Bareboat Charter versus Crewed Charter Yacht – All You Need to Know

Bareboat Charter versus Crewed Charter Yacht – All You Need to Know

The excitement of planning a sailing holiday is in full swing. Something you may have always dreamed of and been saving to do for quite some time. Your desired location is pretty much locked in, all those amazing stopovers have been plotted and there is one last major decision to make. Do you organize a bareboat charter and put your skipper’s license in play, or do you put your feet up and enjoy this holiday as a relaxed passenger on an all-inclusive crewed charter yacht?

In case you are unsure of exactly what your options are when it comes to deciding on a bareboat charter versus a crewed charter yacht, here’s a breakdown of what you can expect with these very different options – each one having their own appeal.

Bareboat Charter

You can opt for a bareboat charter if you, and/or someone in your sailing group, have a skipper’s license and some previous experience in sailing. This is the very first requirement, and an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) is the most widely used and accepted certification of qualification required by most charter yacht brokerages. From here, you need to fully understand and have the skills required to navigate your chosen destination and itinerary. Additional sailing courses may be required depending on the level of skills required for certain docking ports on your itinerary or if you’ll be sailing through tricky conditions. It’s a good idea to have your chosen destination properly researched as policies vary across countries and even operators in the same region, so it makes sense to check with your charter yacht broker for any further information you may have missed.

Bareboat Charter is a popular type of yacht charter for its many advantages. At the top of the list of advantages of a Bareboat Charter is having the freedom to create your own itinerary at your own pace with you at the helm. There is a wide variety of boats available for Bareboat Charter, including Catamarans, Motor Yachts, and Sailing Yachts, ranging in size from 1 cabin to larger yachts or catamarans with up to 6-7 cabins. The maximum occupancy on a Bareboat Charter is 12 guests.

Perhaps the only real disadvantage of a Bareboat Charter is in fact, that with no crew, sadly means no provisions. For the most part, your Bareboat Charter will include necessities such as a full tank of fuel and water, but any food and drinks will be brought on board by you and menus and meals will all need to be prepared by members of your onboard group. Limited storage space will mean careful planning, and stock level requirements depending on your itinerary. Your charter yacht broker will be able to advise you on the best way to plan for your particular vessel, the number of guests, menus, and itinerary.

Skippered Charter

A Skippered Charter is an ideal choice for a small to medium group who are looking for a relaxing sailing holiday but don’t have a sailor amongst them. A Skippered Charter is also a good option if you hold a sailing qualification and have some sailing experience and are looking to increase your sailing capability under supervision.

Your Skipper is on board to ensure your charter yacht vacation is easy and relaxing. The skipper will have their own cabin on the boat (allow for this when booking), and although they will need to be included in the allocation of provisions, it is not expected that the skipper will participate in meal gatherings, excursions or entertainment – this is entirely up to you whether to include your skipper or not.

Skippers can also provide brilliant local knowledge of the area you’re sailing in, from the weather, the best restaurants, the best marinas to moor at, the best anchoring spots, to the condition of the sea bed for snorkeling and other activities.

Some Skippered Charters will also come with one or two crew members – usually a chef and a deckhand. This classic combination will take the pressure off the actual sailing as well as preparation of meals, so everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.

Crewed Charter Yacht

When you choose a Crewed Charter Yacht experience, you are entrusting your luxury sailing holiday to the experts, freeing up your precious time to soak up and indulge in your dream holiday in comfort and style. Particularly suited to larger groups on larger vessels, your crew will handle everything from management of your itinerary (getting you from destination to destination within your timeframe) to preparing meals, snacks and cocktails, to keeping your luxury charter yacht in tip-top shape. All you will need to worry about is what activity to do next, or not. The size of a charter yacht crew is very much dependent on the size of the yacht itself. Typically, for a mid-size yacht charter, guests can expect between 6 to 15 crew members, which often exceeds the number of charter guests, making for an impeccable level of one-to-one service.

Your professional crew is dedicated to creating an unforgettable experience by tending to the needs and desires of you and your guests. On an all-inclusive Crewed Charter Yacht, you are free to immerse yourself in the luxury and relaxation of fabulous accommodation, breathtaking views, gourmet cuisine, and endless activities, all wrapped in the vitality of life at sea.

