A charter boat is a boat which can be rented for use in a variety of activities. Full service charters include the use of the boat along with crew and supplies like provisions, while bare boat or bareboat charters include just the boat, with the customers crewing and supplying the boat themselves. Many communities near the ocean and other large bodies of water have charter boats available for residents and visitors who do not want to maintain their own boats.
Full service charters can be used for things like scuba trips, fishing adventures, or simply touring an area by boat. Especially in tropical climates, visitors often enjoy spending a few days at sea to take advantage of refreshing breezes while they get a chance to see the land from a different point of view. These charters may also include stops for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, along with opportunities to see various islands which might otherwise be inaccessible.
In some cases, people rent an entire charter boat for a trip, and it is also possible to pool resources on a charter boat. For example, people might want to go whale watching with a group of friends in a charter boat. Charters can also be used for things like parties afloat, environmental tours of an area, surveying trips, longer sailing adventures, and so forth.
In the case of a bare boat charter, people must be able to demonstrate competency before they will be allowed to take the boat out. Competency can include personal certifications indicating that someone is capable of handling the boat, or evidence that a crew which can handle the boat has been hired. The cost of the charter will be lower because the boat doesn't come with crew or supplies, although it is advisable to purchase additional insurance in case there is an accident, as replacing a charter boat can get extremely expensive.
All kinds of boats are available for charter, including small rowboats for urban lakes, sail boats, and larger motorized yachts and other craft. It pays to shop around for a charter, and in the case of a charter which comes with a crew, it is important to meet the Captain to get an idea of the Captain's personality and the type of trip that the customers can expect. For example, some people might greatly enjoy a fishing trip with a surly Captain and minimal supplies, while others might prefer a more luxurious charter with friendly, attentive staff.