Nothing is more liberating than cruising over the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea while enjoying the cool ocean breeze and scenic views of the horizon. It’s an experience of a lifetime and a habit that you won’t want to stop once you get a taste of it.
The fact that you don’t own a boat shouldn’t be a reason for not enjoying a cruise. There are so many boat rentals along the Caribbean coastline. Navigating the Caribbean Sea may be intimidating for a first-timer, but it’s a straightforward process once you’ve mastered the essentials of a successful cruise.
Here’s all you need.
Before You Hop onto the Boat…
1. Have a Suitable Type of Boat Charter
A boat rental service can be a crewed charter, a bareboat charter, or a time charter.
A Crewed Charter
In a crewed charter, your yacht rental will come with a complete crew including a captain and a chef. The captain is financially and legally responsible for running and maintaining the boat, but you can still participate as much as you wish. What’s more, you have the full control of the boat’s destination, itinerary, and the type of activities to indulge in.
When you rent via a crewed charter, the cost per person is often close to what you would pay on a crowded cruise ship. So you can be guaranteed value for your money.
It’s important that you interview your crew before departure to ensure that they are the right personnel for your party, family gathering, or business meeting.
Having the right crew can make an otherwise average boat ride fulfilling.
A Bareboat Charter
In this type of charter, the boat doesn’t come with a captain or a cook. You sail the vessel on your own and bear its financial and legal responsibilities. Before you choose this type of boat rental, ensure that you have adequate experience in skippering a boat or yacht.
When chartering through a bareboat rental service, bear in mind that the cheapest boats don’t necessarily offer the best value for money. Some cheap, old models can prove to be costly in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance.
Moreover, you can add a private crew. But this will depend on whether you prefer to skipper the boat or not.
In a time charter, the rental company manages the boat, but you have the freedom to select where the vessel goes. You will also have to pay for the fuel, commissions, port charges, and the daily chartering price if your trip takes more than a day.
Considering your budget, skippering abilities, and time you’ll spend at sea, you can make a good decision on which type of boat charter to go with.
2. Carry a Compass, GPS, and a Map
You need to have these three navigation tools on board, especially if you are renting via a bareboat charter. Although the boat’s cabin and your smartphone may have GPS features, you should have a compass and a map onboard just in case there is a technical hitch.
3. Ensure Your First Aid Kit is Well-Stocked
A basic first aid kit should contain antibiotics, pain relievers, band-aids, and antiseptic. However, your cruise kit should be more than a typical first aid kit found in your car. It should also have remedies for common sea accidents like scrapes and burns, as well as reliefs for seasickness.
To save yourself the trouble of assembling a sailors kit from scratch, purchase one from an outdoor store. Consult everyone on board when stocking your kit to ensure that all special needs are catered for.
4. Have Some Basic Docking Skills
If your cruise will dock at different ports, you need to learn how to do it correctly. This is especially important if you choose to captain your boat (rent on bareboat charter basis). As a general rule, always dock your vessel in a U-shaped docking area. Ensure that you secure it with four dock lines from each corner to prevent any movement that may be caused by waves.
If you cannot find a U-shaped dock, use mooring whips to keep the vessel from the docking platform. This is especially important if you have to secure the boat in an L-shaped dock, where it can knock and rub against the platform.
5. Sun and Water Apparel
Last but not least, you need to make sure that you pack things like bathing suits, sunscreen lotions, and sunglasses. Also, don’t forget your rubber-soled shoes and other protective clothing.
Why You Should Rent a Boat
When visiting the Caribbean, renting a boat is always the most affordable and convenient method to cruise the seas. It also offers you the freedom to choose from a wide variety of sea vessels. Enjoy your voyage!