FAQs

from Water Lovers Like You

Your Yachting Questions Answered

Yes, we can answer that.

H2O Luxury Yachts has been around a long, long time. This means we’ve fielded just about every question imaginable about yachting anywhere in the world you’d like to go.

Bareboating

The most common personal safety/discomfort things to watch out for when sailing are:
* Sunburn
* Drinking enough. You will be sweating more than usual. You need to drink plenty of liquids to make up for it. In between the rum drinks, anyways!
* Staying dry. If you are wet – especially with saltwater – and have any clothing rubbing, you might chafe. Gold Bond may help those who get that problem. Make sure you wash after coming out of the ocean with fresh water; there is always a shower on the back deck.
* Rope burns. If you don’t know what you are doing sailing, this can happen. Gloves. And listening to the Captain when they tell you how to handle a line on a winch.
* Smashing some body part. The boat weighs 10 tons. If it’s moving, you are unlikely to stop it by putting your body part between it and an unmovable object.
* Getting enough sleep. This will not be too bad of an issue on a boat if it has a generator and AC. Without it, it’s hot/stuffy and hard to get to sleep. Make abundant uses of all fans and hatches to get a cross breeze! Even with the temperature under control, the boat is moving around a bit, which at first may cause you some less than ideal sleep.
* Tenderfeet. Are you used to going barefoot at home? You will mostly go barefoot on the boat; perhaps you want to toughen up for feet for a couple of weeks before you get there? Or boat shoes.
The most common causes of property damage are:
* Docking accidents and hard docking the boat. Usually involves fiberglass dings (or worse) or possible damage to a rub rail.
* Grounding the boat
* Wrapping a line in the prop. Multiple ways to do this, but most common is running over the dingy line while backing up because you didn’t bring the dinghy up short during mooring/anchoring/docking.
* Sucking up a line or debris into the bow thruster
* Hitting rocks/coral with the dinghy or dinghy outboard prop
* Swamping the dinghy while attempting to beach it in the surf
* Having an agenda instead of intentions. You should never have a set sail agenda because that makes you less likely to take into account the weather/boat/crew conditions, and you try to force something to happen that would not otherwise.
If conditions are not favorable, then a day at anchorage is a perfectly fine place to be.
We have gathered up a few tips here from around the internet, which you may find helpful to share with your crew members when you get on board.
With everything stowed, and a cold beer in hand, spend about 60 minutes taking the crew through the initial safety briefing covering the following:
Safety Discussion items that you may want to go over….
1. Please take care of the boat like it was your own. The goal should be to bring it back cleaner / better than when you got it. Do not force anything, and ask if something does not work the way you think it should.
2. Location of life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, plugs, throwable flotation devices
3. Electrical panel, batteries (isolation switch), shore power, generator, battery gauge
4. The lighting of the charcoal grill
5. Proper use of VHF radio, and the importance of weather (mayday procedure)
6. Docking, mooring, and anchoring procedures (never use your hands – roving bumper)
7. Winch instruction and hand placement while operating sheets (ongoing training throughout the week)
8. Toilet operation and water conservation (only things that come out of you go into the toilet), if you plug the head, you will need to pay to get it unplugged. Shower off the back of the boat
9. Hats, sunscreen, sunburn and hydration (the wind will make it not seem as hot)
10. MOB situation, roles, and responsibilities, what to expect as you may see the boat moving away from you initially. Always keep 3 points of contact with the boat, tell someone if you are going to sit on the back steps while underway
11. Proper shut off of propane gas and solenoid switch. How to light the stove.
12. Use of the spare tiller if steering goes out (not a real need with a twin-engine catamaran)
13. Use of the manual bilge pumps on deck.
14. Buddy system for snorkeling, never leave your buddy in the water alone when snorkeling
15. Buddy system for going ashore – never leave you, buddy, alone onshore, be courteous – let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
16. Dinghy operation (secure all lines – watch elbows when starting engine), outboard motor operation
17. Expectations before getting underway (shut all hatches, all laundry inside, everything stowed and put away. Look around and use your eyes. If something does not look right, say something, ask for help
18. Right of way: Portly / Windy always give way, the motor gives way to sail (ongoing training throughout the week, also check out the free “Rules of Sailing” App on your I-phone)
19. In an emergency, the captain makes the call, follow the directions immediately, as it could save someone’s life.
I hope this helps; safety considerations will bring down your worry level on your first bareboating trips.
A bareboat yacht charter is just as it says — a sole boat with nothing or no one it.
They usually come with linens and towels, although in some parts of the world you are required to bring your own.
Bareboats generally do come with a starter kit that contains dish soap, dish sponge, etc. The rest is up to you.
You need to provision the boat yourself, drive the boat yourself, and cook and clean yourself.
You will fill out a boating resume in advance to show that you have the experience to take out the yacht you want.
Generally, they are looking for experience within about ten feet of the boat that you want to rent on a bareboat charter.
Unlike the Caribbean, where you can rent a yacht on your experience alone, many parts of Europe and Asia expect you to have an Internationally recognized Captain’s License and an in date VHF certification.
On a crewed charter yacht, you sit back and relax. The chef prepares your meals, drinks are blended, and the boat is kept clean. All you need to do is relax and enjoy it. The crew will do everything to do with the ship. Think of it as an all-inclusive resort.
On a Captain only charter, the yacht comes with a captain. He/she will take care of the boating aspect of things. He will drive the boat, anchor, and moor the boat. He will do all the daily checks and do the worrying if the wind picks up.
Your duties on a captain only are everything else, cooking, cleaning, and all aspects of day to day vacation life. Think of it as renting a vacation apartment with cooking facilities.
On a bareboat, everything is up to you; you have no outside help at all. You get to charter your destiny. It’s not as daunting as it may sound. In areas like the British Virgin Islands, the whole area is set up to make bareboating as easy as possible. You will need to be able to either anchor your boat overnight or pick up an overnight mooring.
I have spoken to bare boaters who have visited the BVI for a week vacation every year for 12 years and never anchored a boat in their life. They always use moorings and, therefore, didn’t need to learn how.
Absolutely. It is a great way to start your first bareboat adventure.
He will help and mentor you on everything you need to know to have a successful bareboat vacation.
Some fleets even rent the captain for the whole duration of the charter.
Renting a captain is a great way to hone up your skills, give you confidence in yourself and perhaps give other members of your party a piece of mind that “we can do this.” Captains usually run about $250 per day. You are expected to feed them and tip them as well. Gratuities can be from $500 per week up to 10 to 15% of the boat rental cost.

You will need to show that you have experience in a similar sized yacht. Typically the bareboat fleet will let you take out a vessel up to about 10 feet longer than your experience.

If your experience is in a monohull, they will allow you to take out a multihull and vice versa.

Usually, the Caribbean requires no Captain’s license. Maybe you would like to combine your bareboat vacation along with obtaining your ASA sailing license?
Your yachting credentials will need to show the experience of skippering, anchoring, and boating skills in a similar setting to the area you intend to charter. Of all the charter areas worldwide, The British Virgin Islands require the least amount of skills.
You can bolster your ability to charter by taking on a paid captain for the first day or two or by joining up with one of the bareboat flotillas.
These flotillas travel as a group, they anchor together at the same spot each night, and the flotilla leader will make sure you anchor safely. They are there to guide you through any questions that may arise during your vacation. Next morning, all captains in the flotilla have a meeting and discuss the day, then as you’re ready, you head off on your way and meet up again that night. There is a small extra charge to be in a flotilla. It is customary to tip the flotilla leader at the end of the week.
In the Mediterranean and some other areas of the world, you will need to have an Internationally recognized Captain’s License and a VHF certification.
Don’t worry; we will help you sort through the requirements.

There is an official bareboat certification available. It is available through the ASA. It requires you to do some pre-study at home of items ASA101 ASA103 and ASA104. The course materials cost about $100 per person.

The method followed by most to obtain this certification is to take a 10-night bareboat charter. In the first seven days, you have an ASA instructor on board. Some of this time must be on a monohull yacht. If you have rented a multihull, then often, the instructor has a small monohull sailboat available for this part at a small charge.
The instructor will cost about $250-300 per day plus food plus gratuity. You will also need to allow for a berth on your boat for him. After the seven days, you get your certification, then drop off the instructor and spend the next three days honing your skills and gaining confidence. This certification will allow you to bareboat anywhere and will let you go into areas that non-licensed skippers can’t. Once again, because of the perfect weather conditions and abundance of facilities, the British Virgin Islands is the best area to obtain a bareboat certification.

You can rent a boat up to about 10 feet longer than you are experienced in. It does not matter if you’re experience is in a monohull and want to charter a multihull or vice versa. Having a bareboat certification or recognized captain license may get you a larger boat.

