Questions to ask a charter company in advance? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-21-2010
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Questions to ask a charter company in advance?

We are planning to bareboat charter in the BVI this summer, probably from Horizon. Their website has a lot of information, and we have checklists of things to go over at the time we get the boat.

What I'm wondering is if there questions we should be asking them now, prior to signing the contract? Any things we should know about that might not occur to us but which we could regret not clarifying later on? Thanks.
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Old 04-22-2010
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You may want to ask specifically about how the company will handle mechanical problems should they arise. If the problem resolution is lengthy, will they refund some money to you or just give credit towards a future trip? What is the timeframe you can expect to wait for assistance? Are there any off-limits areas the charter boat cannot go? When can you anticipate leaving the dock on your first day? When must the boat be returned by on the last day? What is the last issue that happened on the specific boat you are going out on and what repairs were made?

I assume you are seeing the trend---When all the equipment works well, one rarely hears anything negative about a charter trip. When systems fail, which they eventually will do on every vessel, that is when you read about dissatisfied charterers. The difference may lie in how the repairs are ulitimately handled!!

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 04-22-2010
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Re: Questions to ask...

Thanks. This is very helpful.

I've scanned a lot of websites for comments on the various charter companies in the BVI. Every company gets some number of very positive comments, and I think you're right: This reflects a smooth charter with no equipment problems. What we decided would be more informative would be to count the number of negative comments. So we've been looking for companies that have the least number of these, on the theory that while there is always the possibility of breakdown or equipment failure, the most you can hope for is a consistent record of good ratings and a minimum of bad.

But asking specifically about how problems are handled is a very good idea, since no matter how good the company in general, there's always some risk of problems.
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Old 04-22-2010
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Counting the number of negative comments would be an interesting way to rate charter companies. The flaw I see with that approach is that it would be tough to compare the comments equally since, I would dare say, the Moorings-Sunsail conglomeration charters more than 10X more boats than the next biggest company/yr.

When you get a few more posts feel free to send me a PM if I can be of more assistance. Please don't automatically dismiss the charter companies based on St Thomas like Island Yachts and CYOA.
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