Everything You Want to Know About Chartering the Perfect Boat

Don't let your unfamiliarity with chartering a yacht deter you from enjoying the vacation of your dreams. Read through these frequently-asked questions and then contact us with any others. We love introducing newcomers to the joy of boating.
  • Which boat is best for me?

    That really is up to you! For the ultimate experience aboard our power catamarans, you can't beat the MarineMax 443 with its spacious three cabin layout and a forward master cabin spanning her beam, including a full king size walk around berth and en suite head. Port and starboard cabins have ample space and private en-suite heads. The MarineMax 484 provides outstanding and spacious living comforts for four couples, or even 10 guests. The salon is large and converts to double berths if needed. Four equal size double cabins all include private en suite heads, walk around berth access and plenty of storage. Both aft cabins can be converted to twin berths if desired.

    Do I need a license to captain my yacht?

    No, there is no license required and depending on your boating experience, you may already be qualified to skipper one of our yachts. Let's take a look at your boating résumé to review your experience and verify that you are approved to captain your charter.

    Where will I dock each night?

    You can choose to pick up a mooring ball at a destination of your choice, anchor in a harbor or even visit ports to find docks and yacht clubs like Great Guana Cay. Please note that in the Bahamas you will more often be anchoring than picking up a mooring ball.

    What's the weather like in the Bahamas?

    In general, the weather in the Abacos is pretty much the same as the weather in south Florida, with the exception of local patterns. complete with trade winds and plenty of sunshine. Daytime temperatures average around 85 degrees in the summer and 75 degrees in the winter, with temperatures dropping 10-15 degrees at night. The coolest time is between December and April, with July and August being the hottest months and May and June seeing the most rainfall.

    What are the wind conditions?

    They are ideal! Winds average around 15 miles per hour, providing exciting boating conditions and cool night ventilation.

    Can I get a captain and a cook?

    You can decide to have a captain and a cook on board for your vacation. We are happy to arrange this for you, just keep in mind that they will require a cabin. We can hire a captain, hire a crew, or plan an all-inclusive vacation for you. You can contact us for specific daily rates for your dream vacation.

    What are my travel options?

    The Bahamas are a short trip from the coast of south Florida. For more travel information by air and sea, we've got you covered here.

    Will I need a Passport?

    Yes, you will need a passport to travel to the Bahamas.

    Will I need to go through Customs?

    Yes, you will need to clear customs when entering the Bahamas and then again on your journey back to your country of origin. This typically takes approximately 45 minutes.

    How much luggage can I bring?

    The phrase “less is more” applies here. We recommend that you bring smaller, soft sided luggage as it will need to be stored in your cabin. It's good to take the advice of some previous guests who quickly learned that a charter vacation in paradise is best with light packing. And less baggage on the airlines is good, too.

    What should I pack?

    Bathing suits, shorts and your favorite casual beach attire is best. Rubber soled shoes such as boat shoes, sandals and tennis shoes are also recommended. Some guests have been happy to have aquatic shoes when beachcombing the islands. Most importantly, don't forget to pack the sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and even a windbreaker comes in handy in the breezy evenings.

    Do I have to start on any particular day of the week?

    No, you do not have to start on a certain day of the week. It's your vacation; let's plan it around your schedule.

    Are taxi and/or ferry fees included?

    All transfer charges are additional fees that are not included with your charter.

    Where can we stay if our flight arrives the day before our charter begins?

    Our recommendation for an early arrival would be to make arrangements at the Abaco Beach Resort or another local hotel, which we will work to arrange for you.

    Can I charter by myself?

    No, sorry. Regardless of your experience, for safety reasons, at least two people are required on board.

    What is a Chart Briefing?

    It's just one of the ways we welcome you and help you become familiar with your boat and the islands. We will show you around your boat, brief you on how things work, as well as make water navigation suggestions based on your individual vacation itinerary and desires. Safety first, so those procedures will also be part of the chart briefing. Our goal is to make you absolutely comfortable and confident with the boat and the islands before departing from the Marina. Please talk with your personal MarineMax Vacations planning expert for your chart briefing time, which is based on your arrival plans.

    What time will I leave the dock?

    This varies depending upon your arrival time. After your arrival at the marina, you can plan a minimum of two hours for orientation and chart briefing. Boarding time is at noon or 6:00 p.m.

    What are our dining options?

    You may choose to dine on board during your trip or go ashore to restaurants during your stops. A well-stocked grocery store, Maxwell’s Supermarket, is located within five minutes of the Abaco Beach Resort. It’s a great stop before your charter trip to stock up groceries and supplies. 

