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What Is A Boat Skipper & What Do They Do?

Jonathan Holmes 5.0 Rated 5.0 out of 5 5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 46 reviews)

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Last Updated on November 3, 2022 by Jonathan Holmes

Unquestionably, boating is and should be a fun experience. However, no one will enjoy if there’s no safety. Remembering to be safe on the water should be any boater’s number one priority. To guarantee a great boating experience for everyone on board, a boat skipper comes in handy.

Now, if you’re wondering what is a boat skipper, then, you need to keep on reading. This article has been tailored to help you with everything you need to know about a boat skipper.

Table of Contents

What is a Boat Skipper?

A boat skipper is a person that commands a boat and its crew. In naval terms, a skipper is liable for the care and safety of the ship, vessel, boat or yacht. This is true of the captain too. Additionally, the captain is also accountable for the care and sanctuary of the crew. That’s why a captain is also known as a skipper.

The Duties of a Boat Skipper

A boat skipper is the heart of a vessel. He or she is liable for the boat and must take care of everything else related to it. Accordingly, everything the skipper says ought to be interpreted as a command by the occupants of the boat. This is because, sometimes, the decisions made by the skipper could be the difference between your life and death.

The skipper’s work not only involves the earnest work on board. It can further involve his recommendations on exciting routes, new sites to visit or instructions to follow while in the water or on shore. He is conclusively responsible not just for the sanctuary of the boat but also the protection, welfare, and comfort of all those on board.

The Demands on a Skipper

The demands on a boat skipper vary according to where the boat is navigating. In case the boat is cruising close to the beach, within easy access of a native port, the skipper’s job is simple. Once the boat is covering longer passages, at some distance off the shore, and away from the region the skipper is familiar with, his responsibilities become more wanting. This is because he must allow for likely night cruising, approaching unfamiliar harbors, and the likelihood of having to navigate through bad weather.

Offshore, at a significant distance from land, the demands become even greater. They can include coping with lengthened periods of poor weather, gear failure when there’s no one nearby to call for help, crew illness and many more. Actually, these are just a few of the challenges the boat skipper may need to handle.

Responsibilities of a skipper

As mentioned above, a boat skipper is the most influential person on a vessel. Therefore, there are many responsibilities bestowed on him. To begin with, he plans the whole passage to the suggested destination, which sometimes can take a number of days. Secondly, it’s the duty of the skipper to make sure that whatever voyage the boat is making whether for holidays or for fishing he follows all the maritime statutes. Next, he navigating the boat and provides good care and the safety of the boat and the crew and also manages the boat in all respects. In other words, he must know how to run and maintain all the facilities on board.

The Working Hours for a Skipper

When it comes to working hours, a skipper is usually dependent on the field of work. If a boat skipper is self-employed operating on his own boat, he can function for as long as he wants. A skipper that is on an inshore boat would go back to the shore every day while the offshore boats venturing out in waters away from the shore would be in a position to return just after days, or weeks at sea.

Characteristics of a Good Skipper

Be a good leader.

A good leader displays confidence and instills the same in the crew. He knows what his crew can do. He is a good coach/teacher and communicates efficiently. Further, he demonstrates how things should be done with perseverance and keeps collected whenever he faces adversity. A good leader doesn’t require yelling or scream to his crew. His crew looks up to him to be the leader they want.

Technically proficient

A good boat skipper knows how to navigate; he is good seamanship and thus will know how to cruise your boat. Also, he will well understand your boat’s capabilities and constraints. He will know exactly what you require to do in case you get into problems, and better yet, understand enough on how to stay away from trouble, to begin with. A good skipper understands that his crew doesn’t necessarily require him to be an expert, but they are going to expect a certain level of competence in him.

Cultivate a fun and relaxed environment

Mainly, the crew sails for fun. So, good skippers make sure the crew appreciate themselves, feel comfortable while on the boat, and let them take part in managing the boat. Hence, a good skipper needs to unwind and sing one sea-shanty or two.

Be Organized

An organized boat skipper is probably to have an established boat that in turn is going to likely be properly-maintained, safe, and will instill trust in the crew. A good and organized skipper is going to have enough stores on board and ensure the crew understands what they require to know. Standard procedures and standing orders will be steady and appreciated by all. Organized skipper assists alleviate confusion and anxiety in the crew minus driving them insane with his marginal obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Keen on Safety

Lastly, a good skipper knows the overriding importance of ensuring that the crew stays safe. Here, the crew expects the skipper to be watchful for them and prevent them from jeopardizing themselves through inattention or ignorance.

So, if you happen to be a crew, watch out for the above traits before you sign on to someone’s boat. Some skippers will possess an abundance of all of these qualities, but most ought to have some of each, at least. Conversely, if you’re a boat skipper looking forward to improving your reputation, pay attention to these 5 characteristics. After you have got a reputation for being a reliable skipper, obtaining and maintaining a good crew is going to be a snap.

Skippers in other Aspects of Life

The job of a skipper though it might appear to carry so many responsibilities is fun too. Some boat skippers appreciate fishing and pursue it as a way of livelihood. These skippers work on their own boats and become self-employed. Nevertheless, those who don’t own a boat can serve huge companies that employ skippers to care for their boats and their catch. It’s possible for an experienced skipper to make a satisfying income. A professional skipper can additionally move into similar careers such as that of Merchant Navy, harbor tug work, gas exploration or offshore oil, cargo operations and fish farming.

Becoming a Skipper

If you’re interested in becoming a skipper or simply want to begin sailing, you’ll need to undertake the necessary training, have enough experience, and possess a license. Any person interested is needed to do well in a Certification Test not overlooking the fact that he or she must be at least 18-years old.

It’s highly advised that you understand how to precisely navigate a yacht or boat for you to pass your test greatly. After you’re done with your test, you’ll get a license which shows you know how to sail a boat into a harbor accurately, know wind patterns, currents, topography and what your duties are as a boat skipper.

Exams or Tests Involved

The majority of Exams for this occupation last approximately 12 hours and normally test your capabilities with:

  • Understanding the engine inspection procedures
  • Knowing how long the fuel of your boat is going to last by determining the extent of your destination
  • Knowing how to utilize flares, life jackets in the case of urgency, and life rafts
  • Knowing and mastering the gas policy
  • Ascertaining the weather information and how it could probably influence your travel arrangements

During the process, you’ll have your program instructor not just checking your understanding of how to correctly and safely sail a boat, but you’ll also be cross-examined throughout your test on any other overall information which every sailor ought to know well. Just like utilizing any other item of machinery, you’ll require knowing the information on how to professionally handle your boat including:

  • Mooring pickup
  • Speed awareness
  • Directing your vessel down a wake
  • Proper positioning
  • General boat and environmental know-how
  • Mastering how to properly tie and tighten all your knots

Navigation is actually a remarkably important component of sailing any boat or any other vessel. Without this understanding, you could likely lead you and your whole crew into a pretty costly and dangerous situation. You can check out more information on completing a skipper course here .

What You Should Know About Navigation

There are a number of important sailing-related aspects including how to safely pilot your vessel at night and understanding the circulations of tide and current. In addition, you need to learn the chart 5011, that is, master how to chart perfectly not forgetting the blind navigation.  You can’t solely rely on GPS units or a chartplotter.

Becoming a boat skipper can be an exciting and rewarding experience for any person. It’s good prior to apply for your license to learn and master all procedures and information which involve safety while sailing a boat. This way, your encounter can be so fulfilling and full of adventure.

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Better Sailing

Sailing Crew Roles and Names

Sailing Crew Roles and Names

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht and the crew’s welfare. However, sailing a boat successfully requires teamwork from the skipper and the crew. This will ensure that all maneuvers—such as leaving a mooring, hoisting sails, changing tacks, reefing, or entering a marina—can be completed with maximum enjoyment and minimum stress.

Boat Captain/Skipper

It may come as a shock, but the skipper is not necessarily the helm. This crew member must ensure that the boat is ready for sailing. He or she needs to make sure that all members of the crew are accounted for. They also need to make sure that food and fuel are sufficient, and sails are ready for hoisting. The skipper is in charge of keeping communications open onboard and help other crew members if needed. Also, they are usually responsible for talking the whole crew through maneuvers as they are about to happen and making sure that all crew members are ready.

What Makes A Good Skipper?

  • Responsibility : The skipper is responsible for all aspects of the running of the yacht, its safety, and the crew’s wellbeing.
  • Skills : He or she should be comfortable with sailing and navigation skills, inspire confidence in their crew, and be a good communicator.
  • Delegation : A good skipper should keep on top of all his or her duties and give the crew tasks that are appropriate to their experience.
  • Patience : He or she should be patient with inexperienced crew members and be able to run the yacht with a light touch while retaining respect and authority. 
  • Briefing : It is the skipper’s role to plan the passage in detail before setting sail. 
  • Involvement : A good skipper will also encourage the crew to get involved in passage planning and navigation and will always listen to their opinions.

Sailing Crew Roles


The tactician’s role is to get the boat around the racecourse as fast as possible. For that, he needs to take into account the wind, tide, and other competitors, as well as the crew’s ability. They also need to make sure that the boat has the correct course. In short, the tactician is the brains of the sailboat. The tactician must communicate with the helm and skipper to run through maneuvers.

The Helm (Driver)

The Helm is often mistakenly perceived as the skipper. This crew role is to steer the boat where the tactician says and to keep sailing as fast as possible. The helm is also helping with other tasks, but they must focus on the job at hand as much as possible. The helm and the tactician must be in close communication with each other.

Head Sail Trimmers

This crew role is for two members, one who will cut release the sail when going through the tack while the other pulls in the full sail. The crew member releasing can then assist with tailing the sail or trimming it – which is a good example of teamwork. Also, the trimmer should keep adjusting the sail, depending on the point of sail, and should be very focused on that task. Also, the trimmers are in charge of trimming the spinnaker sail and guy when going downwind. Main communication is kept between each other, boat captain and tactician. Pre-start these guys will have a lot to do!

This crew member is in control of all sail hoists and drops depending on the wind. The bowman spends most of their time on the foredeck (the deck at the forward part of the sailboat), preparing for spinnaker hoists, gibes, and drops. 

This crew member is a combination of both the bowman and mastman. They are in control of all of the running rigging which comes into the cockpit. This is a vital role and always in the middle of the action. Pitmans must keep communication is between bowman, mast man, and skipper—the eyes and ears for the foredeck crew.

Sailing Crew Hierarchy

This position is reserved for the stronger members of the crew. A mastman’s foremost task is to assist with the speedy hoisting of the sails during maneuvers. The mast man and bowman go hand in hand and help each other on hoists and drops. The main communication is with the bowman, pitman, and skipper.

No sailing team is complete without its ballast crew members that help to balance the boat in order to reach its top possible speeds and maneuverability. These members of the crew are called ‘ballast’ and are key when racing for the mark. Ballast crew members have the best seat in the house.

What Makes a Good Crew Member?

  • Key qualities : All crew members require a positive attitude, sense of humor, and the ability to get along with others in the confined space aboard a cruiser. 
  • Willingness to Learn : Good crew members are willing to learn and to take an active role in all aspects of running the yacht.
  • Attentive : Diligent crew listen to the instructions carefully and ask questions if they do not understand anything.
  • Working As a Team : All members of the crew must remember that they are part of a team. A happy gathering in the cockpit at the end of the passage is an indicator that each member of the crew has done their job.


Peter is the editor of Better Sailing. He has sailed for countless hours and has maintained his own boats and sailboats for years. After years of trial and error, he decided to start this website to share the knowledge.

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Skipper responsibilities: when people’s lives depend on our choices

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The fatal shipwreck opposite the harbour of Rimini, Italy, last April 8th, in which 4 people lost their lives , brings into the foreground a matter which is often underestimated, namely the responsibilities of a skipper . Of course, the task of elucidating the real causes and possible responsibilities of this tragedy will fall to investigators.

skipper responsability accidents

What is certain is that the skipper, or better, the captain of a boat takes an enormous responsibility every time he sails off and starts sailing with his crew, even when the latter is made up of few relatives and friends. His responsibility is always moral but it can sometimes become even civil and penal.

This level of awareness, especially among those for whom sailing is not a job, is not always present. If, on one hand, it is true that we can’t let the weight of this responsibility crush ourselves, ruin our boat holiday and stress our guests, on the other hand, it’s equally true that  we mustn’t underestimate the effects of our choices.

It’s up to us, as boating license holders and captains of the boat, to decide, for example, whether to sail off under bad weather conditions or not.

In itself, this decision doesn’t involve any kind of infraction . It’s not an overtaking in an area where this manoeuvre is not allowed, which represents a punishable situation regardless whether it provokes an accident or not. If we have decided that sea, boat and crew conditions are good enough to go out to sea even if the sea state is 8, no one can “give us a ticket”. In case of accident, however, we will be criminally responsible for this choice.  

skipper responsability accidents man overboard

Not only because it’s physically impossible to stay at the wheel nonstop but also because a 1992 Ministerial Circular of the Italian Civil Code clearly establishes that driving a boat doesn’t consist “in steering physically a boat… but it means to be responsible for the command and supervision of all the operations required for sailing which cannot be delegated to third parties”.

In short, in case of accident, even if the helmsman is a relative or a friend, the responsible for the event is always the captain of the boat. The law is clear and article 2054 of the Italian Civil Code establishes that ” the driver of a vehicle (according to the law, the boat, too, is a “vehicle”) equipped with no rails is obliged to refund the damage caused to people or things … if he doesn’t prove that he did everything he could to avoid the damage itself “.

Furthermore, article 414 of the Navigation Code establishes that, when we sail with some friends on board, the responsibility of the captain is applied only when he acted in negligent or imprudent manner.

skipper responsability accidents man overboard

So, the negligent skipper pays for damages and is criminally responsible for eventual accidental personal injuries and negligent homicide.

Jurisprudence offers a multitude of examples of condemnations of skippers who have been responsible for irresponsible misconduct and, vice versa, of absolutions, even in very serious cases, because the accident and, sometimes, even the death of a crew member have been proven to be accidental and the captain did everything he could to sail safely.

All rules and codes apart, there is always the moral issue. As already mentioned, when we go out to sea with other people, even in the case of a short cruise, we are always responsible not only for the well-being of these people but, above all, for their safety . In addition to being aware of our competence, we must scrupulously check that everything is orderly on board , that equipment is efficient and reachable, that life-saving equipment (lifejackets, life raft and belts) are handy and useable in few seconds and that weather conditions are good and safe according to our course, boat and passengers.  We have to inform our guests about the use of the on-board equipment and radio, without getting them warned or nervous.

And we mustn’t be afraid to say not and be unpleasant . Many skippers maybe nicer than us have made some mistakes that have often provoked no accidents but that, sometimes, have unfortunately resulted into fatal events.

Once everything is done scrupulously and seriously, we can enjoy our sailing experience and have fun with our friends.

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Skippering a boat for the first time: steps to success

  • Katy Stickland
  • September 18, 2020

Skippering a boat for the first time needn't be daunting, as long as you prepare. Matthew Diggle reveals how to make a success of taking charge

Skippering for the first time doesn't mean you are on the helm

New skippers don't need to be at the helm, and giving crew tasks will keep them happy and motivated. Credit: Matthew Diggle

It’s a pity that skippering a boat for the first time can seem so intimidating.

Not much beats the feeling of being in charge of a yacht, deciding where to go, and taking the crew on an adventure.

And there’s a real sense of accomplishment at the end when you bring the crew and boat home safely.

For anyone who is new to sailing or who crews for someone else, following the RYA training path and becoming a Day Skipper is an excellent way of taking your sailing to the next level.

A moored yacht

As you gain confidence you can start to charter and explore new cruising grounds. Credit: Matthew Diggle

It shows that you understand the fundamentals and can take on more responsibility when other people feel daunted by the thought of being responsible for a boat and its crew.

With a bit of preparation and planning, skippering is well within most people’s capabilities, especially if you don’t bite off more than you can chew for the first few trips.

Preparation is the key. Simply put, you have to decide where to go, who to go with, and how to get there.

I thought it would be useful to share the lessons I’ve learned when I first started skippering for those considering taking their first steps.

Skippering a crew

Sailing boats are not particularly spacious down below so I generally don’t try to fill every berth onboard.

Even so, it is vital that the crew can get along together and this means that you have to choose who to invite carefully.

This is often a bit of a juggling act, trying to coordinate different people and boat availability, so in the end you’re unlikely to be able to please everyone.

Just offer some reasonable options and hope for the best.

A crew standing on a pontoon by a white yacht

Careful crew selection will contribute to a happy trip for all. Credit: Matthew Diggle

It is also important that people know what to expect, so they don’t sign up thinking that they’ll have a spacious cabin with en-suite facilities when they’ll actually get a space in the shared forepeak in a boat with a single heads.

Similarly, being clear about the nature of the trip – that this is your first time skippering –  will avoid adrenaline-junkies being frustrated by a gentle coastal cruise, or nervous novices being scared rigid during an offshore passage.

