Should you hire a boat captain?

Adventure 3 min read

Boat captains are experts on everything from operating a boat to handling emergencies. There are several benefits to hiring a boat captain, and multiple occasions when it may be something worth considering.

What does a boat captain do?

A boat captain takes control of all different aspects of the vessel and makes the final call on any practical or safety measures. The ship captain’s duties and responsibilities include:

  • Operating the boat
  • Understanding how best to navigate different waterways
  • Knowing the local boating laws
  • Being aware of weather patterns
  • Implementing safety measures and having a plan of action in case of an emergency

Benefits of hiring a boat captain

There are a handful of benefits to hiring a boat captain, depending on the type of boating experience you want.

Brush up on your boating skills

Even if you’ve spent your whole life around boats, a certified expert can teach you a thing or two. A captain can review boating skills and boating etiquette tips with you, such as how to drive a boat, how to launch a boat, how to dock a boat, how to use a boat ramp, and maritime law. Consider hiring a boat captain for a private lesson if it’s been a while since you last drove your boat or if you are buying a boat for the first time. Each boat is unique, and the captain can ensure you understand your new vessel’s electrical, mechanical, waste, and navigational systems.

Learn how to manage high-risk situations

The most nerve-wracking moments in a boater’s life usually happen when someone falls overboard, rough seas kick up, or as they’re trying to dock. A captain can teach you the best practices for navigating these hairy experiences safely. Hopefully, you’ll never have a reason to use the skills you learn during this lesson, but you’ll be glad to have them in your back pocket, just in case.

Enjoy a relaxing day out on the water

Planning a boating day trip with family or friends? If you’re the one controlling the boat, you may not be able to relax as much as you’d like to. Hiring a boat captain for the day means you can kick back and enjoy your time out on the water while the captain takes care of all the technical and practical parts of taking a boat out.

Move your boat between ports

If you’re planning an interstate move or migrating south for the winter, that could mean transporting your boat hundreds or thousands of miles. If you don’t want to make that journey yourself, you can hire a captain to move your boat from one port to another.

What is the cost to hire a boat captain?

On average, expect to pay about $100 an hour for a captain on a standard-sized boat. However, the exact figure depends on the availability of captains in your area and the size of your boat. If you own a large boat, the captain may need to bring an extra crew to ensure everything runs smoothly, which comes with an additional cost. These rates can vary dramatically, but you may want to budget somewhere in the range of $2,500 per day if this is the case.

How to find boat captains for hire

Start your search by asking fellow boaters in your community. If you’re a yacht club member, try chatting with some other members or employees to see if they can recommend a great captain. You could also reach out to local maritime schools or your state’s maritime association. There are also several websites and online directories you can use to find boat captains who are available to hire.

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