Chartering a boat can be a wonderful experience for those who love the water and the freedom of being on their own vessel. However, it can also be a confusing and sometimes frustrating experience for beginners. While there is a lot of information available on the internet about the positive aspects of sailing, there is little information on the pitfalls that await those who are new to boat chartering. This article seeks to address some of the common mistakes that beginners make when chartering a boat, and how to avoid them.
Reception and Delivery of the Boat
One of the most important aspects of boat chartering is the reception and delivery of the boat. When you book a charter, you pay an insurance deposit, which will be returned to you later if the boat arrives at the port safe and sound. On the other hand, if there is any damage to the boat, you may not receive your deposit back (partially or completely). It is important to go through a standard procedure called the check-in or acceptance before sailing. This involves inspecting the boat and signing a checklist.
During the check-in, the company manager and skipper will look around the yacht, and you will be allowed on board to watch them inspect. While you may not be a professional, it is important to take your time and check everything yourself, including the sails, grooves, deck, winch, motor, instruments, and other little things. This will help you identify any damage or problems that may not have been noticed by the skipper or company manager. If you find any problems, make sure to record them in writing, as this will help you later on.
It is important to note that not all skippers or boat owners are out to cheat beginners. Most skippers will not go to sea if they find a breakdown or lack of equipment on the yacht. It is also important to be meticulous and check everything during the check-in, as this will help you avoid problems later on.
Acceptance is usually carried out during daylight hours, but if you arrive late and do not have time until the evening, it is better to spend the night on the yacht and return for the check-in in the morning.
Another common mistake that beginners make when chartering a boat is buying the wrong supplies. It is important to buy enough drinking water and food for the entire trip, as you may not have access to a supermarket while at sea. Many beginners make the mistake of buying too little water and food, which can lead to dehydration and hunger while on the boat.
It is also important to buy the right type of food and supplies. You should consider buying non-perishable foods that do not need to be refrigerated. This includes canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and other similar items. You should also make sure to buy enough ice to keep your drinks and food cold.
Another common mistake that beginners make is not paying enough attention to navigation. It is important to have a good understanding of navigation before chartering a boat. This includes understanding how to read charts, how to use a compass, and how to use a GPS. You should also make sure that you have all the necessary equipment, including charts, compasses, and GPS systems.
It is also important to pay attention to weather forecasts before sailing. You should avoid sailing in bad weather, as this can be dangerous and uncomfortable. You should also make sure to have a good understanding of the local waters, including the tides, currents, and any hazards that may be present.
Navigation and Maneuvering
Navigating and maneuvering a boat can be intimidating for beginners, but it’s important to take the time to learn and understand the basics. Before setting sail, make sure you know how to read nautical charts and understand buoy markers. Always keep a watchful eye on the depth sounder and make sure to navigate in safe waters. It’s also important to know how to handle the boat in different wind conditions and to practice basic maneuvers such as tacking and jibing.
Anchoring can be a bit tricky for beginners, but it’s an essential skill to master for any boater. Make sure to choose a suitable anchorage with good holding ground, and always check the weather forecast before dropping anchor. Once anchored, make sure to set the anchor properly and allow enough scope to prevent dragging. It’s also important to know how to retrieve the anchor safely and efficiently.
Provisioning and Cooking
Provisioning is another important aspect of boat chartering that is often overlooked by beginners. Make sure to stock up on enough food and water for the duration of your trip, and choose foods that are easy to store and prepare. It’s also important to plan your meals ahead of time and bring along any necessary cooking utensils and supplies. Don’t forget to clean up after yourself and dispose of any garbage properly.
Safety should always be a top priority when boating. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all safety equipment on board, including life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. It’s also important to know how to use a VHF radio in case of emergency and to always let someone on shore know your planned route and estimated time of arrival.
Respecting the Environment
Finally, it’s important to respect the environment when boating. Make sure to follow all local regulations and guidelines for waste disposal and fishing. Avoid disturbing marine wildlife and be mindful of your impact on the environment. Remember, we all have a responsibility to protect our oceans and waterways for future generations to enjoy.
Boat chartering can be an amazing experience for beginners, but it’s important to take the time to learn the basics and avoid common mistakes. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip on the water. Remember to always put safety first, respect the environment, and have fun!