When skippering the first few times, it is well worth inviting an experienced and knowledgeable sailor to act as first mate.

But you should choose them wisely as you don’t want anyone who will take over or boss you about if you’re a bit slow working something out, or don’t do things in exactly the way they would.

What you really need is a calm and supportive person who will give you the space to experiment, have a quiet word in your ear if they are concerned that something is wrong, but who is capable of taking over if you are incapacitated in any way.

After all, you have to trust them to come back to pick you up if you have the misfortune to fall in, and you must be confident that they could get the boat and crew to somewhere safe if needed.

A man helming, while the skipper looks out to sea

A competent first mate will make your life as skipper much less stressful. Credit: Matthew Diggle

In return for the safety and security they provide, you should listen carefully to what they say and pay attention to their skippering advice.

You should also make it clear to the rest of the crew who the first mate is and that they may have to assume command.

It is also sensible to ensure that not all the crew are novices.

Coaching new crew is time-consuming, and sometimes time is in short supply.

It also takes up mental space while your head needs to be concentrating on skippering the boat.

This is especially true when coming into a berth.

Having one or two people capable of handling the fenders and warps will avoid the sort of situation I got into on one of my trips where I didn’t notice the crew were busy trying to remember how to tie the fenders so that when I got the mooring slightly wrong, they didn’t see we were drifting towards another boat and I ended up shouting.

In the end, someone from the other boat pushed us clear, but it definitely wasn’t my finest hour as skipper.

A crew of a yacht standing on the deck

With the crew briefed and kitted up, you’re ready to sail. Credit: Matthew Diggle

I usually send round practical information about arrangements, including advice about what to pack (and what to pack it in), about sharing cabins, what we will do about food, and also some reassuring words about the safety equipment on board.

More experienced crew members will probably already be aware of some or all of these things, but it is a good idea for everyone to have the same information so that there is a common starting point.

But I usually throw an extra sleeping bag in the car and make sure I check everyone’s equipped before setting off, just in case.

Organising a planning meeting, arranging to share lifts to the boat, or making some other excuse to get people together beforehand is a good idea.

The better people know each other, the more smoothly the trip is likely to run.

Encourage people to use email or social media to communicate, but make sure you ask for permission before sharing email addresses or phone numbers.

Keep your first skippering trip in familiar waters

Although it might be tempting to go exploring, you will probably have enough to think about without having to navigate around somewhere entirely new.

Indeed, the Day Skipper qualification says that you are only competent in ‘familiar areas’, but even here you might find yourself sailing from a marina or harbour you’ve not visited before.

If this is the case then do some research to get an idea of what to expect.

A skipper wearing a red lifejacket looking towards land from the cockpit of a yacht

Sailing in familiar waters will let you focus on skippering rather than navigating new hazards. Credit: Matthew Diggle

When you pick the boat up, take the opportunity to chat with the charterer and people on other boats nearby to get some local knowledge.

They’re likely to regale you with anecdotes about other visitors who have come to grief in one way or another.

Don’t let these tales put you off, just listen carefully and then you won’t feature in their next story.

Unless you have a particularly trusting boat-owning friend you will probably also need to use your Day Skipper qualification to charter a yacht.

Again, you are better settling for something which is not too adventurous or enormous.

This is not the time to have to deal with something much bigger than you’re used to or with extra sails, rigging, or masts that you’re not accustomed to.

The cost of the trip

One of the first practical aspects of arranging a trip is to sort out the finance.

You will need to cover the cost of the boat, together with mooring and fuel, and then decide whether to include food, meals out, and drinks.

I find that the simplest option is to share all the costs equally, and the first step is to prepare a rough budget so people have an idea of how much the trip is going to cost.

It’s generally better to over-estimate and then give people a small refund, rather than to try to collect an extra few quid from everyone at the end of the trip if, for example, there was a lack of wind and so the fuel costs more than you expected.

You also need to consider what to do about the cost of any damage.

Continues below…

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Do you trust everyone to stump up or would it be easier to include insurance in the basic cost of the trip?

You may find that potential crew are rather more enthusiastic about coming on a sailing trip in theory than they are in practice.

Asking them to pay a deposit when booking and the rest closer to departure is a good way of gaining commitment and preventing them from cancelling at the last minute.

Finally, record all expenses and payments so that everyone can check the figures and see that things have been divided up fairly.

This should help prevent disagreements.

There are a number of apps to make both the sums and payment straightforward.

Safety procedures

You are responsible for everyone’s safety and you should take this seriously, but in fact this usually isn’t too onerous if you are sensible and careful.

If you charter a coded vessel in the UK then it will come with a full set of safety equipment appropriate for its cruising limits.

All you will need to do is find where everything is stowed and familiarise yourself with specific details of the lifejackets, jackstays, and so on when you pick the boat up.

Then make sure the crew know how to use it, and do so at the appropriate time.

A fire extinguisher onboard a yacht

Brief the crew about safety equipment on board. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

I ask for an emergency contact number for each crew member, and in return let them have details of a shore contact.

I also ask crew members, in confidence, about any medical conditions that might affect them on the trip.

If someone falls ill you don’t want to be scrabbling about trying to find out if they have an inhaler or medication that could help.

Similarly, if you have to hand them over to an ambulance, the medics are likely to ask if they are allergic to common medicines.

There’s no need to share this with anyone beforehand, but I like to leave a copy with the shore contact and let the first mate know where the info is on the boat, just in case it were to be needed.

Catering for your crew

The first step when planning what to eat onboard is to check everyone’s allergies, likes, and dislikes.

With a modicum of thought it is quite feasible to cater for vegetarian, gluten-free, and other diets without making things too complicated.

There’s certainly no excuse for only offering a vegetarian crew member cheese sandwiches for every meal.

A crew eating dinner on a yacht

Good food on board boosts morale and can be a highlight of the trip. Credit: Matthew Diggle

On short, coastal trips I usually just cater for breakfast and lunch, and aim to eat ashore most evenings.

However, I like to have a simple ‘emergency meal’ on board, such as pasta and a jar of sauce, to make sure we can have a hot meal even if we end up at anchor rather than in a marina as planned.

I find that snacks, fruit, and biscuits are always welcome, and distributing a few chocolate bars can really lift the spirits during a hard slog or a long beat to windward.

Navigating your first trip

Once you’ve selected your crew, booked a boat, and decided on a cruising-ground, it’s time to start on the detailed preparations.

It is worth putting some effort into making the actual trip as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Skippering means you’ll have lots to think about, so take any opportunity to ‘cheat’ by preparing things beforehand.

Your RYA training will have taught you how to work out tidal depths from the tables in an almanac, but why not print out some tidal curves for the time you’re away, in particular for any marinas you’re thinking of visiting?

Planning and navigation software packages can do this well in advance, and you can find information for the next few days online.

After all, you can still do things the traditional way if you want to impress your crew (or just to prove to yourself that you remember how) but if things are going wrong or time is short then having ‘one you prepared earlier’ can be a literal life-saver.

Weather forecasts

Similarly, you can download weather maps and forecasts for the next few days before setting off.

Obviously, things will change so you will have to re-check the forecast every day, but having a feel for the general weather pattern should help you decide whether to turn left or right when you leave the marina on the first day.

Unless you’re feeling particularly masochistic or determined to experience ‘life at an angle’, it’s not very clever to spend the first half of a trip on a hard beat only to find the weather system passes and you spend the second half on a hard beat back again, when setting off in the other direction initially would have resulted in a pleasant cruise, both ways.

A yacht sailing through waves

Plan a couple of route options in case the weather changes. Credit: Matthew Diggle

Finally, get hold of any information you can about places you might visit or that you might want to have in reserve as bolt-holes.

Printing out some sketch-maps and pilotage notes can help you stay up on deck rather than spending time below checking the charts.

Share your plan with the crew, but make sure everyone knows that you might have to revise it due to things like a change in the weather.

Picking up the boat

Try to pick up the boat before the crew arrives.

Taking the inventory and doing the handover is much easier if the boat is not full of people and all their kit.

Then put the kettle on ready to give the crew a warm welcome.

If you’re parking a car at the marina then it is sensible to leave as much stuff in it as possible, particularly bulky bags and rucksacks.

A set of dry going-home clothes (and shoes) together with a dry towel and a bag for damp kit is a good idea if you think you might arrive back cold and wet on the last day – and if you’re sailing in the UK that is pretty likely!

Briefing your crew

Brief the crew before setting off.

Keep this simple and to the point; you don’t want to worry people, but it is important to point out the key things.

I usually include:

  • Lifejackets and tethers
  • Fire prevention and extinguishers
  • Galley and gas safety
  • First-aid kit
  • How to turn off autopilot
  • Using winches safely
  • Starting the engine
  • VHF radio and sending a DSC mayday
  • Using the heads

Give a briefing that is appropriate for the crew, so you might have to have a couple of different briefings or even give one to the experienced people and get them to brief it on.

It’s a good idea to show people how to use pontoon cleats before setting off, rather than trying to explain this at the end of the day.

Other things about sailing the boat can be introduced gradually over the course of the day.

Consider having simple standing orders to make it clear what’s expected of the crew.

These should include rules about wearing lifejackets and tethers, such as ‘whenever you want to and whenever I tell you to’.

Remember to let your shore contact know when you set off, and also when (and where) you arrive.

Using the RYA SafeTRX app is a great way of ensuring that they are alerted if you’re overdue and it can also produce records of the trip that the crew may find interesting, but do keep your mobile charged during the trip or you might not be able to close the trip when you arrive, leading to possible confusion or concern.

When skippering, try to keep everyone involved in running the boat.

In challenging conditions it may be prudent to limit some tasks to more confident and experienced crew, but don’t let them dominate and hog the helm or other exciting jobs the rest of the time; make sure that everyone gets a turn.

Remember to be positive about everyone’s efforts, patient if you have to explain things, and gentle if you have to correct someone.

After all, they’re here to enjoy themselves and a harsh word may put someone off ever sailing with you again.

A crew member in wet weather gear

If you can, go with the wind when it blows up. Your crew will thank you. Credit: Matthew Diggle

Keep an eye on the crew so you’re aware if anyone is starting to suffer from seasickness or is getting cold, and deal with it before it gets too bad.

I find that putting seasick crew on the helm or persuading them to lie on a bunk with their eyes closed usually helps.

Hot drinks and an offer to pass up warmer clothes will help a cold crew member who is, perhaps, avoiding going below decks.

You are in charge of the boat and part of skippering is to ensure the crew have confidence in you.

So, remain calm at all times, or at least appear calm while you work out what to do next.

Don’t dither, it’s your responsibility when skippering to make decisions and when faced with a choice almost the worst thing you can do is nothing.

On the other hand, don’t be afraid of changing your plans if conditions change.

Don’t sail on regardless, hoping that things will turn out alright; shorten the trip if the crew are struggling, change the destination if the wind shifts.

Final words on first time skippering

Matthew Diggle, skippering for the first time

Matthew Diggle started sailing after signing up for the 2011-12 Clipper Race. Since then he’s cruised in UK waters and off the Italian and Croatian coast. Credit: Matthew Diggle

It’s always worth having a debrief at the end of the day and of the trip to reflect on what people enjoyed, learned or didn’t understand, and hopefully this will help ensure everyone leaves happy.

As a skipper you are allowed to have fun too, but it is different to going on a trip that someone else has organised.

It may seem hard work and a little daunting to start with, but you’ll get into your stride after only a few trips.

I find it immensely satisfying when crew tell me that they’ve enjoyed a trip, that they’ve learned new skills, and, most of all, that they want to come back.

So why not start planning a trip and gathering a crew now?

First time skippering checklist

  • Select crew with similar expectations
  • Mix of abilities and experienced first mate
  • Set expectations of boat and plans early
  • Email joining instructions ahead of time
  • Take a spare sleeping bag and waterproofs
  • Meet up before the trip if possible
  • Share shore contact details for the boat and get emergency contact for each crew

Cruising grounds

  • Stick to familiar areas for first-time skippering
  • Research new places you want to visit
  • Get some local knowledge from charter company or marina
  • Charter in an area you know
  • Opt for a modest-sized boat that will be easy to sail
  • Stick to white sails and don’t worry about spinnakers
  • Arrive before the crew to settle in
  • Decide what costs you will cover, and what you will split
  • Be clear with your crew about how much it will cost
  • Include a margin for extra fuel, and refund if possible
  • Ask for a deposit so crew commit
  • Check the boat has all the necessary safety equipment and where it is
  • Brief your crew on safety gear and procedures, above and below decks
  • Check if crew are on medication or have medical requirements
  • Check and fit lifejackets
  • Establish standing orders of when to wear lifejackets, who is in charge, and who first mate is
  • Check for crew allergies, likes and dislikes
  • Decide if you’re cooking on board or eating ashore
  • Have enough for breakfasts, lunches and a back-up meal
  • Take plenty of snacks, tea, coffee and milk
  • Print out tide times, tidal curves and weather forecasts beforehand
  • Plan a couple of route options to cover different weather scenarios
  • Aim to make the first sail an easy one
  • Prepare pilotage for new places you plan to visit
  • Let shore contact know plans/use RYA SafeTRX app
  • Share and rotate roles among crew
  • Look out for bored, cold or seasick crew
  • Distribute snacks and drinks regularly
  • Keep an eye on the big picture – passage plan, weather, navigation and safety
  • Teach crew if you have time, but don’t be distracted
  • Discuss plans, but you make the final decisions
  • Debrief at the end of the day and of the trip

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How to be a good skipper: ooze calm and confidence but don’t shout!

Yachting World

  • March 29, 2016

No two skippers are the same and everyone has different leadership styles, but Chris Tibbs believes certain traits will make you into a skipper that crew will want to sail with

what is a yacht skipper

Photo: Mahina Expeditions

We become skippers by a number of different routes; many dinghy sailors will eventually become yacht owners after years of crewing on different yachts. Sea schools are well attended and boats are often keen to take on crew from schools, allowing students to gain experience and miles to help with qualification.

There are also many people who come to sailing later in life; after buying a boat, these people tend to learn from the experience of sailing their own yacht.

I think it is also fair to say that, along with the many ways of getting into sailing and becoming a skipper, good skippers will have different leadership styles – no two are the same. Over the years, having sailed with many different skippers, I have noticed a number of common traits in a good skipper.

By melding together the points I like in a skipper this has hopefully made me a better skipper, both for when I was working commercially running yachts, and now aboard my own.

Photos: Paul Wyeth

Photos: Paul Wyeth

I find that a skipper who is calm and confident goes a long way to maintaining a nice feel to a boat. Easily said, but it is a fine balance between confidence and arrogance; and being too laidback can give an impression of laziness, extending to preparations and maintenance. Staying calm and in control during a crisis rubs off on the whole crew and the boat becomes much quieter and under control.

Don’t shout

There is plenty of time for a please and thank you, along with an explanation of what needs doing and how it should be done. It also gives time to work on a solution to any problems and avoids panicked decisions. This is communication in a way that is effective and also pleasant.

People dislike being shouted at (I certainly do); it inhibits crew doing their job as they are afraid of getting it wrong, so they wait until told to do something. This can be very frustrating for a skipper, particularly when racing and the pressure is on, which in turn leads to more shouting.

Article continues below…

what is a yacht skipper

ARC weather man Chris Tibbs prepares his boat for ocean cruising

When we bought our Wauquiez Centurion 40s, Taistealai, for ocean cruising, starting with the ARC this year, we had a…

what is a yacht skipper

Offshore weather planning: the options for receiving weather data at sea

When I skippered a yacht in the first Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) 30 years ago the weather planning information…

I equate the amount of noise on board to be in inverse proportion to the sum of knowledge. I do find that being on a boat with a skipper who stands behind the wheel shouting at the crew is not much fun and, if asked back, will generally decline the invitation.

There is something great about helming your own boat in a race, but if you are also trying to run all aspects of the boat from behind the helm you can get stressed. Then your helming declines as your concentration jumps from one task to another.

It is much better to have a crew boss or mate who controls the running of the boat, managing manoeuvring instructions and allowing the skipper to concentrate on helming. The alternative is for the skipper to manage the running of the boat and have a different helmsman. Large racing boats will often have separate helmsman, navigator and tactician, with the skipper in overall control.

Chris Tibbs,Transatlantic Prep,Plymouth 2,9,15

This is another important lesson: delegation and training. There are many decisions taken on board that really do not need to involve the skipper once a general plan has been made.

For example, does the skipper really need to micromanage all the food that is bought for a transatlantic passage ? By delegating a large proportion of the running of the yacht to others it does free up the skipper to focus attention on the more important issues.

5 top tips for a good skipper

  • Communicate clearly.
  • Stay calm and confident.
  • Promote fairness and listen to your crew (treat them with respect).
  • Be cheerfully available at all times, whenever called.
  • Act decisively.

