Rent vs Charter a Boat: What's the Difference?

You want to cruise the seas on a boat, but with the options of renting or chartering a boat, it can get a bit confusing.

What does renting a boat involve? And how do you charter a boat?

Renting and chartering boat are very similar in that you pay someone or a company to hire a boat for a length of time. However, on a practical level, the two terms relate to different boating experiences.

If you want to know the difference between the two so you can decide on which option to go for, here’s the lowdown.

What Is a Boat Rental?

In many cases, boat rentals involve the hire of small boats or personal vessels rather than those owned by a larger company. They are often available to rent between an hour up to a full day, but not usually any longer than this.

When you rent a boat, you need to be the captain for the hours you rent it for and must bring everything you require for your trip. That may include fishing gear, water sports equipment, refreshments, and meals depending on what your plans are.

However, there are of course exceptions. Houseboats which are pretty much floating RVs are usually advertised as boat rentals despite the fact that they’re quite large and are usually rented for longer than a day.

What Is a Charter Boat?

There are a few types of charter boats. Most are larger vessels whereby you’re more likely to rent a yacht for a week rather than just a day.

There are two types of charters which are bareboat and crewed.

Bareboat Charters

Bareboat charters are like boat rentals in that you pay for the boat only but run it yourself with your own captain and crew. For these hires, most charter companies will require certain documents to validate that you have the correct experience to sail the vessel you want.

In some countries, a second member of the hire needs to have enough sailing experience too.

Like with boat rental, with bareboat charters, you’ll need to provide all equipment and food you require for your trip. You’ll need a certain level of independence, planning, and autonomy to run a successful bareboat charter.

Crewed Charters

Crewed charters, on the other hand, mean that you hire a captain and crew to operate the boat on your trip. Like bareboat charters, the trip will usually go on for a week or so.

The crew hired on the boat can help with itineraries, cook meals, and clean. It’s a more luxury experience, for example, if you’re looking to hire a powerboat charter.

Some companies offer programs, whereby the team will provision the boat for you according to your needs and dietary requirements. For example, if you’re planning to go scuba diving the equipment can be arranged for you. Such an option is useful if you’re hiring a charter boat in a foreign country where shopping or planning may be a little difficult.

Like with bareboat charters, there are exceptions to the rule, however. Some chartered sailboat options may run for a day or a couple of hours, especially if the boat is hired for a specific purpose. For example, to head out fishing or whale watching.

Although these chartered boat trips are short and sweet, they require knowledgeable staff and are usually equipped with a captain, crew, equipment, meals, and refreshments.

Another option for sailors who don’t have the most experience would be to combine a bareboat charter and a crewed charter. If this trip spans over a week or so, a skipper can be hired to sail the vessel for the first two days, and then the customers can take over once they feel confident enough to navigate the boat independently.

Rental Boat or Charter Boat?

Whether you decide to rent or charter a boat depends entirely on your personal preferences. For example, what would you like to do and how long would you like to sail for?

If you prefer a more independent trip and have the necessary experience to operate the boat yourself, then renting a boat or a bareboat charter might suit you well. You can sail wherever you please and can change itineraries when and as you’d like. Not only that, but you get to enjoy complete privacy with your friends and family.

If you only have time to spend a few hours or a day or two out on the water, then renting a boat is probably the best bet.

If you’d prefer to have everything in running order on your trip, with meals and refreshments provided for you then a crewed charter is the option for you. However, while it’s the easiest way to navigate the seas, bear in mind that by having to pay a whole crew, it’s also the priciest choice.

Ready to Rent or Charter a Boat?

There are plenty of options if you want to rent or charter a boat.

Here at Sydney Harbour Escapes, we make it easy to take advantage of all these options, from renting a boat for the day or chartering a yacht for a week. And whether you fancy a bareboat charter or a crewed charter, we’ve got you covered.

There’s no such thing as a bad day on a boat, so whichever option you choose you’re bound to love the experience. Sail off into that crimson sunset and enjoy life at sea!

Browse our available boats here to find a vessel you’ll love.

Posted by Sydney Harbour Escapes on Sep 27, 2019 12:33:00 PM