Boating – it is the one activity no Bahamian can live without.
Every weekend, hundreds of local residents flock to their vessels to explore neighboring islands and cays. As a visitor, you can also enjoy this beloved pastime.
If you don’t have your own vessel, or want to leave it at home, every island offers a variety of charter boats to choose from. You’ll see all kinds of vessels zooming around this archipelago, from small powerboats to mega yachts.
The Bahamas has calm and protected waters, so you can probably skipper a charter boat with just a few years of experience. However, consider hiring a crew if you want some inside knowledge, even if you’re a capable captain.
If you opt for a skippered or crewed charter boat, you can also expect first-class service and pampering. Here are some types of vessels for hitting the high seas.
WHY CHARTER A CATAMARAN?
Are you the old fashioned type? With the wind as your fuel, catamarans rely on a sail but have a motor as a backup. They are popular among families with small kids or those without sea legs, because they are multi-hulled yachts and more stable in water.
They also have more space on deck, with less space below than larger yachts. Catamarans are great for outdoor living and parties, and since the Bahamas never gets more than a few hours rain, even in the wet season, they are a wonderful option.
WHY CHARTER A POWER BOAT?
Power yachts are usually small enough to maneuver anywhere and don’t rely on wind.
While not as eye-catching, they easily move from island to island. For this reason, power yachts are excellent for day trips, scuba diving and fishing. However, they only carry a few people and usually don’t provide much comfort for overnight trips or island hopping.
Fortunately, you don’t need a special license to drive a small powerboat in the Bahamas. But you will need a driver’s license from your country of citizenship. If you don’t have a lot of boating experience, it’s advisable to stick around the few bays and beaches where you charter the boat, and limit your island hopping.
WHY CHOOSE A CRUISER, SUPER YACHT OR MEGA YACHT?
Want to ride in style?
Yacht lengths range from 33 feet and beyond. A smaller luxury vessel of around 39 feet (12 meters) is called a cabin cruiser. A super yacht tends to be more than 79 feet (24 meters), and a mega yacht refers to any yacht over 164 feet long (50 meters).
Your choice will depend not only on how many people you have, but also on the length of the trip and and where you want to moor.
For example, do you want to anchor close to reefs? Or pull into smaller islands?
The majority of yachts available for charter handle between eight and 12 guests, plus a few multi-tasking crew members. They are also ideal for family vacations and will carry extra guests for an overnight party. However, not every marina can accommodate them.
Caution: The Bahamas has a lot of shallow waters, especially close to reefs and isolated beaches, which can limit the mobility of a mega yacht. For this reason, cruisers or smaller yachts are a smart choice if you are exploring the islands, rather than crossing oceans.
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