In Florida, we are lucky to have a year-round boating season. However, with so many boats here in Southwest Florida, boat owners often look for ways to maximize their boats’ usage and, of course, their profitability. Boat owners can maximize profitability and limit liability by renting their boats under bareboat charter arrangements.
What is a Bareboat Charter?
A bareboat charter is a vessel that is leased by the owner to another person (a “charterer”) for a period of time without captain and crew. The person leasing the vessel is then responsible for the entire vessel’s operation and any captain and crewing requirements. For a valid bareboat charter, the vessel owner must completely relinquish “possession, command, and navigation” of the vessel.
Elements of a valid Bareboat Charter:
- The charterer must have the option of selecting and paying crew, although the owner may require general levels of proficiency for the crew that is retained based on federal statutes;
- The master/crew are paid by the charterer;
- All food, fuel, and stores are provided by the charterer;
- Insurance is obtained by the charterer;
- The charterer is responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel;
- The charterer may discharge, for cause, the master or any crew member without referral to the owner;
- The vessel is surveyed upon its delivery and return.