Each fleet has different requirements which we will be happy to advise you on.

Read more about Bareboat Yachting

The briefer will spend an hour or 2 with you. Your first mate should also be present for your briefing.
Topics covered are:
  1. Safety Equipment
  2. Dinghy Usage
  3. Operation of Anchor and Windlass
  4. Back up Anchor
  5. How to use and care for the heads (washrooms) on the boat
  6. Refrigeration and oven usage
  7. VHF Radio usage
  8. How to call back to the base
  9. Emergencies
  10. How to run the engine and check oil levels
  11. Navigation Equipment including GPS and Charter Plotter
  12. Daily Weather updates
  13. If you are sailing, instructions on all sailing controls and lines
Do not be in a rush, if you’re not 100% sure on what was just said, ask them to repeat it. There is no such thing as a dumb question!
You will receive a separate chart briefing. Chart briefings are done at a set time in the morning before your departure and done with all the other captains who will be heading out that day.
You will get a thorough description of the area, its anchorages, where not to go, what to look out for, and a weather forecast for the week and what that forecast means to you.
With having other captains present, many questions will come up that you have not thought about, so the group meeting is very beneficial.
Some tips on the itinerary will be given based on the weather forecast, but remember it is your vacation to do as you please.
The best time depends upon where you are thinking of chartering. The high seasons for the Caribbean and Mediterranean are directly opposed. The busiest time in the Caribbean is from Xmas to the end of March.
Winter is also the time of year when the wind blows the strongest in the Caribbean.
April, May, and June are a bit less busy, and winds are more pleasant. Summertime of year that is favored by many.
July and August, as well as November, are my favorite time of year in the Caribbean. The winds can be light, and the sun can be intense during these months. The days of very light winds make for some beautiful diving and snorkeling. I have gone a whole week in these months with only seeing a hand full of other boats. The rates for bareboats can be cheaper than in the prime months. The months of September and October are the two months that the Caribbean is likely to see a hurricane.
Hurricane season does not mean that you can’t take bareboats in these months but do have trip insurance. If a hurricane is on the horizon, your bareboat company will call you back to base, take care of the boat for you with advice on hotels, shelters, or plane changes. These months have exciting weather. Typically you get 2 or 3 days of dead flat weather; then, a substantial electrical storm passes that will last a half day then go back to dead flat seas — not a good time to sail but a great time to rent a powerboat. If you are a scuba diver, then this is a perfect time to boat. Super low bargain prices can be had at this time, like pay for seven nights and get 10.
In my books, the best time to bareboat is when I have the time!

Bareboat sizes range from low 30 feet monohulls up to catamarans ( power and sail) and monohulls in the high 50-foot range.

The size you are allowed to bareboat becomes larger every year though!

Read more on Bareboat FAQ

 

You have two choices here. Either you can do it yourself, or the Bareboat company can do it for you. If you get the company to do it, they will send you an email of what’s available. You tick off what you want, and they get it and put it onto the boat for your arrival. There is, of course, a fee for this service.
If you choose to provision yourself, you still have options if you are bareboating in the Caribbean or elsewhere. We send you the contact information to the major suppliers.
You can go to their website and place an order.
It will be delivered free of charge to your boat. Provisioners typically give a small percentage discount on your order.
Of course, the other option is to provision yourself. Provisioning does take some time and effort, but for many, it’s the best option. Ask yourself whether it is worth it to spend a day of your vacation provisioning.
When you are sleeping aboard your yacht charter the night before, it often makes sense.
Generally, most will buy too many provisions. You’re not likely to take any leftovers home. You will probably have more unplanned food ashore than you thought you were, so stock up on snacks and remember that you can top up on provisions as you go along.

In the last couple of years, the internet options have improved while you are out on the sea.

Not only has it improved, but the cost has come way down too. There are not too many areas of the world where you will not have an internet connection.

Purchase a local SIM card for your phone, and you are good to go.

 

Some say its too hot, others say, “but what about the hurricanes.” Yes, it is hot in summer, But the ocean is still beautiful. The winds are generally much lighter to even nonexistent. No wind makes sailing difficult, but either a powerboat or sailboat under power moves quite quickly when the seas are flat. There are so many fewer people out boating that this alone would be enough to draw me in. Summer is by far the best time to come if you are a scuba diver. The water is in the mid to high 80s, and the flat seas allow for exploration on more remote sites.
During September and October, the Caribbean goes into offseason mode. Many of the bars, restaurants, resorts, etc. close down completely. Many people who are in the boating industry go away on vacation, and the islands become ghost towns. I like it. Summer is not the time to come if you are going out every night to the wee hours.
Yes, they are the months that hurricanes are most likely in the islands. However, they are few and far between. We see a dozen or more every year on the news, but a particular island is not likely to feel the full effects of one for more than a couple of days every 3 or 5 years.
Yes, it could be the week you decided to go on vacation if you are super unlucky. Buy trip insurance! Insurance generally costs about 7% of your total vacation cost. However, at this time of year, the price of airfares is as low as can be, and the amount of renting a boat can be as little as 50% of that in peak season. The math looks great.
The bareboat industry has always had some great off-season last-minute deals. At a couple of weeks out from a charter date, they know exactly how many boats they are going to have sitting at the dock, not earning money. They can be very motivated to shift those unused boats of the pier to earn some revenue. If you’re planning to get away in the next few weeks, give us a call, and we can “do the rounds” and see what we find.

There is nothing more annoying than being thousands of miles from home, and having your credit card company freeze your account, thinking there is fraud going on. Generally speaking, if you use your card away from home to purchase something unless it’s for a considerable amount, it will not raise a flag. However, put your card into an ATM away from home to get even $10 out. Bingo it’s flagged. The best bet is to call the number on the back of your card before you leave home, tell them where, and how long you will be gone. Then everything should be ok.

Read more bareboating FAQ (opens in a new tab)

You sure can. Many bareboat companies organize race weeks. Teams get together and rent a specific type of boat; each day, another leg is raced from one perfect anchorage to the next. You don’t have to be good to enter, just willing. Many are super keen, and the top place getters are cutthroat. Many, though, don’t care where they come, its more about the comradery. All the boats are the same, so the competition is close. No spinnaker or poles are allowed.
Racing Regattas is a prevalent activity in Australia per se.
Many of the Caribbean islands have regattas every year where bareboats can enter.

Many charters are all about getting together with old friends. Often this is all the guys, but it is also sometimes just the girls. There is no reason at all why it can’t be all the girls either. If you intend to have a rented captain on board please make sure to mention if you specifically want a female. There are many of them available but if you don’t ask, you may end up with a guy!

There are a few options for scuba diving while on charter.
You can have us organize rental gear for you, tell us what you need and it will all be delivered the morning of your charter. You are then free to go dive at will. Air fills are available all over the place. If you are on a larger catamaran, then you could also rent a compressor.
Going it alone does not get you to the secret spots that only local knowledge brings. If you want to do some severe diving, then I would highly recommend looking at a dive dedicated crewed boat. We know which ships offer diving and which ones have a keen diving crew.
Another option is rendezvous diving. That is where you arrange with a dive store to either meet you at the dive site or meet your boat elsewhere and take you to the site.
Rendez Vous Diving is a good option if the skipper is a nondriver as he can take the rest of your party elsewhere.
When you finish, the dive boat will drop you back off in your boat’s new location.
You can always walk into one of the dive stores and see what they have going on! If you are bringing your reg or computer with you and are heading to the Caribbean, make sure you pack them in a carry-on if you don’t want them to disappear mysteriously. Don’t forget your dive card.
We have run a dedicated dive crewed charter boat for 14 years in the BVI and can be a wealth of information.
There are some National Park areas throughout the world where it is illegal to dive with a local divemaster.
Yes. If the yacht does not have a generator or inverter large enough to support an electric coffee maker then a stovetop model will be on board.

With all power yachts and most sail yachts, you start with a full diesel tank and have to refill it before you return the boat.

Moorings sail yachts are an exception within the Caribbean; they usually include fuel for a fee. For both Sunsail and TMM non-generator yachts, they have a pre-pay option, so you don’t need to refill the tank if you don’t want to.

Read more on Bareboat Chartering

Nope, no company allows it. There are some crewed yachts that will allow small breed dogs and cats. send us an email and we can point you in the right direction.
No unfortunately, as great an idea as it sounds to get some inspiration to write that novel. All companies require at least 2 persons on board.

What should I pack for a bareboat charter?

