How to Make the Most of your First Bareboat Charter


It’s easy to feel a little unsure about what to expect on your first sailing trip. If you’ve been invited on a bareboat charter or flotilla holiday here are a few tips to help you make the most of it. We’ll help you understand the process, pack correctly and set realistic expectations.

Where are you going?

First off you’ll want to check the weather forecast for your destination. Many groups choose to go somewhere warm like the Caribbean or the Eastern Mediterranean in summer. You’ll want to begin to prepare to stay comfortable in the local temperatures. It is important to understand that unlike a normal tropical or beach vacation you will be exposed to the elements for the majority of your trip.

Who is going on the charter?

The group you go with can make all the difference. It’s always good to know who is going and what their interests are. You’ll be spending a good deal of time with them, and everyone can have input into the boats itinerary. See what people have in mind- from snorkeling to hiking on land, shopping, dining out and visiting historical sites.

You’ll also want to get into a mind-set of tolerance and patience. Boats, no matter how luxurious are reduced spaces. There will be different tasks to do and different ideas of how to do them. Some people may want to run off and do one thing while others prefer to depart to a new place. Try to go with the flow and allow little issues to roll off your back.


Pack for Comfort

As mentioned, you will be spending a lot of time outdoors and this means protecting yourself from the elements. Also as mentioned, the boat has limited space. To pack correctly:

  • Use soft-sided luggage. It is much easier to cram into a small space. You won’t want a boxy suitcase taking up all the floor space in your berth.
  • Bring two bathing suits, one to wear while the other is drying.
  • Bring a hat, sunglasses and long sleeved cotton shirts. You can never have too much sun protection.
  • Bring a large bottle of the best sun block you can find at home, a container of effective mosquito repellent and minimal toiletries.
  • Bring at least one outfit for dinner on land. A dress, light scarf and simple sandals, or cotton button down shirt and khakis.
  • Bring a beach cover up that you can easily slip on over your bathing suit.
  • Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes and socks to wear with them.
  • Make sure to pack any necessary medications you are taking, and a small first aid kit with simple items like aspirin and bandages.

A Word on Food

It sort of goes without saying that you will be in a new place with different foods. Aboard a yacht your dining options may be somewhat limited. You should have a small kitchen and cooking facilities but in general you may not have what you are used to. If you have any absolute dietary restrictions or preferences, do discuss them with the group beforehand. You will also want to be sure to drink plenty of water during your trip, perhaps even more than you think is necessary. It is easy to become dehydrated at sea.


Research the culture of the place you will be visiting and be considerate of any local customs. If you don’t know the language, try to learn how say please and thank you.  Bring a book about the area, or a novel written by a local author. Reading it while you are there could really enrich your experience!

Enjoy your first bareboat charter- it may be the first of many to come.