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Should You Purchase the Yacht Charter Sleep Aboard Option?

Frenchtown Marina in St Thomas, where the Waypoints charter base is located as we prepare for our yacht charter sleep aboard

So you should purchase the yacht charter sleep aboard option for your next sailing trip? I think the answer is yes, in most scenarios.

In general, it takes a lot of potential stress out of the equation and helps you get off the dock earlier for your first full day. Let’s dig in. I’ll also share a few scenarios where it might make sense not to take the sleep aboard option.

Getting ready to get unpacked after arriving the first evening

What is a sleep aboard on a yacht charter?

Simply put, a sleep aboard just means that your charter yacht is your hotel room on your first night after arriving.

Usually, boarding begins at 5:00pm, but sometimes you can request early access if the yacht has been cleaned (be nice to the base staff!).

If you arrive late after the base is closed, no big deal. You’ll be provided access to the marina and should have been provided instructions about where to find your charter yacht.

How much does a sleep aboard option cost for a yacht charter?

Charter companies typically price the sleep aboard in one of two ways:

  1. A charge per crew member, usually around $75/pp
  2. As a percentage of the daily charter rate. This is usually 50-60%.

For more information on how the rest of the bareboat charter pricing is determined, read this post.

Prepping fishing gear on our yacht charter sleep aboard
Prepping lures for our trolling lines on our sleep aboard during a recent Exuma charter

Why does a yacht charter sleep aboard usually make sense?

It can be cheaper than a hotel room

Usually our flights don’t arrive until later afternoon or evening, especially in Caribbean destinations. So, we aren’t getting off the dock until the next day.

Let’s say you have 4 couples on a catamaran and the daily charter rate is $1,750. If the sleep aboard is priced at 50%, that’s only  ~$220/couple. Not bad.

You get off the dock earlier on your first day

We love getting organized on our first evening.

  • Put away gear.
  • Receive the provisioning delivery, or go shopping ourselves.
  • Get comfortable with the yacht’s systems.
  • Add waypoints to the chart plotter.
  • Prep our fishing gear.

I enjoy waking up on the yacht with really one thing left to accomplish after a leisurely breakfast: the charter briefing.

If you can get yourself first in line, it’s possible to be off the dock at 9:00am and enjoy nearly a full day in the islands.

It makes things less stressful

If you don’t add the sleep aboard option, most charters start at 10:00am or 12:00pm. That means that after having your provisions delivered (or going shopping) and completing the charter briefing, it won’t be until early afternoon that you are sailing for your first anchorage.

What if you’re provisioning delivery is late, or missing items? What happens if I’m last in line for the charter briefing?

You can avoid unnecessary vacation stress by taking the sleep aboard.

Enjoy the marina’s amenities

Don’t forget many of the charter base marinas have great amenities such as a pool or beach bar & restaurant.

These are often in beautiful settings – hard to beat a better environment to spend your first night on vacation.

Yacht charter sleep aboard
Getting organized on a sleep aboard

When might you want to skip the option?

I can think of 6 possible scenarios for when you might want to skip the sleep aboard:
  1. Your flight arrives early and you have enough time to accomplish pre-departure steps and sail to your first anchorage. No need to waste a day in the marina!
  2. The charter company tries to charge you for a full day (yes, I’ve seen this!).
  3. You have a higher priced yacht and a smaller crew – it might be cheaper to get a hotel room(s).
  4. There are competitively priced, convenient hotels available at your charter base marina.
  5. It’s your first bareboat trip and you might not be comfortable with the air conditioning or electronics. Remember, the base staff are usually not available after hours.
  6. It’s not available – sometimes booking availability prevents the sleep aboard option. That’s too bad, but it’s a good sign for your charter company. It might signal that they block off maintenance days in between charters to keep the fleet in good shape.

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