Comparing a bareboat with a skippered charter


The advantages of a skippered and bareboat charter and how to decide which option is best for you.

If you’ve wanted to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays for an extended period, you may need to decide between a skippered or bareboat charter.

A bareboat charter is when you hire a yacht or catamaran without a professional crew. The boat comes fully equipped, and your friends or family operate the boat yourselves.

A skippered charter can range from a group sailing trip with other travellers you’ve never met, to privately hiring a high-end yacht with a skipper and possibly additional professional crew members.

In this post, we’ll outline the advantages of a bareboat charter and for those wanting to sail with professionals, we’ll share some skippered charter options.

Bareboat charter whitsundays

Bareboat Charters

How does a bareboat charter work?

Bareboats are mainly catamarans, motor cruisers and monohull yachts. Guests are able to hire their vessel for more than three days and can go where ever they like within the set bareboat charter limits of the Whitsundays.

A bareboat is anything but bare. It comes with a fully equipped kitchen, linen, towels, safety equipment and everything you will need to operate the vessel. Guests need to arrange their food & drink, which can be done through local provisioning companies for ease.

No license is required to hire a bareboat in the Whitsundays. Thanks to the Island’s safe waters and proximity to the mainland, the Whitsundays is one of the only global sailing destinations that do not require bare boaters to have a boating license.

All guests are given a comprehensive boat briefing and training session before taking their hire vessel out. The briefing session is tailored to the experience level of the crew.

Those new to boating may require additional training or a sail guide to attend a small part of their trip while they become comfortable operating the vessel alone.

What are the advantages of a bareboat charter?

There are several advantages to hiring a bareboat instead of a skippered charter.

  • Bareboats save you money. You don’t have to pay a daily fee for a skipper and ensure their meals are catered.
  • There’s complete privacy for you and your crew.
  • You can set your own pace and do the activities or attractions that interest you
  • You can stay in your favourite destination as long as you like and are free to go with the flow rather than keeping to a set itinerary.

Bareboat charters with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht is the original bareboat charter company in the Whitsundays. We operate from Shute Harbour, just 10 minutes from Airlie Beach with the closest mainland access to the Islands.

Our team are passionate about teaching guests to operate their own vessels while possibly instilling a lifelong love of sailing.

If you’ve never bareboated before, check out this post: Sailing the Whitsundays for the first time

To get a price, we have a simple online bookings system you can use. Put the dates you want to sail in and available boats with prices will come up.

Leopard 40


Skippered Charters in the Whitsundays

How does a skippered charter work?

Airlie Beach is a tourism epicentre and Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. There are several options for skippered charters around the Islands or further afield to the outer Great Barrier Reef.

1 – Joining a skippered charter with other travellers

Several tourism operators provide fully crewed yachts you can join as a solo traveller or backpacker. Some skippered charters involve guests in learning how to operate the vessel, while others allow guests to sit back while the crew do the work.

Check out Prosail for some great skippered charter options.

2 – Hiring a private yacht with a skipper

There are a variety of ways to go about hiring a skippered yacht. There are options within some bareboat charter companies to hire a bareboat which has a skippered registration (see below for option with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht).

Several private tourism operators such as WINGS specialise in skippered overnight & extended yacht charters.

Skippered day charters can be arranged through

3 – Luxury fully crewed yachts

There are options to privately charter on luxury crewed superyachts. Crew can include a chef, hostess, skipper & deckhands.

For private day tours or sailing holidays among the islands of spectacular boats, get in touch with:

What are the advantages of a skippered charter?

  • The skipper navigates the boat, helps with the sailing route and takes care of your safety.
  • Skippers are local and can tell you the secret spots around the Whitsundays.
  • If you’re interested in sailing, a skipper can teach you the basics or help you refine your skills.
  • Skippers take control of the boat and decide where to anchor and where to go considering the wind.
  • A skipper will mean you can sit back and relax on route!

Skippered Charters with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht offers a fully skippered charter service on our Leopard 50, Point of Sail. The skipper is fully responsible for the operation of the boat throughout the duration of the charter.

Point of Sail has four double cabins with ensuites.

Add a Sail Guide to any Bareboat Charter

All of the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet can have a sail guide added to them.

A sail guide is slightly different from a skipper because their role is to assist guests with operating the vessel. While the guide is there to help with running the boat and to give advice, they are not fully responsible for the operation of the boat, the charter guests are.

Our sail guides are professional, experienced sailors who can join a bareboat charter for a few hours, a night or even the whole duration.

Many people choose to have a sail guide join their charter while gaining confidence in operating the vessel.  The guide is there for peace of mind’; they are also great company full of local knowledge!

Remember that you have to provide meals and a cabin for your skipper/guide.

Why provision for your Whitsundays holiday

Why provision for your Whitsundays holiday

Several Whitsunday provisioning companies cater for holidays and specialise in bareboat charters. They all offer flexible packages which can be customised to fit the budget-conscious or those who want to indulge. While provision might at first seem like a luxury, it...

* indicates required


Get In Touch

1800 075 000

+61 7 4946 9232


6 Bay Terrace
Shute Harbour QLD 4802

Office Hours

8am - 5pm Weekdays
8am - 4pm Weekends
8am - 4pm Public holidays

Ready to Explore?

Ask us anything in the form below. If you want to get a quote or make a booking,  please use our booking enquiry form.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Sign up to our newsletter

* indicates required



Whitsunday Rent a Yacht acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and in particular the Traditional Owners of the Whitsunday's Region, the Gia, Juru and Ngaro People; We recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Call Now Button