There is something incredibly special about the first time someone feels the wind filling the sails and propelling the boat silently over the waves. Taking beginners out on a charter can be highly rewarding, as long as you prepare your passengers and follow a few common sense tips.
First off, it’s important to invite the right mix of people. It’s fine to bring children or the elderly and not expect them to do much, but you’ll also need people who are able to learn and help out.
Make sure people know what they are in for, whether you’re taking a group out for just a day or a week-long bareboat charter.
Sailing is much different from going on a cruise ship, but not everyone knows this beforehand! Having the right attire is crucial. Advise people to bring closed, non-slip shoes, layers of comfortable clothing, sun cream, sunglasses, etc. It’s best to leave dangly earrings and jewellery behind. If you’re going on a longer trip, ask people kindly to bring small, soft-sided luggage.
You might consider asking guests to wear life jackets until they are comfortable moving around the sail boat. When they come on board give them a lesson in essential boat safety, making sure to reiterate the need to watch out for the boom at all times (being hit by the boom is one of the most common boating injuries!). Show your passengers the proper use of the boat’s bathrooms. People should also remember to always keep one hand holding on to the boat.
Prepare for possible seasickness with things like anti-nausea wristbands, candied ginger, ginger ale, ginger snaps or wedges of lemon.
Teach at least one other person (preferably everyone) how to turn on the boat’s motor, turn the boat around and use the radio if necessary. Knowledge is power, and you’ll want to have a good contingency plan in case anyone else needs to take over.
Other things to consider will be your choice of sailing destination. British Virgin Islands, the Ionian in Greece and Southern Turkey are less challenging and perfect for introducing newbies. Also when in the season to sail, and whether to choose a catamaran or a monohull?
For further information on bareboating with first-timers, contact the friendly staff at LateSail.