Rent a boat- How to check a yacht over for your sailing vacation with a charter company? - Sea TV

Rent a boat- How to check a yacht over for your sailing vacation with a charter company?

Hello Sailors,

This video is about: “how to check a yacht over for your sailing vacation with a charter company”.

The most crucial purpose of this checklist is to make sure your holiday will be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. That is why it’s so important to give it enough time and do it properly without cutting corners.

All the charter companies have technical support services on the islands & marinas in the sailing area, but it’s way better to check that everything is working properly rather than waiting for hours during your sailing vacation and wasting precious time.

Upon arrival at the marina, start by finalising the documentation in the charter company office, ask to store your personal belongings and luggage in the storage room or office… you don’t want all your stuff getting in the way in the yacht during your check. You want to be able to open and lift everything in the yacht easily.

Send your family or friends to shop for groceries or hang out in the nearest bar or caffe, while you check the yacht over quietly.

* It is so important to work with a written checklist, that way you can go over all the systems and parts of the yacht without missing any detail. It’s not for nothing that all the navies in the world work with  checklists for every procedure.

There is a saying that “a good preparation on shore is bound to cause success at sea”.


The Anchor system:

Check the windlass physically means try to wind the anchor chain down and up and listen to any squeaking , or if you notice that the chain is slipping and not held in place. You really don’t want to find yourselves lifting your anchor manually during your vacation.

Check that the manual stopper is in place, If you are on a catamaran check the bridle is in order and that you know how to connect it to the anchor chain because it may be different from one model to another.

You should find out how long the chain is to calculate your anchoring, and also and also, which markings around the lengths on the chain, normally there are supposed to be marks every 10 meters so that your crew can call out the lengths while anchoring.

Further more, it’s important to know where the anchor fuze is located, sometimes they are located in odd places like here on the leopard it’s behind the trash can. We have all experienced the situation when we were just ready in the right angle for starting the anchoring maneuver and while giving the order to drop anchor, the remote does not work, it’s usually the fuze which has failed.


Sails check:

If the conditions allow, it’s recommended to open the genoa and hoist the sails and check if there are any tears on them and that all the ropes are attached properly, the halyard, the sheets and the reefs. Check that the genoa roller open’s and roll’s smoothly…

Hull and rails:

These days it’s very easy to take pics with your phone of every little scratch on the hull, make sure you go over the rails and check that there are no loose parts all around.


Count how many fenders you got with the yacht so you know how many you need to return, It would be a pity to pay for a fender you didn’t loose just because you didn’t count.

Elementary Engine checks are:

engine oil, gear box oil & Visual check around the engine bildge. It’s important to know the location of the manual engine stop.

Start the engine: 

Start the engine, try putting into gear forward and reverse, check the steering wheel, make sure you can see the water moving under the stern while checking it..

Let the engine run for at least half an hour while also picking up RPM while In neutral to make sure alarms don’t turn on..


On the GPS – Make sure you know how to use the important functions and that the plotter is in english because sometimes it’s quite difficult finding it in the settings.

Depth sounder – Find out if the depth sounder is calibrated from the surface or from below the keel in order to take into consideration what is the true depth under the keel.

Autopilot –  try pressing the auto button to check if the autopilot keeps course, and try to press the +- 10 and see how it reacts.

VHF  we don’t use the VHF that much during vacation because most of the marinas are as responsive on the phone,but it’s still important to do a check call in case you need it for any emergency or to communicate with the dinghy if it has a portable vhf.

Filling caps: 

You must remember which cap is fuel, and which one is the water, this like a banal mistake to mix between the two but it’s a pretty common one when you mind is elsewhere on holiday

The dinghy:

This Is your chariot that you are so dependant on during the week to get ashore, you should check at the beginning of your checklist if the dinghy is inflated properly, and if not, inflate it so you can check after a while if air is coming out… The dinghy does deflate according to temperature changes between day and night but you will know if it’s a drastic change and needs to be replaced or fixed.

Make sure you have a proper foot pump for the dinghy and paddles…

The outboard engine: 

The outboard engine is one of the soft spots on charters because this a fragile item if you don’t use them properly, make sure you try to start it for a few seconds (before starting: check the fuel switch on from the inner tank, kill switch is in place, the choke is open, and the throttle is in restart mode, then try to start by pulling sharp and fast.

If the engine is making problems already at the base, insist on replacing it… most charter companies have some spares in store.

Make sure you have a way of securing the outboard to the dinghy, never trust only the “butterflies”, keep in mind that in most charter companies loosing an outboard or a dinghy is not included in the damage waiver or security deposit insurance.