I skippered a yacht in the BT Global Challenge where everyone on board had an area of responsibility, although things would be discussed. We split things up in a number of ways: for example, one crewmember, who worked in the oil industry, was the safety officer.

It was their responsibility to make sure all our safety equipment was in working order and serviced. They would also give a safety briefing to new crewmembers as to where equipment was stowed and how it should be used.

By giving responsibility to a crewmember, it relieves some of the skipper’s duties, but more importantly it helps crew quickly become part of the team. During the last ARC one of our crew arrived only a couple of days before the start – immediately he set to work on a jobs list and his comment afterwards was that it allowed him to familiarise himself with the boat and made him feel part of the crew.

Part of the skipper’s job is to explain and teach; it is pointless to get angry at a crewmember for doing something wrong if they have never been shown how to do it right.

Although it is often easier to do something yourself than explain how it should be done, it is important for other members of the crew to be able to tackle particular jobs.

Then if something needs doing in a stressful situation they will not be doing it for the first time under pressure, when something is very likely to go wrong.

Some crew may not be very experienced, but all should be willing to learn – with a bit of help and encouragement they will soon become efficient crewmembers, whether for a day’s sail, or an ocean passage . I find it easier to hand over the helm when showing what I would like done rather than trying to do it from a fixed place with divided concentration.

You only have to watch manoeuvres in a marina for a short time to spot a boat getting into difficulties and a significant amount of shouting and swearing starts. The skipper has lost control of the boat and will shortly lose control of the crew, then will spend a long time contemplating the wonders of single-handed sailing.

It is important to get away from the blame culture. If something is done wrong a quiet word will be more effective than balling somebody out; most people are upset when they do something wrong and I see no point in making it worst by public humiliation.

Chris Tibbs,Transatlantic Prep,Plymouth 2,9,15

As a skipper it is important always to be available and never to be upset or grumpy at being called, even if it turns out not to be necessary. I recall one dark night in the English Channel when the crew on watch were discussing a ship.

One was quite certain that we were passing behind the ship, the other equally certain we were passing in front. On hearing this I got up to find that there was a ship close by and where one crew was seeing the running lights, the second was seeing lights at the stern and in front of us was a wall of steel! A (very) quick gybe and all was well.

I will never ask anyone to do something that I would not be prepared to do myself; whether changing a sail on the foredeck at night in a gale, or climbing the mast . While younger, fitter crewmembers might be better suited to the task, is it safe or right for them to do it? I look at the task and ask myself would I do it? If the answer is yes I do it myself or, if the volunteer will do it better, then I may be persuaded.

If however the answer is no, then we must find another solution. As I get older I may have to change my thinking as it gets more difficult to do the tougher physical activities.

Angus Fuller

Safety first – Angus Fuller

  • Safety, safety, safety – make this a priority, not just on deck, but below: in the galley, moving in the interior, even in the heads.
  • Wear lifejackets at night. Always.
  • Respect the environment, particularly with a view to pollution.
  • Remember you can’t do everything so delegate/rely on crew wherever possible.
  • Carry out drills before departure, ensure all crew understand their roles during any scenario. At halfway, have a chat, table top drill or even a full drill in order to keep the crew refreshed.
  • Pay attention to detail. This applies to pretty much everything, from maintenance of systems to presentation of the yacht to monitoring the weather .
  • Communicate the plan to the crew: a daily briefing on weather (lunch time is ideal), route, any change in this owing to weather and why. At sunset, issue night orders for changes in wind speed and direction.
  • Ensure clear parameters are set with the crew so they know when to wake the skipper in the event of changes in weather, shipping, landfall, etc.
  • Never be afraid to brief the crew before a manoeuvre – and a debrief after a manoeuvre can be a very useful process for both the skipper and crew.
  • Reef when you first think about it – invariably performance doesn’t suffer that much (and is often improved) if it’s a marginal decision.
  • Aim to have the yacht arrive in the same condition, or preferably better, than when you departed. By definition this means you will be looking after the yacht properly during the passage.
  • Know the cruising area or stretch of water being transited. If you don’t, then heavily research it.
  • Exercise seamanship to the very best of your ability at all times and instil this in your watch leaders from the outset.
  • Assemble a crew who aren’t just good sailors, but compatible personalities too.

Fairness is all

You also need to be fair, whether this means splitting the watch times so all the crew are happy, or balancing meals and meal preparation. Fairness is important and it is easy to fall into routines where one person feels unfairly treated.

At the start of a long ocean passage on my boat one crewmember, who did not suffer from seasickness , ended up making drinks and snacks for everyone; this became the norm and after a few days they became unhappy because they were doing more than their fair share of galley duties.

Small things like that can quickly become big on a boat at sea. Another time I had a habit of always running the generator and watermaker at the same time of day; this became annoying for the off-watch as it made sleep more difficult, something I was not aware of at first as it did not affect me. Having a time where everyone comes together, maybe meal times, can be a good time to address small issues before they get bigger.

Chris Tibbs,Transatlantic Prep,Plymouth 2,9,15

Part of a skipper’s responsibility to the crew is safety and this is not only their direct personal safety, but also the maintenance of the boat and equipment.

I find it useful to have plenty of discussions about what could go wrong and the equipment we have on board and how it can be used.

Man overboard practices and fire drills should be done as a matter of course, but it not always that easy, particularly on short voyages. However, a safety briefing should be done for all new crewmembers even if they are only on board for a daysail.

What is perhaps not so comfortable for skippers is having to resolve interpersonal problems. This may just involve switching the watch system around, or may mean you have to ask someone to leave: not a nice job for anyone to have to do, but a happy boat tends to be a safer boat – and faster if racing.

One problem that can become an issue on races and rallies is how hard the boat will be pushed. What might be pushing hard for a racing person will be different for a cruiser and it is easy for people to become apprehensive (or plain scared) when out of their comfort zone.

Then there is the issue of money on cost sharing or paying your way boats. It is important before committing to sail together to have a firm agreement on what is expected on both sides.

It should also be clear who is paying travel costs as, although a boat may be legally responsible for repatriating crew, most non-commercial yachts expect crewmembers to be responsible for their own travel.

Who’s the leader?

There can be times when a crewmember may be as experienced (or maybe more so) than the skipper. This can cause tension and insecurity in the skipper’s position.

For a day or so it should not be a problem, but on a longer passage a feeling of being undermined can set in. As a skipper it is useful to be open to ideas, they may be better than yours as everyone’s experiences are different, but at the end of the day the yacht is your responsibility.

Trying to get a balance between listening to, but being able to reject ideas may not be easy and can be a difficulty when taking on crew that you may not have sailed with in the past.

I have seen this a number of times in the ARC where a boat has taken on an experienced crewmember, but it has blurred the lines as to who is the skipper and caused tension.

I do find choosing a crew difficult; it does partly depend on what I am intending to do. For a long passage an enthusiastic, positive person will make up for any shortcomings in experience.

We all have to live together so getting on is important, along with a willingness to share all tasks. As we are sharing our boat, which is our pride and joy, respecting and looking after it should be a priority.

Damage will occur and owners/skippers need to be prepared for this, but a carelessly dropped saucepan on the newly varnished cabin sole is avoidable and immensely irritating.

My ultimate test is: would I be happy working on the foredeck in bad conditions with this person? A definite no-no for me is laziness, particularly crew not willing to muck in with the bad bits as well as the good.

tom cunliffe

Speak to your crew – Tom Cunliffe

  • Communication is key. No ‘mushroom management‘.
  • Listen/watch, crew and boat.
  • Remain cheerful, or at least positive, even when woken during your watch below.
  • Above all, make sure all hands are running on the same ‘motivation fuel tank‘. If they all want the same thing, you are three-quarters of the way to a happy ship.
  • By all means communicate legitimate concerns, but never irrational anxieties.
  • Sit down before you start, agree ship’s articles and all sign them. Everyone must know their duties. If money is involved, details of this must also be inscribed, as well as a probable route with contingencies. Then, when things turn to the bad and aggro starts, you get out the articles and read them together. End of problem (given to me by one crew of Sandefjord , which sailed in the 1950s from South Africa).

Judging competence

Choosing a skipper also has its pitfalls. Experience and competence is difficult to judge on first meeting and going for a sail together is important. Personally I would avoid a shouter at all costs.

Competence levels are more difficult to measure, but a well-run, tidy boat is a good indicator while one with a long jobs list could indicate that things have slipped.

A quick look in the bilges and at the engine can give a clue as to maintenance and a check on lifejackets will show thoughts on safety. I recently did a safety check on a yacht for an event to find that the owners had brand new top of the range lifejackets for themselves while the crew ones were old, without lights or sprayhoods. I am not sure I would have enjoyed sailing on that boat!

Skippering a yacht well is not an easy task, there are so many aspects to the job. It becomes easier with experience and there is no substitute for miles sailed. Good sailors are not necessarily great skippers, but good skippers must also be good sailors.

I have a great deal of respect for the late Sir Peter Blake and, although I never had the privilege to sail with him, I sailed against him on two Whitbread Round the World races . He always found time to have a friendly word and generated great crew loyalty on board his boats.

Jim and Lucy Thom

Be the best leader you can – Jim Thom

  • It’s becoming progressively easier to access sophisticated weather information. A good skipper will prepare the yacht for the actual weather, not the forecast he/she’d like.
  • Monitor the yacht’s position and the conditions, high and low-tech, from radar/chart plotter to barometer. Even though electronics are increasingly failsafe, a good skipper keeps a record on paper, in the log and on a chart – even the most advanced yachts can be struck by lightning , or suffer power failure . A good skipper will also listen to their senses, and to their sixth sense. They’ll ask themselves where that low swell is coming from or why the seas have become steeper. Shallow reefs may tint the underside of clouds green or blue, and the sound of breakers will hopefully never come as a surprise. Rain has a distinctive smell at sea, as does land and your nose will tell you when ice is near.
  • A good skipper will look for the ‘horseshoe nail’ – lost from the messenger’s horse, it triggered the chain of events that lost a kingdom. Regular checks of the yacht, including sails and rig, deck fittings, bilges, steering, engine and machinery, will help the skipper and crew stay ahead of the law of entropy, and out of the incident pit.
  • Create a flexible structure without being overly prescriptive. Agree standard practice with the crew: how lines should be made off on a cleat; how to use and make fast on a winch, how to shake out a reef, how to make engine checks, etc. Establishing basic procedures avoids surprises and allows crew to develop skills and think further. A good skipper will prevent boredom and apathy by agreeing daily routine maintenance tasks and helping to develop projects that improve the yacht and teach useful skills on board.
  • A good skipper’s best attributes are not related to technical expertise, but to self management, leadership and communication skills. If you develop a set of team and personal goals then a common understanding will prevent many hot spots from forming.
  • A good skipper will try to manage their own emotions, knowing the effect they can have on morale. They’ll keep an eye on each member of crew and on the mood of the team, finding reasons to celebrate together – crossing the line, halfway point, a birthday, a good day’s run, or just a great day at sea.

About the authors

Chris Tibbs is a meteorology and weather router, as well as a professional sailor and navigator, forecasting for Olympic teams and the ARC rally.

Angus Fuller is a professional skipper, MCA Chief Mate 3000GT (yachts), who has made 29 transatlantic crossings, 21 as skipper, and one transpacific crossing as skipper, plus one circumnavigation upwind and sailed over 300,000 miles.

Jim Thom has been skipper of a Robert Clarke sail training yacht, a Baltic trader, a Clipper Round the World Race yacht and for four years was captain of the Fife design Kentra . From 2003-2012 he was captain of the 125ft Fife 19 Metre Mariquita with his wife, Lucy, as mate.

Tom Cunliffe is a Yachtmaster Instructor Examiner, author of numerous books on seamanship and is a contributor to Yachting World , responsible for our ‘Great Seamanship’ features.

Yacht Charter with Skipper | 15 Things You Need to Know

Yacht charter with skipper | the 15 essentials, our guide to hiring a skipper for a yacht charter.

Embarking on booking a yacht charter adventure brings a world of excitement and questions, especially when it involves a skipper. Navigating the role and significance of a skipper is key to a successful journey. From understanding the definition of a skipper to grasping their responsibilities and qualifications, each element plays a crucial role in shaping your experience.

Cost and logistics are central to planning your charter. Delving into the details like skipper fees , route decisions , and crew hiring provides clarity and helps set realistic expectations. Additionally, practical concerns such as feeding the skipper and tipping etiquette are aspects often overlooked yet vital for a smooth sailing experience.

Finally, the more nuanced aspects of yacht chartering, like discussing plans with your skipper in advance and navigating the complexities of charter agreements , reveal the intricate dynamics of this unique travel experience. Dive into each of these facets to unravel the full picture of what it means to charter a yacht with a skipper.

Charter Payment Protection

Insolvency protection, safe payment, muti-currency. lossless forex, low price guarantee, exclusive deals no hidden fees, introduction to skippered yacht charters.

Understanding Skippered Charters.  These charters are increasingly popular for their ease and expert guidance. Skippers are not only highly qualified mariners, but also adept at being sociable or discreet according to guest preferences.

You’ll also learn about some facts you might not have known, like it’s your responsibility to feed your skipper and your Operator or agent only act as “recruiters”, whilst they will bear natural responsibility for finding suitable and qualified skippers, it’s a typically a direct relationship.

Here at SailChecker, we work closely with our clients to help them make arrangements with their skipper that works for them.

Pre-Charter Access and Skipper Selection

Choosing Your Skipper. You get surprisingly little choice over or access to your skipper.  Typically detailed planning discussions won’t be possibile until you arrive at the base.

Whilst this sounds restrictive, it’s actually the most effective and efficient. It will mean that your skipper is not dealing with future client’s and be able to focus on you during your charter. It means that you won’t make planning decisions that are undone by local weather conditions.

The popularity and freelance nature of skippers has lead to high demand and high turnover. Operators will not always be in a position to allocate until the week leading up to your charter.

Here at SailChecker we work hard to understand your specific requirements, not all operators work in the same way, help balance all your requirements to ensure the best possible experience.  

Cost and Duration of Skippered Charters

How much does it Cost to Hire a Skipper? We’ll explore the typical costs and duration of skippered yacht charters, this segment provides crucial budgeting insights for those planning a charter.

SailChecker have independent options and their own skippers to give charterers a wider choice of crew.

Route Planning and Flexibility

Adjusting Sailing Routes: Skippers play a crucial role in route planning. However, pre-arrival planning is often subject to change due to local conditions. This flexibility ensures a comfortable and enjoyable journey, catering to real-time factors like weather and local events.

Role and Responsibilities of the Skipper

Expectations from Your Skipper. We’ll provide a detailed overview of the skipper’s responsibilities, emphasising their commitment to safety, navigation, and guest comfort, while clarifying limits in tasks like cooking and domestic duties.

Skippers are highly skilled professionals, it’s really important to understand what a Skipper will and won’t do for you.

Here at SailChecker, we use our independence to advise on different options and levels of service. 

Understanding the Skipper Hiring Process

Selecting the Right Skipper: Insights into the hiring process of skippers, highlighting how charter operators ensure they select skippers who are not only skilled but also have the right interpersonal qualities.

Here at SailChecker, we know which Operators are recruiting and retaining the best Skippers in their freelance pool.

Interpersonal Skills of the Skipper

Skippers’ Social Skills: Concluding with the importance of a skipper’s ability to be genial, teach, entertain, and also maintain discretion, ensuring guests enjoy their time aboard while feeling comfortable with their presence.

Here at SailChecker, we know how important the right personality is, whether it’s someone who’s great with kids, someone who likes to teach the basics or someone who knows the party spots, we’ll help you refine your choice and create a better and more enjoyable sailing experience.

  • 1. Definition of a Skipper?
  • 2. How much does it cost to hire a Skipper?

3. Who decides the Route?

  • 4. Can We Have the Skipper’s CV and Sailing Resume?

5. Can I Discuss our Plans with the Skipper in Advance?

6. is the route always certain on a skippered charter.

  • 7. Who actually hires the Skipper?
  • 8. What will the Skipper NOT DO on a yacht charter?

9. What will your Skipper ACTUALLY do on a yacht charter?

  • 10. Who feeds a charter skipper?
  • 11. How much Does a Skipper Earn on a Skippered Yacht charter?
  • 12. How much do you tip your Skipper on a yacht charter?
  • 13. Are Skipper’s Qualified?
  • 14. How do you become a Skipper?

15. When Booking a Yacht Charter with a Skipper why can’t we have Open Access to them in Advance?

1. definition of a skipper, how to define the skipper or captain of a boat during a charter.

Let’s start with a formal definition:

Skipper. noun. /ˈskɪpə(r)/ /ˈskɪpər/ ​the captain of a small ship or fishing boat.

You will find the word used worldwide but it is chiefly in use in Europe, especially the UK. In the US and in the Far East, you will see the word interchanged with “captain”, reserved for larger ships in British English. Whichever you choose to use, you are highly unlikely to be misunderstood or even corrected.

