Once you’ve confirmed your booking, there are a few other logistical and planning steps to consider so that everything runs smoothly. Things like meal plans, what to bring, extras to consider and travel timing.
This post is designed to make life easy. We share our top tips to help you organise and prepare logistically for your bareboat charter so that when the holiday comes along, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
#1 Bareboat Preparation Tip: Book ahead, consider travel & briefing times
When in the holiday planning and boat booking stages, give equal attention to your flight times and airport transfers. Book these things early so you don’t miss a valuable spot.
Consider when your boat briefing will start. Directly after your briefing, you head off to your first night’s anchorage; there is no returning to base. It’s important to have your supplies and everything ready to go before the briefing starts. Being punctual also means you have ample training time, ensuring you are prepared and confident to operate the boat yourself.
Check-in and Briefing times
- Sleep aboard: Check-in at 3:30 pm for 4 pm vessel boarding. Briefing starts at 8 am the following day.
- Same-day arrivals: Check-in at 11:30 am for midday briefing.
Our base at Shute Harbour has five overnight anchorages under 2 hours away. Shute is the closest mainland port to the islands, which is really handy for your first and last nights.
# 2 Book a Sleep Aboard to take the time pressure off
Sleeping aboard refers to spending a night on your booked boat while it’s docked at our base. You can stay the night before or after you return from your charter.
Sleep aboards really take the pressure off. They allow you time to settle in, pack everything away and take care of any last-minute preparation needs. Also, for a full crew, sleep aboards can be cheaper than booking a hotel!
Please book your sleep aboard as early as possible. Spaces are limited on our dock.
Tip – Shute Harbour is renowned for its great fishing. Many people who sleep aboard with us at Shute Harbour love the tranquillity and throwing a line in to catch a meal.
How to get to Whitsunday Rent a Yacht
We are based in stunning Shute Harbour, only 10 minutes drive from Airlie Beach.
Whitsunday Airport receives flights from all major Australian cities and is now accessed from some regional areas (see Bonza Airways).
There are plenty of transfer buses which meet every flight at Proserpine. You can pre-book a return around your charter dates, and they will happily pick you up and drop you off at Shute Harbour.
Airport Transfers: Heart of the Reef Shuttles
Hamilton Island Airport
You can arrange for your vessel to be delivered to Hamilton Island. A briefing will take place with our team from the Hamilton Island Marina and then you are free to set sail.
From the Hamilton Island Airport, you can take their Resort Link shuttle which will transfer you to the Marina.
When you arrive at our private jetty in Shute Harbour, you can pull up to the car spaces near the jetty while you book in and load your vessel.
You can organise undercover, secure parking online with Whitsunday Parking who will pick up your vehicle after you check-in, and return it to our base when you check out.
Whitsunday Council offers parking within metres from our base (pay and display / EasyPark App).
For those travelling with a caravan, check with your preferred local caravan park for storage options – as some do allow storage while you are on charter.
# 3 Arrange Provisioning
You have the option to bring all of your food and supplies with you or you can arrange for everything to be ordered and delivered through a local provisioning company.
We encourage ordering in advance from Whitsunday Provisioning, who will deliver to your vessel, ready for your arrival. They make provisioning easy, they understand boat galleys & fridges, and they avoid the need to start your holiday at the supermarket!
You can order professional provisioning to suit your budget, with the convenience of delivering to your vessel and having everything on board for you before you arrive.
Tip: For something special order a seafood platter for your first night!
Self Provisioning & Online Ordering
If you are choosing to self-provision, you can do so at Woolworths, Coles, or a range of speciality providers in nearby Airlie Beach & Cannonvale.
Coles and Woolworths do online orders and will deliver to our Shute Harbour base. However, you must be onsite to accept the order at the delivery time, so some logistical organising is required. Some guests organise a click-and-collect and pick up their online ordering on their way to Shute.
Consider Fridge and freezer space on your vessel
When shopping, consider storage & refrigeration space onboard. Fridge and freezer space is limited, especially for longer trips, so consider what perishables you’ll bring.
Our refrigeration sizes vary between 100L and 180L, and the freezers vary between 10L and 102L. If you want to know the specific specifications for your vessel, just shoot us an email
The following shopping tips will help you make the most of space onboard and shelf life:
- Milk – buy mostly long-life milk, so as not to take up to much fridge space (start the charter with 1-2 litres of fresh milk)
- Bread products – buy wraps as well as sliced bread; wraps will last longer and take up less space
# 4 What to pack for life on a yacht
The number one packing rule for a bareboat charter holiday is to pack light.
We recommend you use a soft bag instead of a suitcase because it’s easier to store under the bed.
You may like to bring the following items unique to a sailing holiday.
- Sandals/thongs to walk on the beach
- Non-slip enclosed shoes (especially if you would like to do a hike or bushwalk)
- Throw over clothing
- Light jacket – wind jackets are great
- Sailing gloves (not necessary)
- Polarised sunglasses – helpful for spotting marine life and fringing reef areas underwater
- A hat
- Your camera / Go-pro in a waterproof enclosure
- A small backpack for those trips to the beach and hiking.
- Entertainment such as books, cards, and music devices to plug into the yacht’s stereo
- Prescription medications, Panadol, pain relief and seasick tablets if you think you’ll require them
We created a more extensive bareboat charter packing list, which covers everything from basic clothing to wet weather gear.
Please note that excess luggage & empty bags/cases can be stored at our Shute Harbour base during your charter. Just let us know how we can help.
# 5 Prepare for extra bareboating activities
Book extra equipment for more fun activities on the water! We supply snorkelling gear. Additional equipment such as stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, fishing or dive gear and stinger suits can all be arranged when making your booking.
Please let us know if you are travelling with kids. We provide fitted lifejackets at no cost; we just need you to pre-order them.
Masks, snorkels and fins are supplied free of charge. Children’s sized masks and snorkels are available on request however, again, they need to be pre-ordered.
To ensure you get the equipment you would like, it’s best to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
# 6 Decide if you want Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance for a bareboat charter holiday any time of the year. The additional investment ensures you are protected if your holiday is interrupted by illness, a family emergency or severe tropical weather.
You can organise travel insurance when you make your booking. Read more about our insurance recommendations.
# 7 Study the best places to go on your Whitsunday’s bareboat charter
Setting your exact route before you arrive for your sailing holiday is not essential. When you’re briefed, we can work with you to create an itinerary based on what you want to see and what the conditions are doing.
If you want to prepare for your charter and learn more about the Whitsundays cruising area, we recommend hiring or purchasing the book 100 Magic Miles.100 Magic Miles is a Whitsundays charter’s bible, and a copy will be provided on your yacht. Every Whitsunday location is listed, detailing how to approach anchorages, where to hike, snorkel, fish and navigate around the islands.
Visit our Recommended Anchorages and Snorkelling Sites pages to familiarise yourself with our interactive map of the islands. Click on a highlighted anchorage to read more about the amazing places to visit during your charter.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service downloadable Visitor Guide is a fantastic resource for what’s on offer in the marine and national parks.
More resources on how to prepare for your bareboat charter
Learn more about the area and see some of our resources on how to sail:
- Download our suggested Itineraries or read our 7-day yacht charter itinerary on the blog.
- Tips for sailing the Whitsundays for the first time
- How to prepare a crew of beginner sailors
- Sailing courses we recommend
Like any holiday, if you prepare for your bareboat charter, you will make the most out of your adventure.
We look forward to welcoming you to Shute Harbour and making your sailing holiday one you will remember. Please let us know if you have any questions or need assistance preparing for your bareboat charter.