When thinking about what you pack for a bareboat charter consider it a hotel room suite with kitchen facilities and you will get the idea. If you wouldn’t find it in the hotel room your not going to find it onboard.
When bareboating, you need to provide everything you are going to consume. Many items we take for granted in our daily life or would expect to be on a crewed boat do not seem important until we don’t have them. If you are going to the Virgin Islands, everything can be bought locally, albeit at a steep price. For many things, it just does not make sense to purchase. What about your favorite brand of coffee? Take, for example, that favorite dish that you intend to make that requires four different spices. Do you want to go out and buy them? Perhaps bring a small amount of each in a small ziplock. We have provisioners and online ordering locations that can make it very easy for you. We can help you with answers on how expensive the food is in the area.

Provisioning Bareboat Charter
Provisioning Bareboat Charter. The joys of doing it yourself!

 

Things like there will be a flashlight on the boat, but more then one is helpful. Perhaps playing cards or a board game. If you have a cruising guide of the area, then take it along, fishing gear, maybe?  Talk to us about the area you are chartering in
It takes a little planning, the time to find out that you forgot to get bug spray is not when you’re on the beach with the bugs having you as a snack.

Packing List for Bareboat Charters

Here is a list you can consider if you are heading for a bareboat charter in the Caribbean. It would apply to the South Pacific, as well.
  • Two swimsuits, 6 t-shirts, and underwear. If you are female, you probably want a sundress or two that can double for going out for dinner. Males may wish to have a short-sleeved nice shirt again for going out to fancier places for dinner.
  • Two pair of shorts plus the ones you are wearing when you get to the islands 🙂
  • One pair of clean gloves (if you are on a bareboat participating in the sailing)
  • One pair of sandals or flip-flops, perhaps only the ones you wear on the plane. Need to be able to get wet. You will mostly be barefoot on the boat. Make sure your footgear won’t leave black sole marks on a ship. If you have shoes that are not good for getting wet, then bring a pair of water shoes as well. It will come in handy, getting to beaches.
  • Sun Gear which consists of 2 pair of sunglasses. (1 spare) Must be polarized. Have a lanyard with them, so they don’t disappear even better!
  • A light rain jacket. If we get in some squalls, you can cool off quickly if you get wet + wind. Your rain jacket also doubles as a light coat if you get chilly in the evenings.
  • Beach/Sailing Music (my phone) + a UBS cable
  • Flashlight
  • Reading material (Kindles, books)
  • Mask & Snorkel (If you wear prescription lenses or have your own comfortable, well-fitting mask and snorkel, bring it. Although most of the bareboat companies will put on snorkel gear for you or tell you were to rent it, I don’t find them the “best quality.”
  • Towel – Bring one of those “light skinny towels” Even though your yacht will have towels, they don’t dry as quickly.
  • Earplugs. If you have problems sleeping, a disposable pair of these for boat noises may come in handy.
  • Refillable water bottle. Insulated preferred!
  • Hat – to keep the sun off your head all the time.
  • Chargers/batteries for electronics
  • Non-Deet bug spray (DEET stains the fabrics and cushions on the boat. Many people like skin so soft too)
  • Cel Phone/ International Roaming Package/ Local SIM card as you prefer. Quite a few of the restaurants and beach bars will have complimentary WIFI, and many of the bareboat companies now have modems you can rent for the week. Not cheap, I have found them fairly fast in the last couple of years.
  • Motion sickness? Get a prescription for Transderm Scop or bring Bovine, ginger, or the wrist bands. Generally, this settles down if you are prone after the first 24 hours.
  • Money and credit card: All but the tiny beach bars take credit cards. Not much American Express, though. Although there are  ATMs on significant islands, there is not a lot, so they are often out of cash on a Sunday. You will need some money for gratuities for people.
  • Passport. Even if you are American going to the US Virgin Islands, you will require one to go into the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
  • The cockpit will have a good shade cover. But everywhere else you’re getting direct sun plus the reflection. It’s like being in a sun broiler.
  • -Non-spray on sunscreen. Spray-on sunscreen on the boat makes it slippery for everyone as most ends up in the air or on the decks. Look for a sunscreen that will not harm the reefs.

Read more on Bareboat Charters

 

Booking a Yacht Charter

  • Family Friendly
  • Full Board
  • Half Boat
  • Captain Only
  • Bareboat
  • Cabin Only Booking
  • Multi-Generation
  • Honeymoon
  • Anniversaries
  • Sailing Regattas
  • Corporate Retreats
  • Partying
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Fishing Charters
  • SCUBA Charters
  • Foodie Yachts
  • History Tours
  • Exploring Expeditions

The list can go on forever. If you dream it, we will plan it and a yacht can do it!

We have a page full of these details 

 

The fully crewed and inclusive yacht charter originally came out of the Caribbean, and that is where you will still find a lot of yachts that offer crewed yacht charters.
Your charter fee includes the Captain, Cook, and for larger boats, sometimes a deckhand and stewardess or Dive Instructor.
It includes the Boat, the Furnishings, the Water Toys aboard, and MOSTLY all the expenses. Three meals, snacks, desserts, beverages, standard ships, bar, wifi, and more.
  • You pay the entire charter fee upfront.
  • You cover your incidentals such as anything you chose to eat or drink inland.
  • Perhaps SCUBA diving could be an extra charge.
  • Any upgrades on the wine and liquor.
  • Any dockage that YOU request during the week.
The crew facilitates everything you want to do. The Captain and Crew are very good at anticipating your needs, and their attention to detail provides you a high level of service.
At the end of your vacation, a gratuity (tip) for the crew who have taken care of you all week long is appropriate. 15-20% is “Industry-standard,” and you adjust it up or down depending on the service you feel that you have received.