In essence, it’s the most senior person on board and in command of the vessel and has some pretty serious obligations under the local laws and the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea ( COLREGS ). He or she can, if in international waters, even officiate legally recognised weddings under some circumstances!

In the end, you have to lawfully accept their decisions whilst underway which makes understanding exactly what their responsibilities are when chartering with a skipper (or captain!).

2. How Much Does it Cost to Charter with a Skipper?

Freelance skipper rates for yacht charter.

Chartering with a Skipper. Now that you know you need or want to go chartering with a skipper, how much will it cost to hire one?

Price. In 2024 the most typical price for a chartering with a skipper was between €240 or $240 per day. Whilst advertising rates are per day, it can be difficult to charter for anything short of a week as most skippers are seeking full employment at peak times. The exception is Assisted Sailing .

Assisted Sailing. This is where a skipper joins you for several days at the commencement of your charter. It’s particularly useful if you are a little out of practice, a new sailor, or sailing a bigger boat than you are used to.

How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Yacht. We do recommend you check out our blog How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Yacht  if you would like to piece the whole picture together.

Route Planning for a Yacht Charter

Many charterers are naturally anxious about knowing where they are going and who decides. For some, booking restaurants and other popular attractions along the way is essential.

The route selection is something that cannot ever be guaranteed. There is always a risk the weather plays a small or large part in your decision. Whilst the Skipper has the final say on safety, the primary guest will have a great deal of input into the route. Where there are restaurants that need booking, more than 1 week in advance, your operator will typically reach out to you, in the main, restaurants can be secured during your charter.

SailChecker has a great deal of experience in each location and, as importantly, how each base operates and treats guests. We aim to find what’s a priority for you and match you to the right operator and boat accordingly. 

4. Can We Have the Skipper's CV and Sailing Resume

How much you get to learn about your skipper in advance and can vary and can change at short notice.

On high-end charters, known as Crewed Charters (opens in a new tab), the crew on the boat full-time have resumes and CVs that will be sent to you before booking. On skippered charters, where the boat and skipper are hired separately, skippers more typically come from a pool and for operational reasons, might only be allocated at short notice. This might not always be the case, smaller companies may allocate well in advance and changes are rare.

Planning With Your Crew in Advance is Often Restricted.

Being denied access to your Crew in advance is a common policy from Operators. This ensures that the crew focus entirely on you when you are on charter, and not dealing with communications from charters in the weeks ahead.

In some cases, your  Operator may not know who your skipper is, or leave themselves the ability to move people around at the last minute. This is ‘priced-in’ when compared to Crewed Charters.

SailChecker will always honestly manage expectations about crew access. We are also a team of ex-crew members who can often answer many of the questions without needing to revert to the crew.

Your Planned Route Can Change at Very Short Notice

On many  yacht charter with a skipper,  the route will go exactly as planned and bear a remarkable similarity to the published itinerary by the operator and agent. In other cases, it may differ significantly once the skipper can talk to you and explain the different options available to you.

On top of that, factors like the weather,  sail weeks  (groups of yacht sailing together to party) that might turn idyllic spots into loud music all evening, might mean a tweak to the route without missing out on the a highlight.

The weather is a strong contender to play it’s part too; heading in the direction wind has been coming from for a few days can make the sea uncomfortable to give one example (there are many), but settled later in the week – your skipper will be an expert on keeping you as comfortable as possible. In other words, they won’t know in detail where you will go, only in outline which is always provided in  sailing itineraries  for the area.

7. Who Actually Hires the Skipper?

Freelance skippers are typically are hired directly by the primary guest.

Introduction . This might seem an odd thing to need to know when you’re chartering with a Skipper . But, it can be useful to know as it might not be quite what you were expecting.

Crewed Charter . If you are chartering a boat with a permanent crew , they are almost always salaried or won the boat. If they are employees, they will have contracts with the crewed yacht charter operator. They are very typically a couple who share a cabin which allows cabin space to be maximized for guest use.

Skippered Charter . If you are hiring your skipper separately it’s commonly referred to as a Skippered Charter  (New Window), you are, in essence, adding a skipper to a Bareboat Charter (New Window), like you might add a driver to a hire car.

Key Info . Keep in mind that every crew member will need their own cabin to comply with employment law in most countries. That said, there are lots of exceptions, but it pays not to assume.

Employment Status. When chartering with a skipper in this manner, they will typically be self-employed. The operator will have their own reputation to protect and will always try and work with the best they can find, yet they won’t always be directly responsible.

8. What Will Your Skipper NOT DO on a yacht charter?

Freelance skippers are skilled mariners and won't deal with every aspect of you charter..

Knowing exactly what to expect of your skipper when chartering is key to a stress-free charter from the outset avoiding any misunderstandings. It’s also the most challenging question to answer, as no two operate in exactly the same way, and it can even vary from skipper to skipper even when working for the same operator! All in all, this makes it even more important to know where the lines are and to get your agent’s support. Here at SailChecker, we take this part of organising your charter seriously.

Here is a list of SEVEN things you will typically find your Skipper is unlikely to do as part of your agreement:

  • Pay your deposit. Most boats have a non-refundable element to the deposit. As a charterer, it may come as a surprise to know that in many cases, you are still responsible to the operator and the skipper is responsible to you. If some damage is caused through some extraordinary event, say a surge in water, that the skipper could not have ordinarily made provision for, then the liability falls to the charterer, not the skipper. If the skipper damages the boat, say during docking, he will almost certainly cover that cost and many are insured, yet do not take that for granted.
  • Cook . Ok. So there are many great skipper cooks out there, yet it cannot be an expectation. It’s not even possible to demand one, it’s something you might be able to influence through your agent, so if it’s important to you, make it known at the start.
  • Serve Drinks or Meals. On the contrary, it’s actually your duty to ensure he is “fed and watered”. This need not be in the style you are feeding yourselves, although it is quite rare to discriminate, yet so long as you discharge your responsibility, the skipper will be more than happy.
  • Sail If Unsafe. No matter your crews’ experience, the decision to sail will always lie with the skipper. This can even be at a difficult time in the charter, yet the skipper will always put the safety of the crew and boat before any practical considerations.
  • Wash Up! Skippers will always tidy up after themselves if they are preparing their own food for instance, but they will not discharge any domestic duties whilst on board. They take more practical measures, such as stowing garbage, but it will be your responsibility to dispose of it ashore.
  • Late Runs Ashore. The way you will get ashore for land-based activities is via the tender. During the day this will often by the Skipper or other crew. Yet in the evening, they will not stay awake to run guests back the yacht after a certain time.
  • Provisioning . Your skipper will not do any provisioning. YOu will need to hire a chef or a hostess if you need this doing for you. Many good agents will help you do your initial provisioning remotely so that it is delivered to you on your first day without the requirement to go to the local supermarket.
  • Work All Hours. Your skipper will work hard during your charter and will always be on duty if you are underway. Not always on watch in some exceptional circumstances such as a night sail. Whilst when chartering with a skipper, they will always be available for advice and so on at the dock or at a mooring, their duties are considerably curtailed. Typically a skipper should not be working more than 8 hours a day.
  • Pre-Charter Support. Charters are pretty intensive for crew ensuring you have the very best time. The last thing you want on your charter is the crew being inattentive because they are dealing with questions from guests of upcoming charters. For that reason, most operators protect their crew by dealing with your questions and pre-charter support up until much closer to the day, if not the day of your charter.
  • Teach you to Sail. This is a strange one. This appears in what skippers won’t do and will do. I am yet to meet a skipper who doesn’t love teaching, yet willing students are difficult to find. I once encountered excitable students, only to find their interest wained when I asked them to learn the basic knots! For that reason, some Skipper’s will shy away from any formal teaching that’s not formalised in a syllabus.

A Look at all the Things you Can Expect from your Skipper

So now we have learnt a few things your host won’t do when chartering with a skipper , let’s focus on what you can expect from them.

Here’s our list of what you can expect when chartering with a skipper :

  • Meet and Greet . Expect your Skipper there when you arrive. If you are early, he might have some other duties to perform for the previous client before attending to you. As you can see, not much time off in this game.
  • Handover/TakeOver. Your skipper will do this on your behalf. It needs to be emphasised, this is typically on your behalf. As the charterer, the liability for the skipper and his actions ultimately rests with you. You can choose to be present or trust your skipper.
  • Planning . Whether you’re the type of person to have your trip planned with military precision, or the type to trust in your skipper, the wind, sea and weather might have their own ideas. This is very much part of sailing and the vast majority of trips exceed the client’s expectations because the Skipper, having learnt your preferences and experience levels, is so expertly able to direct you on what will suit your crew.
  • Host . Whilst it’s only your duty to ensure your skipper is fed, the skipper can often make a great dinner guest on abord and ashore. Much depends on your preferences and how the relationship develops, yet you will find most Skippers are the “hosts with the most”. Sit back and enjoy their stories.
  • Teach Sailing. If you are reading sequentially, this completely contradicts something I wrote in the last segment. It is possible to get teaching skippers outside of a syllabus so that you have some control over the route and what you do (unlike t a formal course). It will rarely lead to a formal qualification, but it will help immeasurably if you’re looking to do won in the future. Here at SailChecker we often go the extra yard to match the right skipper with the right crew to ensure you get the best possible experience.
  • Cook . Another contradiction! You certainly can’t expect them to cook for you, yet so many have great skills you might want to take advantage of if offered.
  • Tour Guide. Your skipper is likely to be very familiar with the area, and language, you should expect them to be willing and able to help with that.
  • Purser . Sometimes the skipper will ask you for a sum of money to cover incidental expenditure. It really helps the crew look after you paying for mooring, fuel, etc. without having to come to you each time. You will always receive a full break down and any unspent APA is returned. What is an APA? Read our comprehensive APA guide.

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10. Who feeds the Skipper on a Skippered Charter?

You are responsible for feeding your skipper throughout the charter.

Responsibility. It’s a clear obligation for the charterer to ensure the skipper is properly provisioned for.

Provisioning on Board . How to provision for your Skipper is a matter of discretion and a decision you can amend as you see fit without upsetting your skipper. They will be more than happy preparing meals from food you have bought for them or to eat your meals whilst about (this is the most common).

Provisioning Ashore . In this case, it might be the Skipper who would prefer to eat alone on the boat to do some work or attend to other matters. If this is the case, you can simply leave some provisions to use, or provide an allowance.

Summary. In the end, chartering with a skipper and feeding them is not an exact science. You should not be afraid of making your own plan so long as they are catered for.

11. How Much Does a Skipper Earn on a Yacht Charter?

Skippers on Skippered Charters will typically keep all of the fee you pay them. This is a little higher than the salaried guys who are get paid whether they are on charter or not and who typically get bigger tips.

Some skippers that are retained by the operators lose a percentage, typically 15-20% for their compensation.

A skipper on a superyacht would get around $5,000 upwards per month dependant on the size of the boat and their experience (plus tips that tend to be bigger than on mid-range charters.)

12. How Much do you Tip your Stewardess on a Yacht Charter

Tips are always welcome and always at your discretion: they do vary from region to region.

How much you tip when chartering with a skipper can depend on a few factors; the price of the charter, location, number of crew, etc. Tips are generally higher in the Caribbean and North America due to the tipping culture.

The  Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA)  has suggested tipping guidelines, the general rule is to tip  between 10% and 15% of your weekly charter fee , excluding running expenses and taxes.

That seems about right to us although we do see more.

13. Are Skippers Qualified?

A brief insight into the qualification your skipper is likely to hold.

You’d hope that your skipper was qualified, but that largely depends on where you are sailing, possibly not. In the vast majority of cases, outside of the Caribbean, it will be a yes. In Europe, it will vary from a good qualification to a commercial endorsement.

Here at SailChecker, we have our own commercial endorsed skippers that travel out with our clients who want that reassurance. We do not knowingly charter with any operators not using qualified skippers.

14. How Do You Become a Skipper?

Thinking about being your own or professional skipper.

This is a complex question, there are many recognised schemes around the world and 100’s of training providers. It largely depends on what you want to use your qualification for and what do you want to leave open in the future.

If you care only about chartering and will only sail in these cruising areas then you should read our blog on the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) (New Window).

If you have further ambitions as a professional charter, flotilla, or delivery skipper, then you will find some m, more information here .

More on the Rationale Behind Withholding Skipper's Details

Having paid not an inconsiderable amount of money for the services of a person so central to your sailing holiday, it is inevitable you are going to want to know as much as possible about them. The reason why that might not happen is mostly answered above: In the end, a series of email exchanges will not get you much further forward, you are unlikely to detect the character flaws that the operator has not already been aware of. If you have a request like a yacht charter with a skipper who is:

  • Good with children
  • Enjoys teaching
  • Is good company
  • Is unobtrusive when not needed

Are all matters your operator will take into consideration when

Any Last Questions on Chartering with a Skipper

Are you considering chartering with a Skipper?

Give us a Call or Send us an Email.

We’re here to help., +44 8000988118, +1 8443351306, +30 8008481290, +61 730678907.

Christopher Lait

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Yacht Charter & Sailing.

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What to Expect from and How to Treat a Skipper

Hiring a professional skipper for your sailing trip always sounds like a good idea. Regardless of your sailing skills, holidays are much more comfortable if a professional is onboard. Besides sailing, professional skippers possess local knowledge not only about the sailing area and weather patterns, but also about places to go to.

Check-in and Planning the Route with a Skipper

A skipper should be at the base before the clients arrive to do a technical check-in if possible. After an introduction at the office in the base, the skipper has to show the way to the boat to clients and help them accommodate. Once everyone has found their place aboard, the yacht skipper has to do the so-called ‘ safety briefing ’. In a few simple words, the skipper should explain where life vests and fire extinguishers are located. As well as safety procedures in case of emergency. The rest of the briefing is about tips and tricks for a safe and comfortable stay on the yacht.

The following conversation is usually about the route planning . The skipper should match clients’ wishes and desires about sailing destinations with possibilities regarding distances and a weather forecast. A good skipper should explain the current situation at sea and at the destination in advance. He can give own suggestions and advice if the clients are not completely sure where they would like to go. Through this conversation, the skipper should feel the attitude and mood of the clients. It can be useful when choosing a tempo of sailing and type of destinations. On the other hand, the clients have a chance to meet the skipper. And also establish an initial communication relationship.


Things to Keep in Mind

Even though clients have a right to demand some routes or destinations from a skipper, it is the skipper who takes the responsibility and gives the final decision about navigation and route planning. In case of any dispute or misunderstanding, the issue has to be solved in a friendly atmosphere . And in accordance with the base if necessary. The skipper has to be patient, polite, tidy and neat, and always willing to answer clients’ questions about the yacht. He must also be knowledgable about navigation, sailing or destination.

Evenings are perfect for planning the next day. While the final decision is going to be made in the morning before casting off to the next destination. Good skippers should be able to provide the best spot to stay overnight. Either at the anchor or berthing at the marina or port. This procedure sometimes considers a friendly tip to the marina or port staff. Clients have to be aware of that. Furthermore, good skippers should always be able to book the table at the best restaurant or bar for their clients. The clients have to be ready for dinner on time because restaurants and bars in the high season are usually quite hectic.


Provisioning onboard

Regarding provisioning for skippers, clients have to provide enough food and drinks for them. That considers at least one warm meal a day along with enough water to drink during the day. The most common way to do it is if skipper eats and drinks together with clients. Sometimes clients insist on their privacy, so they should provide skipper either money for meals or enough food in a yacht’s refrigerator if they do not want a skipper with them.

Skippers should stay away from alcoholic drinks and beverages at least until the yacht is safe, and they should make sure they had enough rest for upcoming duties. Therefore, skipper must be alone for some private free time at the end of the day. That means that skippers should not party all night long neither on their own nor with clients.

Clients sometimes demand unusual (illegal) favors from their skippers, such as providing narcotics or prostitutes on the yacht. Such demands are considered unacceptable, so skipper does not have to respond to them.


Where does a skipper sleep?

Skippers sleep with one eye (and ear) open whenever spending the night at the anchor. It is friendly and polite to offer a skipper one shift of night watch off when anchored. Skipper’s and clients’ biorhythms match very easily if the skipper is provided with a separate room. It is easier on the catamarans because skippers can use front crew cabins , also known as ‘the graves’, for their size and the level of comfort. Whatever the size of those cabins, skippers can retire to their own beds whenever they feel appropriate.

Sleeping in The Saloon

The situation gets more complicated on monohulls. Clients usually take all rooms, so a skipper usually sleeps in the saloon . That means that the skipper is the last to go to bed and the first to get up. Sometimes it brings the skipper to unpleasant situations. Especially if the clients want to party or stay up late in the night. The deal about the skipper’s accommodation has to be done prior to casting of the base.

Skipper and Cooking

The skipper doesn’t have to cook for the clients neither to do the dishes. If they do one of those things, it should be considered an added value rather than the duty. On the other hand, skipper has to wash the deck whenever possible, as well as control the water consumption and load fresh water whenever needed. I feel it is self-explanatory that the skipper has to take care of all navigation, power, water and sailing systems on board. The interior, furniture and inventory are under clients’ responsibility. After all, there is a deposit at the base for that purpose.


