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Advice for pleasant charter, part II

In our previous article we advised you on what to pay attention to when choosing sailing ground, period and company. When you have made those decisions, it is time to choose a boat, acquire necessary paperwork and, finally, check in.

Sailboat or motor yacht?

Strong development of charter market has significantly affected the characteristics of charter boats. They are easier to navigate and more comfortable.
Whether you’ll charter a motor boat or a sailing boat is entirely up to you, your skills and preferences. Sailing is a specific type of navigation and not every sea lover is a sailing fan. Some people are more into speed and power. However, motor yachts are more expensive than sailboats to charter, and they also have huge fuel consumption so in the end it will cost you much more.

Licences and paperwork

If you want to charter a yacht without hiring a professional skipper you must have valid skipper licence and VHF certificate. The skipper licence must be issued in accordance with the stipulation on sailing in Croatia; if you have a licence that is valid for sailing in your or some other country, but not in Croatia, it is not considered valid and you can not charter a boat without skipper.
Navigational licenses are issued in Port Authorities.
You must have the original licences with you on board during the entire charter period.

Besides skipper and radio license, you must also have an original crew list on board. Crew list must be verified by the Port Authority (the charter agency takes care of this) but you must immediately report every change made on crew list during the sail to the nearest Port Authority.

If you are interested in diving or fishing during your holiday, you will also need special licences.
Recreational and sports diving is allowed only for members of Croatian Diving Association. Permit is issued for the period of one year and only to divers with necessary qualifications.

Fishing permits are easier to acquire and charter agency can get them on your behalf.

Although this may seem as too much hassle, it is important that you obey these regulations for your own safety and to avoid any unpleasantness.

Boat takeover

At check in you examine the boat and its equipment to see if there are any defects, malfunctions or damages. If you find any of these mention it to the representative of the charter agency who must put it down in the check in list. You must return the boat in the same condition in which you have taken her. If there are any damages found on her during check out, that weren’t there at the check in, you will be held responsible. So, examine the boat closely, don’t rush and pay attention to details.

  • Check the hull and deck for any marks, scratches, dents, hits…
  • Check the rail for bents and other damages
  • Check the anchor and chain, as well as spare anchor
  • Test every winch on sailboat to see if they spin easily and make that distinguishing sound. Count the winch handles (it would be good to have at least three), see if the mast is straight and if the crosses are firm. Also, ask about the mast height in case you go under a bridge.
  • Open the sails and check them for holes. This way you also check if you can lift the sails without any problems and if there are any damages to the ropes
  • Try spinning the helm
  • Check if all equipment in storage and lockers is accounted for: mooring ropes, fenders, buckets, water hose, electricity cable…
  • Make sure you test bilge pumps (manual and electric); on sailboat check which valves must be shut and where they are
  • Engine must start easy; you should hear a sound signal when starting and shutting down a diesel. Also test the forward-backward command.
  • Have the charter agency representative show you the engine, how to change the cooling impeller, whether there are decompressing valves and where the spare oil is. These are minor details that can give you a lot of annoying trouble.
  • Check if the fuel tank is full and make sure the level never drops under 1/3 if you don’t know how to vent the engine
  • Find out where the batteries are and how to use them
  • Examine the safety equipment: life raft, signal flares, fire extinguisher, safety belts…
  • Check the electronics to see if everything is in working order and make sure you have nautical charts on board
  • Make sure the refrigerator is in working order

After you have examined the boat and check in and established that everything is in good order it is time to set sail…

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