Below you will find some answers to common questions asked about Seabbatical Discount Bareboat Charters and how we offer such reasonable rates for our Bareboat Yacht Charters. You will also find hints on travel, packing, and provisioning for your bareboat charter vacation. While we try to keep the descriptions on this page up-to-date, any differences between what is found here will be considered superseded by the wording in your specfic Bareboat Charter Agreement. Pricing and specifications are believed to be correct, but subject to confirmation.
Where are you based?
We are primarily based on Tortola BVI, at Manuel Reef Marina, Sea Cows Bay, which is just east of Nanny Cay. You can fly directly into Beef Island Airport (EIS), Tortola BVI, typically from either San Juan (SJU) or St. Martin (SXM). Both are approximately a 35-minute propeller ride, with the BVI in the middle. Recently American Airlines are flying directly in from Miami.
Probably the most common travel is to fly into St Thomas (STT) and take a ferry to Road Town then take a taxi to the marina. If you're arriving later in the afternoon make sure you can make the last ferry (or you'll need a hotel). If this is what you're doing we recommend spending the night on STT so you aren't stressed about a delayed arrival and maybe missing the ferry. Walk the old town, have dinner and take in the sights and sounds of the islands, and in the morning be on the 8:30am ferry to Road Town.
Online ferry schedules:
What are the cruising grounds I can enjoy?
For one week charters are just enough to explore the BVI. Our regular cruising grounds for a month are the BVI, USVI, and Spanish VI (Vieques, and Culibra). For longer than a month we will consider your plans for sailing outside of this area based on your sailing resume. Occasionally we have boats in other places. Typically, during the Christmas winds Dec and Jan or Hurricane season July to Nov we need the boats to stay in the BVI, but please ask if there is interest in Grenada.
Where can I get complete specs on your boats?
You can get complete specs on each boat's webpage starting from the Our Fleet menu.
How do I get price information?
Please go to each boat's webpage and enter your Start and End dates. You will get pricing if the boat is available and you will be able to see the calendar for other dates that might interest you. When you find something interesting you can put it on hold. Please bear in mind when booking, that we need a minimum of 3-days either side of the charter to clean and service the boat. 4-days is preferred after a longer charter.
What is included the prices quoted on the website?
The prices quoted on the website are bareboat for the entire boat, not for a cabin. Our prices are so low that we get this question. It does not include the damage waiver (see below). The price includes a dinghy normally 10 – 12 ft RIB with a 10 – 15 HP Outboard, and two sets of fins per cabin (but not snorkel or masks). We supply two complete sets of linens and towels for each cabin so you can send some out for laundry and still have another set to use. The galley is well stocked; in fact we ask guests to just replace anything that has outlived it useful design life and we'll square-up later. Our Dock Master, Robert, looks forward to meeting you at the dock when you arrive to give you a boat and chart briefing. We'll send you that final information at about 7-days in advance.
Each yacht has a copy of the very popular, white coil-bound crusing guide for the BVI, The Crusing Guide to the Virgin Islands . It packed with everything you'd want to know, but for those who want to do some pre-charter planning, a personal copy can be purchased online in advance.
A four week cruise with Seabbatical cost about the same as a two week charter with our competitors or a one week crewed yacht charter. All our Yachts have queen berths, just think of how many friends or family members can join you throughout your charter to help share the costs and multiply the fun on your bareboat yacht vacation.
Note that website availabilty and pricing is subject to confirmation, so do NOT go booking your flights until you've talked to us!
What are the additional costs?
The damage waiver is $21-per-day (which gets added onto the website price) and is part of the charter cost.
A refundable security deposit is paid in advance and is typically $3000, but possibly $5000 for the larger or newer cats (as detailed in the Charter Agreement). The security deposit is refundable - we tell people, "just don't hit or lose anything". It is due 10-days in advance via money wire or Wise.com (sorry no credit card), and is refunded after a diver has had a look at the underside, but typically within a few days of your departure.
Other costs depend on where a charter goes and for how long, but may include: Cruising Permit, National Park Pass, Customs fees, moorage, fishing license, fuel, gas, water, propane, gratuities, etc.
As of 2022 season the BVI Cruising Permits are $4 per person per day (even partial days and sleep aboard nights).
BVI National Parks Pass: ($6 per person) + $50 per week up to 4-persons, $70 for up to 6-, $90 up to 8-, and $110 up to 10-persons.
Airport/Ferry Departure Tax: $20 per person.