Safety of the Passangers

The skipper has to not only keep their clients happy and safe at all times of the sailing trip, but also bring them back to the base on time. Prior to the casting off the base, the skipper has to inform the clients about the charter company’s policy about the arrival back to the base, so that should not be an issue on the last day of the trip. In case of some technical failures, the skipper has to fix them in accordance with the base and technical support. In case of greater failures, the clients must know everything about the development of the situation while being understanding and patient.

Even though skippers are usually able to do every maneuver single-handedly, clients can give skippers a hand whenever it might be needed. At the end of the day, sailing with a skipper brings along many benefits, but do not overdo with demands – skippers are also human beings with their limits. Do not forget that you do not have a servant on board, but a trusted person who holds a great deal of responsibility not only for the fun part of the trip, but also for your lives.

I wish you calm seas, fair winds and a strong mast!

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What makes a Sailing Yacht seaworthy? Skipper´s Basics.

  • April 15th, 2016
  • Sailing Skills

There´s virtually no review of a sailing yacht nor a blog entry, sailing-related book or documentary which won´t refer in one way or another to this topic: Seaworthiness. Of course, that´s the one main thing of concern when looking at a boat, at the latest from the infamous sinking of the Swedish galleon VASA in 1628. Due to the blatant absence of seaworthiness. I try to dig deeper into that subject by reading a bunch of books and asking pro-skipper Tim Kröger : In this edition it´s the shape of the hull and especially the keel which is of most interest to me. I take the chance to photograph the different types of keels and hulls of sailing yachts in the winter storage  where my own yacht did overwinter to inspect the characteristics of each face to face.

The traditional Full-Keel Boat

Do you have sailors like this one in your circle of friends: A close buddy of mine, owner of a 1970ies built Danish Biance once said speaking of his boat that he would never go for anything else than a full keel boat. Her behavior in rough seas, her rigidity and stalwart character would be unrivalled, he argues: “There´s nothing better than a full keel sailing yacht”, he insists. Really? What is that fuzz all about? Sure, a full keel yacht – also referred to as the classic yacht design – produces a full bodied hull, fine lines and bears resemblance to the old school square rigged vessels of the past. Some of the greatest adventures in yachting – such as the Golden Globe Race Around the World  with such glamorous characters like Robin Knox-Johnston or Bernard Moitessier  – have been accomplished with full keel sailing yachts.

Full Keel vs. modern L-Keel.

A full keel sailing yacht does feature a high displacement, most of it being beneath the waterline thus creating a big lateral plan. With a full keel yacht one can therefore imagine the whole keel from bow to stern as one huge rudder stabilizing the whole ship, making it virtually immune against forces like tidal currents or other drift-provoking mechanisms of the seas: A full keeled boat will hold course steadily, and this especially well when it gets rough. Tim Kröger agrees: “For sure, a full keel yacht easy to handle. The wetted surface is huge so her behavior in the sea is very inertial, rendering this type of vessel very forgiving. Conducting maneuvers is easy because the hull takes time to react: Skippers, especially leisure-oriented sailors favor long keels because ships like these have a safe feeling built in.”

Beamy, heavy Displacement with a Full Keel - A traditional Yacht Design with a lot of Form Stability

But there are downsides to: “You see, there is no such thing as the most seaworthy or the perfect boat.”, Tim Kröger resumes: “Each type of hull is made for a special use, special circumstances and special abilities of her crew. Comparing a full keel boat of 1970 so a thoroughbred carbon racer with a canting keel of our present times is like looking at a 1914 built triplane and the Eurofighter.” Concerning the full keel boat, it´s her clumsiness – creating a feeling of safety in heavy weather – that incorporates her disadvantages as well. “To be honest: She won´t sail that fast. That´s because her huge wetted surface creates a lot of drag. She won´t go as high up to the wind as modern designs can.”, Tim says and finally: “She is not a boat to win a regatta with.” But ships are a thing for the man´s heart and that´s a question of beauty as well. We all know, beauty lies within the eye of the beholder and I must admit I can see a lot of elegancy in her fine lines. I can very much appreciate my friend´s love to his Bianca as well and his dedication to the easy handling and safe sailing with this kind of ship.

Modern Cruisers: Shoal Keels for Convenience

Right next to the full keel classic sailing yacht the distinct three white stripes at the waterline do unmistakably mark the sleek hull as an X-Yacht. She is a true beauty, 42 to 44 feet at least. I admire X-Yachts (like almost everybody of us I assume) and here I have the present day concept of a hull/keel-configuration which is incorporated in every yacht since the late eighties or so: The shoal keel or L-keel made for cruising. This type of keel-construction mostly features a cast iron-construction bolted to the hull – or to a strengthening grid made of metal or carbon laminated into the hull – with lead concentrated at the lowermost end. These keels do bare – seen from the front – a relatively thick width which is a constructive necessity: Shoal or L-keels have to fulfill two jobs at one time.

An X-Yacht with a modern Shoal or L-Keel made for Cruising and easy access to Anchoring Grounds.

“A keel´s primary function is to form the center of gravity by concentrating a lot of mass as deep down below the hull as possible”, Tim Kröger explains: “On the other hand a cruising sailor wants to enter shallow lonely bays and inlets to drop anchor. Besides, a lot of marinas won´t offer depths with more than 3 meters. So a shallow keel is needed – which makes the construction shorter.” But to have a shorter keel and applying the same weight-ballast ratio at the same time means to put more weight into the keel: That increases the overall weight. An L-keel is, like everything about a boat, a compromise. L-keels are perfect for cruising: Entering shallow waters is possible, the keel´s construction is sturdy and massive so hitting an underwater object or running aground won´t do much harm (hopefully) and stuff like seagrass and weed won´t entangle with the keel due to the L-form.

The modern Spade Rudder has to be very strong

“These boats do have less wetted surface as the full keel boat, so stability and holding a course steadily will be ensured by the keel and a relatively large-area rudder”, Tim Kröger explains. “These boats do behave very vivid, can go higher up to the wind as are fun to sail upwind.” At the same time a shoal keel-boat is also easy to control but demands skills as well: “Modern constructions draw their stability from speed”, Tim says: “When the flat hull won´t have too much influence on stability anymore this has to be substituted by something. This is: Speed. You may take this comparison as example”, says Tim: “A large wing with a lot of surface area of an old double-decker plane creates lift and stability at relatively low speeds. The tiny triangle wings of a modern day jetfighter will create lift and stability only when streamed in fast by the air. So speed creates safety on modern boats.” On the other hand, Tim admits, controlling these boats at low speeds when berthing for example requires skills – such a hull may be blown off course easily.

IOR-Yacht: Fin Keel and Full Skeg Rudder

Judging between the old school concept of the full keel boat and the shoal keel modern day cruiser is of no question for me because I do already own a yacht: It´s a 1975 built Fiskars King´s Cruiser 33 , a boat constructed by the then common IOR-Rule: Wide and beamy hull with a fin keel and a full skeg rudder. One can see this as the connecting piece in boat construction. The fin keel does incorporate all the advantages of modern day yachts by keeping some of the full keeled-boat´s good-naturedness because the hull does bring a substantial share of displacement below waterline as well. At the same time, wetted surface is reduced substantially making these cruisers – still today – popular among cruiser-sailors and nostalgic regatta-oriented skippers.

The IOR-Era with a Fin Keel and Skeg Rudder.

The full skeg does function as guard for the rudder itself: The second line of defense if you will. The massive keel is the first, the skeg the second barrier to crush before something can do harm or damage the rudder. I don´t have too much sailing skills and experience by myself but what I´ve experienced so far does support Tim´s claims: When operating the very flat bottomed motor vessel when doing my yachtmaster exam  I noticed the boats extradition to wind blowing it off course: No wetted surface under water. When maneuvering my own SY OLIVIA through our marina for craning it was a lot better to hold her on course despite the relatively strong winds during that particular day.

The Full Skeg Rudder on my King´s Cruiser 33.

IOR-yachts and the so called “GRP-classics” with fin keel and skeg rudders are of course way outdated today, no question about that, but they can – alongside their fellow full-keel-sisters – sustain a certain share in the world´s cruising fleet. But there have been numerous improvements in terms of hull design and keel construction in particular, leaving my Kingscruiser 33 and her IOR-fellows only the part of riding out the tail waves of the much faster modern day boats.

Fast & stable: The deep T-Keel and Spade Rudder

Which brings us to the performance end of the row: The T-keel. Having had the chance to visit X-Yachts in Haderslev/Denmark last week (you can definitely look forward to this upcoming article!) I took some pics of these keels. Flemming Ancher of X-Yachts, who was investing some 4 hours to show me around and answer all of my questions, also had some interesting facts on these. To have the full performance of a state-of-the-art yacht like the XP44 for example unfold, it is advised to opt for the deep T-Keel. This puts the center of gravity very much down below the hull thus creating a very strong lever arm – by saving weight in the same instance. Because the leverage is bigger the weight of the lead bomb can be further reduced without sacrificing stability.

That´s the modern T-Keel with a Lead Bomb

Tim Kröger says: “Of course, these modern performance-oriented boats with a lot of potential do only live up to the expectations when driven accordingly. That means: Speed. But here´s the skipper coming into the game. Most of these do seem to have a kind of fear against bigger sail-area up in the wind. But modern boats need speed.” He argues that in his mind some owners of modern performance-cruisers tend to reduce sail too early because sailing fast requires a lot of skills and attention. “It´s nerve-racking, and it needs dedication and skills. But that´s what these boats are made for.” The T-keel features a long but very thin iron foil with a streamlined bomb at the bottom. When crafted properly this kind of keel delivers the best leverage power for a maximum righting momentum plus least weight with most performance.

T-Keels in Racing Version (right) and the shorter Performance Version on X-Yachts

Again: Having such a keel means that this keel – together with the rudder – will only stabilize the boat when a certain and in this case very strong stream of water is created. That means it needs speed. “It´s hard to grasp that a ship is safer the faster it sails,” says Tim Kröger, “but it´s definitely the truth here. Besides, speed is another safety factor, because it gives you more options when plotting courses to avoid foul weather  or reach safe harbors in time.” He resumes: “To give an impression: When berthing our TP52 racing yacht we regularly ran her astern with 3 knots into the box. People standing by thought we were mentally ill – but speed adds to safety here. Slower would have meant to fall victim to crosswinds, losing pressure on the rudders.”

In Brief: What´s a seaworthy Yacht?

When it comes to seaworthiness, a modern T-keel boat is as safe as the sturdy full keel-yacht: “If the skipper can handle the boat properly and has the skills, from my point of view it is really not a matter of which keel a boat features.”, says Tim Kröger. Of course, when looking at the diagrams showing stability curves for different boats it´s crystal clear: A classic full keel yacht should, in terms of capsize and “good manor” in heavy weather, get the label as most seaworthy. But why then aren´t all the yachts built like Colin Archer´s double enders?

I understand that hull-forms and keel-variations is just one factor of deciding which boat would be the safest. I think, it is comparable with sports cars: If you can handle 450 horsepower the Porsche GT without any airbags can be driven as safely as a Volvo Diesel family car. So, is it the skipper who makes the difference?

Thanks again Tim Kröger for answering all my questions on Skipper´s Basics

what is a yacht skipper

What is the Difference Between Captain and Skipper?

Have you ever watched a movie where there were boats and heard the terms ‘Captain’ and ‘Skipper?’ If you have then you’re definitely not alone.

These are two common terms when referring to boating of any type, though the words can often be used without knowing what they really mean. In fact, sometimes they’re used interchangeably. And sometimes you may hear them used but not really know what they mean. So, let’s take a look.

The Captain of a ship is the person who is set to command the ship, usually in regards to a large ship. On the other hand, the Skipper is also in charge of commanding the ship but usually in regards to smaller ships and boats .

While both of these terms refer to the same position on a boat, they’re usually not used for the same type of boat. Still, there are a number of situations where the terms might be used interchangeably.

You may hear a ship’s Captain called the Skipper because the role is relatively equal. In some instances, the Skipper is the person in charge of the ship or boat while the Captain is in charge of the entire crew and everything that is happening on the boat.

Why Do They Call Captains Skipper?

The Captain is likely called the Skipper because many feel these two terms mean the same thing. After all, the Captain of the boat is the person in charge and the Skipper is the master of the ship . Because these two things sound so similar they are used the same way often.

Captain and Sipper are often used to mean the same thing even though they’re not exactly the same. The Captain is in charge of the crew and everything happening on the boat. They are in command of the ship, while a Skipper is in charge of the ship alone rather than anyone that is actually on it.

Also, a Captain is usually used on a larger ship while a Skipper is used on a smaller ship. Even still, all but the most professional of crews will often use these terms to mean the same thing. And neither will likely be offended by being called by the other title.

Is Skipper a Real Name?

Skipper on its own is generally not a name, though it has been used that way for boys. It’s an English term that’s actually used to refer to a specific position on the crew of a ship. The Skipper is the person who is in charge of the ship.

If you’ve ever seen the show Gilligan’s Island you’ve likely heard one of the characters referred to as ‘Skipper.’ This wasn’t actually his name, but was his role on the ship. It was used as a nickname throughout the series, however.

That’s probably where the idea of ‘Skipper’ as a name came from and some boys have had this name given to them over the years. In general, however, it’s used to refer to a position on the ship’s crew rather than the actual name of a person. But if you hear someone being called skipper when they’re not on a ship you may want to ask.

What Does it Mean When Someone Calls You Skipper?

When you are called ‘Skipper’ it usually means that you are the master of the ship. This term is also used as a slang term occasionally to refer to someone who is very wealthy, usually a male. There are some who actually have the name ‘Skipper’ and so it could also be used to refer to someone by name.

Being called ‘Skipper’ could have a number of different meanings. It’s usually going to take a little more context to know what the person meant when they called you this.

If you are or act like a wealthy person they may use it as a slang term, especially if they are not considered a peer. For those on a ship, however, being called Skipper usually means that you are the master of the ship or that the person believes you are.

How Much Does a Skipper Make?

In the United States a Skipper will typically make about $37 per hour. This comes out to roughly $76,584 per year. This will depend on the type of company they work for and the type of boat that they are responsible for as well. It may also depend on how long they’ve been in the business.

A skipper could make as little as $39,000, depending on where they work and what kind of boat they work on. This would be the bottom 10% of skippers in the country. On the other hand, those who are in the top 10% could make upwards of $148,000 per year. Keep in mind that larger companies are going to pay more and the skipper will be in charge of a larger ship. There may be other responsibilities as well.

The Captain of a boat could make between $56,000 and $84,000 on average, and with Captains and skippers often being referred to interchangeably you may want to make sure of the pay scale if you’re looking to start on as either of these positions. While the Captain generally works on a larger vessel, that doesn’t mean that they always earn more and in fact, their average pay can be less.

A ship’s Captain or a skipper is going to be the person that’s in charge of what’s going on. While you typically won’t find both on the same boat, you will want to know who is the person in charge at any given time. In most cases, smaller boats will have a skipper in charge and larger boats will have a Captain. But make sure you talk with the crew to find out who is the person in charge and what their title is. This will make it easier to reach out to them if you need them.

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Skipper course

  • What does skipper do?

The skipper of a floating vessel can be described as the heart of the vessel. He is responsible for the boat and takes care of everything related to it. As a rule, everything the skipper says should be treated like a command by those present on the boat, because at times, the decisions taken by the skipper could be the difference between life and death. The skipper’s job not only concerns the serious work on board, but it can also involve his recommendations on interesting routes, new places to visit or guidelines to follow while in water or on shore.  He is ultimately responsible not only for the safety of the boat, but also the safety, comfort and welfare of all those on board his boat.

Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper, Offshore

The demands on a skipper vary according to where the boat is sailing.  If the boat is sailing close to the shore, within easy reach of a familiar port, the skipper’s task is straightforward.  Once the boat is making longer passages, at some distance from the shore, and away from the area the skipper is familiar with, his duties become more demanding, as he has to allow for possible night sailing, approaching unfamiliar ports, and the possibility of having to sail through bad weather.  Offshore, at considerable distance from land, the demands are even greater.  Coping with prolonged periods of bad weather, failure of gear when out of reach of help, crew illness – these are only some of the problems the skipper may have to handle.

Responsibilities of a skipper

  • Planning the entire passage to the proposed destination, possibly over a number of days.
  • Navigating the vessel
  • Knowing how to operate and maintain all the equipment on board.
  • Taking care of the safety of the vessel and the crew.
  • Management of the vessel in all respects.
  • It is the responsibility of the skipper to ensure that whatever trip the vessel is making whether for fishing or for holidays, he follows the regulations and maritime laws.

