Your sailing holiday has finally started! But, wait, because before starting your relaxing week, you still have to fulfil your last duty: do an effective check-in and boat inventory. We know that at this point you just would like to set sail, but a careful check-in on the boat is essential for a safe yacht charter and to avoid any unpleasant surprises after leaving the marina. A boat is a sophisticated watercraft, and you should know all its features and equipment of both the interior and the exterior. Before embarking, you should become familiar with everything in order to have stress-free sailing experience, to prevent any damage on the boat, and to be sure that everything works properly.
Boats are often delivered between 5 and 6 pm because the charter companies have only a few hours to clean all the boats of their fleet returned by the previous charterers. Furthermore, they have to carry out the necessary checks and routine maintenance operations. If the previous customer has damaged the boat, extraordinary maintenance operations must also be resolved. Usually, there is the possibility to do an early check-in. You should ask your agent if the owner provides this service and if yes, it has to be paid as an extra.
But let’s get straight to it. Let’s start our guide on the best way to perform an effective check-in on the boat.
First step. At the office with the base manager
Let’s deal with some paperwork and administration. As soon as you arrive at the base you should head to the boat owner’s reception. You will find this information in the document of the base and contact info that our agents send before the departure. Once in the office, you will have to sort out the paperwork with the base manager of the charter operator. That will include the contract, the extras, the security deposit, and the final check of the passengers’ list, their documents, and the licence if the skipper is a crew member.
- The contract: you will have to sign the contract with the company owner of the boat. Make sure to agree with all the terms and conditions. If you have any question or something is not clear, don’t hesitate to ask the base manager.
- The extras: you should have already informed your agent about the extras you need during the booking process. At the marina, confirmed what you requested and if you want something more, ask if it is possible to add. Then, make the payment of both the obligatory and the optional ones (most of the times in cash).
- Security Deposit: the amount of deposit insurance is always different depending on the yacht. You can pay in cash or by credit card, putting on hold this quantity until the end of the charter.
- The crew list: the base manager will check all the guests’ documents on the passengers’ list (ID, passports, and Visas). If you didn’t hire a skipper, the base manager will also check the validity of the skipper’s licence.
Second step. Technical Briefing on the Boat
If you have hired a skipper, he or she will complete the check-in onboard. On the contrary, it is the member of the crew that has the license that will go through this process. Depending on the providers, you will do the check-in with the charter staff or alone (self-check-in); they can also give you a checklist of the equipment, parts of the boat, and other features to tick off. In any case, take your time to check everything properly without hurry.
Stock and conditions of the equipment
- Verify the documents of the boat, and remember that they are essential in cases of possible checks. They include: original rental contract signed by the parties, boat booklet and any rental authorization, valid safety certificate, VHF certificate, the boat insurance as well as the insurances of all the engines (included the outboard) and their audits.
- Check the safety equipment according to the number of guests you have onboard: life jackets and safety belts if there are any, fire extinguisher, flares, and the first-aid kit.
- Relative to the motility is crucial to check the conditions of the engine: ignition, engine oil, and level of cooling liquid and oil. Try to start it and see if it is running perfectly.
- Regarding the comforts, we suggest a review of the fridge, deck cushions, blankets, pillows, the short legs of the folding dinette (if the salon is convertible). In the kitchen, check the fridge, the cutlery, the hob, and of the general cooking equipment.
- Obligatory items: nautical charts, almanac, pilot books, binoculars, dividers, plotter, and GPS/chart plotter.
- Ensure you know how the battery and the electrical system work. In particular, review the lights and the appliances, the electric panel, the radio, the plotter, and if you have any batteries supply.
- Gas and water capacity and check the level of the black water tank.
- Familiarise with the toilets. Make sure that all the passengers can use them properly.
- Check also that the electric winches, the windlass, the bilge pump, and the mooring lines work correctly.
Outside the Boat
- Ensure that the sails are not damaged.
- Examine the general conditions of the hull and any possible scratches.
- Verify the draught and any detectable signal of any previous accident.
- Check the water and gas drain holes.
- Make sure that you are able to refuel the boat.
Either you do complete the check-in with or without a representative of the charter company, do it with absolutely no rush. If the owner gives you a sheet with the inventory checklist, don’t tick off any option that is missing, damaged, or that is not working properly. This sheet is important for the check-out. When you return the boat they will re-verify that everything is working and that you have not had any loss of the equipment. If you do a self-check-in, don’t be afraid to ask the base manager information about all that you couldn’t evaluate by yourself.
If you still have any other doubt regarding this topic, our agents will be glad to answer your questions!
Now that you read our suggestions about how to do a check-in on the boat, you’re finally ready to sail and enjoy your sailing holiday!