Please call us at 1 954 271 3005

Travel insurance is always a good idea. Basic insurance coverage ranges from four-to-seven percent depending on your getaway of choice. In some cases, your yacht charter might require insurance. Globetrotting comes with its fair share of risks. Understanding your insurance options is the best way to stay safe on the high seas.
The H2O Luxury Yachts Insurance Guide
Medical Evacuation Insurance pays for emergency care and transportation. This can be purchased separately or as a part of your travel insurance policy.
Travel Health Insurance covers emergency and routine services while overseas. Find out if your health insurance provider offers emergency coverage abroad.
Travel Insurance varies greatly between providers. Read the fine print for coverage details (Medical transport back to the US, emergency care, duration of travel, etc.)
DAN is insurance specifically for SCUBA divers. It protects against unexpected expenses while traveling.
We always recommend exploring your insurance coverage choices. In some cases, mega yachts provide their own insurance.  Chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts team about insurance options provided by the yacht.
Travel and cancellation insurance is always a good idea as it will cover the portion you will NOT receive back!
We work with Squaremouth (opens in a new browser) and can help make sure you are covered.
There are many reasons why you or someone in your party may not be able to make the trip or have to leave early. Not only are you ensuring for your vacation but also for getting to and from there. Basic insurance starts at about 3.5% of your total vacation cost. Rates can rise to 6 to 8 % for full coverage deals.
During the three months of high hurricane season in the Caribbean. (August through October) Some vessels may require you to take insurance; otherwise, it’s up to you. If you are the person who always gets to the airport 3 hours early, then it will help your peace of mind to take insurance.
Another utterly different insurance is insurance on the yacht. If you are taking any option except bareboat (where you Captain the boat yourself), then you do not need coverage for the vessel. If you are bareboating, then you may be required to have accident insurance.
Yachts in many areas are all “Plus expenses,” which means that on top of the charter fee (includes the boat, the crew, the furnishing, and toys onboard), you will pay all expenses.
All expenses include Fuel, Food, Beverages, Flowers, Garbage, Dockage, Moorings, Port Fees, and more.
You also pay VAT, which can be 12% to 24% of the charter fee or other local taxes.
We call the “plus expenses” APA, which is Advanced Provisioning Allowance, and can range anywhere between 20-35% of the charter fee depending on your food and wine tastes.
The percentage also changes in different areas of the world, depending on how expensive the items are.
The yachts ask for that amount in the final payment, and then you receive accounting throughout the week. Any money left, you can put toward gratuity if you choose.
In the Caribbean is where you will find many of the sailing catamarans with a fully crewed and inclusive fee structure.
It’s your call! The industry standard is 15-to-20 percent of the charter fee, but it’s at your discretion to tip more or less based on how you feel about the service. The crew is aboard your yacht to serve you all day every day. They do everything in their power to meet all of your requests. It can be nervewracking to carry around large sums of money while traveling. While cash is certainly preferred, many crew members accept Paypal, Venmo, wire transfer or credit cards. Alternatively, you can arrange prepayment in part of full to your broker prior to your trip. On your go-ahead, your broker will release the payment to the crew.
The H2O Luxury Yachts Gratuity Guide
10 percent gratuity = The crew did a subpar job. The crew was less than great.
15 percent gratuity = Service was fine but the crew was mediocre.
20 percent gratuity = We LOVED everything about our H2O luxury yachting experience!
Whatever gratuity you give will be paid to the captain and distributed amongst the crew. Tipping is a huge part of the charter business and the main source of income for the crew members. Your yachting crew truly enjoys what they do, and gratuity for a job well done allows them to continue doing what they love.
If the Captain Owns the Boat, Does He Really Need a Tip?
Short answer, absolutely! It’s easy to assume your captain and crew have plenty of money because they own a yacht. Normally, the yacht is actually owned by the bank. The captain looks at the boat as large investment and will go above and beyond to make sure you have an amazing charter. Just like any yacht charter, gratuity is the best way to tell your crew thanks for a job well done.
We recommend several yachts that fit your idea of a perfect yacht charter vacation. H2O Team brokers will check on availability and let you know that, as well as the price, any specials, and other tips on the perfect vacation. You find the ideal yacht and say “yes”!
We put a “hold” on the yacht with the clearinghouse or fleet that represents it. A “hold” lasts two weeks and gives the broker and you the chance to make the contracts, look into airfare and make the deposit.
No one else can hold the yacht while you are holding it, EXCEPT, if someone else has guests for the dates you hold and are ready with cash in hand. You can be “challenged” on the times.
Being challenged generally means that you have 48 hours (business) to deposit the dates you are holding or “lose” the times.
The amount of time a yacht is held may only be several days if you are looking at bareboats.
For Superyachts, we typically cannot hold boats; we need to be ready to deposit it at the time.
Yachts are either privately owned or part of a fleet. Mainly an owner decides that he wants to offer his yacht for charter for whatever reason. He or She has many steps to get it ready.
1) Which region of the world they are.
2) If they will be running it themselves (more common in the smaller yachts) or hiring a crew to run the boat.
3) If they are going to manage it or hire a management company to represent the yacht and handle the business side.
4) Then charter ready boats need websites, photography, marketing material, pricing, and charter program. Top this off with the appropriate licenses, flags, and manning requirements to enable them to charter in the desired area.
5) The next step is getting the information out to the brokers who sell crewed yacht charters and vacations and the online industry-specific databases.
Loosely this brings you to your part! You arrive at a website like H2O Luxury Yachts. Each Yacht Brokerage has its own set of boats that they “prefer” booking. Their yacht preference is for as many different reasons as there are yacht charter brokers!
Some may sell any yacht charter to anyone with the ability to sign a check.
Others may get extra commission from various yachts so that they will push those.
Some represent a specific fleet and therefore push those regardless of whether they are your perfect match or not.
Yachts that come into the market recently are unknown quantities and will offer specials or price themselves lower than comparable boats to get bookings. With bookings hopefully, come great reference letters that they can use to entice other brokers to book them
Some are genuinely professional and genuinely try to find out what you are looking for and then match you up with your perfect yacht.
H2O promises to give you up to date information, facilitate the process, and guide you on the logistics around your yacht charter vacation. We are there for support right until you return home, and we follow up with you on HOW your yacht charter vacation was.  Reviews also help us with future client bookings.
If you have any problems with your holiday, we are still there to help you work through it either with the boat or clearinghouse. Some yachts and bareboats sell directly to the public at the same price you get with using a broker.  Their advice can be biased, as can be expected when they are selling their product. If you have any problems with the yacht, crew, service, or otherwise, you are on your own to sort it out without our experience and input. We are independent of any boats, and YOU are our only concern, not the yacht. Being as our service is free to you, why wouldn’t you choose to use a professional independent yacht broker?
In pure form, Boat Shows! Good yacht brokers attend at a minimum. Hundreds of boats show every year where they can board the yachts, meet the crew, and see if the yachts match the online brochures. These are typically B2B (business to business) events.
November is the time for them in the US and British Virgin Islands and December in Antigua for Caribbean Yachts. The spring and fall see many Mediterranean Boat Shows, including Greece, Barcelona, and Monaco.
We take photographs and meet the crews in depth. We do not rely on glossy websites and brochures.
For example, many yachts say they have fishing on board, but when asked, many professional Captains don’t encourage fishing as they don’t want the mess on the back deck. Or, you can fish, but they will make sure you troll in an area where you won’t catch much. We also have Industry Associations and a vast network of charter brokers and crews that we can count on.
Many have the same yacht search engines as there are only a few of them IN the industry, and each one seems to deal with different segments of the yachts. These are industry-wide and different from Clearinghouses. Boats, Yachts, Clearinghouses, and Yacht Brokers subscribe to these services so they can have as much up to date and charter fee information to get in your hands as quickly as possible. Just about all Yacht Charter Brokers and sites offer the same yachts at the same price.
Your choice of broker is equally as important as your choice of a yacht vacation! Yacht Broker experience varies significantly, with many having zero or little knowledge of what chartering entails but more of a blind expectation of what they think that boats and their crews should be able to do. H2O Luxury Yachts is Independent, which means that we have no financial incentive to push a particular yacht over another.  With over 400 weeks of crewed yacht charters in their past life, H2O team members will NOT make promises that the yacht will not be able to meet.
An important note is that the large superyachts are typically NOT in search engines that the main industry uses. We have them to book, but you have to ask us
A Yacht Clearinghouse is different than a broker, and every boat will (should) have one. The Yacht Clearinghouse role is to be a go-between the boat and the broker. They also help with positioning the yacht in the market, so it receives bookings! Many years ago, boats did not have the communication technology when they were out on the seas, and the yacht clearinghouse would keep all the details of each boat they represented and answer questions.
They hold the calendar, which is quite important so the yacht is not double booked.
The clearinghouse also arranges to have an escrow account for the money and pays it out to the yacht owner at the correct time. There are many Yacht Charter Brokers, not as many Clearinghouses, and they tend to be somewhat in the background of the industry, although some do have Yacht Charter Brokers that work in their offices.
Charter vessels under 100 feet in length can cause seasickness in some travelers. Bring any medications and take precautions if you know you’re prone to getting sick on the high seas. If you want to avoid the possibility altogether, opt for a multi-hulled catamaran or trimaran.
Megayachts 100+ feet in length generally use an active stabilizer system to avoid queasiness in its passengers. We can make sure you are booked on one of these yachts if you are worried about the possibility.
Many yachters use patches, ginger capsules or special bracelets to avoid sickness on the high seas.
We’re all about filling every minute of your getaway with adventure and relaxation — there’s just no time for sickness aboard your private yacht! Your crew knows how hard the first day can be, so they’ll plan the first day’s voyage to be as calm as possible.
Breeze Through the First Day Aboard Your Private Yacht
Go the extra mile to make sure you don’t instigate seasickness within the first 24 hours. Avoid books, screens and relaxing indoors. The best remedy when you feel queasy is fresh air and a view of the horizon line. Not hard to accomplish when you’re in paradise!
One of the countless reasons yacht charters are so popular is because they often venture to calm, beautiful locations. Wherever you choose to travel, our captain and crew will always find a relaxing anchorage to spend the night. Don’t mistake too many cocktails for a bout of seasickness! Either way, your crew will have a cure for both.
The boat gets a notice from their clearinghouse that they have a charter!
The base charter fee will go into an escrow account.
Ten days or longer out from the charter, 35% of the charter fee is released to the boat from the escrow account, allowing them to provision for your charter. The balance is paid out to the yacht on the day your charter goes out at the earliest or when you return.
Upon getting the all clear that the dates you want are open and the rate is correct, you sign the contracts and make the deposit.
Typically count on 50% down of the charter rate to confirm a charter and then the final balance due 60 days out along with any extra expenses, such as the APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance), which many yachts charge depending on the area of the world.
For some charters that are more than six months out, you may be able to pay 25% to confirm the charter and then a further 25% six months out.

It will help you if you think of charter yacht brokers as travel agents who specialize in yacht vacations. Most charter brokers do not “own” any yachts, but specialize in viewing hundreds of boats every year in different locations, so you don’t have to. Yacht Charter Brokers are independent (such as H2O Luxury Yachts), where we have no loyalty to any make, model, or fleet, or they can work with particular yachts only.

More information

Cash is king around most yachting hotspots.
Your AmEx will undoubtedly go a long way in many mainland restaurants and shops, but not very far in the beach bars. Mastercard and Visa are accepted by most of the places in the Caribbean except for small venues.
It is always safe to have money on hand.
We recommend always using cash for tips and taxi rides.
Properly preparing for your yachting getaway saves you some serious cash and unnecessary stress.
If you have questions about currency or credit cards, reach out to the H2O team for fast answers.
Great question. We can tell you to plan!
If an accident happens while you’re abroad, your captain and crew are fully prepared to perform basic first aid and bring you to the nearest hospital. Your yacht is equipped with medical supplies and the contact info to local emergency services. For even more peace of mind, your private boat has a dedicated medical officer aboard with advanced medical knowledge.
Even the most experienced travels should brush up on travel insurance options once in a while. Traveling abroad often carries the risk that your medical insurance from home won’t cover you.
Check out our options with Squaremouth (link opens in new browser)
You can compare the different plans and pick one that suits your needs.

