What’s a bareboat charter?

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Bareboat chartering is renting a boat without a crew or captain, allowing the renter to provide their own crew. It offers the feeling of yacht ownership without maintenance and crew expenses. Laws and regulations govern the qualifications of a captain and crew, and it is important to have all information in advance.

A bareboat charter is the rental of a boat or ship without the crew or captain. The transaction is for the boat only. The renter must provide the captain and crew to operate the boat. Ownership of the boat is relinquished by the boat owner for the duration of the bareboat charter and this is the defining characteristic of a bareboat charter. This has become a growing trend on the yacht charter since 2000.

With economic difficulties around the world, it has become less and less practical for an individual to own a personal yacht. Bareboat charter offers the feeling of owning a yacht without the maintenance and on-call crew expenses associated with ownership. There are companies all over the world that specialize in brokering bareboat charter arrangements and excel at finding the right vessels at the right expense levels for their clientele.

The main difference between a regular yacht charter and a bareboat charter is the inclusion of the captain and crew. On a typical charter or lease, the yacht is complete with a qualified crew and captain, all of whom are hired and paid for by the boat owner. The owner can also have a say in where the boat will travel and what route it will take. On a bareboat charter, the owner has no say as to where the boat will travel or the route taken to reach the destination.

In the United States, there are several laws related to bareboat chartering, which are unique to agreements made by boat owners and potential charterers. In the event that several people go together on a charter, with one of the people assuming the duties of captain, in the unfortunate event of a tragedy or disaster, this person could be held responsible in the role of captain. Being responsible, the individual could be fined or even imprisoned under certain circumstances.

When making plans to charter a yacht or boat, charter planners must decide whether a qualified captain and crew will be hired or whether the charterers must meet this obligation. There are also laws and regulations governing the qualifications of a captain, and these laws require licenses commensurate with the size and voyages of the vessel. This requirement may also extend to certain crew members, such as the mechanic and radio operator. When doing a bareboat charter, it is advisable to have all the information well in advance.

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