Cooking gas: 

For the cooking lovers this one is especially important – make sure you’ve received a full gas bottle and a spare, especially if you are a big family or group and your making food for a lot of people. You can lift up and feel if it’s full or not and with a new one you can see that the safety pin Is not been taken out yet

Also try to light the stove and the oven to see that the gas line is leak free… if you smell a strong gas smell this is a red light!


You should have as many and as long ropes as possible, this will make it much easier for you to anchor and take lines ashore.. the length of the line is critical for the crew members who are swimming or taking the line with the dinghy cause you don’t want them to take it under pressure It’s also important not to anchor too close to the shore (rocks). Shorter lines are useful for tightening equipment on deck.


You must check the voltage while the yacht is connected to shore power and also try to disconnect and after a while check if the voltage has gone down drastically. If the voltage is not adequate, insist they take care of it because you really don’t want to be waken by a low voltage alarm in the middle of the night on your holiday. 

Know the location of the electricity switches. The 12 Volt socket is usually used a lot for charging phones and ipads so check that one as well.

Bildge pumps: 

Manually lift the float switch to check that the pump is reacting, and also the location of the manual pumps, in a cat you should have 2, on on each side and in monohulls they are usually located near the helm.

Pumps – toilet and shower: 

Check that both the wc and the shower pumps are sucking water out smoothly and quickly.

Holding tanks: 

It’s important to locate which wc is connected to a holding tank for using in the marinas and bays, and figure out which valve opens and closes the pipe in order to discharge.

Choose someone from your crew to be responsible for reminding everyone to close and open the valve when entering or leaving a port / marina or bay.

Stern shower:

This is quite a common fault which people don’t notice and you can lose a lot of fresh water without noticing… check the pressure and that there are no leaks. This one seems small but the stern shower is especially important on a sailing vacation after swimming.

Fresh water tanks: 

In most yachts the tanks are separated with a pipe in order to be on the safe side if one of them is leaking, that’s why you should where is the valve that connects between them when the first one runs out. In the Leo it’s behind the sofa with a round valve.


Turn on the fridge at the beginning of the checklist and at the end check the temperature >  you need cold beers suitable for a sailing vacation.

Navigation equipment:

It’s fun to discover and read about your next destination in the pilot-book while nearing your destination, this book is so useful and easy to work with, most charter companies have this on the yacht.

paper charts: 

This is a personal matter, in my opinion the paper charts are very helpful for understanding the area and locating places, sometimes when we are using Navionics we forget to zoom in enough and we might miss dangerous obstacles on the route.

Safety equipment:

Fire extinguishers: – go over the yacht and locate all the fire extinguishers : near the cooking gas bottles, in the kitchen, in the engine…

Pyrotechnics, first aid, safety harnesses – they are all usually located in the same place.

life jackets – there are usually as many as the number of people allowed in the license, usually under the beds in each cabin or in the closets.

Fire blanket – will always be located near the stove and oven, make sure it’s inside the bag and that it slips out easily.

Life rings: 

Memorise the position of the life rings and I hope you won’t need to use them.

Various equipment:

binoculars, torch, which handle, portable vhf

Make sure you have enough cooking and serving dishes so you feel at home during the week, you can always ask for more this is something the charter companies always have in stock.

Count that you have enough bed linen and towels for all the crew, I always bring with me a beach towel because usually the towels provided by the charter companies are more suitable for the shower.

Make sure the fans in the cabins are working properly especially if you don’t have a generator and air-condition, this can be crucisal in July / August.

Through hulls: 

Count them and know where they are located: All the sinks, toilets, showers, engine, air-con and generator…


This is an important part of your week, especially in places where there are municipal marinas and not private marinas with fingers and facilities, make sure its long and wide enough if there isn’t built in one so you won’t have to dock too close to the pier.

When taking off, don’t forget the shore line and the water hose ashore…

Owners manual: 

In every yacht you will find the owners manual which you can open if you bump into something you don’t know, you will probably find the answer there. before calling the charter company.

* When you check in you are required to sign an inventory list, if you are not a native english speaker it is important to be prepared with the english terms so you don’t find yourself signing things you don’t understand.

*Keep in minds, there are faults which are worth being delayed by, and there are issues which do not deserve you precious vacation time.

For example if the navigation lights (red and green) are not working properly, it’s not worth your time because you are not planning to sail at night anyways , or if the electric winch is not working properly, you can always use the handle manually.

But if the anchor is not in the best shape or there is a bad smell coming out from the holding tank, you should not leave before it’s fixed because that Is a kind of thing that can definitely ruin your week.

Of course this is up to each of you to decide what your priorities are.

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