The work of a skipper although it might seem to carry lots of responsibilities is also fun. Some skippers may enjoy fishing and pursue it as a means of livelihood. These skippers may work on their own boats and be self-employed. However, those who do not have a boat can work for large companies who employ skippers to take care of their vessels and their catch. It is possible for a good skipper to earn a satisfactory income.  An experienced skipper can also move into related careers like that of harbor tug work, Merchant Navy, offshore oil or gas exploration, fish farming and cargo operations.

The working hours for a skipper are dependent on the area of work. If a skipper is self-employed working on his own boat, he can work for as long as he likes.  A skipper on an inshore vessel would return to the shore each day while the offshore vessels venturing out in waters further from the shore would be able to return only after days, or weeks or even months at sea.

If you are interested in working as a skipper you will require to have undertaken suitable training, have sufficient experience, and hold a licence.

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Skipper licenses: what they are

It is not easy for a beginner to understand skipper licenses, why they are needed, and what is behind the mysterious abbreviations like IYT or ISSA. Let’s try to systematize this confusing topic.

Anastasiia Mosina

Anastasiia Mosina

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All about skipper licenses

A skipper license — do you need it.

This is a reasonable question. Let’s just say that in most countries you need licenses if you charter a yacht. If you own a yacht, then in many cases no one will ask you for a license: you can manage your boat without it, though most likely you will not be able to insure it. In this article, we will consider the first option when you need a license to charter a yacht.

what is a yacht skipper

How to get a skipper license

Well, firstly, you need to study. If you studied in a driving school, then you understand the process — there is theory and practice. The situation is similar with yachts, but there are two main approaches. In the first case, you study the theory and all issues related to yachting — from what’s inside a yacht to navigation at sea, usually this happens in your own city with a class schedule several times a week and / or on weekends, which is a big advantage of this training option. Then you need to practice. The practice usually lasts 7-10 days. If you pass it successfully, the instructor will issue you a license. The second approach is usually a two-week intensive course, where the practice begins a few days after you start learning theory and then alternates with the continuation of the theory (often half a day theory, half a day practice). The disadvantage of this approach is the need to learn a huge amount of theoretical material in a very short time, however, you will be able to immediately practice the theory and this is a big advantage.

What kind of skipper licenses are there?

Unfortunately, there are no uniform international sailing licenses, so you need to consider the region in which you plan to sail. However, there are training and licensing systems for skippers that are recognized in most countries of the world, and the International Certificate of Competence, an ICC certificate, is the most common standard.

International systems that are subject to ICC certification are IYT, ISSA, and RYA. Now let’s talk about each of the systems in more detail.

International Yacht Training (IYT) appeared in Canada in 1988. Even though studying is conducted in your native language, you must know the terminology in English. Until 2013, IYT licenses were perpetual. Now, every 5 years you need to update them (the cost of updating is from $ 125). Studying an IYT theory costs between $ 500 and $ 1,300; the practice is about the same price.

The International Sailing School Association (ISSA) appeared earlier — in 1969. ISSA licenses, unlike IYT, are perpetual. Training can also take place in your own language.

Finally, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the oldest international system. The British Royal Yachting Association was founded in 1875. The difference from the previous two systems is that the training is conducted in English. The price of theoretical courses is 500-600 euros.

what is a yacht skipper

The categories of licenses

Yacht licenses are somewhat similar to car licenses — there is also a gradation into different categories. However, in practice, it’s more important not what category of license you have, but what your practical experience is and how many miles there are in your logbook.

In fact, Bareboat Skipper (IYT) / Inshore Skipper (ISSA) / Day Skipper (RYA) license may be enough to charter a yacht in Europe. This is the beginner category that gives you the right to sail 20 miles offshore in the daytime in fine weather. In practice, this means that if you, having such a license, sail further than 20 miles and something breaks on your yacht, then the insurance company most likely will not recognize this as an insurance case. Otherwise, until recently, with such licenses, it was possible to charter a yacht anywhere in the world. However, since last year, some countries, such as Greece, began to impose restrictions on the chartering of yachts for skippers with «day licenses».

The next category is the Coastal Skipper / Offshore Skipper . With this category, you can sail at night 60 miles offshore, also in fine weather.

The highest category of yacht skipper is Yachtmaster / Master of Yacht. Having a license of this category, you can go on difficult sailing expeditions, for example, across the Atlantic. This license is the most honorable among yacht owners.

what is a yacht skipper

In general, you need to understand that even charter companies will sometimes look at the miles in your logbook, indicating your experience. So, start your logbook as soon as you seriously think about yachting. But most importantly, of course, responsibly approach the choice of training courses. The study system or what abbreviation will be displayed on your license is not so important, it is important who your teacher will be. On our platform, there are only proven schools and courses in which you can not only get the right license but also gain real practical experience.

Photo materials for the article were provided by the «Sila Vetra» sailing school The author of the article: Rodion Karneev, editor: Anastasia Mosina

what is a yacht skipper

  • Skippered sailing holidays explained
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   What is a skippered yacht charter?

Enjoy your yacht charter even more, with a seasoned skipper at the helm!

If you are new to sailing, or if you just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, then hiring a skipper is a great choice. A skippered yacht charter is nothing more than a bareboat charter , just with the addition of a professional skipper. It’s the perfect blend of laid-back luxury.

   Why are skippered sailing holidays a great choice? 

There are so many advantages to skippered yacht charters, that Yacht4Less often advises that even highly adept, certified sailors should have a skipper on board. This helps create a relaxing and luxurious feeling, shifting the worry and responsibility to an experienced professional and allowing you to fully enjoy your holiday! While sailing is an extremely enjoyable experience and provides such a fun and active holiday, it can be nice to take a load off and just enjoy the scenery passing you by.

Skipper's Role Onboard

A friendly and professional skipper will captain your vessel for the duration of the charter. He will take care of all the safety, technical and operational aspects of sailing, and act as a kind of tour guide for you and your loved ones.

The yacht skipper will be your source of local knowledge, as they have sailed these locales extensively and are very personally familiar with the destinations. This is ideal if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Having spent months or years cruising in a particular area, they’ll be well-informed on everything; from the currents, tides, and moorings, to the best restaurants, activities, and sightseeing - you’ll be in good hands.

Your skipper can be as interactive or as unobtrusive as you’d like. As a professional, your skipper is adept at blending into social settings or blending into the scenery.

With the help of a professional skipper, you can let them take the lead or you can work alongside them, learning from them and sharing the sailing duties. This is a great option for newer sailors, as you could essentially have a week-long sailing lesson aboard your very own charter. They’ll show you the ins-and-outs of sailing, and impart plenty of tips and wisdom.

Skippered charters are really popular within the yachting industry and often times clients build an interpersonal relationship with skippers, staying friends for long after a charter has ended. This sort of relationship is great, as you can ask for the same skipper for the next charter, making sure you’ll enjoy the trip.

Planning the Itinerary on a Skippered Yacht Charter

A skipper is a certified, professional sailor that can create comprehensive itineraries, and take you through challenging weather conditions and sailing courses with ease.

On your first day, or prior to arrival, the Skipper will ask about any preferences for the itinerary.

This is a good opportunity to discuss how you envision your charter. Mention details such as any areas you’d like to visit, or places to avoid, or particular instructions.

For example, if you’d like to stay away from heavy crowds, your skipper can plan a custom itinerary around your needs. While itineraries are mapped in advance, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to them!

Even with a planned route, you can still be spontaneous if the mood strikes; your skipper should be open to amending the plans as you go along. It’s important to note that all itineraries are subject to change due to weather conditions, as safety is a top priority.

Assisted Sailing

One option that Yacht4Less offers is a package called “assisted sailing.” With this arrangement, you’ll have a skipper for a few hours on the first day, or for one to two days at the beginning of the charter.

This service helps familiarize sailors with the boat and the area, and we recommend it for anyone who feels they need a little refresher course. However, this option has limited availability and is dependant on location.

Normally, Mediterranean charters require hiring a skipper for the full week, even if they are only onboard part of the time, for example, four out of the seven days. Consult with your Yacht4Less charter broker to learn what options are available to you.

   Things to keep in mind when hiring a skipper

When you are chartering with a skipper, there are a few distinctive things you should note about the logistics.

If you have a skipper onboard, you must provide accommodations and provisioning for that individual. When selecting a yacht and planning out your food for the charter, make sure to account for an extra head - this might influence how many cabins you’ll need and what sort of food you buy.

Skipper’s require their own cabin. This can in the form of a bow cabin, but if the boat does not have any bow cabins, then the skipper will have to sleep in a double. Certainly, ask your skipper about any allergies or dietary restrictions when provisioning. A well-stocked yacht will be greatly appreciated. Also - If desired, some people will take their skippers with them when they have land-based meals as well. This is by no means obligatory, but can sometimes be quite enjoyable for the party!

Tipping is another thing that you should plan into your budget. Your destination will determine whether a tip is obligatory or optional. For Caribbean charters, a tip is expected and required. While tipping is not necessary in the Mediterranean, it is always appreciated. If you’re satisfied with your skipper’s service, a tip of 10-20% of the charter cost would be the norm.

Skippers can cost around 150-250 EUR per day, depending on the sailing destination and current price lists. Ask your Yacht4Less charter team about skippered charters in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, or Asia Pacific.

When you think about it, a skippered yacht charter is really the best of both worlds. You get all the convenience and luxury of a crewed yacht charter but on a different scale. Skippered charters are great for all sorts of sailors, but at the end of the day - they’re best for those who love sailing and adventuring but also want to relax and slow down.

  • Looking for a luxury, 5 star experience on board? Learn more about our Fully Crewed Yacht Charters .
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Frequently Asked Questions - Skippers

In the british virgin islands.

TMM will be happy to provide a licensed boat captain should you need a skipper for Day 1 only (Check-Out Skipper) or a full-time skipper for the entire length of your charter. The terms skipper and captain are used interchangeably and there is no difference in qualification.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a full-time skipper?

Your skipper will be with you 24 hours a day, staying each night on board in one of the berths. Your charter skipper is a skilled professional hired to drive the boat, show you how to operate the equipment on board, provide information regarding destinations and anchorages, and ensure the safety of the yacht as well as his/her charter guests.

Should I be concerned about the skipper “fitting in” with our group?

Your charter skipper is more than a tour guide or chauffeur. Most all charter captains are very people-oriented types and have a sixth sense about when to interact with your group and when to make himself scarce. There is little need to be concerned about having a stranger aboard. More often than not, we get glowing reports from charter guests saying that their captain “made” their sailing vacation a dream come true.

I need a skipper. What is the process of booking one?

Once your charter is confirmed, and you have requested a skipper during the reservation process, we will contact freelance skippers from our private TMM list to check availability. If your charter is to have a Check-Out Skipper only, then we will also book and confirm for you and let you know.

Who are the skippers that work for TMM clients?

TMM maintains a list of skippers we know personally. Many of these skippers have been with TMM so long that they have become good friends! Thus we will be able to vouch for your skipper’s sailing expertise, reputation, experience, knowledge of the local waters, honesty, integrity, and service record with TMM. We think we have the best skippers in the BVI working for our clients and they, in turn, enjoy working on behalf of TMM for our clients.

Can I choose my own skipper from your list?

No, sorry, it is necessary for TMM to schedule the captain for you. This process has worked well for many years and we receive excellent reviews on all our skippers. Last minute changes are rare but do happen from time-to-time; therefore, it is possible you could be assigned a different skipper. Again, we think we attract and retain the best skippers in the BVI!

How much does it cost?

Check-out skippers $175/day

A day is defined exactly the same as your charter day which is 24-hours, noon-to-noon. This does not include his or her meals, beverages, and optional gratuity. Skippers receive 100% of the fees paid by you.

What is a Check-Out Skipper (COS)?

A check-out skipper (COS) is a professional captain that boards with you on Day 1, and is dropped off late afternoon the same day. A COS may be requested by you or may be required by TMM after review of your sailing resume.

What is the purpose of a Check-Out Skipper?

The purpose of hiring a COS is to 1) practice and learn how to handle your particular yacht, and 2) prove your competence to continue on your own. You will take the helm from the moment you leave the dock and your COS will be near at hand, assisting you with the skills checklist, while heading to your first mooring or anchorage. Your COS will be knowledgeable about all things local in the BVIs which is another benefit of having one!

When will a Check-out Skipper be required?

If you have not skippered a yacht similar in size and type to the one you are chartering, have limited or no prior charter experience, and/or have never been ocean sailing with overnight anchorages in similar conditions, you may be required to hire a COS. The fee for a check-out skipper is $175 plus transportation back to our base (or a destination agreed upon by you and your skipper), and optional gratuity.

My charter includes a Check-Out Skipper. Now what?

Your check-out skipper will meet you at base on the morning of Day 1. After your TMM briefings, your COS will board and sail with you for the afternoon -- from approximately 12:00pm to 4:30pm. There is a written checklist of skills to practice which you will complete and sign at the end of the day.

Where do I drop the Check-Out Skipper at the end of Day 1?

You may drop the COS anywhere you agree on Tortola or another nearby island, depending on your itinerary. Soper’s Hole and Trellis Bay are convenient drop off points. Or, if you want to overnight near Norman Island or one of the southern islands, there are daily ferries from Peter Island and Cooper Island. We kindly request that you provide taxi fare and/or a ferry ticket for the skipper to return to TMM or home.

I have a full-time skipper for X number of days. How do I provide meals and beverages for him/her?

Typically charterers will simply include their skipper when they buy, prepare, and serve meals on the boat. We encourage you to communicate with your skipper so both of you will have a general understanding of how you are going to manage mealtimes during your charter.

What if we plan to dine ashore?

Many clients invite the skipper at least once to join them for a meal ashore. After that it is not an expectation. Skippers will fend quite well for themselves with the food already aboard.

What is the typical gratuity?

Skippers work hard to provide the best possible service to their clients. If they have done a good job for you, they will appreciate a gratuity at the conclusion of the charter. Skipper gratuity is of course at the discretion of the charterer but if you are looking for guidance on the amount 10% of the charter fee or 15-20% of the skipper fee is probably appropriate. All gratuities are optional.

What if I want to learn how to sail or get certified through the American Sailing Association (ASA)?

If you want your skipper to formally teach you or any crew members how to sail, or you wish to take an ASA class aboard for certification, then the skipper fee increases to $250/day. If you wish to become ASA “certified” in one of the ASA courses, you will need to obtain your ASA membership, ASA course materials, and ASA exam fees, which are all extra. Check our website under Tortola > ASA certification for more information. PLEASE NOTE: ASA Instructor/skippers are more difficult to book because there are just not that many ASA certified instructors in the BVIs . Therefore, book well in advance (6 – 12 months) if you wish to have an ASA Skipper. If you simply want sailing instruction without any official certification at the conclusion of your charter, an instructional skippers fee will be applied and reduce cost to $225/day.

What if I just want to help sail the boat?

If you want to occasionally take the helm or assist with anchoring, mooring, docking, raising the sails, etc., that is absolutely fine with a regular skipper, in fact they appreciate the assistance and you will also develop some valuable skills during your sailing holiday. Just ask!

When will we meet our skipper?

Skippers arrive at the TMM base mid-morning of your first day. You will be introduced in the office or out on the dock depending on where you are at the time of his or her arrival.

Where will the skipper sleep on our boat?

Skippers typically bunk in a single berth on the boat. Occasionally, there will be a charter with a double berth free for the captain. Skippers appreciate comfort and privacy, just like anyone. If it is possible to offer your skipper a double cabin, by all means do so, and he or she will be most grateful!

What is the Cancellation Policy?

If you cancel a confirmed charter more than 90 days prior to your charter start date, you will incur a $300 cancellation fee; however, there will be no charge for cancelling the skipper. If you cancel your skipper close to your start date, some clients in the past have paid the skipper his fee or a portion thereof anyway. They understand the skipper may not have time to find other work to replace the lost wages. We appreciate your consideration of this matter should it occur.

Who do I call for more information?

Please call the USA booking office if you have any further questions at 1-800-633-0155 (toll free US only) or 1-262-248-1618 (overseas).

what is a yacht skipper

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Borrow A Boat Magazine

Boat Rental With a Skipper: Why You Need One to Have Your Dream Vacation!

Need a holiday? Get a free and personalised offer from us!

If you’re thinking about going on a sailing holiday, first of all, great idea! You will love it. Secondly, you’re going to want to have a boat rental with a skipper , especially if you’re new to sailing.

“What’s a skipper?” you might ask. Here’s a quick definition: A skipper is a person who commands a boat — the captain, if you like. They’re the ones responsible for the operation and navigation of the boat, as well as the comfort and safety of those on board.

While the term “skipper” might look very precise in terms of its definition, it looks much more extensive (and impressive) when taking a closer look.

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A boat rental with a skipper like this one is a fantastic way to experience a holiday destination. The skipper is smiling while sailing the boat

What does a skipper do?

