Charter boats: the 10 basic tips not to ruin your vacation


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A short guide with 10 tips to avoid nasty surprises if you rent a boat this summer. Here’s what to do to minimize the risk of ruining your boating vacation. Here are the 10 basic rules.

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Charter boats: 10 tips to avoid bad adventures

1) How many competent people do you need on board?

The more one is, able to navigate, the better. If it is a small motor boat (about 5 meters), for daily rentals, even one person may be enough. Similarly per sailing and anchoring one competent person may suffice, but maneuvering in port requires at least two crew members who know what to do. In any case, before going out a few basics are always useful to know. Depending on the size of the boat and it is essential that the autopilot works.

2) Inventory and equipment: here is the basic checklist

First, it is important not to be rushed. Have the renter show you what is included in the inventory (which you will have to sign). Hot spots then to be checked very carefully are:

Engine – with engine running check:

  • That the smoke coming out is not bluish (in which case it is “eating” oil!).
  • Whether the cooling water comes out regularly
  • If engaging forward/reverse gear there is no play in the insertion
  • Anchor line: pay special attention to chain diameter and length, anchor weight and type, and anchor windlass efficiency. They must be in line with the tonnage of the boat and the depths you will encounter. Your vacation depends on it!
  • Cartography-Technology is useful, but it can leave us in the lurch. Check well that there are detailed maps of the navigation area and that everything is working.

3) If something goes wrong and you cannot leave are you entitled to a refund?

You must first read well the lease agreement that determines responsibilities. The key issue is whether the failure/missing results in the forced detention of the vessel during the rental period. In this case you will be entitled to a refund.

4) What to do in case of failure?

Email or text the renter now and then contact him or her by phone as well. Do whatever is necessary to prevent the failure from getting worse. Take photos testifying to the damage and send them to the rental company.

5) When do they have to return the bond to you?

Immediately after taking inventory and inspecting the condition of the boat, it must be returned to you. The lessee may not take time for restitution.

6) Liability in case of a breakdown, what to do?

If there are obvious doubts about the cause of a breakdown the lessee can freeze your deposit. In order to determine responsibility for the damage in some cases, legal action is taken and thus “going by lawyers.” Therefore, we link back to above, take photos immediately: they count more than a thousand words!

7) What to do if due to bad weather you cannot return to the port of delivery in time?

Almost always, renters are required to return the boat by the scheduled day and time. Otherwise a penalty is triggered. We recommend that you notify the rental company in advance if you think you will not return in time and negotiate a solution, such as asking the renter himself for help in returning the boat.

8) What is appropriate to bring on board from home?

Depending on who rents you the boat you may find more or less equipment. What we recommend you bring, regardless, is a “pharmacy” with the essentials. A flashlight, headlamp and Swiss Army knife never hurt. Also, having an extra cartography such as a Navionics on your phone or tablet never hurts.

9) Is it worthwhile to take insurance on cancellation?

It is a guarantee to guard against the unexpected. But you must pay close attention to the clauses in the contract that provide for force majeure events of your own (illness, death…) or the lessee’s (sinking or serious damage to the chartered vessel…). Know, however, that there will be discussion.

10) Is it worth renting the boat from a private person? What changes?

Surely you should get a lower price, but be aware that there is little legal protection against litigation and the terms of the lease are more haphazard.


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