We have gathered the main elements of a sailing resume, as charter companies typically define it. As you will see, the amount of information, although not equally extensive with each charter company, can be substantial and should be taken seriously!
General Boating Experience
- Your recent boating experience (last 5 years).
Size and type of boats you have handled in the past.
Were they of similar size to the size of the boat you wish to charter?
Was this in a recent past?
How many days a year are you typically sailing/boating?
- Do you own a boat now or have you owned one in the past? This is an important question: most boaters who are or have been owners have an understanding of a boat main systems and the inner intricacies of it, which is essential to happy and safe cruising.
- Have you had any professional or formal training? While it is considered valuable training, a Bareboat Certificate from a sailing school is not a requirement to charter a bareboat. However this document alone may not qualify you to bareboat charter: What is important is your overall practical boating experience.
- What are your cruising and navigation experience?
- Do you know how to plan a trip from point A to point B, requiring navigation skills, escape routes, weather forecast interpretation, decision making, anchoring, mooring and/or docking under sail and power?
- How many times have you anchored and in which conditions: single bow anchor, double bow anchor, Mediterranean mooring, etc.
- What is your experience with reading nautical charts, plotting, dead reckoning, using a GPS/chart plotter?
- Do you have any experience in heavy weather sailing?
- Do you have any experience in emergency procedures, i.e. Man Over Board retrieval, distress calls etc.
- Have you sailed on the ocean or other large bodies of water such as Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Florida Keys, San Francisco Bay, Great Lakes etc.?
- Are you experienced in the operation of twin-engine vessels? This is an important requirement to charter a twin-engine powerboat, or a sailing catamaran. If you do not have such experience, plan on spending at least half a day getting acquainted with the maneuvers with a charter company employee.
- Who is the crew in your party? Are they knowledgeable boaters who will be actively participating in operating the boat? Can you rely on them to help you in the regular chores or in the event of an emergency, or will they be passive guests? If you are on a large boat (especially a catamaran) you will need at least one (maybe two) good crew members to assist you.
- Are you familiar with the area you are going to charter in?
The first question that comes to mind is: How much of all that information is really checked by the charter companies? Not always that much. Can you "embellish" your sailing resume or even downright lie? Of course you can. But we think it is actually a very bad idea.
- If you are a first-timer with them, serious charter companies, will check you out before they let you go with a $400,000+ boat. If you are not deemed good enough, regardless of your experience or what you wrote in your resume, they will require that you hire a "friendly skipper" either for a day or two, or even for the entire cruise -if you are really bad. And...this is at your expense - about $175 per day.
Do not forget that charter companies do not own the charter boats: individuals like you and me do. So the charter companies are accountable to the boat owner if an accident happens. If negligence is proven – due to lack of experience for example – the consequences can be dire.
Besides, a damaged boat is not good news for a charter company because the boat will not bring any income while in repair.
- Even if they do not check you out, it is downright dangerous and stupid to go at sea without the proper experience, simply because you and your guests/crew will not be really safe. So again, do not lie - you will make this a much better experience.
You've been warned!