Full Crew Luxury Private Superyacht

With a high ratio of crew to guest, a luxury superyacht charter vacation is truly unsurpassed and is the epitome of a bespoke hedonistic holiday. From expertly prepared gourmet cuisine served to your personal tastes, to sunbathing on deck surrounded by seemingly endless ocean, to spending the day on a deserted beach, seeing a famous landmark, you are free to steer your own course and lavish in the luxury of your private floating resort. Onboard a full crew luxury charter superyacht you will be catered and cared for by a top-notch professional crew who are trained to stay out of your way and make sure your space is perfectly maintained. Each crew member works hard to ensure a guest’s expectations are not only met but surpassed and in turn, should be treated with respect.

Choosing a luxury crewed superyacht allows you the unique opportunity to enjoy accommodation that suits your own tastes, equipment and water toys to use to your heart’s content and a professional crew to ensure that someone is always on hand to provide personalized five-star service.

And there’s more to consider, perhaps you’re a group of food lovers who may desire an award-winning Chef amongst your crew – this can be arranged. Or perhaps your guests are looking for ultimate relaxation on their crewed superyacht vacation and may lean more towards a crew that includes an onboard masseuse, yoga instructor or personal trainer for daily workouts. All these requirements can be met, we will supply the perfect crew that will meet all your needs, and more.

A full crew on a crewed charter will include the following personnel.

Your Captain

Throughout the duration of your yacht charter, the Captain will be the highest-ranking authoritative figure on board and holds overall responsibility for the yacht. Your experienced Captain will be your go-to person for specific requests including destinations or other itinerary wishes. The Captain is also responsible for the crew and the day to day running of all onboard happenings, ensuring nothing but smooth sailing. Should there be a problem or concern with a crew member on board, you should direct it to the Captain to sort out, rather than take the matter into your own hands.

Your Personal Chef

An expertly trained and experienced onboard Chef can often be the most important crew member to a charter party and it is not uncommon to come across a charter Chef that has in fact been awarded the coveted Michelin star award (or 2). Before booking a yacht charter it is possible to sample a Chef’s cuisine and discuss your catering requirements, from likes and dislikes to any allergies the Chef should be made aware of. An onboard preference sheet will allow you to provide a detailed culinary preference list to assist your Chef in ensuring each and every meal is tailor-made to perfection.


The Stewardess is typically responsible for maintaining the interior cleanliness of the charter yacht including general housekeeping duties and laundry in addition to ensuring you and your guests are kept happy. The Stewardess is often the crewmember whom you may come into the most contact with and their attention to detail when it comes to catering to the needs of guests is flawless. Furthermore, some Stewardesses may have other professional talents such as massage or manicures, adding to their unmitigated exceptional level of personalized service.

Interior and Deck Crew

It is helpful to familiarise yourself with all the crew members and their individual responsibilities. The deck crew often referred to as deckhands, are primarily responsible for maintaining the operation of the yacht itself, though they can also assist with any water sports and activities. Depending on the size of the yacht, some deckhands may also serve as bartenders or waiters in the evening. The interior crew are essentially responsible for refreshing the cabins and keeping things in order, and are usually who to approach should you require an additional towel or pillow.


Although often out of sight, the engineers of a superyacht charter are responsible for ensuring the yacht is running smoothly, which includes making sure the engines are running as they should. They predominantly spend most of their time below deck and may assist with tenders and water toys as needed.

Etiquette and Discretionary Tipping

Your charter yacht crew are on board to ensure you are superbly looked after, all your requirements are met and you can relax and enjoy your luxury maritime adventure. They will have their own private cabins and quarters which are the only area of the crewed charter yacht that is considered out of bounds to guests. Your crew will be working very hard on and behind the scenes to ensure your requirements are met and are to be treated by you and your guests with polite respect.

Tipping the crew is at the charterer’s discretion based on the level of service they have received. The amount of which to tip may vary depending on the destination of the charter. An American crew will expect a tip of between 20 and 15 percent of the charter hire fee whereas a European crew will be happy with a tip of around 10 percent.

It is customary for any tipping to take place at the end of the charter and to be presented to the Captain to divide the amount amongst the crew. Some guests may feel the need to tip individually, but it is important to remember that deck crew will be more visible and, although the engineers are out of sight, they too work hard behind the scenes to ensure the yacht is running smoothly.


Whether you’re a true sailing enthusiast looking for an exceptional maritime adventure where you run your own charter yacht, or looking for a luxurious and comfortable vacation that will cater to all the needs of all your family and friends; whether you are wanting to sail ‘solo’ or have a crew onboard to serve, whatever your adventurous heart desires, with a crewed charter yacht vacation, the options are endless. Contact us to discuss your requirements, we are here to help.

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Bareboat Charter vs Crewed Charter Yacht - All you need to know

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