Barrier Reef Australia Blog


Tips and hints on chartering a yacht in the Whitsundays

admin on May 30th, 2023

Chartering a yacht in the Whitsundays can be an exciting and memorable experience. Here are some tips and hints to consider when planning your Whitsundays yacht charter:

Choose the Right Time:

The Whitsundays experience a tropical climate, so it's important to select a time of year when the weather is favourable. The dry season, from May to October, generally offers calm waters and mild temperatures, making it an ideal time for sailing and cruising on charter yachts. It’s also whale season so that makes it exciting too. Try to book outside school holiday periods or special event periods as this can affect charter prices.

Determine the Duration:

Decide how long you want to charter the yacht. The duration can vary from one day, a  few days, or a week or more, depending on your preferences, availability and the size of your wallet.

Decide on the Type of Yacht:

There are various types of yachts available for charter in the Whitsundays, ranging from sailboats to catamarans and luxury motor yachts such as a superyacht. Consider the size, amenities, and sailing destinations you're looking for when choosing a charter yacht. Each one offer a crew that are local to the region and offer varying levels of service from basic catering to five star services with a yacht chef and yacht crew.  

Plan Your Itinerary:

The Whitsundays offer stunning natural beauty, including the famous Whitehaven Beach and Great Barrier Reef. Research the attractions and islands you'd like to visit and plan your itinerary accordingly with our yacht charter team members.  Keep in mind that some areas may have restricted access to protect the marine environment and that the weather and time of year may alter a planned itinerary. Boarding for your yacht charter can be at Hamilton Island, Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach or Mackay, just check with our team on the yachts home port and or re-location costs.

Crewed or Bareboat:

Decide whether you want a crewed yacht charter or a bareboat charter. At Barrier Reef Australia we offer crewed charter yachts with professional crew, including a captain and sometimes a chef, who will take care of navigation and cooking. On the other hand, a bareboat charter allows you to be the skipper, requiring appropriate sailing experience and qualifications.

Check Licensing Requirements:

If you opt for a bareboat charter, ensure that you meet the necessary licensing requirements. Each charter company may have specific qualifications or certifications needed to captain a vessel.

Research Charter Companies:

Look for reputable charter companies in the Whitsundays that offer well-maintained yachts and good customer service. Read reviews, compare prices, and consider recommendations from the team at Barrier Reef Australia. Booking with a local charter boat company is always the wisest option as they are on the ground for any little thing that may arise.

Understand Yacht Charter Costs and Inclusions:

Get a clear understanding of the costs involved in your yacht charter. In addition to the base charter fee, there may be additional charges for fuel, provisioning, marina fees, and optional extras, these are called APA or advanced provisioning allowance. Confirm that you understand what is included in the charter package to avoid any surprises.

Safety and Insurance:

Ensure that the charter company has proper insurance coverage for the yacht and crew. Familiarize yourself with the safety equipment and procedures onboard and listen carefully to the crew during the briefing before setting sail into the blue yonder of the magnificent Whitsunday Islands.

Provisioning and Supplies:

Check if the charter company provides provisions or if you need to arrange for your own food and drinks. Consider your dietary requirements and preferences. Additionally, inquire about the availability of snorkelling gear, water toys, and other equipment you may wish to add to your yacht charter.

Communicate Your Preferences:

Discuss your preferences and requirements with the charter yacht team at Barrier Reef Australia in advance. This includes the type of yacht, special occasion, dietary restrictions, scuba diving, fishing equipment or any specific requests you may have.  If our team know in advance of your special requests, they can then get to work to make it all happen if possible.

Be Prepared for the Elements:

Pack appropriate clothing, including sun protection, hats, sunglasses, and light, comfortable clothing. Keep in mind that the weather can change quickly, so it's advisable to bring some warm layers and rain gear. All yachts have a no shoe policy so maybe book a manicure before your holidays, so everything is ship shape.

Respect the Marine Environment:

The Whitsundays are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a delicate and protected ecosystem. Follow guidelines and regulations to minimize your impact on the environment. Avoid damaging coral reefs and definitely no standing on coral that takes hundreds of years to grow, dispose of waste responsibly and take it back to the yacht with you, and respect wildlife habitats.

Remember, chartering a yacht in the Whitsundays provides a unique opportunity to explore one of Australia's most stunning destinations. By planning ahead, choosing the right yacht, and adhering to safety guidelines, you can make the most of charter yacht holiday adventures in this beautiful part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Barrier Reef Australia team are the local charter yacht specialists so feel free to ask them any questions you like and remember to book in advance as the Whitsundays are Australia’s most favourite destination for chartering yachts and we would hate for you to miss out on such an amazing holiday like the one we have described above on a charter yacht.


Read more about chartering a yacht in the Whitsundays and on the Great Barrier Reef.


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