Medical Evacuation Insurance pays for emergency care and transportation. It can be purchased separately or as a part of your travel insurance policy.
Travel Health Insurance covers emergency and routine services while overseas. Find out if your health insurance provider offers emergency coverage abroad.
Travel Insurance varies significantly between providers. Read the fine print for coverage details (Medical transport back to the US, emergency care, duration of travel, etc.)
DAN is insurance specifically for SCUBA divers. It protects against unexpected expenses while traveling.

Travel insurance is always a good idea.
Basic insurance coverage ranges from four-to-seven percent depending on your getaway of choice and type of insurance required. In some cases, your yacht charter might require insurance.
Make sure you inform the captain and crew of any pre-existing medical conditions. When you give your charter yacht a head’s up, they can prepare for any possible emergencies.
If you believe there’s any risk your condition may require treatment abroad, bring a letter from your doctor that details your condition and treatment plan. Another great idea is to keep a note of medical necessity in your purse or wallet.
The team at H2O Luxury Yachts can provide you with an exact quote for the type of insurance you want.

The commission is paid by the yacht to the broker! It costs you no more to go through a broker. Boats who offer a lower price then they would provide a broker are soon shut out of the industry.  Sometimes the yacht will give a discount on a week they want to sell or for repeat guests. Same with a broker.

They may offer a bit of their commission back to repeat clients or add in extras that the yacht does not cover. The commission rate is fairly standard throughout the industry. The yacht pays 15% to the broker on average, sometimes a bit more or less, depending on the week. It could be a bit more if you have a Travel Agent you work with as well as the Yacht Charter Broker.

Read more here

No, not usually. Usually, it’s just a matter of where the gaps are in the yachts booking calendar. The only exceptions are:
1) Christmas and New Years’ weeks. Boats always book both these weeks, so they have a specific change over date from the Christmas charter to the New Years’ charter. Yachts may also want ten nights minimum over this period. They don’t do under a 7-night trip.
2) Bareboats (where you Captain yourself) in different parts of the world often have a Saturday to Saturday.
Everyone does things a bit differently, but generally by wire or electronic transfer.
Some companies do take credit cards.
H2O Luxury Yachts takes credit cards for the first 50% of the fee happily.
Your first deposit is due to confirm the charter, the balance is paid up to 60 days in advance depending on the type of charter.
We will immediately contact the yacht manager or clearinghouse and “open up the dates.” If the boat is rebooked for the same period and at the same rate, you receive a refund, less the broker’s commission. Returns may be prorated for partial rebookings.
In some cases, a boat will be happy to move the dates around for you with no penalty at all. Each case is different.
Note that you will not be responsible for any payments that you have not made as of yet.
All brokers get the same commission rates from the yachts. Emailing a hundred different brokers to get the best price is not a good strategy. Brokers and yachts who do otherwise do not tend to stay in business very long. Trust your instincts, find a yacht charter broker that you feel comfortable with, and want to work with and work with them!
Yes, every yacht charter will have a corresponding agreement for everyone’s protection that lays out the terms, prices, dates, number of guests, and many other conditions.
The contract protects both the boat and your charter party.
You, the charter broker, will sign the deal, sometimes the Clearinghouse or Yacht Manager, and the Yacht Owner.
Contracts are industry standard, differ depending on where you are, type of yacht, and kind of yacht vacation.
It’s much easier than you might think. You have a few different options to reach your luxury charter from St. Thomas airport. The mode of transportation you choose comes down to budget and time constraints.
The Easiest Ways to Reach Tortola from STT
Take a one-hour ferry ride from Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas to Tortola. We love this option for leisure travelers who want to get a taste of the VIs before setting sail! Keep in mind that ferries don’t run at night — take a look at this ferry schedule before arranging your travel. The roundtrip ferry cost is around $100 per person.
Hire a private water taxi if your group of travelers is eight or more. This is the most convenient option because the taxi might take you directly to your yacht. The ease, leeway and timing make it a steal at $300 per person.
Charter a flight from St. Thomas to Tortola for an easy travel option at any hour of the day or night. It might be the most expensive option, but reaching your luxury yacht in style makes it worth the cost.
Good thinking. We always recommend our travelers arrive the day before the private charter. Most of our yacht charters begin in fabulous destinations, so you’ll simply have an extra evening in paradise when you arrive early. Reach out to the H2O Luxury Yachts team for a curated list of luxury hotels and Airbnbs.
Many of our yachters coordinate with us in advance to reserve a private charter that offers a “sleep aboard” option the night prior to embarkment. Board the yacht around 5 pm for welcome cocktails, dinner on or off the yacht and a freshly-prepared breakfast in the morning. You came for a luxury yachting experience, and this is the best way to start your trip.

It all depends on your getaway of choice! Most yachting hotspots are in warm climates, which makes packing lightly pretty simple. If you’ve chosen a charter that embarks during cooler months of a specific locale, our list includes recommendations for you, too.

Certain items like sunglasses and your passport are a must, regardless of the weather. We know how daunting it can be to pack for seven or more days aboard a luxury yacht. While our crew fully stocks the boat with essentials and luxe amenities, there are certain items you should plan to bring. Follow this no-fuss packing list to ensure a smooth yachting adventure, wherever your destination may be.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Warm Climates

It’s all about the aquaculture in picture-perfect yachting destinations like the Mediterranean, South Pacific and the Caribbean. Plan your wardrobe around spending half your time in a swimsuit. Does it get any better than that?

  • Two swimsuits — we encourage around the clock snorkeling and sunbathing!
  • 6 pieces of light clothing to throw over your swimsuit (t-shirts, beach coverups, sundresses, etc.)
  • One or two outfits for an evening on the town — you know what kind of traveler you are. If high-end restaurants are on your itinerary, pack accordingly.
  • Two or three pairs of shorts for exploring the sights and streets of your destination
  • One or two pairs of sandals or flip-flops and a pair of water shoes — although, barefoot is certainly the dress code aboard your yacht! Whatever footwear you choose, please ensure it won’t leave black sole marks on the boat.
  • A light rain jacket will keep you dry in squalls and cozy during any chilly evenings.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Every Climate

  • Two pairs of polarized sunglasses attached to sunglass straps
  • Your favorite playlists — or rock out to ours!
  • Books or podcasts for a relaxing day at sea
  • Mask and snorkel, if you have your own. Otherwise, our crew has you covered.
  • Beach towel for days on the mainland. The yacht is fully stocked with plush bath towels.
  • Insulated bottle or cup to keep your drinks cool all day long
  • Hat and sunscreen lotion — the sunshine is always strong, no matter the temperature
  • Cell phone with roaming data + chargers — expect complimentary WiFi at many restaurants on shore. Most crewed yachts have basic internet available on board.
  • Passport, money, credit card — you might not locate an ATM for many nautical miles! Come prepared with plenty of cash and be sure to let your bank know you may use credit cards offshore.
  • Prescriptions and motion sickness medication, if necessary

Charter Activities

It all depends on your getaway of choice! Most yachting hotspots are in warm climates, which makes packing lightly pretty simple. If you’ve chosen a charter that embarks during cooler months of a specific locale, our list includes recommendations for you, too.

Certain items like sunglasses and your passport are a must, regardless of the weather. We know how daunting it can be to pack for seven or more days aboard a luxury yacht. While our crew fully stocks the boat with essentials and luxe amenities, there are certain items you should plan to bring. Follow this no-fuss packing list to ensure a smooth yachting adventure, wherever your destination may be.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Warm Climates

It’s all about the aquaculture in picture-perfect yachting destinations like the Mediterranean, South Pacific and the Caribbean. Plan your wardrobe around spending half your time in a swimsuit. Does it get any better than that?

