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  #1  
Old 09-29-2009
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Getting qualified to charter, what does it take?

I am looking to do some chartering in the future. I want to know what does it take to be able to rent a boat for a bareboat charter. To start off i would like to charter in the Puget Sound area and maybe the Channel Islands which I know well. But look for future opportunities as well.

20 years ago with very little boating experience I took a 2-3 day course with a club I belonged to and was able to charter with them and a number of related clubs up and down the west coast. Sadly though the club was not ASA associtated so I never received any type of rating. Since then I have owned my own 22 footer and raced 100s of days and have been on some long races also. While I think my sailing skills are many times greater now than then, I could use some refreshing on motoring, docking, anchoring and other cruising skills.

Would an ASA rating give me the option to rent bareboat boats? Can I take some tests to opt out of the basic courses and just take the more advanced ones, that I would need? Can anyone recommend a school that is reasonable and will get me certified quickly? I would prefer to do it in the PNW but could travel anywhere in the US for the right school.
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Old 09-29-2009
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Basreboat Quals

Hi Jordan
Most charter outfits are going to want to see certification to 104, either ASA or US Sailing. That is the bareboat certification. It will get you by at most international chartering locales as well. It does however make sense to get some navigational training. At ASA that is 105. it sounds like you could "challenge" 101/103 with a practical check out by an instructor and take the written after looking at the book. We do that with experienced sailors all the time at our base here. If you know the basics you can spend the time with your instructor working on the things you want to get more comfortable with.

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Old 09-29-2009
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Get certified.
We found that our sailboat certification opened up the door so that we could charter a trawler (A Grand Banks 36) in Anacortes, WA. Being able to handle single engine trawlers has actually proved to be the most valuable benefit to being certified. We've done it in Florida and Washington, and sometimes we much prefer trawlers over sailboats for chartering.......like when it's cold, etc.

We only chartered a sailboat once, then we bought our own.
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Certification's a good idea, but appears some of the biggest operators, like The Moorings, will still take you without a cert card, if you have some experience (and a good credit card):

Private Yacht Charters-Vacation Chartering-Sailing Charters

Experience is the main thing. Cert. courses are indeed good, but most already-experienced sailors don't take them. Several decades ago these cards, and the organizations who give them, didn't exist, and the charter companies managed somehow. I chartered in the Virgin Islands without one.
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I have the certifications but they seemed more interested in actual experience and also as nolatom says, that my check cleared. One thing you could do is charter for a week and rent a captain from them for a day. He or she can run you through anchoring, docking, colregs, how to use the stove, etc. and then you will be off on your own. If you have raced a lot it will be obvious you know how to sail - and believe me it is not a high bar considering the performance of some of the charterers I have seen out there.
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Yep looking into the schools

It does seem like a I see one school that does a 4 day course that takes you up through bareboat charter certification. If I were the owner of the boat, i would feel very uncomfortable about letting someone fresh out of class sail my boat out of eyesight. To think about it 20 years ago I took a 3 day course and was given the equivalent of coastal cruising certification from the club I belonged to. I probably had 10 days of keelboat experience at that time.

The reason I am interested in a course is two fold.
My wife needs to learn to sail, and our Potter 14 is not the same experience as a cruising keel boat. Plus she just might learn the basics better from some one other than me.

As experienced as I am, my captain recent captain time has been a 22' trailerable or smaller. I am not sure how this would stand up to the experience standards. If I could just get a lesson on where all the trough hulls are, how to start the engine, how to dock the boat under power, and how to operate the marine head, I think I could challenge and pass all the other tests up through some of the higer ratings. Hoping the certification may help open the door to some charters.
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Hey Jordan,

I did the ASA courses with Barefoot Yatches out of St. Vincet and love it. 7 days and it was really a hoot with lots of practical stuff as well. As a couple it could be fun.
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I took the Offshore Sailing USSailing bareboat certification class at their Tortola location. The idea was that since this was taught on a Moorings boat, it might hold more weight for the Moorings than other classes. It did seem to help, although our credit card may have helped just as much. After one successful charter with them, they've cleared us to sail just about anything anywhere. Meaning they trust me (and my credit card) more than _I_ trust myself. It probably didn't hurt that our instructor was also a Moorings skipper, and we had his signature in our logbooks. Not that anyone actually looked at them.

But if you know what you are doing, I think you can get by. Most places in the western hemisphere will take your word for it--or at worst ask for a "check sail" to prove you aren't completely incompetent. There really aren't any formal certification requirements. We could have probably gotten by without the class, but I think it was worth it from an actual learning perspective.
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You do not need certification to Charter. They usually want a "resume" of experience. I would be comfortable anchoring, picking up a mooring and depending where you go you may not need to even dock the boat. I would also have some engine backround, how to change an impeller, seacock locations, check oil, bleed fuel line, etc. This would probably be helpful. You know how to sail but just need some big boat experience. I would try and hook up with someone for a day and go sail and have them take you through the systems and you should be good to go. Probably start with something in the 30ish range to start for a charter.
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I'll be chartering a cat out of Florida this winter. The charter co. wants a sailing resume plus they want to put a captain with me on the first day, just to make sure. I have my ASA 101, 103,104, 105, and 114. Unfortunately those classes can be passed with very little real world experience, and the charter co. knows this. I am a good example of this. I passed 101, 103, 104 and 114 with very little sailing experience. I have since gained a lot of experience on my own boat, but have not sailed a cat since. I've also passed 105, but there is no chart for Perry Lake so I have no practical experience doing coastal nav.
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