You would need to inform us at time of booking if there is interest in fishing in the BVI.
Want to try sailing for the first time? The fee for a Captain is $350.00/day (plus meals, a cabin, and gratuity if satisfied).
Want to learn to sail while on vacation? We can arrange instruction for ASA certifications. Further discussion is required to determine costs.
Want to sharpen your skills? Maybe rusty on maneuvering under power? We'd be happy to get you setup with an experienced check-out skipper.
If you would like to spend a extra night due to flight requirements, we have a Sleep Aboard option for a flat rate of $300 (if available, 5pm check-in).
Captains will pay $200 cash (in advance) to clear a blocked head, or they can do it themselves for free. These additional costs can often be avoided by telling your crew, in advance, the often heard motto, "You can flush anything you've already swallowed." The other piece of advice to share is, "Do you business, flush, then do your paperwork, and flush again."
There are also plenty of additional fun toys to make your sailing even better. Its easy to rent whatever you're looking for from these local BVI companies: Island Surf & Sail www.bviwatertoys.com (Soper's Hole), Blue Water Divers www.bluewaterdiversbvi.com (Nanny Cay), or Last Stop Watersports (Port Purcell). Tell them you're chartering with Seabbatical Long Term Charters and ask about free delivery to your boat too!
How does your payment schedule work?
We take a deposit of 50% at booking, and the final 50% 2-months prior to the charter. Payments can be made by credit card, international wire transfer, or via Wise.com (the least expensive and fastest of all). All charge fees so check with your bank for details. Note that we do not hide include credit card fees in our pricing, so expect another 4.25% to be added. It is expensive but we appreicate some get travel insurance, perks, points, etc. Note that all payments must be made by the charter captain (sorry, no splitting with friends).
The security deposit is due 10-days prior to the charter via bank wire transfer or online via Wise.com.
For bookings over 12-months in advance we split the 50% booking payment: 25% at booking and 25% at 8-months in advance.
We can discuss your options at time of booking.
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellations must be received by email. An email over 180-days in advance refunds payments less a $150 processing fee. A notification between 180-days and 120-days (inclusive) refunds payments less 40%. A notification between 119-days and 60-days (inclusive) refunds payments less 60%. Notification less than 60-days prior does not qualify for a refund, however, only in that event, if the yacht is re-booked and goes out on charter, Seabbatical will gladly refund 25% of what was the re-booked portion.
We recommend that you take out travel insurance for additional coverage. In the event the boat you chartered becomes unavailable, we will make every attempt to provide a substitute boat, but failing that,we will need to cancel and you will get a full refund for those lost days.
There is a $250 change fee that allows you to change your dates if requested at least 60-days in advance. The maxium change is 6-months from your original start date but is only available once per charter.
While every attempt is made to keep this website wording the same as the actual charter agreement, the wording in your charter agreement will be used. Please review actual wording in your agreement.
If faced with another outbreak (like Covid-19 in 2020) that effectively shuts us down, we will again offer a rebooking voucher for 100% of payments received towards sailing in the next 18-months, on any boat and in any season.
What if something breaks?
Due to the long term nature of our charters we tell our customers to expect a day or two of down time in a month long trip, even though we do our best to keep our boats well maintained. Our business model enables bareboat captains to experience the "cruiser's lifestyle" (if only for a month or so), and while it is not your boat, you are expected to treat it as you would your own - and as part of that, to be willing to perform some light maintenace along the way, if needed. But always the first thing to do is to contact our Dock Manager for guidance and support. Depending where you are, you may be expected to coordinate repairs with local services. We will supply a list of our company contacts and others that have done work for us in different regions. If you are in the BVI it is possible that you may have to come back to Tortola. You will be reimbursed for lost sailing time due to a mechanical problem, as detailed in the charter agreement, while in the BVI, and USVI but not if you are outside of that 'close' cruising area. For those sailing down-island, fortunately there is a strong yacht support-network of services through the islands. In all cases, Seabbatical is expected to be in-the-loop with service and repairs, and will look make the payment directly. If we have a major problem we hopefully can transfer you to one of our other boats that are open. In the rare circumstance that a repair renders a boat unusable, and we cannot provide a suitable substitute, we will cancel the remainder of the charter and provide a refund for those lost days. Through our experience of literally hundreds and hundreds of charters this has happened, but thankfully only once.
