Here’s how to avoid nasty surprises if you rent a boat this summer. Zero risk does not exist with chartering, but there are many things you can do to minimize the risk of ruining your boating vacation. We have summarized the key issues in ten questions and answers.
1) How many competent people do you need on board?
It depends on the size of the boat and it is essential that the autopilot works. For navigation and anchoring one competent person is enough, but for maneuvering in port you need at least two crew members who know what to do.
2) What precautions to take when verifying the inventory and that all the equipment really works?
Do not be rushed, force the renter to show you everything included in the inventory (which you will have to sign). Hot spots then to be checked very carefully are:
Motor. With the engine running, check if the exhaust smoke is not bluish (it eats oil!); if the cooling water comes out steadily; if engaging forward/reverse gear there is no play in engagement.
LiLine anchorage. Pay special attention to the diameter and length of the chain, weight and type of anchor, and efficiency of the windlass. They must be in line with the tonnage of the boat and the depths you will encounter. Your vacation depends on it!
Cartography. Check well that there are detailed maps of the navigation area and that everything is working.
3) If something goes wrong and you cannot leave are you entitled to a refund?
You must first read well the lease agreement that determines responsibilities. The key issue is whether the failure/missing results in the forced detention of the vessel during the rental period. In this case you will be entitled to a refund.
4) What to do in case of failure?
Email or text the renter now and then contact him or her by phone as well. Do whatever is necessary to prevent the failure from getting worse. Take photos, lots of photos testifying to the damage and send them to the rental company.
5) When do they have to return the bond to you?
Immediately after taking inventory and inspecting the condition of the boat, it must be returned to you. The lessee cannot take time to make restitution!
6) In case of an argument about the causes of a breakdown, what to do?
First of all, know that the lessee can, in case of a dispute over the cause of a breakdown, freeze your security deposit. In the event of an irremediable dispute, in order to determine responsibility for the damage, unfortunately, only the courts remain. You must equip yourself with a lawyer.
7) What to do if due to bad weather you cannot return to the port of delivery in time?
Almost always, renters are required to return the boat by the scheduled day and time. Otherwise a penalty is triggered. We recommend that you notify the rental company in advance if you think you will not return in time and negotiate a solution, such as asking the renter for help in returning the boat.
8) What is appropriate to bring on board from home?
Remember that the tools provided are very scarce. Pharmacy is also strictly essential. An extra flashlight and forntal lamp never hurts. Also, having an extra cartography such as a Navionics on the phone never hurts.
9) Is it worthwhile to take insurance on cancellation?
It is a guarantee to guard against the unexpected. But you must pay close attention to the clauses in the contract that provide for force majeure events of your own (illness, death…) or the lessee’s (sinking or serious damage to the chartered vessel…). Know, however, that there will be discussion!
10) Is it worth renting the boat from a private person? What changes?
Surely you should get a lower price, but be aware that there is little legal protection against litigation and the terms of the lease are more haphazard.