Charter boats at anchor, Setting Point, Anegada, British Virgin Islands, at sunset with rain squalls in the background

This is the conclusion to Swim and Sip’s Bareboat Charter series. Part 1: Planning a Bareboat Charter described some tips for choosing a charter company and boat along with provisioning. Part 2: Arriving and Getting Underway discussed the boat briefing, the skipper’s crew briefing, and some tips for the skipper to manage the charter. This final entry presents a checklist of what to pack when heading off for a bareboat yacht charter.

Must-haves for each individual

  • Passport (w/ 6 months or more until expiration, depending on country you’re visiting)
  • Swimming suits
  • Sailing / Beach / day wear
  • Sunglasses + Hat(s)
  • Evening wear (beach casual)
  • Soap / shampoo / toiletries etc. 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Any usual medicines and minor first aid such as Advil or Benedryl
  • Various chargers for devices
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Cash
  • Black pen to fill out immigration forms
  • Swim and Sip Floating Drink Koozies (of course!!)

Maybe-haves for each individual

  • Copy of your passport - in case it gets lost
  • Wig / Crazy Outfit / Entertaining Accessory
  • Beach Towel – check your charter contract to see if these will be provided aboard 
  • Use soft sided/collapsible luggage if possible
  • Cameras / Go Pros
  • Mask + Snorkel - some charter boats are equipped with a small variety of these
  • Seasickness patches (will need prescription beforehand) or pills
  • Aux audio cord
  • Rain Jacket
  • Small waterproof flashlight
  • Ear plugs
  • Waterproof exploring shoes
  • Mosquito spray or wipes

Community items that individuals can bring for the whole boat

  • Clothes pins
  • Small scented garbage bags for use in the heads for disposing of paper/personal products
  • Small extension cord
  • Zipties and/or light line
  • Handheld VHF radio(s)
  • Dry bag
  • Soft sided/portable cooler for expeditions
  • Permanent marker
  • Aux audio cable
  • Small white board and marker to list daily itinerary and schedule
  • Games such as cards, dominoes, etc. 
  • Hairdryer (if the boat is equipped with a generator)

Boat flair can help personalize your charter vessel, set it apart from other charter boats, and boost crew camaraderie. Anything fun for the crew to help make your boat unique will work- for example:
  • Various flags to fly from spreaders or flag halyards
  • Small Christmas lights (or other portable area light) for cockpit mood lighting
  • Grass hula skirts to hang from around the bimini


Hopefully, this series helped you get prepared, provisioned and packed for your charter- leave a comment if this list is missing anything! It’s a good idea to take your packing list with you on the boat so that you can use it again to pack all of your stuff back off at the end of the charter. Cruising catamarans have a lot of storage compartments and cubbies so it is easy to leave something behind. 

Swim and Sip patented floating drink koozie holder depicted afloat and ashore

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