Bareboat Yacht Charters Blog

Anyone who has booked a bareboat charter vacation knows that charter companies, especially the large syndicates such as Sunsail and The Moorings, heavily promote trip cancellation insurance. 
 
For the bareboat charter fleets managed by Sunsail and The Moorings, trip cancellation insurance is a substantial profit point. Commissions of as much as 20 per cent for selling this product are common, and these bareboat charter titans simply add the cost to the charterer’s invoice. Although optional, they make the customer waive the coverage in writing in order to remove it. 
 
Suggestive selling is not limited to the industry giants. Luxury yacht charter brokers often offer this coverage to their Caribbean yacht charter customers who fear trip delays due to summer tropical weather disturbances. Mediterranean yacht charter customers also hear the pitch to purchase this coverage, as concerns for lost baggage are common with long, international flights. 
 
Putting aside the fact that someone “profits” from the sale of these policies, a luxury yacht charter customer should give serious consideration to this coverage option. Whether you rent a boat or a megayacht or a superyacht, for a Caribbean yacht charter or elsewhere, the facts remain the same – you are spending a lot of money and you may wish to protect your investment! 
 
Here are some common questions and answers about travel insurance:
 
Q. Why should a traveler buy travel insurance?
A. Travel insurance gives travelers coverage for unforeseen problems, such as cancelled flights to serious illness – or in rare cases, even an act of terrorism or the financial default of a travel supplier. If an illness, accident, or other covered unforeseen circumstance forces a traveler to cancel or interrupt their plans, they face two major financial losses – money invested in nonrefundable prepayments and medical expenses that in many instances may not be covered by health insurance. 
 
Q. What happens if a traveler must cancel his/her vacation?
A. Often a traveler will lose nonrefundable deposits and prepayments that can add up to thousands of dollars. An insurance plan can provide coverage for the charterer’s vacation investment – the insurance company reimburses the traveler for nonrefundable expenses for a covered loss. 
 
Q. How does the coverage work?
A. It reimburses for forfeited, nonrefundable deposits if the traveler must cancel or interrupt their trip due to a covered reason. 
 
Q. What other coverage is typically included in a travel insurance plan?
A. In addition to cancellation and interruption, the more comprehensive plans may also cover emergency medical expenses and transportation, when ordered by a doctor, to the nearest adequate medical facility; reimbursement for accommodations and expenses incurred due to travel delays; reimbursement for the purchase of essential items if baggage is delayed; and coverage against lost, stolen, or damaged baggage. 

Lost luggage and trip cancellation insurance

Lost luggage and trip cancellation insurance

Q. Does travel insurance cover terrorism?
A. Many travel insurance policies do not cover terrorism; but some do. 
 
Q. Is the financial default of an airline or tour operator covered?
A. Many programs include financial default coverage if insurance is purchased within 15 days of making the initial trip deposit. 
 
Q. How much does coverage cost?
A. The cost is based on the value of the trip and the age of the traveler. Typically, the cost is five to seven percent of the trip cost. 
 
Q. What else is offered?
A. Most providers offer 24-hour travel agency-type services, in case a traveler has to change a flight or a hotel room. Some offer assistance with emergency cash transfers, pre-trip consultation services (travel advisories, passport requirements, inoculation information, etc.), and live messaging, which will relay any email or phone message to family, friends, or business associates.

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Congratulations – you passed your ASA Bareboat charter sailing courses, and you are ready to plan your first yacht charter vacation.  Maybe a Mediterranean yacht charter odyssey…or perhaps a summer Caribbean yacht charter vacation.  Hmmm…

The choice of an area for your first bareboat charter trip can be a little tricky because there are three primary factors: your sailing experience, your climatic preferences, and your budget. There is no simple way to do this, because your decision will have to combine all 3 factors.

Picture yourself on your first bareboat yacht charter vacation

Picture yourself on your first bareboat yacht charter vacation

Before you can analyze the 3 factors, you must sort out the, “time of the year” issue.  After all, this is the one item you probably have the least control, in terms of the kid’s school holidays, vacation time from work, etc. Nevertheless, this is a good place to begin because, depending on the area, the timing will influence your budget.

If you have tight financial constraints, you can find excellent deals and discounts in some areas at low season. For example, the British Virgin Islands in July offer a great sailing experience, and you’ll find rates
reduced as much as 40% compared to high season (February and March).    If you are contemplating a Mediterranean yacht charter, May or September can be delightful and are much cheaper (and much less crowded) than July or August.

Your weather preferences are integral to your decision. Do you like very hot weather, or a more temperate climate? If you like the latter, for example, a Bahamas yacht charter vacation in February is much cooler (and cheaper) than in May.

Regardless of your skills, if this is your very first charter outing in open waters, we strongly suggest you choose an easy sailing area.  ASA sailing certification is good, but nothing takes the place on experience at the helm.  Here are two suggestions (assuming you are interested in a Caribbean yacht charter) guaranteed to provide you with a memorable first charter experience:

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are easy to get to from the States – only about 2.5 hrs by plane. Here, you’ll find magnificent scenery, plenty of beaches and not-too-bad snorkeling. Mooring balls are everywhere and you can go a whole week without dropping an anchor.  More importantly, you’ll enjoy a phenomenal sailing ground. Island hopping is done in line-of-sight, and the islands layout is such that most little “crossings” are short (1-2 hour sail on average).  Just as important, the anchorages are well protected.  Winds
always seem to be ideal in the BVI, sustained E/SE at 10-12 knots. This idyllic description does not mean you cannot get in trouble, as storm conditions can arise and challenge your  skills. If you apply good
seamanship rules, and listen to the weather forecasts, you’ll do just fine.

The Abaco Islands of the Bahamas are another great destination for first-time yacht charter sailors. The Abaco chain sits as the northern-most islands of the Bahamas. The Sea of Abaco is the shallow water between the islands of Little Abaco and Great Abaco. The Sea of Abaco has many of the same ideal attributes you find in the BVI:  Calm waters, easy line-of-sight navigation, and a relatively free of hazards area with easy anchorages.

Moving beyond the sailing elements of your self-drive charter yacht vacation, don’t forget to give some though to the recreational pursuits that differ from destination to destination.   Are you looking for active night life? Do you want to go shopping?  Do you like to fish?   These are important considerations that can be analyzed once you address the big three: experience, climate preferences, and your budget.

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