Who dosn’t love the freedom of a good old roadtrip? Just get in behind the wheel and head out on the open roads.
But – that freedom is actualy even greater at sea.
Hobo Planet rented a boat and sailed the beautiful waters of The Adriatic Sea for a week.
The long story short? It’s awesome!
This is how you do it:
First of all you need a boat steering permit and a radio VHF permit. If you do not have that already contact a marina near you and they can probably help you get one. It takes some time, so plan ahead if you plan to rent a boat for your next holiday.
It’s also possible to get the permit in Croatia as part of your holiday. We didn’t do that, so we can’t recommend any good companies for that, but we know that it’s possible.
All right, with both the boat steering permit and the radio VHF permit in hand you are now ready to rent your boat.
First decision: Do you want to rent a motor boat or a sailing boat?
We went for the motor boat, because we are not that experienced sailors, so instead of using our week at sea with a big tangle of ropes and sails we opted for the motor boat, which is more easy to handle.
No matter what you choose the procedure to rent the boat is the same.
You have two options when it’s time to make a reservation.
You can either use an international rental broker firm, like Zizoo or Sailogy. The brokers don’t own any boats, but they can help you find the right type of boat at the right place and tailor an offer after your demands.
But nothing comes for free and the broker will of course take his share.
Go to the source
You can also go directly to the source and book your boat with one of the many charter companies in Croatia. The charter companies are the ones that manage the rental boats and maintain them when in harbour between rentals.
There’s a lot of charter companies in Croatia – here’s a few just to get you started:
Getting the boat
After having rented the boat of your dreams and the long wait for the holiday to begin is over, it’s time to go pick up the boat at the marina where it’s based.
All the paperwork is done in the boat charter’s office. After that you are taken to the boat where a manager will instruct you in how to handle this specific boat.
When the boat is yours, you only need one more thing before you are ready to sail: Provisions. Go to a supermarket and go crazy – you need a lot for a whole week. Of course you can also buy supplies during the week, but if you’re spending most of your time at the smaller and more charming marinas, prices are higher and the supply is smaller.
Most of the larger marinas have a supermarket close by.
Also, most marinas have parking lots where you can park your car, if you’re driving. Ask at the charter company if the parking is free. Some places offer free parking if you are renting a boat.
Normally you will get the boat on a Saturday afternoon. It’s possible to sail to a new marina for the first night on the boat, but make sure it’s not too far away, as you probably would like to be at the next marina before the sun sets.
A lot of people stays in the marina where the boat is based for the first night. We were too curious and couldn’t wait to be on our way, so we sailed out as soon as possible. We chose a route to a marina only an hour of sailing away and got there in time before darkness fell.
During you week at sea you can either sail from marina to marina or you can hook up for the night to one of the many buoys positioned in small, secluded and very charming bays with crystal clear water. Even though there’s no electricity or other facilities like in a marina, it’s not free to hook up to a bouy. In most places a guy in a boat will come to you and collect the fee.
Going back with the boat
After your week at sea it’s time to go back to the marina, where you got the boat. Remember to refill it with fuel – if the charter company has to do it, it costs way more than if you do it yourself. There can be long lines at the gas stations so prepare to wait for a long time. We waited for nearly two hours and it was kind of stressful to navigate between the other boats and still keep the line.
At most places you need to be back in the marina Friday afternoon, but you can spend the night to Saturday in the boat, and then leave Saturday morning.
If you are not up to sailing the boat yourself it’s also possible to rent a boat with a skipper. Ask your broker or charter company.
And then of course, there’s the price:
It’s not cheap to rent a boat. Renting a boat for a week will easily set you back US$ 2000.
And on top of that come fees for the marinas or buoys, where you sleep, and the fuel you use. In a single week we used fuel for around US$ 800.
But look around, research and ask for prices at more than one place when you are looking for a boat to rent – it might get you a discount.
Here are some other articles about Croatia that might interest you: