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California Yacht Charters
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Yacht Charters Southern California

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California Yacht Charters
General Information


(Below on this Page)

What you need to know about
chartering yachts.
Tips for a successful yachting vacation.

What to Bring... and more!

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and Sailboats - Charters and Sales

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and Sailboats - Charters and Sales

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Private Yacht Charters California

Private Party Yacht Charters CaliforniaIncluding a private party yacht charter in your California vacation will make it one of the most memorable you will ever have. There are yacht charters available in northern or southern California. Whether you charter a fully-crewed yacht for a week-long sail along the coast... or take the family on a on-day trip to Catalina, your charter will be a unique experience and one you will treasure for years to come.

Yacht Charters can be arranged to suit nearly any requirement and budget. Overnight or multiple-night charters can be "fully crewed," "captain only" or "bareboat" -- whatever meets your needs. You select the yacht that offers the right accommodations for your party -- from a honeymoon or anniversary for two, up to a larger luxury yacht for ten or more.  Arrangements can be made for two or more yachts to sail together in tandem for larger groups.  Day charters can range from a half-day on San Francisco Bay to a full-day trip from Marina Del Rey to the Channel Islands or Catalina.

Yacht Charter CaliforniaLike the arrangements for the crew, yachts come in different types:  Power yachts, Sailing yachts; and, Multi-hull sailing yachts (Catamarans and Trimarans).  Many of the charter companies also offer sailing lessons. No matter what your skill level making a yacht charter part or your California vacation is the most unique and personalized vacation you can imagine! 

The professional crew members of your yacht will be your captain, chef, tour guide, water sports activities director, nature guide (both above and below the water), and more!  Or you can charter a "bareboat" and you are the captain.  Regardless of the type of charter you choose, check out our "What to Bring" section below.

Bareboat Charters - General Information

Bareboat Yacht Charter CaliforniaBareboat charters -- also known as "Bareboating" -- give you the ultimate freedom, by being your own captain. First, choose a vessel that meets your requirements and level of experience.  Next, plan your itinerary and schedule... then enjoy the freedom of the seas with your family or friends.

As the Captain, you must first qualify to charter a vessel and although a Coast Guard Captain's License or Certificate is not always required, you must be 21 years of age and demonstrate you have previous experience on vessel of similar or greater size and power. You should have a resume of your sailing experience, since the charter company will require it before approving your bareboat charter. Each charter company's requirements will be different, so contact them for their specific requirements.

The Captain

This is very important. You, and those who are going to sail with you, must agree and understand the responsibilities of the Captain versus the crew. If they agree that you are the skipper, they also must understand that on-board, "your word is law." Your authority is not only confined to obvious emergency situations, but have to cover all the ordinary daily tasks on-board, such as cooking, cleaning, docking, and engine and vessel maintenance.  If this is not agreed to and understood by all, then do not accept the position.

The Crew

Yacht Charters CaliforniaThe crew has the ultimate say in who is the skipper.  It is best to make this determination sooner, rather than later. Some key considerations for choosing a Captain are sailing experience, navigation skills, and most importantly, leadership ability. If no one individual has all of these skills then choose the leader, and have those with better purely technical skills act as navigator or some other technical crew position. Remember, the Captain's orders must be followed without question, so pick someone that you are willing to take orders from.

Another option is to hire a professional licensed Captain with knowledge of area, as well as experience on the vessel you are chartering.  This is a popular and safe alternative to skippering vessel yourself.  In addition to the boat charter, hiring a Captain will require another agreement between you and the Captain. The charter company can help you find a qualified captain, as well as mates and cooks.  They will help you with the necessary paperwork, so that your charter experience is safe and trouble free.

Selecting a Yacht

California yachtsChoosing the perfect vessel for your getaway is very important. Your charter company will determine your exact needs and make recommendations. See our table above for specific yacht and sailboat charter companies in your desired area (Northern Central or Southern California). In addition to helping you get the right vessel, they will also help plan your itinerary, and make marina reservations, so that your voyage is safe and hassle-free.  Once the vessel is selected, make sure that everyone understands and agrees to the sleeping arrangements.

What to Bring

Yachts CaliforniaWhether you choose to sail along the California coast or south to Mexico, your charter will have some things in common: the sun, the sea, and the fact that you will need to live on a yacht. There are some items you should bring to make your trip safer and more enjoyable.

The first thing to keep in mind is that, in general, you will not need a lot of clothes. Life on-board is very casual and, weather permitting, you will spend a lot of your time in swim suits or a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Having said that, the Pacific Ocean along California is cool when compared to the South Atlantic or Caribbean, and temperatures vary widely. It may be windy or foggy in places, so be prepared to layer your clothing. We cannot emphasize enough that you should bring a range of clothing. It's no fun to be wet, too hot or too cold out there.

