and logistics, which can be a nuisance for some. Some destinations have their own rules and regulations, and mastering them may require an extra sailing course to avoid accidentally violating a local law. To ensure this, bareboat charter operators ask to see a skipper license and sailing resumé showing navigation experience and listing the boats they’ve sailed. If they are not reassured by what they see, some may provide a skipper for the first few days till the designated sailors are familiar enough with the yacht.
A crewed yacht with a trained, experienced, knowledgeable crew probably makes for the safest boating holidays, almost essential if you are going to sailing with your family. Additional safety measures such as space-gates for the little ones or an onboard surveillance camera may be among the options available. A bareboat charter leaves everything up to the travellers, which can be the exact thrill and excitement some people seek.
While crewed yachts help you focus primarily on relaxation, comfort and leisure, bareboat yachts are for experienced and semi-experienced passengers who like to enjoy the boat, the journey, and the exploration with freedom, independence, and total control.