  • Two swimsuits — we encourage around the clock snorkeling and sunbathing!
  • 6 pieces of light clothing to throw over your swimsuit (t-shirts, beach coverups, sundresses, etc.)
  • One or two outfits for an evening on the town — you know what kind of traveler you are. If high-end restaurants are on your itinerary, pack accordingly.
  • Two or three pairs of shorts for exploring the sights and streets of your destination
  • One or two pairs of sandals or flip-flops and a pair of water shoes — although, barefoot is certainly the dress code aboard your yacht! Whatever footwear you choose, please ensure it won’t leave black sole marks on the boat.
  • A light rain jacket will keep you dry in squalls and cozy during any chilly evenings.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Every Climate

  • Two pairs of polarized sunglasses attached to sunglass straps
  • Your favorite playlists — or rock out to ours!
  • Books or podcasts for a relaxing day at sea
  • Mask and snorkel, if you have your own. Otherwise, our crew has you covered.
  • Beach towel for days on the mainland. The yacht is fully stocked with plush bath towels.
  • Insulated bottle or cup to keep your drinks cool all day long
  • Hat and sunscreen lotion — the sunshine is always strong, no matter the temperature
  • Cell phone with roaming data + chargers — expect complimentary WiFi at many restaurants on shore. Most crewed yachts have basic internet available on board.
  • Passport, money, credit card — you might not locate an ATM for many nautical miles! Come prepared with plenty of cash and be sure to let your bank know you may use credit cards offshore.
  • Prescriptions and motion sickness medication, if necessary
Weddings/registrar is for those who want to get married on the boat or ashore.
Crews and charter brokers who do this will help you organize a wedding that all who attend will never forget.
The ceremony is performed by a local registrar either onboard or on a local beach. Crews can help with flowers, paperwork, etc.,
For those who want to renew their vows while onboard, the captain performs a ceremony with a romantic backdrop, although not a legal service, it’s no less real for those involved.
We DO have Captains who are licensed to officiate at weddings if that is your priority.
Send us an email, and we will help you arrange a wedding that suits YOU!

How about getting Married on Phoenix One in the Whitsundays of Australia?

Think about Water Sports. SCUBA diving, Snorkeling, Paddling, Kayaking, Swimming, Surfing, Wakeboarding, Water skiing, Fishing, Jet-skiing, or simply hanging in the water on a floatie with an umbrella drink in hand. Most yachts offer a combination of these; some offer ALL of them with enough crew at the same time.
We will make sure the activities you want are on the yacht you choose!

Charter Types

  • Family Friendly
  • Full Board
  • Half Boat
  • Captain Only
  • Bareboat
  • Cabin Only Booking
  • Multi-Generation
  • Honeymoon
  • Anniversaries
  • Sailing Regattas
  • Corporate Retreats
  • Partying
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Fishing Charters
  • SCUBA Charters
  • Foodie Yachts
  • History Tours
  • Exploring Expeditions

The list can go on forever. If you dream it, we will plan it and a yacht can do it!

We have a page full of these details 

 

Rates for larger motor yachts don’t always include running expenses like food, dockage, and fuel. Instead of an upfront “all-inclusive” fee, the final step to your plus-all luxury charter is paying all remaining expenses. Enjoy Your Charter and be Aware of Expenses
You probably aren’t counting your pennies if you’re considering a luxury charter — but no one likes to be surprised with a hefty bill.
Expect to pay 20-to-30-percent of the charter fee with your final payment to cover all additional costs. Industry talk for this payment is an APA — Advanced Provisioning Allowance. The captain keeps a running tab of expenses during your getaway and keeps you up to date with the total cost.
Plus-All Expenses can be a Huge Plus for Yachters
Plus-all luxury charters can actually be a more economical choice for yachters. It’s often difficult to anticipate how much food, drinks and other expenses will be used on a mega yacht. If you’re hesitant to book a charter that lacks a fixed budget, chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts team for some help.

Read more on Plus All Expense Charters

A Captain-Only Yacht Charter is where you charter a vessel, and it comes with a captain and sometimes a mate as well. The captain will be fully responsible for the boat at all times.
He may require some help to sail or set anchor etc. Any tasks he needs help with will be fully explained to you before you do the job. What a fantastic way to increase your boating knowledge!
The captain will allow you to do more than just what he needs help with if you would like more experience.
The charter terms of a Captain-Only Yacht have you rent the boat and Captain only. All expenses are on top of that which you pay.
You will need to do the cooking and cleaning for your group as well as the Captain. You do not have to take them out to eat with you every time, but you should leave provisions for him on board or give him the dinner cost to have dinner by himself.
Some captains will cook one or two nights in the week. Some captains will go out and get provisions that you want before you board. You may have a Captain who’s style is to drive the boat from spot to spot.
You do tip the Captain at the end of the week.
A Partial Board Charter means that you agree to take a certain amount of your food and beverage meals ashore during the week.
A Half Board is seven breakfasts on board, four lunches, and three dinners included in your base charter fee. The rest is at your expense.
Most boats do not have a minimum age limit on children, some ask for water-safe.
Many parents find that it makes the perfect vacation to bond with the family.
There are tons of activities for the kids both on the boat and ashore. Most ships have kid games and video games on board, fishing or movies are a popular evening past time.
The crews will often have some special activities planned each day. The children are your responsibility; some boats do offer nanny service where they will officially take care of the kids.
Unless the crew offer nanny services, then please do not expect them to be babysitters.
Some families bring along a nanny or an older relative child to purposely help watch over the young ones.
Multi-generation charters are popular, with the grandparents, parents, and kids having a wonderful bonding time.
If the elderly have mobility problems, then ask us about it. Many excellent boats are comfortable for the elderly to get around on. Some, however, have stairs, and these are generally quite steep. We do have Superyachts with elevators, so do bring your family and friends with you!

We have boats that love taking honeymoon couples. They plan all sorts of romantic activities, including candlelit dinners, nighttime walks on the beach, champagne and chocolates, and lobster dinners. We have yachts that specialize in Honeymoon Yacht Charters AND offer an incredible price value.

Read more on Honeymoon Charters

It may be a work-related brainstorming getaway, or perhaps to follow a local sailing regatta, we have yachts for all types.
Crews are eager to plan your week around your events schedule.
They will be at the correct destinations and do all they can to help facilitate activities.
Yes! Of course, we can. If you are the group that wants to go out each night and drink, dance and party the week away, then we have crews who are more into it than others.
If you are the partygoer type, then it’s a must that you let us know so, we don’t match you with a more sedate crew.  Some yachts (think white carpets everywhere) will not take party animals on board.
True professionals, however, will be up for anything you can throw at them.
The fully crewed and inclusive yacht charter originally came out of the Caribbean, and that is where you will still find a lot of yachts that offer crewed yacht charters.
Your charter fee includes the Captain, Cook, and for larger boats, sometimes a deckhand and stewardess or Dive Instructor.
It includes the Boat, the Furnishings, the Water Toys aboard, and MOSTLY all the expenses. Three meals, snacks, desserts, beverages, standard ships, bar, wifi, and more.
  • You pay the entire charter fee upfront.
  • You cover your incidentals such as anything you chose to eat or drink inland.
  • Perhaps SCUBA diving could be an extra charge.
  • Any upgrades on the wine and liquor.
  • Any dockage that YOU request during the week.
The crew facilitates everything you want to do. The Captain and Crew are very good at anticipating your needs, and their attention to detail provides you a high level of service.
At the end of your vacation, a gratuity (tip) for the crew who have taken care of you all week long is appropriate. 15-20% is “Industry-standard,” and you adjust it up or down depending on the service you feel that you have received.
Yachts in many areas are all “Plus expenses,” which means that on top of the charter fee (includes the boat, the crew, the furnishing, and toys onboard), you will pay all expenses.
All expenses include Fuel, Food, Beverages, Flowers, Garbage, Dockage, Moorings, Port Fees, and more.
You also pay VAT, which can be 12% to 24% of the charter fee or other local taxes.
We call the “plus expenses” APA, which is Advanced Provisioning Allowance, and can range anywhere between 20-35% of the charter fee depending on your food and wine tastes.
The percentage also changes in different areas of the world, depending on how expensive the items are.
The yachts ask for that amount in the final payment, and then you receive accounting throughout the week. Any money left, you can put toward gratuity if you choose.
In the Caribbean is where you will find many of the sailing catamarans with a fully crewed and inclusive fee structure.

It all depends on your getaway of choice! Most yachting hotspots are in warm climates, which makes packing lightly pretty simple. If you’ve chosen a charter that embarks during cooler months of a specific locale, our list includes recommendations for you, too.

Certain items like sunglasses and your passport are a must, regardless of the weather. We know how daunting it can be to pack for seven or more days aboard a luxury yacht. While our crew fully stocks the boat with essentials and luxe amenities, there are certain items you should plan to bring. Follow this no-fuss packing list to ensure a smooth yachting adventure, wherever your destination may be.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Warm Climates

It’s all about the aquaculture in picture-perfect yachting destinations like the Mediterranean, South Pacific and the Caribbean. Plan your wardrobe around spending half your time in a swimsuit. Does it get any better than that?

  • Two swimsuits — we encourage around the clock snorkeling and sunbathing!
  • 6 pieces of light clothing to throw over your swimsuit (t-shirts, beach coverups, sundresses, etc.)
  • One or two outfits for an evening on the town — you know what kind of traveler you are. If high-end restaurants are on your itinerary, pack accordingly.
  • Two or three pairs of shorts for exploring the sights and streets of your destination
  • One or two pairs of sandals or flip-flops and a pair of water shoes — although, barefoot is certainly the dress code aboard your yacht! Whatever footwear you choose, please ensure it won’t leave black sole marks on the boat.
  • A light rain jacket will keep you dry in squalls and cozy during any chilly evenings.