    Will I get sea sickness?

    We sure hope not. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, then we do recommend you pack over the counter medication – some guests like a pill form, others prefer the wristband treatments. Sometimes, after the first day, guests who are susceptible have begun to feel some motion sickness. But with the OTC, they have been able to enjoy their entire paradise vacation.

    Is smoking allowed on the boats?

    Due to our fire safety restrictions, there is no smoking allowed inside or below deck on any of our charter boats.

    What additional expenses are there during my Bahamas charter vacation?

    Overnight moorings. Overnight moorings are cash-only and are available on a first come, first serve basis. Once you hook-up to an available mooring, someone will approach your yacht in a dinghy to collect payment and give you a receipt, or sometimes you will be instructed to pay a specific restaurant ashore.

    Dining ashore. While provisioning on your boat is most popular, guests do typically dine ashore for about half of their dinner meals and occasionally breakfast or lunch. Most restaurants accept Visa and MasterCard. American Express is less widely accepted, so you may want to verify before you get to the table

    Ice & Water. A bag of ice varies in cost depending on where it is purchased, but is useful to have onboard. While every boat in our fleet includes watermakers so you will not need to purchase fresh water, if you should find yourself in need, it is available to purchase at many convenient locations throughout the islands.

    Fuel. The cost of fuel is not included in the base charter fee and varies in price per gallon.

    Is a dinghy included?

    Yes, the dinghy with outboard is included on all of our boats.

    Is snorkeling gear included?

    A set of snorkeling gear including mask, snorkel & fins is provided for each vacationer free of charge.

    What are my scuba diving options?

    Certified divers can rent scuba gear and tanks to take on board their yacht, noting that our boats are not equipped with compressors or dive tank racks, but racks can be rented. DiveTime Abaco is located onsite at Abaco Beach Resort and provides rental equipment as well as world-class diving and snorkeling adventures. 

    Will I have cell phone service?

    While your carrier may have cell service while on the waters, we strongly urge you to contact them for any additional international or roaming fees you may incur. These charges can add up quickly, even just by turning your phone on and data is automatically received. In other words, be sure your international calling plan is in place beforehand if you plan on using your phone.

    Is there Internet service available?

    Yes, our boats do offer wireless internet aboard at a cost of $99 per week. The Abaco Beach Resort also offers complimentary Wi-Fi, and service is available in most harbors. Although it's nice to stay in touch, sometimes it's so much better to completely disconnect and enjoy the paradise. If you must stay in touch, with our Wi-Fi dedicated to the boats, you can simply skype with loved ones back home as needed.

    Can I use my iPod or MP3 player?

    Yes, you can. Just be sure you bring any auxiliary cables you may need with you. Our yachts do include the ability to listen through our onboard sound systems.

    Is a fishing license required?

    Fishing is allowed and a license is not required. Please note that spear fishing using scuba gear and possession of spear guns are illegal in the Bahamas. Fishing is not permitted in Pelican Cays Land or Sea Park Owl Cay Preserve.

    Can I use a hair dryer on board?

    Well, yes, you can, but why? Hair dryers and yachts really don't go well together. If you do need to use one on board, bring a very low wattage travel hair dryer.

    Are pets allowed?

    No, we are sorry, but pets are not allowed on any charters.

    What type of equipment will I find on board?

    We are proud to be pushing the limit on upgrades and equipment in all of our power catamarans. Equipment includes GPS satellite navigation systems, autopilots, CD/radio sound system with cockpit speakers, generators, watermakers, air conditioning, electric barbeque grills, flat screen TV's, and Ray Marine touchscreen electronics. Galley equipment also includes blenders, coffee pots and microwaves.

    Can I afford a yachting vacation?

    Absolutely, you can. The "per person" cost of a yachting vacation is usually at or below the cost of a resort vacation or ocean cruise, without the crowds! It's an all-inclusive luxury vacation without the crowds or hassle.

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Arriving in the Bahamas

Get the details on flights, ferries, and taxis for a stress-free arrival.
Be in the Know
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Imagine Your Trip of a Lifetime

With hundreds of islands to visit, the Bahamas offers something for everyone. Review our sample itinerary to get a peek of what it's like.
Take a Peek
Aerial view of the Abaco Beach Resort Marina

MarineMax Vacations Bahamas

Your vacation begins when we welcome you to our base on Great Abaco Island.
Explore the Base