FAQ – Captain Only Yacht Charters

You’re going on a sailing vacation!

It’s a big decision, there’s a lot to consider. We’ve consolidated answers to common questions about our captain-only (skippered) sailing charters below.

Once all your questions are answered, you can explore the types of boats available for captain-only chartering and explore worldwide captain-only charter destinations.

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Captain Only Charter Frequently Asked Questions

There are two types of yacht charters that involve renting a yacht for your vacation with a captain: Captain Only or Bareboat Plus Skipper. The terms Captain and Skipper are interchangeable. A Captain Only yacht is operated by the same captain for all charters. Therefore, the captain’s bio and experience is known in advance. Sometimes a Captain Only yacht will also have a first mate on board to assist the captain. A Bareboat Plus Skipper yacht is operated by a professional freelance captain who the charter companies hire on a regular basis. These yachts are also rented by clients who have boating experience and do not want to hire a captain. Since these yachts do not always have a captain on board, there is not a specifically assigned captain whom the clients see a bio for in advance.
You are responsible for meal planning, provisioning, cooking & cleaning. With a Captain Only yacht, sometimes the captain will prepare a few meals & assist with provisioning. With a Bareboat Plus Skipper, you can shop on island or order provisions in advance.
The itinerary is completely flexible according to your preference of activities - sailing, snorkeling / diving, relaxing, bar hopping, exploring, ect. The captains know the territory very well and will tailor an itinerary. One of the best attributes about a yacht vacation is that you are not on a schedule! Therefore, the itinerary stays very flexible and day by day can be adjusted.
Snorkeling gear typically included for all charters. A Captain Only yacht often includes additional water toys in the price. With a Bareboat Plus Skipper, additional water toys are available for rent.
The price does not include meals/beverages for yourselves and crew, running expenses, overnight moorings, customs fees, permits and taxes. Meals/Beverages: You can estimate $40, per person, per day for meals on board - remember to include the captain. Charterers usually dine ashore for at least 3 of their dinners and occasionally breakfast or lunch. The average cost for dinner and drinks is $50/person - remember to include the captain too. Of course this does not include a delicious Caribbean lobster! Running expenses: You can estimate $250 - $350/week for fuel, ice and water. Customs fees: Will vary by location. For the Virgin Islands, yachts leaving from Tortola do not include customs fees; Yachts leaving from St. Thomas incur approximately $60 - $150 in customs fees. Permits and taxes: Will vary by location. For the Virgin Islands, yachts leaving from Tortola pay $6 per person, per day for cruising tax and $25 - $55 per week for a park permit. Yachts leaving from St. Thomas pay $16 per person, per day for cruising tax and $50 - $100 per week for a park permit (depends on number of people on board.)
You don’t need to stress about which option is the best for your vacation. Our Charter Experts understand that you are interested in a yacht with a captain, and will check all possible options to assist you in choosing the best yacht to meet your group and budget needs.
The British Virgin Islands is the ideal location for your first charter! The distances between islands is short at 1-1.5 hours and a maximum of 3 hours. The waters are deep and easy to navigate, and you never have to anchor because there are mooring buoys almost everywhere. Plus, the island layout provides protection from open water sailing, less probability of seasickness. The BVI has so much to offer: visiting 1-2 new islands every day, lot of restaurants and beach bars, great beaches, snorkeling, sunsets and fun for all ages!
Yes and it is recommended! You can purchase trip insurance from one of our recommended companies for approximately 7% of your vacation cost, See Link. Although no one expects to cancel their charter, last minute emergencies do happen. All companies have a no refund policy at a certain time before the charter. There are only a small percentage of charters that are cancelled, but in these cases the outcome is much better with trip insurance involved.
In the BVI many yachts are equipped with WiFi for a fee. Throughout the BVI and USVI there are also some WiFi hot spots. WiFi service is not available in more remote cruising areas, but please check with our Charter Experts.
You’ll only see pirates if you’re watching Pirates of the Caribbean during your trip! The areas where charters are offered are areas that are safe for visiting. Nowhere is “crime free” so we recommend normal precautions: be aware of your surroundings, lock the boat/dinghy when you go ashore and don’t leave valuables out in plain sight, and don’t walk in dark or sketchy areas.