The skipper on a chartered yacht will have the skills, training , experience , and license required to legally and safely captain the boat (or flotilla, in the case of a group sailing holiday ). In that capacity, here’s a look at what a skipper does:

  • Keeping everyone safe: The skipper makes sure everyone on board knows and adheres to safety protocols, starting from when you check in at the marina ; they’ll also know what to do in situations like storms.
  • Planning the passage to the destinations: Understanding the currents and staying on top of weather predictions help the skipper choose the best time and course for sailing from one destination to another.
  • Mooring and casting off: The skipper guides the boat smoothly into and out of marinas, securing it for the night and freeing it in the morning.
  • Navigating the boat: From working a chart plotter to determining the wind direction, adjusting the boat’s heading, and trimming the sails, a lot of expertise goes into making a boat go where you want it to go.
  • Ensuring maritime laws and local regulations are followed: You don’t want to ruin your sailing holiday with a fine — especially if you had no idea you were breaking any rules.
  • Operating the equipment: Today’s boats come rigged with advanced safety and navigational equipment, plus the basics like the engine and water tank (and of course, the bells and whistles that make for a great experience); the skipper knows how to properly use and maintain every part and devise.
  • Recommending local spots to visit: A skipper can let you in on local secrets about the best restaurants, the most secluded beaches, and any unique spots to visit off the beaten path.

An old shipman in a yellow rain jacket is sailing a sailboat

Why You Should Go For a Boat Rental With a Skipper and How to Book One

Sailing with a skipper is pretty much the only way to take a boat holiday if you don’t have a boating license yourself.

To book a skipper on your boat holiday on Zizoo, tick the “I need a skipper” box when you’re entering your dates, destination, and number of guests. (Just remember: The number of guests on your trip must include the skipper!)

Why You Should Charter a Yacht With a Skipper in Croatia

Chartering a yacht with a skipper in Croatia can transform your sailing experience into a seamless and enjoyable adventure. Croatia’s coastline is renowned for its stunning beauty and numerous islands, but navigating its waters can be complex due to varying wind patterns, hidden coves, and local regulations.

Hiring a skipper not only enhances safety but also offers a wealth of benefits. These experienced captains possess an intimate knowledge of the region, ensuring you’ll explore hidden gems and picturesque anchorages that may be overlooked otherwise. They also provide peace of mind, allowing you to relax and relish the journey while they handle navigation, mooring, and any unexpected situations.

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor looking to unwind or a novice seeking an expert’s guidance, chartering a yacht with a skipper in Croatia offers a stress-free, enriching, and unforgettable sailing experience along the Adriatic coast .

A Skipper Yacht Charter in Greece

Opting for a skipper yacht charter in Greece opens up a world of possibilities for an unforgettable sailing vacation. Greece’s vast archipelago and intricate coastlines can be a delight to explore, but they also present challenges even to experienced sailors. That’s where a skipper comes in. These seasoned professionals not only ensure your safety but also enrich your journey. With their local knowledge, they can guide you to hidden coves, authentic Greek tavernas, and ancient ruins that may elude other travelers.

Whether you’re a skilled sailor or new to yachting, a skipper yacht charter in Greece allows you to relax, soak in the breathtaking landscapes, and dive into the rich culture and history of this Mediterranean paradise, all while an expert takes care of the navigation and logistics.

How Do You Become a Skipper?

Being a skipper is a rewarding job — especially if you love sailing. Of course, becoming a skipper requires experience as well as serious training and certain certifications.

A commercially endorsed skipper will need to not only complete an official skipper or Yachtmaster course, they’ll also need to have additional qualifications such as courses in survival techniques and first aid.

It’s simpler to obtain a boating license , which would enable you to go sailing without a skipper. In that case, your state or country determines what’s required, but generally you’d need to take a course, pass a test, and pay a fee.

Meet our professional Zizoo Skippers

Final thought: sailing with a skipper makes for a wonderful boat holiday.

While having a stranger along on your vacation with your family or friends may sound awkward, it doesn’t have to be! The skipper is there to keep you safe and make sure you have an incredible experience.

The Best Places for Sailing in the US: 8 Amazing Holiday Destinations

Buchen sie ihr boot mit skipper – dürfen wir vorstellen: filip.

Cruising Sea

Bareboat Charter 101 – All You Need to Know

Bareboat charter 101

Bareboating is a great way to spend your holidays on the water. You can sail whenever or wherever you decide, you have your own privacy, and it’s affordable! Like everything else in life, planning is the key to having a successful charter vacation. Here is the bareboat charter 101 to help you find all the important information you need, such as the process, forms of payment, paperwork, and many other things that surround the chartering of a bareboat:

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What is a Bareboat Charter?

A bareboat charter is a form of chartering arrangement where you rent a well-equipped yacht with no crew or provisions provided as part of the agreement. In this case, you must provide evidence to the charter company showing that you have qualifications or had solid sailing experience in the past. The company may also need a copy of your sailing license to confirm; whether it is accepted in a specific country or area, you plan to visit.

Bareboat charter

Bareboat Charter Requirement

Before being handed over the vessel, you must demonstrate that you have coastal experience on boats comparable to the one you just chartered. For a potential skipper, the charter company may require a sailing resume, a US Coast Guard Captains License (in some areas), and a certificate of reputable skippering or bareboat sailing course.

As a skipper, you should be familiar with all the basic boat handling procedures, including, but not limited to, docking and anchoring. You should also know the rules of sailing and have knowledge of basic seamanship, navigation (in different conditions), and piloting.

When to Book the Boat

The question of when to charter a bareboat vessel for sailing pretty much depends on the conditions you like sailing in and where you would want to visit. For instance, if you have a distinct preference for cruising in heavy or light air, you’ll need to ask about the average wind speed of the target area during the time frame you’re considering going on vacation.

The months designated as high-season in various sailing destinations usually tend to be the most desirable to sail in. That’s mostly attributed to the climate, weather, and the many opportunities for fun activities around that time.

In the Caribbean region, for instance, summer is rated the best time to go sailing because the tropical temperatures are pleasant, the turquoise waters soothing, and the trades balmy.

High and low seasons vary based on location. But generally, if you’re sailing on a tight budget, visiting in the offseason or fringe season can be a great way to save more. This is because most charter companies have substantial discounts and incentives on offer during such months.

When to Bareboat charter

Bareboat Yacht Mandatory Costs

These compulsory or mandatory costs are to be paid by the charterer on arrival just before the beginning of the charter. The costs, as listed in the contract, include the following:

  • End Cleaning (these are for cleaning the yacht after you’ve disembarked)
  • Security Deposit or Security Deposit Insurance

The security deposit (payable by credit card) covers all damages regarding the yacht and/or its equipment. The amount does not include lost or stolen items like ropes, fenders, anchors, etc.

Further, there is no insurance cover provided for personal injury, damage to any property brought onboard by the charterer or any damage or loss that’s induced willfully or simply by gross negligence.

With some yacht charter companies, you’re free to choose between a Security Deposit and Security Deposit Insurance. The Security Deposit Insurance, in this case, is a non-refundable alternative to the Security Deposit but is considerably lesser.

Optional Costs

Some of the optional costs you might incur on your bareboat charter include the following:

  • Bed linen per person
  • Towels per person
  • Outboard motor for a yacht or fuel for tender

Please take note these items may sometimes be included in the initial charter price. You should always check your contract.

Choosing Your Boat

Choosing a boat for a sailing vacation is something that’s mostly dependent on personal preference and the availability of the desired vessel on the dates you want to sail. From speedy cruisers to slower romantic sailboats through to yachts with heavier displacement, there’s a wide array of vessels to choose from.

If you’ve been yearning to sail on a catamaran, there are many designs and models you can choose from. And going the cat way has a set of its own benefits. Aside from having a shoal draft (which is perfect for shallow water cruising), it comes with an incredibly huge amount of deck space for relaxation and play.

To get more info about the amazing yacht options available for charter, you might need to study literature-brochures or articles on websites- about various charter companies’ fleets. Most of these resources detail everything, including photos and layout plans, so getting a clear picture of what best matches your holiday needs is easier.

One other important thing to consider when choosing a bareboat vessel is the list of equipment included onboard. A boat that comes with safety and electronic gear, entertainment system(s), galley equipment, dinghy, and linens is well in order.

If you’re planning to sail in tropical-reef areas, then a charter company that supplies its vessels with snorkeling gear and other water toys( even if at a small charge) for your amusement along the way can be a great choice to consider.


Once you’ve made up your mind to book a vessel, you’ll need to send a deposit to the charter company and proceed to sign a contract. The contract is basically meant to protect both you and the charter company plus prevent any misunderstandings or future disputes.

A typical charter contract covers such issues as insurance, liability, cancellation policy, and where (and when) you can and can’t sail. The contract also specifies the company’s policy regarding the delivery of the requested boat to you.

If, for unforeseen mechanical problems or other reasons, the boat you specified in your booking isn’t available, the company should be able to provide a comparable or better vessel than the one you had originally contracted.

As a charterer, it is critical that you read through the fine print to identify what is and isn’t included in the initial charter price. Some of the issues you might need to seek clarification on include whether:

  • Dinghy and outboard charges are included in the contract policy
  • There is a company support policy when a vessel breaks down or when you experience an emergency at sea
  • The security deposit (paid alongside the initial deposit) is refunded immediately upon return of the vessel or will take a few business days
  • There’s medical insurance available (for those whose medical insurance doesn’t cover them outside their country)
  • There’s background info you need to know about the area you’re about to visit
  • There are things you need to or not bring along

Arriving a Day Earlier

For added convenience in organizing yourself for the journey, you might need to arrive a day earlier. In this case, you may request to sleep aboard the designated yacht at a reduced rate. That way, you can unpack your suitcase just once, purchase all the required provisions and settle in quite seamlessly before setting off.

Get Familiar With Your Boat 

The handover process of a bareboat, which takes about an hour or so, is meant to help you and other members of your group get familiar with the vessel before setting out to the sea. As a minimum, you’ll be shown the following:

  • Location and safe operation of the safety equipment onboard, including fire extinguishers, life jackets, first kids, and more
  • Safe operation of cooking & heating systems plus refrigeration units
  • Correct operation of the heads
  • Location and use of yacht charts and pilot books
  • Location and operation of reefing lines, winches, halyards, and other sail controls
  • Use of VHF system, including mayday instructions
  • Anchoring systems and how to anchor the boat
  • Yacht engine operation and regular checks
  • Any other systems unique to the chartered vessel

Don’t Have A Bareboat License?

In case you don’t have a bareboat license or a qualified and/or experienced skipper to accompany you on the charter, you have the option of booking both a vessel and a skipper. This is commonly referred to as skippered charter’. This option is a great option if you’re planning to go out sailing as a family together with children or would want to learn a thing or two about navigation.

What Crew Can I Hire On a Bareboat?

Aside from being a skipper, you’re free to hire a hostess or chef to help you with the cooking and the cleaning around. There are charter yachts that offer all these additional options. So making inquiries on their availability can make things more convenient for you even as you plan to set out into the sea.

Who Provides Food For The Crew?

If you have a skipper and/or hostess accompanying you on the journey, it is your responsibility to provide their food and drinks. So when shopping for groceries and other foodstuffs, you must take the crew’s food choice and cost into account.

Where Will The Crew Stay?

The skipper and the hostess, as part of the people accompanying you on the journey, will need a cabin for themselves. That means if you, for instance, are a group of 8 people, you’ll need to hire or charter a yacht with 5 cabins. The 8 of you will basically occupy 4 cabins while the skipper and hostess will take up the remaining cabin.

Crewed yacht charter

Provisioning Your Boat

In addition to the cost of boat hire , travel, and accommodations, you must also take care of the provisions. You can choose to either have the charter company provision for you (if they offer that service) or do the shopping yourself upon arrival.

If the provisions are to be supplied by the company, you’ll have to send them a complete list of the things you need ahead of time. They’ll then pick good quality items, all based on your preferences, and have the boat stocked just before you arrive. The cost reasonably hovers around $25 to $35 per person per day, depending on the area you’re planning to sail.

Most charter companies also offer partial provisioning , whose packages aim at providing enough supplies to last you for the first couple of days. You can add more provisions as you go along or get out of the water as soon as you run out of supplies.

what is a yacht skipper

Gas, Water, and Ice?

Although restocking water might not be necessary on a one-week charter, you might be forced to buy more ice after two to three days on your journey. Gas bottles could also be another possible extra. So, you need to check your contract to find out whether there are any extra charges for fuel and water or if the cost is included in the per-week rate.

What about the Diesel Fuel?

The cost of fuel in a bareboat charter is not usually included in the initial charter fee. However, it is a general requirement that the yacht is returned with a full tank. You can check the terms of the contract, which you’ll be given upon reservation.

Yacht fuel station for the check in

Why Bareboat Charter?

First of all, chartering a bareboat is a cheaper way to get into the sea and enjoy the wondrous adventures that comes with it if you don’t own a yacht. Secondly, with a bareboat charter, you are free to choose your own route and the places you want to stop. Lastly, typical bareboat guarantees you complete privacy as you’re yourself with your friends and family.

Who’s The Bareboat Charter For?

A bareboat charter is for any free-spirited sailor who’s willing to take his/her dreams to faraway ports and get the better of the endless sea adventures. Whether you want to come with family and friends, sail to a single destination, or explore multiple islands, you’re free to decide. As long as you are a qualified skipper or have an experienced captain accompanying you, you should be good to go.

How to Book a Bareboat Charter?

Upon confirmation of availability, you can change the given OFFER into an OPTION in order for you to make a temporary reservation. There’s a defined time period (typically a few days) within which you need to confirm the booking, failure to which the option will be canceled. A booking, which is a fixed and binding reservation, is made as soon as the charter company receives and confirms your deposit.

What Is A Skippered Charter?

This is a form of charter where you, as a charterer, is provided with a professional skipper with full knowledge and experience of the local waters, bays, and marinas. This option can help you sail to the desired destination quite seamlessly without having to worry about the navigation and ship operation processes.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

With most charter companies, you require to have at least two crew members on board who are licensed or certified by reputable maritime authorities and whose documentation is accepted by the local coast guard. You can send your skipper and co-skipper licenses, certifications, and/or resumes to the charter company to confirm whether or not they are acceptable in the desired charter area.

Is It Possible to Do a One-Way Charter?

Yes, but you’ll be required to pay a delivery or re-delivery fee to your requested destination. The price, in this case, will be calculated based on distance and fuel consumption. You can inquire more about one-way charters from your charter company.

Do You Need Boat Insurance?

Most yachts are insured against Third Party Liability, the amount of which is equal to or greater than that which is made obligatory by local legislation. Yacht insurance is usually in excess of the security deposit that the client chooses to pay.

Having a Skippers’ Extended Liability Insurance (covering the liability of the crew and recovery of losses to the chartered vessel resulting from substantiated gross negligence) and a cover for consequential loss is highly recommended. Be sure to read through the conditions of insurance to find out what is covered and what’s not.

What Is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is an amount payable to the base check-in, which is held against the boat’s insurance excess. The amount is refundable if there’s no damage to the boat or its equipment and/or any losses recorded. In the event there damage or loss is confirmed, an appropriate proportion of the security deposit will be returned ONLY after there has been a full assessment of the cost of damage or loss.

What is Included in the Bareboat Fee?

The base charter fee usually covers the cost of the yacht and berth in the base marina plus VAT.

What is Not Included in the Bareboat Fee?

The charter fee does not include marina fees (except for the base marina where the charterer embarks or disembarks), linen, towels, outboard motor, provisioning, skipper & Hostess, fuel, water, and refundable deposit. The yacht charter may require compulsory extras like gas, cleaning, etc. You should check your contract for clarification.

Cost to Hire a Skipper?

When booking a skippered yacht, it is important to remember that you’ll have to incur extra charges for the skipper on top of the normal charter fee. The cost, in this case, usually ranges between 150 -300€, and this varies largely depending on the boat type and size, distance as well as location.

What to Bring?

In order to make your bareboat sailing charter as convenient as possible, there are things you might need to carry alongside the normal provisioning. Some of these items include a 12-volt DC to 110/220-Volt AC inverter with USB outlets (for charging the phone, camera, etc.), European to American-style plug adapter, iPod and audio jack cable, as well as a tablet that’s loaded with Navionics chart.

Other things that might be necessary to carry are cruising and anchorage guides, local travel guide, hand towels, a book of notes, and deckhands. Also, be sure to carry a digital camera in order to document your adventures and create lasting memories.

These are just the basic facts there is to know about bareboat charters. As you can see, such a charter guarantees you total freedom on what to carry, where to, and with who. That, in essence, sets you up for a fun, adventurous, and rewarding sailing vacation with family and friends. So the next time you’re chartering a vessel, you might need to consider going for a bareboat charter.

Have you already sailed a bareboat charter? If so, you are welcome to share your experiences in the comments below.

Picture of Daniella

Daniella has been passionate about travel, the sea, and nature for many years. As a child, she frequently traveled throughout the Mediterranean and continued with her journeys throughout her adult life.

Her experiences have created the desire within her to share her love for traveling with other passionate and adventurers who want to discover beautiful horizons and new cultures.

