Many people invoke such words such as “freedom,” “relaxation,” and “escape” to describe why they love boating. There are other folks, though, who for sure wouldn’t use those words to describe owning a boat. While lots of people enjoy repairing, upgrading, or maintaining their vessels, others don’t have the
time, inclination, or ability to do the hands-on jobs that boats require. And there
are those who simply can’t afford to buy a boat and pay for its upkeep. But
today, these people have options that a previous generation didn’t. It’s no longer necessary to make a sizeable investment to sail, fish, wakeboard, or escape to a secluded
place to spend a weekend. If you consider a boat as an experience to have whenever
you want it, rather than an asset you can use any time, you may want to take advantage
of programs that allow you to get on the water at lower costs. Each has its pros and
cons. Here are some things to consider.
It’s said that yacht chartering began in earnest in Antigua just after World War II,
when several wealthy people on the island wanted to visit other islands in the Lesser
Antilles chain and found a 70-foot schooner they could pay to use. Since then, chartering – of both sailboats and powerboats – has exploded, and it’s now possible to
Boating Without Owning?
For those who want the experience of boating without, dare we say, the
hassle of ownership, there are more ways than ever to get it
vacation aboard a boat you don’t own
in hundreds of interesting and exotic
places – around the world, and in our
own country. The idea is simple: You rent
a boat for a week or two (or more) and
use it to see places you’d not likely get
to aboard your own boat. The chartering
business is well-established, with several
reputable companies that have been in
business for decades. Chartering options
include handling and provisioning the
boat yourself (called bareboating), hiring crew, and having the boat come with
provisions already on board; charter boats
are usually paid for by the week. Charter
companies typically want to review a
résumé with relevant experience before
they allow you to take out a boat.
The Good News:
■ Boats come in all sizes and price
points, including those large enough to
be a good value for a group in which
all contribute to lower the cost per
■ Boats are usually fully equipped with
safety gear, towels, cruising guides, and
the like. They’ll even provision the
boat for you in advance, or, if you wish,
you can do it yourself.
■ You can hire a professional skipper
from the charter company for a day or
two at the beginning of your charter,
to teach you about the systems on the
boat, and give guidance on where to go
and fun things to do.
■ Charter boats come turnkey, which
means that all maintenance is done by
the charter company.
■ It’s a great way to try a boat for a week
that you may want to purchase.
Keep In Mind:
■ Insurance may not be included, and
starts at $50 per day.
BoatU.S.has your back By Charles Fort