Always dreamed of a little pirate adventure? Want a boat that takes you where you want to go, when you want to go? Do you want to be the captain of your own ship? If you answered yes to any of these questions then Bareboating — renting a yacht, crew optional — is your perfect adventure vacation.
Bareboating yachts are generally found in the 30-60 foot range, and you can find them on certain Caribbean islands, the Mediterranean, and a few other warm-weather vacation spots outside the United States. Your bareboating fee pays for the rent of the boat for a week or three, insurance, and standard boat trappings. Depending on your needs, fuel, food, and a crew cost extra.
A Little Bareboating Preparation Goes a Long Way
Bareboating isn’t for everyone. You should be in reasonably good shape and have at least basic boating skills. Before trusting you with their yacht, a bareboat company will expect you to have shown some navigational ability. You will need to demonstrate that you can dock and anchor a boat as well as handle it under power to one of their company experts. If you can’t do this, most bareboat companies will offer to hire a crew and captain out to you for your bareboat experience who can teach you what you’ll need to know next time, and who will also act as expert guides to help you find the best possible spots for snorkeling, sightseeing, and just hanging out. If, however, you want to show up at your bareboating excursion ready to sail, call your local Coast Guard and ask them about boating classes. Most will be able to help you with the basics, and those who can’t will direct you to others who can.
Connect with People from All Over the World while Bareboating
Bareboating itself is thrilling, but an added bonus is being able to meet the yachting community in the area through which you are sailing. Yachters are a small group, more exclusive than many clubs, and they are often thrilled to meet other boating afficionados, share information, and chat over a glass of wine while watching a scarlet sunset. Not only can you make great friends, you may even be able to make excellent business contacts for after the vacation.
While you can rent bareboat yachts sight-unseen, it’s a bad idea unless you’re going through a travel agency you trust. Without care, you could wind up with a rusted scow with a bad engine and worse sails. Spend a few days in your port selecting just the right boat for you, and familiarize yourself with the ports of call and interesting sights while you’re there. If you aren’t a sailor, you can take a quick sailing course while you’re choosing your boat as well.
A Few Final Words of Advice for Bareboating
When you go on your bareboating excursion, there are a few things to keep in mind. Pack light, and bring some warm clothes as well as slickers. Make sure everyone going with you is as excited as you are, and understands that bareboats mean tight quarters and some fairly hard work. Finally, make sure you get the extra insurance. Even a small accident can add plenty to your bill at the end of the trip.
That said, there are few things as thrilling as sailing the sea by yourself, setting your own schedule, seeing the off-the-beaten-track sights that you’ve always dreamed of. With good planning and a great crew hand-picked from your closest family and friends, a bareboat excursion could be the trip of a lifetime — or the beginning of a whole new lifestyle.