Rapidly gaining in popularity, bareboating is a great alternative to the hassle of a typical resort vacation. It allows for a sense of freedom and privacy not found when buckled down to a building from planning to execution. Here’s the nitty-gritty of this alternative escape.

Bareboaters charter vessels from companies sans a crew being supplied. The renters are the captains and are responsible for everything. This includes handling the craft itself and developing the itinerary, furnishing supplies, and providing food.

Before diving into an adventure, there are many considerations that boaters need to make. Location is perhaps one of the most important. One should consider seasonal weather patterns and the ease of waters that will be traveled. Right places for new bare boaters include the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands, whose waters are protected well-marked and close harbors.

After location, it’s time to choose a charter company. These come in many sizes, so be sure to research before settling on one. Check out what types of boats each one offers. Look into the different amenities each has. Once a charter company is chosen, renters submit an application detailing their boating know-how. The company will provide training for the particular craft provided. For those not completely comfortable at the helm, some offer an onboard skipper for an additional fee.

When packing for the big trip, keep to the minimum. Be sure to make allowance for bad weather and possible trips ashore. Guests pack all belongings into a duffle bag as onboard space is limited. Choosing travel companions is another important decision. Again, the room is small, so there is no getting away from others. Consider things such as personal habits and flexibility. Things go wrong, and the last thing a traveler wants is to be stuck on a boat with a rugged companion.

Before closing the deal, go over each detail of the contract to ensure all aspects are understood. Deposit refunds, insurance, mechanical failures, and trip time frames should be plainly laid out before piloting into charted waters.

Bareboating is something just about anyone can do, as long as some forethought is put forth. With fundamentals planned, bareboating can be a soothing and stimulating adventure.