Bareboat Yacht Charters Blog

Are you qualified to sail a bareboat without crew?

Are you qualified to sail a bareboat without crew?

As yacht charter consultants, the most common question we are asked is, “what qualifications are required to take a bareboat yacht charter vacation?”

Almost all reputable bareboat charter fleets around the world have the same criteria for determining a client’s bareboat qualifications. Whether planning a Caribbean yacht charter or a Mediterranean yacht charter, no formal certification of any kind is required to charter from most major fleets. Qualification is based primarily on your sailing experience.

For clients with little or no sailing experience, enrollment in a learn-to-sail sailing certification program is recommended. Many programs offer courses leading up to actual bareboat certification.

Most charter fleets will accept a certificate as proof that the customer is qualified to charter a sailing yacht. In some cases, the fleet will require a customer to pay for an instructional skipper to join the charter for a day or two. This check-out skipper is placed onboard to insure the newly-certified sailor is ready for his or her first yacht charter vacation.

The most widely recognized bareboat sailing certification designation in the United States is the American Sailing Association (ASA). ASA certification is honored by almost all barefoot fleets around the world.

Here is an overview of the typical, three-part program offered at most ASA sailing schools:

    A combination of classroom training and actual sailing experiences.
    Normally offered over a two to three day period, the course focuses on basic
    sailboat terminology, rules of the road, on-the-water safety, sail handling
    skills, knot tying, and VHF radio procedures.Expect to pay approximately $400.00 per person for this initial course. No
    experience is required to enroll.
    A two to three day program involving both classroom and hands-on sailing
    training. Students practice keelboat sailing skills, cover course plotting,
    and learn United State Coast Guard requirements. The course also involves
    interpreting marine weather forecasts, anchoring techniques, and docking
    under power. Prerequisite: Basic Keelboat Sailing CertificationTypical prices for this intermediate course range from $450.00 to $550.00
    per person.
    This two to three day course involves a small amount of classroom work,
    combined with extensive, hands-on sailing, including an overnight anchorage.
    Coursework covers boat systems, maintenance procedures, GPS operation,
    navigation, boarding etiquette, trip planning, and docking.  Sailing instruction
    is normally taught onboard 35′ – 43′ cruise-equipped sailboats.
    Prerequisites: Basic Keelboat Sailing and Basic Coastal Cruising CertificationsExpect to pay approximately $500.00 to $600.00 per person for this course.

Check your local yellow page directory for the name of the nearest sailing school.

You can also go online to the Yellow Pages, which link to other yellow page directories around the country.

You’ll also find advertisements for sailing schools in magazines such as “Sail” and “Cruising World.”

For more information, contact 1-800-BAREBOAT at

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