All you need to know about hiring a skipper.

Boatico gives you the answers to the most important questions about hiring a captain for your yacht charter. We answer the Why, the How and the How Much and reveal the rules of hiring a professional skipper.

  • What does skipper mean?
  • Why hire a skipper?
  • What does a skipper do?
  • Which documents must a skipper be able to show you?
  • How to hire a skipper?
  • How much does a skipper cost?
  • Who signs the charter contract in case of hiring a skipper?
  • Who pays the charter deposit when hiring a skipper?
  • Who pays the daily expenses of the skipper?

What does skipper mean?

If you want to rent a sailboat, a catamaran, or a motor yacht you need a captain with a sailing license. The skipper ( or captain )  is the person who has the knowledge and the authority to steer the vessel. But most importantly this is the person who takes the full responsibility for the yacht and the passengers. When hiring a sailing or a motor vessel this person can be you, if you have the legitime license to navigate or you have to hire a professional to do so.

* The word skipper comes from the Middle Low German word “schiphere”, which can be translated as master of the ship.


Why hire a Skipper?

Case one: You always wanted to sail with your family or friends, but you have no experience at all or even a license to steer the boat? No problem! All you have to do is book a professional skipper for your yacht charter. Below you will find the information on how to do this.

Case two: You are already a skipper with a license and can actually book a bare boat, but you are unsure with the vessel or the destination. Or you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy your vacation without taking any responsibility for the boat and the crew.


What does a skipper do?

Passenger´s safety on board

The job of a skipper is not only to maneuver the vessel from A to B, but also to ensure the safety of all passengers on board. The skipper is the safety officer on the yacht. Before the start of the sailing trip, he must instruct the passengers in the safety and behavioral rules on board and be sure that his “new crew” will act accordingly in case of danger.

Sailing tasks for the crew

The skipper can ask the passengers to help him with the sails, the anchor or with the moorings if necessary. Of course, if you want to relax and do nothing on board, this will be also possible. If you or your crew want to learn more about sailing – just ask for more tasks, ask questions and get involved in the sailing process. Skippers often fulfill teaching functions and help inexperienced crew members get better in sailing. Still, the decision making remains the job of the skipper, only!

Vessel safety and damages on board

The skipper ( hired or not ) is responsible for the vessel and possible damages on board while sailing, anchoring or mooring in a marine base. Caution! The hired skipper is not responsible for damages inside the boat, on board or boat inventory loss, caused by the passengers. The expenses for the damages, caused by you will be charged from the charter caution, you have left in the base.

Decision for the sailing itinerary

The skipper makes the decisions regarding the route and the timing of leaving or approaching new places. The hired captain is a professional and knows the landscape of the region perfectly, as well as the weather conditions of the sailing area. This is crucial for your safety! Of course, you are invited to suggest a desired route for your vacation to the skipper, but he is the one to decide if this is possible or not. Even if the itinerary has been approved by the skipper it can be changed on the way. For example, in bad weather conditions, a rocky anchoring point or a full marina it will be necessary to change the itinerary and act spontaneously. A special feature that every skipper brings with him are the Top Secrets of the sailing area, based on his experience. We can only recommend:  Take advantage of it and follow his advice!

Supply shopping, cooking or cleaning on board

A sailing vacation can never be like a hotel vacation. We fairly advise our customers to prepare themselves for the fact that there is work to do on board. Be prepared for daily tasks like groceries shopping, cooking and washing dishes. Please mark that the skipper is the captain, the navigator and the safety officer on board – he is not responsible for your food supply, bringing your luggage, cooking or cleaning on board. If you don’t want to take action at all and spend a “hotel week” on board you have to additionally book a hostess to take care of the rest. We will be happy to help!


A brief overview of the skipper’s main responsibilities

  • The skipper ensures the safety of the passengers and the boat, while sailing. 
  • He is the one to give commands and make decisions at all times, and  even more so in problematic situations. You are the one to follow.
  • He chooses the optimal route for the voyage. The skipper knows the sailing area and the weather conditions better than you and is the one to change the itinerary if necessary.
  • He makes the decision for anchoring and mooring. And the timing for it.
  • Navigating the yacht: the skipper decides how, when and how long to sail. Based on his experience, he knows how to reach and maintain the desired course.
  • The skipper ensures that the equipment on deck is complete and intact.

