Cooper Boating, as is the norm in charter companies, offers bareboat charters. The term has a specific legal meaning and it is important that you understand what it means in terms of your responsibility.
Bareboat charters certainly don’t derive their name from the inventory and options aboard – that has grown on the boats from a half page under a piece of plexiglass screwed to the bulkhead of boats with virtually no “toys” back in 1983 to Cooper Boating’s current multi-page document that includes many features that make the bareboat charter far less than bare on the equipment side of the equation. Your boat will have what is required to enjoy your vacation. We can provision the boat so that when you come aboard with your personal effects, everything is ready to start your fun.
The term bareboat charter refers to the legal arrangement in place for your use of the boat. A bareboat charter of a pleasure boat (noncommercial use) means the you are in effect the owner for the duration of the charter. As the owner you are responsible for the safe navigation, the fuel, selection of destinations, proper care of the boat, and purchase of insurance. You are the virtual owner and responsible for all decisions on the operation of the boat during the charter. The actual owner legally surrenders ownership of the boat for the charter period and should not have any influence on the operation of the boat.
In fact, we embrace the concept of you being the owner for the duration – nothing on our boats says they are part of the Cooper Boating fleet. You don’t rent a Ferrari and want a rent-a-car sticker on the back. We have clients tell us that other boaters are convinced our clients are the owners and don’t see them as charter clients. We love that, but let’s get back to the discussion of this word ‘bareboat’.
A charter agent like Cooper Boating can coordinate many of the items such as insurance and crew as required, but it will be on your behalf, not the actual owner of the vessel. Should you not meet the competency requirements and require someone to be aboard to help you, those arrangements are on your behalf and do not involve the vessel owner. If you delegate skippering or navigating or any other aspect of running the vessel, the responsibility for those assignments are yours. The skipper and/or crew are working for you and you are responsible for their actions.
In Canada, you are welcome to buy a boat and providing you have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) you are may operate the vessel for non-commercial applications. An insurance company may require proof beyond the PCOC to demonstrate that you are an acceptable risk before offering you policy. They will want to see a combination of experience and training on the size and type of vessel you own. Chartering is similar – as agents we work to confirm you are properly insured when operating the boat. Our insurance requires that you demonstrate through a combination of training and experience that it is likely you are capable of safely operating the boat. We can assist in filling out any requirements stemming from holes in your boating resume.
All the vessels we operate through Cooper Boating are offered on a bareboat basis. We do not offer a skippered charter or passenger arrangements. Some charters add crew or skippers, but it is important to understand those people are NOT working for the vessel owner. As with many topics, one can go deeper into the workings and background – Wikipedia discusses further the concept of a bareboat charter (also referred to as a demise charter). Our agents would also be happy to help you further as you book your spectacular boating holiday.