Desolation Sound Yacht Charters

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Qualifications for Charter

A BAREBOAT charter is when you, the charterer and your crew, are totally responsible for the safe operation of the boat, including sailing and driving, navigating, anchoring and docking. Often compared with renting a car, bareboat charters are 'self drive', as compared with renting a limousine with driver. With several years of experience, most sailors and power boaters can easily qualify to bareboat.


To ensure that your charter cruise is relaxed, enjoyable and safe, you and your crew have to know how to handle the yacht you have chosen. For your own protection, as well as the safety of your crew and the charter yachts, it is important that bareboat charterers be well qualified. Experience in tidal waters on a similar size and type of yacht to the one you wish to charter, as well as coastal navigation, is necessary to bareboat. On all yachts greater than 40 feet, we also ask that at least one member of the crew has some boating experience.

Upon booking your charter you will be asked to complete an Experience Résumé outlining your qualifications. In the experience resume you list any boats you have owned and operated as skipper or crew, your prior chartering experience, any courses you have taken and your navigation experience. You must also complete our Navigation Quiz to verify your navigation knowledge in order to comply with the Canadian standards.

If your experience falls short, then we offer several programs to assist charterers to meet the requirements. If you have some boating experience but want to improve your boating skills or you need more experience before taking your charter vacation, it is advisable to take a Sail or Power Training Course. We can also arrange a one or two day refresher course for an experienced skipper that needs a brush up on his skills, This style of program is quite flexible and can be personalized to each charter guest.

On arrival day you will receive a yacht systems orientation and a chart briefing of the cruising area. We will not be taking you out on the water for a practical review unless it has been decided you need a Practical Check Out. During the Practical Check Out one of our personnel will observe your on-water boat handling skills to confirm the skipper's ability to maneuver the vessel safely. It is not intended to teach boat handling skills.

Practical Check Out

Upon review of your Experience Resume, we may require you to have a 'Practical Check Out' prior to departure on your yacht, charged at a fee of $50 per hour (1 hour minimum) plus applicable taxes. The review will cover docking, maneuvering and general knowledge of the boat and equipment.

If you are chartering a particular boat for the first time and you would feel more comfortable having a practical check out before leaving our docks, you can request one. The check out would be for a minimum of one hour at CDN$50.00 per hour (plus any applicable taxes).

Practical Check Outs are scheduled beginning at 8:30 am on the first day of your charter. This scheduling still allows you to get away in good time, providing your check out goes well.

Sail and Power Courses

Don't sail or power boat? Don't worry! We offer internationally recognized courses to help you charter on your own! Those with little to no sailing or power boating experience don't have to miss out on a cruising vacation. We offer specially designed training programs for individuals who have limited skills in boat handling and coastal navigation. These include 'hands-on' training courses covering topics such as seamanship, navigation, boating safety, and proper use of electronics, which can lead to international certification at the end of the course.

Check out International Sail & Power Academy and the Canadian Yachting Association for more details on course content.

It is important to note that all the vessels operated by Desolation Sound Yacht Charters are offered on a bareboat basis. We do not offer a skippered charter or passenger arrangements. Some charters add crew or skippers, but it is important to understand those people are NOT working for the vessel owner.