Warm weather is just around the corner, and chances are you have some cabin fever right now. Why not start planning your summer adventures? One excellent choice is chartering a yacht. Whether you’re stepping aboard with family or a large group of friends, there’s nothing quite like sailing across the open water and soaking up the sun. Check out these tips to help you make the most of your first yachting experience.
Read the Contract Thoroughly
When you charter a yacht, you’ll need to sign a contract. Read it thoroughly to ensure you understand what you’ll receive, which rules you’re expected to follow, and which fees you may incur during the course of your experience. Check the size of the yacht first. If you’re only taking a small group of friends, a small one is fine. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a large party, you want to make sure everyone has enough space to move around.
Next, read the insurance clause. Some charters provide the insurance as part of the cost. Others expect you to pay more for optional insurance. Verify how much the deposit is and what happens if you need to cancel. In addition, read the rules regarding whether smoking is allowed on board, how old children must be and whether they can roam freely (younger children should not, regardless of the rules), and whether you’re allowed to bring your own food aboard.
Pack Only What You Need
Chances are you’ll be on your charter yacht for the entire day and possibly into the evening, so it is important to pack essentials. Naturally, you’ll want to have bathing suits with you to enjoy the sun, but you can save space by wearing them under your regular clothes. Remember, being on the water can be chilly in the evening, so check the temperatures and consider packing a sweatshirt or light jacket.
In addition to layered clothes, pack plenty of sunscreen (and remember to apply regularly). A lip balm with an SPF and a large hat will help to protect your scalp and face. Avoid tanning oil, as it can stain the boat’s deck. If you’ll need it, pack essential medications, as well as some pain reliever and anti-nausea medication.
Finally, bring the fun stuff. A deck of cards and a Bluetooth speaker are great for music and entertainment on the water. A flashlight and matches help with light for evening sailing. Pack smartphones, tablets, and other electronics in Ziploc bags to protect them from the water.
Practice Good Etiquette With the Crew
The crew running your yacht charter is there to make your experience as special as possible, so practice excellent yacht crew etiquette. In addition to treating the boat itself well, listen to all of the crew’s instructions and follow them. The rules are not only to protect the boat but to protect you as well.
After listening to instructions for your trip, give the crew the space they’ll need to work safely. Avoid their quarters and work space, and never expect them to take care of any children you have aboard with you. If you do have questions, ask the captain first. If the captain can’t help, he or she will direct you to someone who can.
Finally, part of practicing good etiquette is tipping well. The standard rate is between 10% and 20%. You can offer cash to individual crew members or tip a lump sum that they can divide between themselves. Some charters automatically add a gratuity for large groups, but tipping above and beyond shows your appreciation and ensures you’re treated well if you ever book another sailing trip.
Take Advantage of the Offered Stops
As nice as it is to lay back on the deck and watch the waves and the sun, part of the experience is taking advantage of the stops you can make. Some charter experiences allow fishing, while others will stop at popular beaches or spots where you can watch for dolphins or other sea life. Many charters sail along shores that provide a variety of shops and restaurants right by the water. For example, charters in southern Florida often stop at waterfront restaurants Miami. If you have the chance to eat at one of them, some of the popular ones include Seaspice, Zuma, and Texas de Brazil.
Before you know it, temperatures will soar, the sun will shine, and you’ll be itching to feel it on your skin. By planning and preparing your yachting experience now, you ensure smooth sailing down the line.