Overnight Boat Rental Guide
Traveling by boat overnight is one of the truest of adventures out there. There is nothing quite like sitting in the middle of the ocean staring at an entire night sky, pointing out the likes of the Big Dipper. There is a great majesty that goes along with the silence of being on the sea at night. There is nothing near to you, perhaps not even the distant light of another boat or land. The pattern of the waves surrounds you.
Now, all of this may sound like a distant adventure undertaken or written by Robert Louis Stevenson, but in reality, you can join in the adventure. Plenty of Boatsetter’s listings offer overnight journeys. Even if they don’t offer overnight trips, message the captain/boat owner to see if they are willing to take you.
Boats such as pontoons, fishing boats, and small sailboats are not ideal for overnight rentals. Houseboats, yachts, and larger sailboats will provide a much comfortable sleeping situation because they typically have a large comfortable and sheltered cabin. You’ll need to take the following steps to make an overnight boat rental happen:
How to Prepare for Overnight Boating
An overnight boat rental requires some extra preparation that a day rental doesn’t require. When you take a boat out for a day, you don’t need to think too much beyond packing swim shorts, sunscreen, shades, drinks, and snacks. Some additional preparation and supplies will be necessary to have a safe overnight adventure.
If you have chartered a captain and crew to run your overnight trip for you, then you can skip past this part as this is what needs to be undertaken if you’ll be going without the captain and crew. It isn’t recommended that you dive straight into overnight boating if you are new to boating altogether. This type of boating poses completely new challenges and safety precautions.
Before you set out, you need to make plenty of checks on your boat. Firstly you should take a walk around the boat and check that the engine is running well. Ensure that you have plenty of fuel to last you as you will be away from the dock for at least one night.
Double-check all of the communication and navigation equipment. You must be extra vigilant at night regarding the navigational equipment when traveling by night as you no longer have the clear views provided by the sun. It will more than likely be pitch black if the moon is not bright. It is worth remembering that most collisions at sea happen at night. If your GPS isn’t up to scratch, then you run the risk of hitting a rock or running aground when you’re on the water at night.
You should also check all of the lights on board the boat as other boats out at night need to see you, and you will need lights to navigate. Make sure that you have spare batteries for torches and headlamps. Make sure you know where all of the life vests and other personal flotation devices are. Memorize this as finding them by night may be harder if you are panicking in an emergency.
The last thing to check before you set out is the weather. If there is a big storm due, it is perhaps not wise to make the trip and save it for the future. Storms through the night can be particularly violent, and the lack of vision that you have makes it particularly hazardous.
Set Some Rules
Ensure that you lay down some ground rules with the rest of the passengers and make sure that everyone is clear about the safety risks involved when traveling by boat through the night. Make sure that people don’t go wandering around the outside of the boat at night unless they are on watch for other ships. Another tip for those that are renting bareboat, only one person is on watch at the helm at night that they do not leave that position until they are relieved from their duty. If they walk off or fall asleep and the boat is in motion, it puts everybody in danger.
It is up to you whether or not you choose to travel through the night or if you want to drop anchor. Traveling by night has its hazard so anchoring down is a safer bet. If you do anchor down, it is up to you to decide if it feels safe or not for everyone to sleep. Check how the weather is and how secure your anchor is. If the sea is calm and your anchor is down firmly, then it is very likely that everyone can sleep soundly. If not, you should have someone on watch duty to ensure that everything stays ok.
When it comes to watch duty make sure that everyone agrees with what times they will do it. If you have been selected to do it later in the night, then make sure that you wake up promptly for it as the person on duty won’t be able to leave their post to wake you up. Overall navigating at night isn’t too strenuous a task if the sea is calm. The assistance of autopilot should make the shift a breeze providing that there are no mishaps.
As you have probably been able to pick up from this article, overnight boating is not for the unprepared. There are many checks to be made and duties to be fulfilled as navigating at night can be more difficult than in the day. There is far more to think about and a lot more at stake due to the lack of vision. Nevertheless, boating through the night is a magical experience that is something that all boating enthusiasts should try and get under their belt one day.