The benefits of boat-sharing and chartering for long-term cruising
The benefits of boat-sharing and chartering for long-term cruising

Discover the financial and lifestyle benefits of boat-sharing and chartering for long-term cruising, and how they can help you achieve your dreams of exploring the world with your family.

The Benefits of Boat-Sharing and Chartering for Long-Term Cruising

As you embark on your journey to leave the rat race behind and explore the world with your family on a boat, you may be wondering about the financial aspects of this lifestyle. One of the most significant expenses you’ll face is the cost of purchasing and maintaining a boat. However, there are alternative options to consider, such as boat-sharing and chartering. In this article, we’ll delve into the benefits of these options and how they can help you achieve your long-term cruising goals.

Table of Contents

What is Boat-Sharing?

Boat-sharing is an arrangement where multiple individuals or families share ownership of a boat. This can be done through a formal agreement or by joining a boat-sharing club or organization. Each owner contributes to the purchase, maintenance, and operating costs of the boat, and in return, they have access to the boat for a specified amount of time each year.

Boat-sharing can be an excellent option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of boat ownership without the full financial commitment. It allows you to share the costs and responsibilities with others, making it more affordable and manageable.

What is Chartering?

Chartering is the process of renting a boat for a specified period, usually ranging from a few days to several weeks. There are two main types of chartering: bareboat and crewed.

  • Bareboat Charter: In a bareboat charter, you rent the boat and are responsible for operating and maintaining it during your charter period. This option is suitable for experienced sailors who are comfortable handling a boat on their own.

  • Crewed Charter: In a crewed charter, you rent the boat along with a professional crew who handle the operation and maintenance of the boat. This option is ideal for those with limited sailing experience or who prefer a more relaxed and luxurious experience.

Chartering allows you to enjoy the benefits of sailing without the long-term commitment and expenses associated with boat ownership.

Benefits of Boat-Sharing and Chartering

Financial Savings

One of the most significant benefits of boat-sharing and chartering is the financial savings compared to owning a boat outright. Boats can be expensive to purchase, and the ongoing costs of maintenance, insurance, and mooring fees can quickly add up. By sharing these costs with others or only paying for the time you use the boat, you can significantly reduce your financial commitment.

In addition, boat-sharing and chartering can help you avoid the depreciation that comes with owning a boat. Boats, like cars, tend to lose value over time, and by not owning the boat outright, you can avoid this financial loss.


Boat-sharing and chartering offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of when and where you can sail. With boat-sharing, you can work out a schedule with your co-owners that allows each of you to use the boat at different times throughout the year. This can be particularly beneficial for families with school-aged children, as you can plan your sailing adventures around school holidays and other commitments.

Chartering offers even more flexibility, as you can choose from a wide range of boats and locations, and you’re not tied to a specific boat or sailing area. This allows you to explore new destinations and experience different types of boats without the commitment of ownership.

Variety of Boats and Locations

As mentioned above, chartering allows you to experience a wide variety of boats and sailing locations. This can be an excellent way to try out different types of boats and find the one that best suits your needs and preferences before committing to a purchase.

Boat-sharing can also offer variety, particularly if you join a boat-sharing club or organization. Many of these clubs have a fleet of boats available for members to use, giving you the opportunity to try out different boats and sailing locations.

Maintenance and Management

Owning a boat comes with a significant amount of maintenance and management responsibilities. With boat-sharing and chartering, these responsibilities are either shared among the co-owners or taken care of by the charter company.

In a boat-sharing arrangement, co-owners can divide the maintenance tasks and responsibilities, making it more manageable for each individual. In a charter situation, the charter company typically handles all maintenance and management tasks, allowing you to enjoy your time on the water without worrying about the upkeep of the boat.

Learning Opportunities

Both boat-sharing and chartering can provide valuable learning opportunities for those new to sailing or looking to improve their skills. In a boat-sharing arrangement, you can learn from your co-owners, who may have different levels of experience and expertise. This can be an excellent way to gain knowledge and confidence in your sailing abilities.

Chartering, particularly crewed charters, can also provide learning opportunities. Many crewed charter companies offer sailing lessons or coaching as part of the charter experience, allowing you to improve your skills while enjoying your time on the water.

Community and Networking

Boat-sharing and chartering can help you connect with like-minded individuals and families who share your passion for sailing and adventure. In a boat-sharing arrangement, you’ll have the opportunity to build relationships with your co-owners, who may become lifelong friends and sailing partners.

Chartering can also help you connect with other sailors and charter guests, particularly if you choose to participate in group charters or flotilla sailing events. These connections can be invaluable for networking, learning, and support as you continue your sailing journey.

Choosing the Right Boat-Sharing or Chartering Option

When considering boat-sharing or chartering, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your needs, preferences, and budget to determine the best option for you and your family. Some factors to consider include:

  • Your sailing experience and comfort level
  • The type and size of boat you prefer
  • Your preferred sailing locations and destinations
  • The amount of time you plan to spend on the water each year
  • Your budget for boat-related expenses

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the boat-sharing or chartering option that best aligns with your long-term cruising goals and allows you to fully enjoy the freedom and fulfillment that comes from embracing the open sea and spending quality time with your family.


Boat-sharing and chartering can be excellent alternatives to boat ownership for those looking to embark on long-term cruising adventures with their families. These options offer financial savings, flexibility, variety, and valuable learning opportunities, making them ideal for those seeking an unconventional path to freedom and fulfillment on the open sea.

As you continue to explore the world of sailing and plan your adventures, consider the benefits of boat-sharing and chartering as part of your journey. With the right approach and mindset, these options can help you achieve your dreams of leaving the rat race behind and embracing a life of adventure and connection with your family.