Useful boat-hire advices for the perfect holidays on the sea

When you are thinking about renting a boat for your holidays, you should consider your requirements for that particular moment in time. For example: your budget, the destination and/or the sailing zone, the people that will be on board, whether there are children or not, and the sailing experience of the group.

Another frequent question is whether to hire with or without a skipper.

From BoatBureau, we offer you some useful advice to help ensure that your holidays on the sea will be perfect.



There are thousands of destinations where you can hire a boat to discover the country in a unique and enjoyable way: for example, the Norwegian fjords and the warm waters of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean offer infinite possibilities. Everything will depend on the dates you want to sail and the season, as one destination will be preferable to another.

It is better to visit the North Sea zone in the summer, as in winter temperatures are very low and ice layers form. the Mediterranean, with much warmer temperatures, can be enjoyed practically throughout the entire year. Sailing in the zone of the Caribbean is best between October and May.



It is important to choose the correct type of boat so that you can enjoy your holidays to the full. Once you have selected your destination you will need to select the type of craft you will sail there, depending on what is on offer in that zone. If you have never sailed before then this could be the ideal moment to learn, opting for a yacht.

Also bear in mind that the longer the boat, the lesser its manoeuvrability.

Motor boats:
These are usually the most expensive option. On top of the hire fee you will need to add fuel expenses that will depend on the boat’s engine and the miles you travel on your trip.

These are the most popular choice, and allow you to sail with the family and/or with friends (up to 12 persons). Hiring a yacht is more economical that a motor boat, as the saving on fuel is quite significant.

These are usually the same sort of length as yachts, but are wider and have a shallower draft. As they have less depth it is possible to venture closer to the shoreline and beaches. Catamarans do not heel, and therefore offer greater stability, comfort and safety than a monohull whilst sailing.

This type of craft is one of the most typical to be found in the zone of Turkey. They are wooden sailing boats. Usually they are larger than a yacht and can carry up to 30 persons.
They are spacious, with plenty of headroom and broad passageways, the cabins with a private bathroom are comfortable, there is a large saloon with galley and bar, plus plenty of space on deck in the open-air rest areas. These boats use both sail and engine power at sea. They have complete, modern navigation systems that ensure a safe and hassle-free trip.



When you are renting a boat, we recommend that you check what licenses are needed to sail in the destination country, which will in turn depend on the type and model of boat you want.

In Spain, in order to hire a boat up to 12 metres in length without a skipper, the minimum qualification required is that of Patrón de Embarcaciones de Recreo (PER) (Master of Recreational Boats). You will also need experience, which is of great importance.

On the other hand, the English Yachtmaster qualifications issued by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), are recognised in more than 20 countries.

There are sailors who, even though they have enough experience, prefer to have a professional skipper onboard when hiring a boat to sail in zones that they are unfamiliar with. The skipper assumes full responsibility and having them onboard allows you to enjoy more relaxing holidays and have greater peace of mind. Furthermore, they usually know special routes that will enable you to explore hidden spots in the destination zone you are sailing in.



If you rent a boat without a skipper, you will need to carry out a detailed inspection of the boat before sailing and check that everything is in order. Inspect the electronic equipment, batteries, check that the bilge is dry and there is no water, that the anchor works (essential for anchorages), that there is safety equipment (life jackets, some sort of harness, flares, radar, etc.), and check that all the boat’s documentation is up to date.

If there is anything wrong or missing, it is important to indicate this before leaving so that it can be logged. This will help avoid unexpected events occurring during your holidays.



Remember that there is not much space onboard… and not much privacy either.

We recommend you to take as little luggage as you can, such as light sleeping bags and sailing shoes (although if this is not possible, comfortable shoes with a soft sole so as not to scratch the deck). Also loose, breathable clothing, several towels, bathing wear, sun protection, sunglasses, and seasickness medicines.

If you want to know more about what you should take onboard, you can read our post “What I put in my suitcase to come aboard



Contrary to general belief, hiring a boat for your holidays is not expensive. It is perfectly affordable when enjoyed with your family or shared amongst friends. Depending on the zone, hiring a boat can be up to half the cost of a town centre or coastal hotel.

Apart from the hire charge, it is also important to remember that you will have to pay a refundable deposit. This can be paid in cash or by credit card before boarding. The hire fee usually includes standard equipment, taxes and insurance.



Before signing the contract you must check whether harbour dues are included. Normally, the only dues included are for berthing in the home port during the first and last day of the charter. Berthing in other ports will have to be paid for depending on the number of days you stay there. Many hire companies give you the option of anchoring in sheltered coves to save on this expense.

Extras to be paid for separately include cleaning, rigid inflatable boat (RIB), towels and sheets.

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