Maybe it’s obvious why you’d want to bareboat - Instagram is full of amazing vacation photos that inspire travel envy! Or maybe the thought of spending a few days or weeks on board a small sailing vessel sounds scary, uncomfortable, or even stressful. Like anything, it’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to spend my vacation, and in this article, I’ll explain why.
You’ll likely pick up the boat in some “larger” marina. Whether you’re picking up in BVI, Newport, Greece, or Thailand, charter companies need facilities that can handle many boats, power, water, trash, etc.
Unlike a typical vacation at a hotel, once you’ve left the marina, it’s up to you and your crew to decide where you go from there. You could head to a party spot, or a quiet and serene anchorage, or sail for 80 miles to a jazz festival. You’ll have a few rules set by your charter company (and their insurance), but beyond that, the world is your oyster!
This freedom is something I cherish. I love having moving accommodations where I call the shots. Even if we had a plan before the trip, we can change our minds and do something else at any point. Sometimes we are tired of cooking, so finding a spot with a restaurant is key. Sometimes we are so impressed with the beauty of our current spot, we decide to stay another night and enjoy the snorkeling, hiking, swimming, or view for another day. It’s our vacation, our boat, and our choice as captains of a bareboat charter.
My wife and I live and work in the United States, near downtown Dallas, Texas. In a city of over a million people, it’s difficult to “get away from it all.” When we get to our bareboat, often in another country, the feeling of seclusion and serenity is palpable.
Depending on the charter destination, we may island-hop, dropping anchor in completely uninhabited places. The islands that are inhabited may only have a few hundred or a few thousand residents total. The noise, light pollution, and intensity of “normal” life is gone. For a few days or weeks, we have the opportunity to truly be alone with our friends, thoughts, and nature.
I love to travel, explore, and find new experiences. Bareboat charters take you to places FAR off of the beaten path. You may find a remote anchorage that few people have ever heard of, and only a few hundred people ever visit. If you then take a short hike to the other side of the tiny island, there may find a beach that even fewer people have ever stepped on. There have been times when my crew and I were the only boat in any direction, and we were walking on a pristine beach that probably sees a dozen visitors per year!
While you’re sure to see dozens of amazing islands and anchorages while you explore, take a moment to think about how much of the ocean there is to discover! Strap on a snorkel and mask or some scuba gear and your exploration is virtually limitless.
The new places, new people, underwater adventures, and the opportunity to explore the world, make bareboat chartering one of my most enjoyable travel options.
It’s possible that you hear about bareboat charters and living on a boat for a week or two and think it could get boring. After all, what do you do when you only have a couple of hundred square feet of space to live on? If it was cold, rained every day, and there was no wind…you may get a little restless, BUT very few charter locations provide that experience. In most cases, the boat offers a 360-degree view of the ocean and islands!
When you are living on the water, the ways to spend your time are innumerable. You’ll be swimming, sailing, taking the dinghy to shore, checking out the local towns, shopping, hitting up bars/restaurants, the list of activities is endless. There will be fish, dolphins, rays, sharks, turtles, and birds like you have never seen before. The nature of a bareboat sailing charter offers the opportunity to change your location daily if you choose.
Maybe you’re thinking that sounds like A LOT of activities! In that case, grab your book and a drink, head to the bow, and chill. On a charter vacation, you choose your own adventure. Fill your days with adventure or relaxation!
Earth is a pretty incredible place. I’ve been lucky enough to do a fair amount of traveling in my life, and I’ve never been as awestruck by her beauty, as consistently, as when I’m on the water. The sunrises and sunsets, moon and stars, limitless ocean, mountainous islands, palm trees, wildlife, and ocean swells are on full display and are awe-inspiring.
It took one bareboat trip for me to fall in love. It’s my ultimate escape and reset from my admittedly amazing but busy life. It’s a chance to break away from it all, put on my captain’s hat, and explore the world.