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What is a Charter Boat?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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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.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By drtroubles — On Dec 12, 2011

My wife and I had a great experience with a luxury boat charter we made for our anniversary. We ended up having our party at sea and it was probably one of the best experiences of our life.

We actually found out that renting the boat was cheaper overall than other venues we looked at, and it really added to the whole buzz of our party. It is amazing how many people showed up when they realized we were doing a private boat charter. I suppose anyone can be swayed if the digs are nice enough.

By MrSmirnov — On Dec 12, 2011

@letshearit - Things can go a couple of different ways to go about getting a charter boat hire, and each of them have their pros and cons. I think if you want to get everything sorted in advance you should book through an online tour company that has good reviews. It will probably cost a bit more than if you spoke to a boat owner in person, but it will save you a lot of hassles in the long run. I think if you and your friends want to get everything worked out before hand you just pay upfront and be done with it.

By letshearit — On Dec 11, 2011

Does anyone have any experience with charter boat rentals? Is it usually done through a tour company or do you have to talk to the boat owner's directly?

My friends and I are interested in doing some charter boat fishing the next time we go down to Florida and would really like to get things arranged in advance if possible. I know my friends and I will have a blast if we can get everything organized without having to waste part of vacation sorting out things after we arrive.

We don't need anything fancy, just any one of the simple charter fishing boats will do. If we can get a good price all the better.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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