10 thoughts on “Bareboat Charter 101 – All You Need to Know”

Bareboat charter sounds like a very interesting adventure and I’ll love to experience such. It is sad though that if I don’t have sailing experience I’ll not be able to charter a bareboat. Don’t you think it would be better if you could be given one crew member to help aboard. Just my opinion

Thanks for sharing

You really don’t need any sailing experience to sail. As mentioned in the article, you can hire a skipper to navigate the boat. He/she will take you to the finest destinations, and you will also have the opportunity to take the helm and develop some sailing skill:).

If you need help, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to assist.

Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day!

Wow.  I had no idea this was even possible. I have no experience sailing at all so this wouldn’t be for me.  I noticed there were some other ways to charter a boat and enjoy sailing.  Do you have more detailed reviews on the other options?  Which one do you recommend? Keep up the great work!

Luckily, you don’t need to have any sailing skill to enjoy sailing. You can hire a skipper or a crew to navigate the boat. There are many articles about this subject on my website. If you want to get familiar with yacht charters, then I would suggest you read the yacht chartering 101 . You’ll find all the information you need to plan your first sailing trip.

Let me know if you need any help; I’ll be more than happy to assist.

Thank you for the comment and wish you a lovely day!

Great post and good info.

This looks nice when you want to go to sail, and you don’t have the funds to buy one yourselves. 

Now, for me this is both impossible, since I don’t have a sail certificate and neither have experience. 

But I have a friend who has it, but he doesn’t have the fund to buy a boat. 

Im going to show this to him, and perhaps he will do this. 

Thanks for sharing! 

Hi Emmanuel,

Bareboat charters are for chartering, and if your friends want to buy a boat, then it would be best to try it out before he purchases one.

Let me know if you need help, I’ll be glad to assist.

Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day.

I have never been inside a big boat but I would that video walk through has really put things into perspective on how to go about when looking for a bareboat charter .to be flank so of this thing looks like that are not necessarily but the videos  tells orthers wise and  and they really have  done agreat work on that next time I am looking for bareboat charter I know what to look for.

Hi Charles,

I am glad you found the article and video useful and I hope it will help you plan a bareboat charter in the future:)

Thanks Daniella for such a complete guide to Bareboat Charter. I don’t have a sailing license but your article sure gives me some ideas. Your review covers literally every aspect and the illustrations just make us want to hop on a boat and escape. You could consider advising us on a few suggested trips for Bareboat charters, in Europe or elsewhere, I’m sure a lot of people would be interested i’m sure. What do you think ?

You are very welcome!

Yes, sure. You can bareboat charter in Greece, Bahamas, BVI, Croatia, Seychelles to name a few. These are the most popular bareboat destinations. I’ll be publishing an article about it very soon. So stay tuned:)

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any question, I’ll be more than happy to help!

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Luxury yacht skipper loses $400k in scam, faces accused ‘money mule’ in court, says deception ruined his life

Lane nichols.

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Far North commercial skipper Tim Michalick lost $400,000 in an investment scam. He is speaking publicly to highlight flaws in the banking system and deficient customer protections. Photo / Jenny Ling

Sitting in court just metres from the man accused of laundering his stolen $400,000, Tim Michalick felt disgust and “burning hot anger”.

“It was really stressful. I just can’t describe my hatred towards that person. In my opinion, he’s the lowest of the low.”

Michalick, 43 - a luxury yacht skipper based in Kerikeri - thought his family’s life savings were being invested in a low-risk term deposit with HSBC bank.

In fact his money had been sent to an account allegedly controlled by a disbarred Auckland lawyer who is now facing 11 money laundering charges and, if convicted, up to seven years in jail.

Michalick lost the money in January last year and realised he’d been scammed the following month. He said the last 13 months had been a roller coaster of emotions as he came to terms with the sophisticated fraud and tried to navigate a banking regulatory system which he compares to “Swiss cheese.

“This has ruined my f***en life. It’s been so hard and I’ve been on a steady decline since [being scammed]. It’s really turned my life upside down.

“I’ve got the court case coming up. I’m just struggling at the moment to be honest. I ran out of steam at the end of last year and I’ve been running off fumes.”

The Herald revealed Michalick’s story in an investigation last June . At the time he remained anonymous, concerned about the impact going public would have on his personal and professional life.

But Michalick now wants to tell his story openly due to frustrations about the banking sector’s accountability, the ability of criminals to target unsuspecting Kiwis through the country’s deficient payment system with impunity, and what he describes as a “flimsy” and ineffective Banking Ombudsman Scheme leaving some victims without hope.

“All the reasons why I didn’t go public initially still apply. But do I sit back and miss out on opportunities to tell New Zealand what’s going on, or do I go hell for leather to do my bit for all those poor people who are going to be taken advantage of?

“I would be doing the banks a favour if I didn’t come forward.”

‘Sick to my stomach’

Michalick sent his money from his ASB account to what he thought was a Kiwibank “cooling off” account set up under his own name - writing “HSBC term deposit” in the payment reference field.

After Michalick alerted the banks and police to the fraud, Kiwibank was able to recover about half the money. The rest was allegedly used by the suspected mule to pay private school fees or transferred to other accounts.

When the $200,000 was refunded, Kiwibank included the company’s name that received Michalick’s money. He Googled it to find the sole director was the disgraced lawyer whose career downfall had been reported by media.

Tim Michalick lost $400,000 to an elaborate scam. He is going public to help prevent other victims being taken in. Photo / Jenny Ling

He is still shocked this man was able to open an account and allegedly use it to conduct criminal activity without being detected by Kiwibank’s fraud security systems.

“The fact he was allegedly operating this long without any oversight from the bank makes me sick to my stomach.”

Michalick handed a dossier of information about the man to police but it took months for stretched fraud investigators to lay charges.

Michalick also complained to the Banking Ombudsman about why a supposed HSBC term deposit payment going to Kiwibank did not raise suspicions with ASB, and about what he believes was Kiwibank “harbouring” a mule account that was allegedly used to launder stolen money.

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden says the rules governing her office prevent it from investigating recipient banks.

The Banking Ombudsman dismissed the complaint about ASB, ruling the bank was not at fault. Regarding Kiwibank, the Banking Ombudsman said its current remit prevented it from investigating the actions of receiving banks.

Deflated, Michalick sought a review, but the Banking Ombudsman declined to reopen his complaint this month.

He also complained to the Reserve Bank, claiming Kiwibank had breached anti-money laundering rules through alleged failures to check the customer’s background or monitor the account activity to prevent fraud.

However, the Reserve Bank found Kiwibank was not at fault.

Michalick told the Herald he believed the regulatory system was utterly deficient, with victims left to carry the blame.

“They’re allowing customers to operate without any scrutiny or restrictions on their banking activity and there’s no one I can turn to to hold them to account.

“My only option is to run a private civil case against Kiwibank which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that just can’t be done.”

He believed the Banking Ombudsman scheme was “completely flimsy”. Though it was meant to investigate the banks, two major banks’ CEOs were board members and the banking sector helped draft the scheme’s terms of reference, Michalick said.

He claimed complaints weren’t assessed on a “fair playing field” and believed the scheme wasn’t independent or working to protect consumer rights.

Michalick said he had drawn strength from other victims who were brave enough to tell their stories publicly.

He also thanked the Herald for its coverage, which was a “driving force” in promoting change.

Kiwibank, Banking Ombudsman respond

A Kiwibank spokeswoman said it immediately froze the recipient account when alerted to the fraud and tried to recover funds.

Kiwibank had co-operated with the police investigation and was satisfied it completed all required anti-money laundering checks and that its customer “met the requirements”.

The spokeswoman said there was nothing about Michalick’s transactions to trigger the bank’s security warnings.

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden said she had considerable sympathy for scam victims who often lost life-changing amounts of money.

She strongly refuted Michalick’s criticisms.

The scheme was an independent dispute resolution body which must apply the rules in force at the time of a complaint. Current rules did not require banks to reimburse authorised payment scam victims unless the bank had missed “red flags”.

“We do not make the fraud reimbursement rules. We apply them.”

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden. Photo / File

Sladden’s office had repeatedly urged the Government to review fraud reimbursement laws and strengthen consumer protections.

She said a recent review found the scheme was “highly effective” and operated with “integrity and professionalism”.

The composition of the scheme’s board gave equal representation to banks and consumers, with an independent chair casting the deciding vote.

Sladden said she was “ deeply concerned” about victims’ money being laundered through domestic mule accounts.

But her office was not responsible for supervising the anti-money laundering regime. This was the purview of the Reserve Bank, Financial Markets Authority and Department of Internal Affairs.

Under its terms of reference, her office could not investigate complaints about recipient banks, as they usually provided no “direct service” to complainants.

Receiving banks could not share information about recipient account holders due to privacy laws.

Sladden’s office was considering a review of its terms of reference to consider complaints about payee banks, but this was “likely premature” until they had clear duties to scam victims, she said.

Lane Nichols is a senior journalist and deputy head of news based in Auckland. Before joining the Herald in 2012, he spent a decade at Wellington’s Dominion Post and the Nelson Mail.

what is a yacht skipper

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    what is a yacht skipper

  4. What Makes A Good Skipper?

    what is a yacht skipper

  5. Skipper on a Yacht

    what is a yacht skipper

  6. What to Expect from and How to Treat a Skipper

    what is a yacht skipper


  1. What Is A Boat Skipper & What Do They Do?

    What is a Boat Skipper? A boat skipper is a person that commands a boat and its crew. In naval terms, a skipper is liable for the care and safety of the ship, vessel, boat or yacht. This is true of the captain too. Additionally, the captain is also accountable for the care and sanctuary of the crew.

  2. Skipper vs Captain: Who's Who and What is the Difference?

    Skipper is yet a freeman, or a freelancer, in our case, once hired. Skipper is an ultimate professional, the same as Captain, but this is a free choice of Skipper to be such. Skipper lives one life for his boat and himself. The skipper is the master of his ship. A skipper is also a captain of the boat, as of what the official papers state.

  3. Skipper's Job and Responsibilities: What You Should Know

    The skipper is responsible for the safety of all passengers and crew members, which requires them to have extensive knowledge of navigation, weather patterns, tides, and other crucial elements of boating. They are also charged with maintaining the boat's mechanics and ensuring it is seaworthy at all times. Furthermore, a skipper must remain ...

  4. Sailing Crew Roles and Names

    The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht and the crew's welfare. However, sailing a boat successfully requires teamwork from the skipper and the crew. This will ensure that all maneuvers—such as leaving a mooring, hoisting sails, changing tacks, reefing, or entering a marina—can be completed with maximum enjoyment and minimum stress. Boat Captain/Skipper It may come as a ...

  5. What is a Skipper & How to Become A Yacht Skipper

    A skipper is a person who has command of a boat or watercraft and is more or less equivalent to a captain in charge of a ship. The skipper may or may not be the owner of the boat. There are a number of types of different roles including flotilla, charter and delivery skippers.

  6. Find a skipper for your yacht: a step-by-step guide

    The yacht skipper. Sometimes, the boat owner assumes this pivotal role, while others may opt for hiring a professional crew. In this article, we'll journey through the multifaceted role of a skipper, exploring the breadth of their responsibilities from navigation to guest relations. We'll guide you through the avenues available to find the ...

  7. Skipper on a Yacht

    In the case of a fully crewed yacht, the responsibilities of the skipper include making sure the crew understand and carry out their roles and duties. The skipper is expected to maintain proper coordination among the crew. To sum up, the tasks and responsibilities of a skipper are both technical and interpersonal.


    The boat wrecked in Rimini last April 18th. The accident resulted in the death of 4 people. What is certain is that the skipper, or better, the captain of a boat takes an enormous responsibility every time he sails off and starts sailing with his crew, even when the latter is made up of few relatives and friends. His responsibility is always moral but it can sometimes become even civil and penal.

  9. Skippering a boat for the first time: steps to success

    You will need to cover the cost of the boat, together with mooring and fuel, and then decide whether to include food, meals out, and drinks. I find that the simplest option is to share all the costs equally, and the first step is to prepare a rough budget so people have an idea of how much the trip is going to cost.

  10. How to be a good skipper

    A good skipper will prevent boredom and apathy by agreeing daily routine maintenance tasks and helping to develop projects that improve the yacht and teach useful skills on board. A good skipper ...

  11. Yacht Charter with Skipper

    Yacht Charter with a Skipper or (Yacht Hire with a skipper) is a type of charter, Yacht Charter with a Skipper, is surprisingly popular (and increasingly so), easy, and highly recommended. They will know how to get the best out of your boat, they will be experts on the sailing and cruising area, and the best will be great company (or unobtrusive 'reading the room' or better reading the 'saloon ...

  12. What to Expect from and How to Treat a Skipper

    A skipper should be at the base before the clients arrive to do a technical check-in if possible. After an introduction at the office in the base, the skipper has to show the way to the boat to clients and help them accommodate. Once everyone has found their place aboard, the yacht skipper has to do the so-called ' safety briefing '.

  13. What makes a Sailing Yacht seaworthy? Skipper´s Basics

    When it comes to seaworthiness, a modern T-keel boat is as safe as the sturdy full keel-yacht: "If the skipper can handle the boat properly and has the skills, from my point of view it is really not a matter of which keel a boat features.", says Tim Kröger. Of course, when looking at the diagrams showing stability curves for different ...

  14. What is the Difference Between Captain and Skipper?

    The Captain is in charge of the crew and everything happening on the boat. They are in command of the ship, while a Skipper is in charge of the ship alone rather than anyone that is actually on it. Also, a Captain is usually used on a larger ship while a Skipper is used on a smaller ship. Even still, all but the most professional of crews will ...

  15. What does skipper do?

    The skipper of a floating vessel can be described as the heart of the vessel. He is responsible for the boat and takes care of everything related to it. As a rule, everything the skipper says should be treated like a command by those present on the boat, because at times, the decisions taken by the skipper could be the difference between life ...

  16. Bareboat, Skippered, or Crewed

    Skipper is a boat commander. Clashes among the crew members or/and with the captain are easy to occur, and it is usually the captain's job to make the crew work together as a team. Every crew member is expected to obey the skipper and act as they order. The crew is supposed to operate with no excuses and delays to avoid potential accidents.

  17. Skipper licenses: what they are

    In fact, Bareboat Skipper (IYT) / Inshore Skipper (ISSA) / Day Skipper (RYA) license may be enough to charter a yacht in Europe. This is the beginner category that gives you the right to sail 20 miles offshore in the daytime in fine weather. In practice, this means that if you, having such a license, sail further than 20 miles and something ...

  18. Skippered Yacht Charter Holidays

    What Is A Skipper? A skipper is typically a captain that's in command of a boat. Most skippers, with their professional sailing experience, have excellent knowledge of the local area and are capable of making recommendations on the best places to visit and fun things to do or see. Skippered yacht charter holidays are hence

  19. Skippered Sailing Holidays Explained

    Planning the Itinerary on a Skippered Yacht Charter. A skipper is a certified, professional sailor that can create comprehensive itineraries, and take you through challenging weather conditions and sailing courses with ease. On your first day, or prior to arrival, the Skipper will ask about any preferences for the itinerary.

  20. Skipper FAQ's

    Your skipper will be with you 24 hours a day, staying each night on board in one of the berths. Your charter skipper is a skilled professional hired to drive the boat, show you how to operate the equipment on board, provide information regarding destinations and anchorages, and ensure the safety of the yacht as well as his/her charter guests.

  21. How to Become a Yacht Week Skipper

    The Skipper Academy itself is widely acknowledged by participants to be one of the best weeks of their lives. It is tough. In any given course the pass rate is around 70-80%. Successful candidates are then invited to work in one of The Yacht Week's locations, usually starting with Croatia. Making Yacht Week Skipper In Nine Steps

  22. Why You Need a Boat Rental With a Skipper

    The skipper on a chartered yacht will have the skills, training, experience, and license required to legally and safely captain the boat (or flotilla, in the case of a group sailing holiday ). In that capacity, here's a look at what a skipper does: Keeping everyone safe: The skipper makes sure everyone on board knows and adheres to safety ...

  23. Bareboat Charter 101

    Luckily, you don't need to have any sailing skill to enjoy sailing. You can hire a skipper or a crew to navigate the boat. There are many articles about this subject on my website. If you want to get familiar with yacht charters, then I would suggest you read the yacht chartering 101. You'll find all the information you need to plan your ...

  24. 'Ruined my life': Luxury yacht skipper loses $400k in scam, faces

    Michalick, 43 - a luxury yacht skipper based in Kerikeri - thought his family's life savings were being invested in a low-risk term deposit with HSBC bank.

  25. Masha Allah ️Shaikh Zayed grand mosque, #abhudhabi # ...

    22 likes, 2 comments - yacht__skipper on March 4, 2024: "Masha Allah ️Shaikh Zayed grand mosque, #abhudhabi #shaikhzayedmosque"