What to bring with us (and other tips)
Being charter people ourselves we recommend bringing the basic necessities like beach towels (do NOT use on-board towels), sunglasses so you can see water depth and bottom contours and details best (rose-tinted seem to work well), mask, snorkel (we supply 2 sets per cabin because they are difficult to pack), Bringing your own gear ensures you will be more comfortable while exploring the underwater wonders of the Caribbean. Fishing gear, most airlines will allow you to check a fishing pole if its in a short cardboard tube but a personal fishing permit is required for fishing from your bareboat charter if you are within a country's territorial waters (be sure to check the rules for each country you may visit). Electronic devices, with Wifi free in most restaurants and bars. Seabbatical would like very much if you post your experiences to our Facebook page during your charter and send us an email now and then telling us how things are going. Inexpensive flip-phones are available, but an unlocked phone or tablet is great to have if you are leaving the BVI. First Aid kits are on the boat but often guests will bring their their own and may leave some of the basics behind for the next charters. This makes sure that every charter has ample supplies of first aid supplies onboard.
Sun screen, if you have ever reacted to sunscreen it might be because there is a lot of chemicals that your skin doesn't really like in their ingredients. Try to get the most natural protection you can and if all else fails try Hawaiian Tropic. I personally have seen very few people react to Hawaiian Tropic over my many years of chartering and living in the Caribbean. Bring spf 15 and 30 and even some Zinc for your noses, re-apply after swimming. Word of advice on sunscreen... do not apply sunscreen to your face when you are going snorkeling, it will burn your eyes for hours and hours. Your face is in the water and not exposed to the sun when your looking at the coral and fish. Apply it when you are finished swimming and back on board your charter yacht.
Soft-sided luggage like a duffel bag is the best. Storage space is always tight and we do not have room to store it while your out sailing - sorry.
The mesh laundry bags are great, and there is a large laundrymat at Manuel Reef Marina. For a small fee they offer end-of-day service if dropped off by 11am, or DIY coin loads.
Drinking water refill stations are becoming more popular, so buy the 1-gal jugs and reuse them for the rest of your trip. It cuts the cost in half and you won't be throwing away all those single plastic bottles.
We'll be happy to arrange your ground transportation (a week before you arrive) from either ferry or airport. No need to rent a car and learn how to drive on the other side of the road, while steering from the other side of the car, after dark (6pm) and in the rain. Driving times: Roadtown ferry terminal - 10min; Roadtown - 12min; airport - 30min; West End ferry - 25min
To reduce skin irriation and itch "Anthisan" cream is an effective choice down there (I've got it at the Medicure Pharmacy, a block past Bobby's Supermarket).
Follow the link from our website to NauticEd online training website, take the "Maneuvering Under Power" course (approx. $40) and we'll reward you with a bottle of rum.
Resealable bags, like Ziploc, can be used for everything from left-overs to passports and phones.
Local provisioning in the BVI, we like Tico for alcohol (best prices) and Bobby's Market for the basic's, and Rite Way for a little more selection and speciality foods. But for convenience and location you cannot beat Manuel Reef Market. It is a mid-sized store including some frozen meats (a perfect start for chartering), beer, wine, and spirits. Best of all, it is closer to the dock than the taxi that dropped you off in the parking lot. Give them a try - tell them Seabbatical sent you!
Often guests will drop their luggage off at the boat and go for shopping and provisioning, then be back before noon for briefings. We ask that you let us know when you are "on island time" so we can expect you and provide a cabin for luggage.
Alternatively, you can pre-provision your bareboat with the basics while at home via the links provided and have the order delivered right to your yacht for usually no extra fee. You can also re-provision while you're on your bareboat charter using a local wifi access to the above links and have it delivered to West End Sopers Hole, while you are topping up your water, fuel and ice. These little measures will reduce your time doing stuff you need to do, so you have more time to do the stuff you want to do...
Have fun and happy chartering with Seabbatical Long Term Charters.
What if I want to go to a different place?
Let us know where you would like to go cruising. One of the advantages Seabbatical Long Term Charters is time and the distances time allows you to travel and exploring places, which have no charter bases. Maybe we can include your dream destination in next years routing?
How do we join your fleet?
We are eager to add more yachts to our program and you can fill out a contact form on our Join Our Fleet page to learn more on how you can cover most of the costs of ownership by letting us look after your yacht. Give us a chance to show you how the numbers work out and why this program looks better than the others. This can be especially appealing to corporations that want to reward their best employees, and customers.