We all chartered boats in our life as skippers. It is a fantastic opportunity to explore sailing areas all over the world and it has become more and more affordable. One no longer has the problems associated with owning a boat but gets all the benefits. Your vacations have never been the same since you started sailing. This summer you chartered a boat on the Italian coast and this winter you will be going to sail the British Virgin islands just because you can’t stay away from the water.
All this is possible with the explosion of charter companies all over the world. From international (e.g.: https://www.sunsail.com/, https://www.dreamyachtcharter.com/) who have fleets and bases all over the world or smaller local companies, the offers are varied and for all pockets and needs.
Nowadays, you no longer need to visit each and every charter company website to find the right boat for you to charter. Companies like www.sailogy.com make things much simpler because they offer you an easy booking system for boats all over the world. They provide an end to end service and you manage the whole process with them. What we learned to appreciate at them is the fact that they work with charter companies that have proven themselves to be quality service providers.
So you have chosen your boat, everything is in place, a new sailing adventure awaits.
You find yourself in a marina again waiting to get your hands on that cool boat you chartered. The excitement is in the air and you can’t hardly wait to set sail. After the usual waiting time you finally get access to your boat and yes, the first thing you need to do is the check-in.
So, here are 5 things you should know about … boat check-in.
1. Never, never ever skip it.
Yes, you have chartered so many boats in your life. You are an experienced skipper. You know your way around a boat. You have sailed so many times but never forget that all these boats are managed by people. People are not perfect and sometimes they forget important things. Even though you know that charter company, it is not your first time chartering from them, they still might make a mistake. Therefore, never assume everything is as you expect. Check everything out.
Therefore, never assume everything is as you expect. Check everything out.
2. Each charter company is different, even different bases of the same company do things differently.
Everything is based on experience and each charter company adapts itself based on their experience. Therefore never assume that what you have seen at one company it will apply to another. Yes, there are some standard rules and regulations everyone needs to comply with but there are many factors that need to be considered. Each charter company or base manager has a different way of maintaining their boats and different ways of checking things to see everything is in order.
3. Each boat is different
You should know that by now if you have experience with chartering. Each boat is different even if we talk about the same make and model. There are many reasons for it. From the fact that some boats are leased from private individuals who have decided on different types of equipment to the fact that some charter companies buy just the boat hulls and do everything else themselves. The main experience we have is with circuit breakers, these are quite different. Many charter companies choose to buy just the hulls and fit them on their own because the end cost is lower and they maximize their profits this way. Therefore do not assume you know everything about that boat model because you might have a surprise.
4. Involve your co-skipper and crew in the process
If you feel comfortable having excited people around while doing this go for it. It is always good to do it because they will learn very fast where everything is and how things operate. They will feel involved in the process and you have the opportunity to explain thighs in more detail. Don’t forget this is not a reason to skip crew briefings, we have another article about this in our blog.
5. Talk to the people who are managing the fleet be friendly with them
Yes, you are the customer and the customer is always right but never forget that being friendly gets you even better customer service. Apart from that, people learn to trust you and be more open with you. Trust is important and imagine the situation where you forgot to check something and during your first day you discover something missing or broken. The discussion with the charter representatives will be totally different if you managed to build a connection with those people.
These things might sound obvious to you or many other skippers but a reminder is always welcome. If you like things more organized and you like lists, here you can find a list that can get you more organized when you are doing your check-in process.
On the deck:
- Genoa furling (guides/rigging)
- Anchor – windlass, chain guide, chain meters
- Guard rails, pulpit
- Hull signs of damage, repairs, check the bow
- Shrouds tension
- Rigging rollers (mast/travellers/genoa furling guides)
- Rigging overall
- Review line guides at the mast
- Instruments – turn them on, check autopilot
- Helm check
- Check spray hood and bimini
- Check your storage compartments and contents.
- Identify: liferaft, extra lines, stern anchor, boat hook, oars and oars locks, foot pump, gangway, horseshoe and floating light, bold cutter
- Outboard motor check (yes, start it)
- Unplug boat from shore power – start engine – forward/backward check
- Bow room: check bow thruster location/fuse/battery
- Check all storage spaces
- Check under for signs of water/check triducer seals
- Life vests and belts – number and location
- Fire extinguishers – number and location
- Flares – number and location
- Bosun’s chair – location
- Bilge pump – test it
- Water tanks – switch levers, how many, water level
- Charts, water pilots, ship’s documents.
- Instruments: binoculars, divider parallel ruler, handheld compass, V.H.F
- Spares: spare belt, engine oil, impeller, filters
- Location of batteries (motor/service)
- Gas stove and gas bottle (where is the spare)
- Check motor and transmission oil, motor belt tension and overall state.
- Windlass breaker
- Diesel cut off valves
- Shower pump
- Water (cold/hot)
- Head pump – electric/manual
- Inspect holding tank valve
- Inspect seacocks
That is about it from our side. We hope you have a fantastic sailing experience again and if you think we should update our list or add something else, feel free to tell us.