Bareboat charter – selecting the perfect size boat for private adventures

There are many factors to consider when determining what size boat you will need for your bareboat charter that goes beyond simply chartering your dream vessel. How many people, which activities you want to include, how confident or experienced you are as a skipper and how far you plan to travel will all bear weight when deciding on the perfect size boat for you. Let’s look a little deeper into these factors and hopefully help you select the ideal vessel for your next adventure.

Experience as a skipper

If you are not experienced with handling boats, it might be a good idea to opt for a smaller motor-powered vessel, as you will find it easier to manoeuvre, anchor and dock your boat. If you have a lot of experience, then choosing larger vessels or sailboats could also be an option. Knowing your limitations will ensure a far more enjoyable experience both for you as the skipper and for your guests as well. For the complete novice in boat operating, you may wish to consider a crewed charter, as a bareboat charter means that you will be on your own, which could present some difficulties, inconveniences and above all, safety issues.

How many guests are onboard?

You should always ensure you select a vessel that is designed to accommodate the maximum number of guests you would like to have onboard. This is not only a comfort consideration but also one for safety. Renting a larger vessel for more space, even if you are only 2 people onboard, is perfectly fine and will feel like the most exclusive and luxurious getaway. However, exceeding the recommended capacity for passengers will make for a far less comfortable journey. Bareboat charters give the ultimate freedom, but it is always important to ensure you are operating your chosen vessel in the safest possible capacity.  

Planned activities

Consider what you are planning to do with your boat. Will you be snorkelling or planning other ocean-based activities directly from the boat? If you want to include water-based activities during your bareboat charter, take a look at the difficulty level of re-boarding the vessel and consider if all of your guests would be capable of getting back on board once in the water. Perhaps you are more interested in a relaxing day on the ocean anchored in one of the magnificent bays around Phuket? In this case, select a boat that allows your guests to sit comfortably and move about freely. No one wants to experience that beautiful gourmet meal or glass of champagne being knocked over because of an overcrowded space.

Destination ideas

Where you intend to travel is another factor in deciding on the perfect size vessel for your bareboat adventures. The further your destination, the more important it is for all onboard to be comfortably accommodated, have room to move about and have ample facilities. A quick day trip to the Racha Islands, for example, would require fewer onboard facilities than a few nights around the Phi Phi Islands. Select a boat that meets all your passengers’ needs, taking into account how long they will be onboard. The most luxurious experience can quickly become one of inconvenience and annoyance if your passengers feel cramped or confined within the vessel.

Type of vessel

Deciding which type of vessel does have a lot to do with your skippering experience. Opting for a motorboat or sailboat is a decision that will shape your journey and contribute to an amazing time had by all. However, if you do not possess the necessary skills to operate the boat you choose, your day could quickly take a turn for the worse. Let’s take a quick look at the vessels available, focusing on the differences between them.


While the name is self-descriptive, in that these vessels are powered by a motor, there are options for monohull or catamaran-style. Catamarans tend to travel at higher speeds; however, monohulls tend to be more spacious for your passengers. Should you prefer a motor-powered boat, take a look at the various sizes available and what each one offers you and your guests. Also, consider the helm. Is the layout, mechanics and overall comfort something you would enjoy taking control of and spending time in? A motorboat simply requires you to pilot and navigate while the boat works its way through the water.


Ahh, the romance of a sailboat. It truly is a magical and blissfully silent way to cruise the open ocean. Sailboats do require more effort to operate, and a deeper knowledge of the furling of sails, jibing, and reefing is vitally important when bareboat chartering. As with motorboats, sailboats are also available in monohull and catamaran hull styles. Should you prefer this majestical mode of transport and are not experienced, a crewed charter would enable you to experience this classic way to spend time on the water.

Bareboat vs crewed charter 

A bareboat charter is precisely that. A boat that is devoid of a skipper or any crew. You are completely free to enjoy your time in total privacy. However, it does mean you need to do the work, and your guests might need to double as deckhands when required. But let’s face it, it’s more enjoyable than work when taking control of your own vessel and cruising your own schedule. A crewed charter, on the other hand, allows you to completely relax and enjoy the experience. Your captain will take you on your agreed route while the crew supports the captain with deckhand duties. Depending on the type of charter you select, you could also incorporate cabin crew to have a truly decadent time, being waited on and assisted throughout your journey.

It is not all about size

While our topic is boat size and how to select the right one, there are many other things to contemplate when deciding on the ideal yacht, quite a few of which we have already touched on. You should consider how much onboard shade is offered, and how much sunbathing space is available to suit your preferences. Of course, depending on what you are looking for, some other factors to consider could include the onboard facilities, accommodation and entertainment areas. Take a good look at the yacht’s specifications to ensure your day or even a week on the water is as enjoyable as you pictured it.

Size selection

Big or small, selecting the best size boat to suit your skill, your passenger numbers, and the overall facilities you would like available will guarantee that you and your guests have the most enjoyable time at sea while remaining safe and comfortable. Bear in mind, in situations such as this, bigger is not always better.

Above all, whatever size or style of yacht you select, you should always ensure that you are chartering from a reputable company that devotes itself to providing top-quality and well-maintained vessels. A company such as Isabella Yachts in Phuket will provide all the customer assistance and guidance you need while priding themselves on the quality of their fleet. Happy sailing!

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