Your Packing Guide for Yachting in Every Climate

  • Two pairs of polarized sunglasses attached to sunglass straps
  • Your favorite playlists — or rock out to ours!
  • Books or podcasts for a relaxing day at sea
  • Mask and snorkel, if you have your own. Otherwise, our crew has you covered.
  • Beach towel for days on the mainland. The yacht is fully stocked with plush bath towels.
  • Insulated bottle or cup to keep your drinks cool all day long
  • Hat and sunscreen lotion — the sunshine is always strong, no matter the temperature
  • Cell phone with roaming data + chargers — expect complimentary WiFi at many restaurants on shore. Most crewed yachts have basic internet available on board.
  • Passport, money, credit card — you might not locate an ATM for many nautical miles! Come prepared with plenty of cash and be sure to let your bank know you may use credit cards offshore.
  • Prescriptions and motion sickness medication, if necessary
Weddings/registrar is for those who want to get married on the boat or ashore.
Crews and charter brokers who do this will help you organize a wedding that all who attend will never forget.
The ceremony is performed by a local registrar either onboard or on a local beach. Crews can help with flowers, paperwork, etc.,
For those who want to renew their vows while onboard, the captain performs a ceremony with a romantic backdrop, although not a legal service, it’s no less real for those involved.
We DO have Captains who are licensed to officiate at weddings if that is your priority.
Send us an email, and we will help you arrange a wedding that suits YOU!

How about getting Married on Phoenix One in the Whitsundays of Australia?

Absolutely! Many of the yachts in our fleet offer SCUBA diving instruction from a certified crew member. If you aren’t certified, some boats provide “Resort Diving” — an onboard SCUBA class that teaches all the basics you need to know before your first dive (maximum depth of 40’). This class If you’re interested in Resort Diving, let our team know ahead of time so we can pair you with the right charter. Your captain and crew will love to show you the best diving spots around your yachting destination if you’re SCUBA certified. If you’d like to become certified while on board, there are four simple steps:
Complete the online course (preferably before you board the yacht)
Complete the pool portion
Receive a referral letter
Complete five open water SCUBA dives with the instructor
Good news! All this is easily completed in a week on your charter.

While most of our charters do offer SCUBA, there’s a slim possibility it isn’t available for charters in your desired destination. If that’s the case, you still have options! Many locations have SCUBA instructors that can teach you aboard their boat then bring you back to the yacht afterward, called Rendez Vous Diving. Rendezvous Diving is incredibly common in the Caribbean and other diving hotspots. The other guests aboard the ship can relax at the anchorage while you explore underwater. Win, win.

Cuisine & Beverage

Of course! The menus you see on our website and brochures are there to give you an idea of what our chefs can prepare. Use the sample menus as inspiration for the custom menu we’ll build using your preference sheet.

No matter the yachting getaway you select, your private chef will design a custom menu around your taste preferences and dietary needs. Inclusive and fully-crewed yachts have a set budget for means. For example, your charter may have a budget to serve lobster once. Anything beyond the budget will result in a surcharge.

The chefs work around your tastes and preferences, so what’s served is completely up to you!

The Charter Chef can work around dietary restrictions on MOST yachts.

Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, or anything in between, the crew will cater to your dietary specifications. We can also create special menus for any kids coming aboard. We work closely with you before your yachting vacation to build a menu that works for your family and friends.

Please communicate with your group to make food choices that work for everyone. While small changes can generally apply to the menu, the chef is unable to make different meals for each person.

The amount of food and beverage options are often based on the size of the yacht and the charter.

Lunch buffet on Superyacht Beluga in Australia

If you have booked a superyacht, you are going to get just about anything you asked for in the menus.

We’ll do everything in our power so the crew can provide a menu everyone will love!

We will be sending you an appropriate food and beverage preference sheet to fill in before your charter. Your yacht crew will provision the boat as best can from your preferences.
Boats have a standard ship bar that includes all the regular spirits like vodka, gin rum, and more, including ship’s wines and beers. Each yacht and price point has a different budget for the bar.
If you need more liquor, your cost will be what it costs the yacht provision.
On the Plus All Expense Charter, the sky is the limit!
Anything you want to eat or drink, we can find although you may not want to fly New England Lobsters to Antarctica!
Special Diets are accommodated with top-notch Chefs onboard.
Children’s Menus are always available.
The preference sheets will allow us to give the yacht all personal details along with travel arrangements.
Catch fish and Lobster
We love adventurous travelers like you! Chat with the H2O Luxury Yachts travel pros before booking your getaway so we can pair you with a yacht equipped for fishing. Your fishing options also depend on the destination you choose.
Laws are vastly different between each locale, so we’ll work with you to arrange your perfect getaway.
It’s crucial to coordinate with our team if you’d like fishing to be in your luxury yachting future.
We’ll coordinate everything from the equipment to the yacht selection to make sure you have everything you need. Once you’re aboard your private yacht, your chef will do his best to feature your fresh catch of the day!

seafood stew made with clams, mussels, lobster and a subtle touch of farm-fresh fennel
Amazing seafood stew! Catch Fish and Lobster

The crew aboard your private yacht will have nearly everything you could want and need. If you have a specialty item in mind, you’re more than welcome to bring it along! All of our yachts are proud to offer fresh, premium food and drinks aboard every charter. We promise you’ll be thrilled with the five-star dining service and bottomless cocktails. It just doesn’t get better than sunbathing on a chaise lounge with a cocktail in hand. From your favorite type of tequila to the snacks you crave, we stock the yacht with anything and everything you’ll want. Your wish is our command!

The Pre-Charter Preference Sheet Ensures Your Needs are Met
One of the most exciting and important steps of the pre-charter process is to list your food and beverage requests on the preference sheet. We’ll go above and beyond to meet your dining desires! Make note of any specific dietary restrictions or allergies anyone in your party may have.
Our team communicates all of your food and beverage requests to the chef about 6 weeks prior to your yacht charter. Get ready for a yachting getaway dripping in luxury!

You have two choices here. Either you can do it yourself, or the Bareboat company can do it for you. If you get the company to do it, they will send you an email of what’s available. You tick off what you want, and they get it and put it onto the boat for your arrival. There is, of course, a fee for this service.
If you choose to provision yourself, you still have options if you are bareboating in the Caribbean or elsewhere. We send you the contact information to the major suppliers.
You can go to their website and place an order.
It will be delivered free of charge to your boat. Provisioners typically give a small percentage discount on your order.
Of course, the other option is to provision yourself. Provisioning does take some time and effort, but for many, it’s the best option. Ask yourself whether it is worth it to spend a day of your vacation provisioning.
When you are sleeping aboard your yacht charter the night before, it often makes sense.
Generally, most will buy too many provisions. You’re not likely to take any leftovers home. You will probably have more unplanned food ashore than you thought you were, so stock up on snacks and remember that you can top up on provisions as you go along.