Which documents must a skipper be able to show you?

After you have booked a skipper – It is our job to find one, confirm the booking of the skipper and provide you with his contact data. We highly recommend contacting him before the trip, introduce yourself and ask all your questions. He/she should be able to send you the following documents.

  • Skipper license, according to the size and destination of the chartered yacht
  • SRC – Short range certificate
  • ID card or Passport
  • We recommend: Check if he/she has a  Skipper´s Liability insurance ( not obligatory )

How to hire a skipper?

On you have 3 easy ways to book a skipper when chartering a boat. 

Right in the beginning, while searching your boat, open the option in the search filters  “Do you need a skipper” and click “Yes”.

Boatico Skipper 1

When you already found your boat and filled your request form – just click on “I need a skipper” before sending it.

Book a Skipper

If you forgot to do so, don’t worry – you can always call us or write an email on and order a skipper additionally. We will do our best to find one for your yacht charter.


How much does the skipper cost?

The cost for hiring a skipper depends on the boat type, the boat size and the destination. However, as a guideline for a 40-50 Ft vessel in the Mediterranean, the approximate cost will be 150,- and  200,- Euro per day. A typical skipper charge ranges between 1,050 and 1,400 Euro per week.


Whom am I paying the skipper´s wage?

  • The customer pays directly to the skipper, not to Boatico. We only search the skipper for you, confirm the booking and supply you with his contact data. The relationship and the deal is between you, as the charterer of the vessel and the skipper. 
  • When the chartered boat is skiperred ( no skipper booking additionally ) the booking and payment of the yacht charter already includes the skipper´s fee. In this case you pay to Boatico.

Who signs the charter contract in case of hiring a skipper?

The charter customer is signing the yacht charter contract even if the skipper is taking the full responsibility for the yacht and the crew. You, as our customer and charterer, are booking the boat, signing the charter contract and paying the boat rental.


Who pays the charter deposit when hiring a skipper?

Similar to a car rental, when chartering a yacht you have to provide a charter deposit. In case of damages on the boat exterior or interior this deposit will be deducted by the charter operator. The charter customer is the contractual partner and is liable to the boat company for the vessel.

When hiring a skipper the charterer is still liable for the vessel, he is the one signing the contract. The skipper is legally liable to the charterer only for the external damages caused by himself. The skipper is not responsible for interior damages or loss of the boat equipment, caused by the passengers, the skipper is not responsible.


We recommend to take a look on these details before the trip

  • Check if the skipper has an active professional skipper’s liability insurance. In this case his insurance will cover the external damages.
  • On our webpage you can book a charter deposit insurance with EIS or Yacht Pool. In this case you will get your deposit back even when the boat has been damaged, inside or outside on your fault.
  • Some of the charter companies offer their own charter deposit insurance. By making this insurance you will refund your charter deposit in case of any damage or even don’t have to provide a charter deposit at all.

Who pays the daily expenses of the skipper?

Always remember to include the skipper in your meal planning. The skipper is not paying for his food and drinking water. If you discover a nice restaurant on land and want to have dinner there, you can invite your skipper or simply give him enough money for dinner. The skipper is practically part of your crew and you should discuss with him what he would like to eat.

Please keep in mind that when booking a skipper you have one more person on board. The number of beds on the boat has to fit the number of the passengers. If there is no extra crew cabin on board, the skipper normally sleeps in the salon. That’s why if you book a 3-double-cabin boat, the number of beds often will be 8 – that means 6 people in the cabins and 2 in the salon. If there is no bed in the saloon, you have to provide a cabin for the skipper.


Learn more about safety and types of sailing vessels

Now that you know the ins and outs of hiring a skipper you might be interested in learning more about our Sailing Insurances or the Boatico´s  Covid-19 policy.

If you wonder which type of sailing vessel will fit the best for your cruise, visit our Blog Why choose a Sailboat Charter?