When you are planning a day at sea, you want to make sure not only that you have as much fun as possible, but that you are as safe as possible. However, boating safety is not just having an appropriate number of life jackets available – it is also knowing that you can trust your captain and crew. Captains who intend to carry paying passengers on their vessels must have a license and meet Coast Guard requirements, and you need to be confident that you are in good hands. Read on for more information on how to tell if your yacht charter is legitimate.

If You Ask For Credentials, Would They Show You?

The Coast Guard legally requires captains of commercial vessels to have a merchant mariners’ license if they are taking even one paying passenger onboard. Taking seven or more onboard requires an inspection from the Coast Guard, which comes with a certificate. (Quick rule of thumb: if you see more than 13 people on a charter that is not for personal use, the crew are definitely breaking Coast Guard law.) The yacht’s operator should have documentation for the license and inspection, so if you want to check for yourself, you can easily ask them.

It may seem like lousy manners to ask a captain if they are legally allowed to do what they do. However, a breach of etiquette is way better than a violation of safety laws. Any commercial boat owner should care about their passengers enough that they would do what it takes to keep them calm. If they hesitate to show you, they just might be trying to hide something.

Where Did the Captain Ask to Pick You Up?

yacht charterIt may not exactly be a local story, but Chicago has also had to deal with illegal boat charters in the past (as our Chicago River yacht rental office is all too aware). As part of the response to the issue, Master Chief Petty Officer Al Haraf told the Chicago Tribune that one way to know if a charter lacks the proper licensing is if they ask to “pick up passengers at odd locations.” He specifically included “near businesses along the riverwalk” of the Chicago River, but this advice could just as easily apply to Miami’s own river and elsewhere in the coastline.

Certain companies allow you to choose where the yacht you charter would pick you up. When you do not have that choice, they should be disembarking from established marinas and ports. It is unusual for the company or captain of the yacht to ask that they embark from anywhere else, and you may want to be wary if they do.

Is Your Yacht Charter Legitimate?

These are just a couple of methods for how to tell if your yacht charter is legitimate. If you strongly suspect that something is not right, you should report the vessel to the Coast Guard, who are trained to spot illegal charters. Remember: sticking with an illegitimate yacht charter is not just a financial risk, but also a risk to your safety.

One last way to make sure your charter is legitimate is to rent from a company that only rents out commercial vessels approved by the Coast Guard. The yachts available through The Advantaged Yacht Charters are all seaworthy and licensed, so you can enjoy yourself at sea with less stress and worry. Check out our online selection of luxury yacht charters today.