Fishing

Trolling a line behind a yacht while sailing the virgin islands can be very productive. Rigged ballyhoo with or without plastic skirts always seems to be the right choice. Feather jigs in either a blue and white or green and yellow color seem to work well. Silver spoons have their place too. Bibbed lures like Rapala’s work well on days when the wind has you sailing along at a slow pace.
Locations and speed, as well as current weather conditions, have a significant impact on what type of fish you catch.
Trolling at slow speeds (2 or 3 knots) around headlands close to the rocky outcrops could bag you mackerel, jacks, giant yellowtail snapper, and barracuda.
Look at your charts or ask your charter captain to take you over bottom features like tow rock, or if you are sailing back from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke, go over the wreck of the Chikuzen, or maybe past the pinnacles off Brewers Bay. Any type of bottom structure is worth trolling over. Remember, 99% of the fish are in 1% of the ocean!
Out in the open water, out of the channel, larger game fish are more likely. In the open sea, a higher trolling speed is recommended, somewhere between 5 and 7 knots. Trolling on the way to Anegada can score you Mackerel, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi.
When is it ok to be eating your fish
We have a LOT of experience on fish in the Virgin Islands, so I am focusing on this area here. Ask us about other areas!
All ocean fish that move around a lot and do not eat from the same source all the time are considered safe.
Safe fish include Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Mackerel caught away from land, Marlin, and Sailfish.
Do not ever eat any jack or barracuda no matter where they come from. They have the most significant risk of all the fish species. Do not be eating your fish that you found on the bottom caught anywhere to the west of  Virgin Gorda within the Sir Francis Drake channel.
Islands include Salt, Peter, Norman islands, and Road Harbor. Fish caught on the north side of the Tortola are safe as are fish off Virgin Gorda or Anegada.
Some of the old-timers in the British Virgin Islands say the biggest culprit is the old copper mine on the back of Virgin Gorda.
Lore says for years, spoil and chemicals from the mine were dumped over the cliff face into the ocean.
The currents move along the shoreline pushing the chemicals in a teardrop-shaped plume that spreads along the south side of the islands, getting wider and as it moves towards St Thomas.  It makes sense as the significant risk areas for Ciguetara fall within this teardrop shape area of the channel.
The majority of the time with a professional crew, they will have already arranged bait and tackle to be on board.
There are a few places where you can get gear if you are in the British Virgin Islands chartering. Richardson’s Rigging- This is a place that looks like a small house on the waterfront opposite the ferry dock in Tortola.
If you are standing at the ferry terminal, it’s on the other side of the road and a few houses to the left. They have the largest selection of tackle and bait in the BVI. They have frozen squid, ballyhoo, both rigged and unrigged, shrimp, herring, and other small baitfish. Be warned though, as these are not Kmart prices.
BVI Watertoys rents out fishing poles and gear.
At Hog Bay marina, there are Sail Caribbean Divers who will also rent you poles.
At Harbor view marina in the East end, there is a chandlery that has a small selection of gear.
All the large grocery stores have squid and ballyhoo for sale, and these are by far the cheapest place to buy bait. With these accommodations, you’ll be eating your fish in no time!
If you are out in an anchorage and want to fish, a bit of raw chicken or steak on a hook on the bottom will usually get you some small baitfish that you can use as cut baits.
Silverside and needlefish are easily caught with a scoop net at night, with some lights shining in the water.
If you like to fish with the proper gear, have your favorite equipment or want to troll lures, the best thing is to bring them from home. Airlines have no problem with fishing poles, but if you plan on chartering a yacht for the week that specializes in fishing, then their gear should be up to snuff.
They should also be very willing to allow you to be eating your fish fresh on the bbq the day its caught. It doesn’t hurt to check, though.
We will make sure that any yacht that we book you on meets any requirements and has all the correct permits in place for you to be able to fish. Includes bareboats as the majority of them do not have the licenses needed.

Scuba Diving

This type of diving is for the person who may only want a dive or two in a week and has found the perfect boat that they want to charter. Unfortunately, the yacht they want to charter does not offer SCUBA diving.
Rendez Vous Diving is also a good option for those who have rented a bareboat to drive themselves, want to do a dive or two but do not want to rent the gear and go themselves.
Rendezvous diving is where you call up one of the local dive shops and arrange for them to take you out for a dive. Either they come out to your boat and pick you up, take you to the dive site, then return you to your boat, or you go to their dive store.
Absolutely! Many of the yachts in our fleet offer SCUBA diving instruction from a certified crew member. If you aren’t certified, some boats provide “Resort Diving” — an onboard SCUBA class that teaches all the basics you need to know before your first dive (maximum depth of 40’). This class If you’re interested in Resort Diving, let our team know ahead of time so we can pair you with the right charter. Your captain and crew will love to show you the best diving spots around your yachting destination if you’re SCUBA certified. If you’d like to become certified while on board, there are four simple steps:
Complete the online course (preferably before you board the yacht)
Complete the pool portion
Receive a referral letter
Complete five open water SCUBA dives with the instructor
Good news! All this is easily completed in a week on your charter.

While most of our charters do offer SCUBA, there’s a slim possibility it isn’t available for charters in your desired destination. If that’s the case, you still have options! Many locations have SCUBA instructors that can teach you aboard their boat then bring you back to the yacht afterward, called Rendez Vous Diving. Rendezvous Diving is incredibly common in the Caribbean and other diving hotspots. The other guests aboard the ship can relax at the anchorage while you explore underwater. Win, win.

Fewer guests are bringing their gear these days.
There are hefty baggage charges.
You also have the hassle factor of dragging around a large dive bag.
It makes sense to rent gear for casual diving.
If you have a mask, reg, and dive computer, do not leave them at home as these items are somewhat personal.
Nothing will make you madder than if you have your favorite mask at home, and all the ones you try on the boat don’t quite fit right. I have a large nose and a flat forehead (think neanderthal), so I know all about it.
If you are bringing regs and computers, do not check them as they have been known to not be in dive bags when they reach their destination.
Yes, most charter yachts with SCUBA offer resort diving and shallow dives. Resort diving is fun, relaxing and gives you the chance to see if you even like it.
Youngsters from ten years old can get involved with this making it an excellent family activity.
Resort Diving will be remembered for decades as a great bonding and learning opportunity.
You will need a SCUBA diving professional onboard, but we can readily set you up with the right yacht.
Just let H2O team members know!

Hundreds, if not thousands.! Jim Scheiner’s Diving in the British Virgin Islands (opens in new tab) is practically the Bible of the dive sites here. An older book, but you will still find it on Amazon and just about every yacht that plies the waters.

Read more about SCUBA diving in the British Virgin Islands

  • Float on shallow calm sand reefs that are perfect for doing your open water skills.
  • Explore wreck dives like the famous wreck of the Rhône (opens in new tab) off Salt Island.
  • See if you can find hundreds of shipwrecks that have been lost over the centuries to Horseshoe reef by Anegada.
  • In the Caribbean, every island is an opportunity to get in the water with a snorkel and a camera!
  • You can see cannons, look for glass bottles that are centuries old, see how many reef fish you can identify or help your captain hunt for lionfish.
  • Explore our SCUBA diving pages for many more ideas

We suggest somewhere between 3 and 5 to accompany a relaxed sailing or motoring vacation around the islands. This leaves plenty of opportunities to do other fun things.

If you are a keen diver you can do up to 3 dives a day.

Read more about SCUBA diving on Luxury Yachts

Yes! We are probably one of the most qualified yacht charter brokers in doing this as our principals were SCUBA instructors. Offering SCUBA on their yachts in the Caribbean for 17 years.
H2O team members have been diving the entire Caribbean chain from the Bahamas to the Grenadines and have literally accomplished thousands of dives. We are happy to share our favorite spots with you and tips on how to make the most of your yacht and dive vacation.
We know the best boats to book you on. Let us get you on a “real” yacht that offers a superior dive service on board that will make everyone happy. Do a yacht search here and keep an eye out for the yachts that have SCUBA diving symbols on the front.
There are a few options for scuba diving while on charter.
You can have us organize rental gear for you, tell us what you need and it will all be delivered the morning of your charter. You are then free to go dive at will. Air fills are available all over the place. If you are on a larger catamaran, then you could also rent a compressor.
Going it alone does not get you to the secret spots that only local knowledge brings. If you want to do some severe diving, then I would highly recommend looking at a dive dedicated crewed boat. We know which ships offer diving and which ones have a keen diving crew.
Another option is rendezvous diving. That is where you arrange with a dive store to either meet you at the dive site or meet your boat elsewhere and take you to the site.
Rendez Vous Diving is a good option if the skipper is a nondriver as he can take the rest of your party elsewhere.
When you finish, the dive boat will drop you back off in your boat’s new location.
You can always walk into one of the dive stores and see what they have going on! If you are bringing your reg or computer with you and are heading to the Caribbean, make sure you pack them in a carry-on if you don’t want them to disappear mysteriously. Don’t forget your dive card.
We have run a dedicated dive crewed charter boat for 14 years in the BVI and can be a wealth of information.
There are some National Park areas throughout the world where it is illegal to dive with a local divemaster.
This is where your fantastic captain and crew come in! Whatever charter you choose, you can count on the team to navigate you and your friends to the best SCUBA spots. Your best bet is to select a SCUBA-specific yacht from our website if diving is a priority. Evaluate Your Level of SCUBA Experience and Interest. While every captain is capable of connecting you with SCUBA specialists at your destination, not all yachts are equipped for dives. Chat with our team for a tailored getaway focused on your level of diving experience and the amount of diving you desire.
It’s our job to pair you and your friends with the perfect yachting accommodations. Provide the H2O Luxury Yachts team with a breakdown of your traveling priorities, interests and concerns. We’re here to make your dream getaway a reality!

Most charters are equipped and ready to go for divers! Although, there’s always a small chance onboard diving isn’t available at your destination. No need to worry — you have choices! Rendezvous Diving is a Popular Choice for Yachters.

Plenty of yachting destinations have SCUBA instructors in the area that provide instruction on their boat then bring you back to your charter. Rendezvous Diving is a popular diving option in the Caribbean and other diving hotspots.

Partnering with a local dive guide is excellent for a couple of reasons:
Local guides know all the hotspots for eerie shipwrecks, bustling reefs, and active sea life
Take comfort knowing you and your dive group are following all of the local rules and regulations
Sound intriguing? We agree.

More information on SCUBA diving options

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