Charter boat checklist


When you arrive at the base for your charter, unless you have the luxury of a crew — in which case you will just step on board and cast off — you have some work to do to make sure your cruise will go smoothly. Here is a checklist of the most common items to verify. We've tried to make this list as exhaustive as can be, but if you want to add to it, please drop us an e-mail and we will add it to the list.

Food & Provisioning

If you have ordered food either from the charter company or from a supermarket, you have to double check that everything is conforming to your order. Often, you realize you have too much of this or not enough of that. Most supermarkets and charter companies allow to exchange some items in order to accommodate your new arrangement.
Make sure you have enough staples like paper napkins, paper towels, liquid soap, bathroom items, salt, pepper, sugar, cooking oil, ice.

Stow food in the order that you will use it: most perishable and first to be used near the top, but near the cooling plate - But don't store lettuce or other veggies next to the cold plate.


Make sure it is in working order. A good charter company will run the systems (engine or onshore power) before your arrival for you to find a cold freezer and fridge when you step on board. If it is cold plate system, the plates should be covered with a thin layer of soft ice.

Water Tanks

Charter Companies are supposed to give you a boat with full tanks. Well, I wrote: "Supposed". Sometimes, for whatever reason, this does not happen. So make sure you top off all your tanks yourself. Check that all faucets are working including the deck shower.


Before leaving the dock, start the outboard and check that it spits water. If it is an inflatable, make sure it is properly inflated and that you have an air pump on the boat. Check the gasoline level. The following should be on board the dinghy:


Go to the bow, grab the anchor remote control or whatever device you need to make the windlass work, and try it both ways a couple of times. You certainly do not want to find out the anchor does not go back up when you have to leave an anchorage in a hurry. Or not for that matter — who needs to weigh a 40lbs anchor with 100ft of chain, right?

Boat Tour by Charter Company Briefer

Pay attention to this, ask all questions you need, and have another person present. Pay particular attention to important items below:


Get the latest forecast as well as the trend for the coming days.

Ask the base staff if there is anything in particular you should know for the duration of your cruise — strong winds expected, expected change in the usual patterns, etc.

If your charter is during the summer months in the Caribbean, ask the base staff what the procedure is in case there is a tropical storm coming and they have to recall the boats back to the base.

Get all the radio frequencies you need to check the weather daily. If you are chartering in the Caribbean, visit our Caribbean Weather info for all the information you need.


The faster you get this necessary stuff done, the faster you can get out and to your first anchorage. This takes some coordination, as you can see, but it is imperative that all this be accomplished to have a safe and pleasant cruise.