Also remember that storage space on a yacht is extremely limited and hard-sided suitcases are not allowed. Soft sided duffel bags are the best choice. Below is a list of recommended clothing and equipment.

Clothing
  • 1-wide brimmed sun hat (wide enough to cover the face and neck, tight fitting, with a retaining cord)
  • 1-wool watch cap
  • 1-sweatshirt, turtleneck or wool sweater
  • 1-light weight wind breaker jacket
  • 1-waterproof jacket with a hood (one with a zip-out liner)
  • 1-pair sailing gloves
  • 1-tracksuit (for early morning or late evening use)
  • 1-pair of light weight casual pants or jeans
  • 1-pair of better trousers and a dress shirt or a dress (so you can visit a club or a nice restaurant)
  • 2-4 cotton T-shirts
  • 1-2 pairs of loose fitting shorts or skirts
  • 1-light weight long-sleeved cotton shirt
  • 4 pairs of socks and underwear
  • 2 swimming suits
  • 2-large towels
  • 1-pair of deck shoes (no dark-soled athletic shoes)
  • 1-pair of sandals

Equipment

  • 2-pairs of sunglasses with retaining cord (must be polarized for safety)
  • Eye glasses or contacts. Bring a spare pair and your prescription.
  • Medicine (see Safety below)
  • Motion sickness meds such as Dramamine and Bonine
  • Suntan lotion SPF 30 or higher, Chapstick and aloe. Bring more than you think you'll need.
  • Earplugs if snoring or strange noises bother you
  • A water bottle or jug, for shore excursions
  • A small back pack to carry essentials such as cameras, etc for shore trips
  • 2 or 3 large plastic bags to separate clean from dirty laundry
  • Several ziploc bags of various sizes to keep important items like billfolds and passports dry.
  • Money belt
  • Sewing kit needles, cotton swabs, safety pins, etc.
  • Toiletries - soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, wet naps, etc.
  • Camera (still or video) and a good supply of film or memory cards for both.
  • A good, strong, waterproof bag for your electronic equipment.
  • A good book or two, pen, notebook, portable board games, playing cards, etc
  • Binoculars
  • Small flashlight, LED type
  • The charter will have its own navigation equipment, but a portable GPS can be useful and fun.
  • A Swiss Army knife is also a useful tool to have with you

Provisions

California yachtsWater (and other beverages), ice and non-perishable food items, as well as snacks, should be at the top of your list. Most often, the crew will eat at the local restaurants on-shore, so it is not necessary to overstock the vessel and take up more space than needed in storage and coolers. Ice, popular beverages and basic food items can be found in most marinas at destinations. Your charter company can help you plan the provisioning of your vessel.

Yachting Safety

  • All yachts will be equipped with sufficient life jackets for all aboard, usually of a standard size. If you are not standard size, or are bringing small children, it is wise to bring or arrange for your own life jackets. This needs to be confirmed with the charter company before you sail. Always wear a life jacket if working on deck in rough seas. Practice putting one on, and wear it if you feel uncomfortable at any time.

  • Personal medical supplies - make sure you bring a sufficient quantity of drugs and medicines you are taking.  It is a good idea to bring along a copy of your prescriptions so that you can get a refill if needed. Don't forget your aspirin, Imodium AD and other over the counter meds.

  • Dehydration can be a problem so drink plenty of water. Beer is not water and will make the dehydration worse.

  • When boarding and leaving the boat, do not jump. Hold onto the lifelines or shrouds when stepping off.  If you are not able to step on to the dock, you are too far away. 

  • When walking on deck hold on to the lifelines or shrouds for balance.
                    
  • Wear shoes when you are going to perform a task or the seas are rough.

  • Learn how to use the radio for emergency situations.

  • Know where the fire extinguishers are located.

  • Ask what will happen if someone falls overboard.

Required Documents

  • You must always carry your charter contract on board.

  • A crew list should always be available to the local port-police and  customs officials.

  • If you plan to go to Mexico, everyone on board must carry a passport. 

  • Check for current regulations at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html

Yacht Pricing

Generally for sailboats the rates range from $1,500 USD per day for one or two days to about $5-6,000 for a week. This varies based on the size of the boat and the time of the year.

A Rewarding Experience for Everyone

California Yachting VacationSailing Yacht or Power Yacht... Bareboat, Captain-Only or Fully-Crewed -- a yachting vacation with friends and family can provide unforgettable memories!  But remember... being prepared is the key to a successful experience. Your charter company will be happy to help you make this a trip of a lifetime. Check out the resources we've compiled for you by using the table at the top of this page.

We wish you Godspeed and smooth sailing!

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