Do I Need a Licence to Rent a Boat?


Regardless of whether you’re a seaside rookie or a life-long sailor, chartering a boat and setting sail along the coast of your dream destination is one of the ultimate holiday experiences.

A bareboat charter offers the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want. You can set your own itinerary, cook your own meals (or have them cooked for you!) and spend a week on the water soaking up the sun and relaxing on a private boat with your favourite people.

romantic couple on a sailing boat

From a sleek and spacious motorboat to a glamorous catamaran, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, irrespective of the boat you book, you’ll need to have someone sailing it. This can either be you, if you’re qualified, or a private skipper doing all the hard work for you. The choice is usually pretty easy and is based on your level of experience, but here is some more information to help you decide on the best boat charter option for you. If you already have a boat license, scroll a bit more down to get your answers.

I don’t have a boat licence

If you don’t have a licence but still want to enjoy an incredible sailing holiday, you can choose the option to book a skipper with your boat. Every charter boat we offer comes with the choice to add a skipper to your trip, allowing you to enjoy the sea while your skipper takes care of all the hard work for you!

The skipper will be in charge of sailing, navigation and will show you the best places and give you the best local tips about the destinations. A skipper will often encourage you to get involved, assisting them with raising the sails, trimming the jib and dropping anchor, but they’ll also give you space and privacy to relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings. It is, after all, your dream sailing holiday.

With a skipper, the stress of navigating unknown waters, reefs and bays, of determining your course and of needing to know local information about the area is removed. Your liability (and sometimes even your security deposit) is also less because the skipper is now taking responsibility for the boat.

Frequently asked questions about adding a skipper to your trip

Do I need a skipper?

If you have to ask, you probably do. Even if you have some sailing skills, it’s great to have a skipper to take the lead. And remember, skippers don’t just navigate; they’re the ones responsible for the safety of the boat and passengers for the whole trip. It’s a demanding job and they have to know the area well, so if your goal is to take a vacation full of relaxation and total escape, you’ll probably want a skipper to take care of all the hard stuff. Besides that, the skipper can also be your local guide of the area. He or she knows where to anchor and which islands are worth a visit.

main sailing a yacht

Who chooses the skipper?

When making your reservation, you can let us know if you need a skipper or not. If you do, the charters – who have great relationships with the skippers in the area – will suggest a skipper for your booking. If you have any special requests or concerns, feel free to ask the charter. They’ll be happy to help you out.

Will my skipper speak English?

Usually, your skipper will at least speak basic English, as well as the local language. It’s their job to be able to communicate with their guests and with the local people, but again, if you’re concerned, bring it up with the charter when you’re booking.

Are the skipper fees included with the boat?

No. Skippers work independently from the charters, so their fee is usually paid prior to boarding. Skipper fees can vary depending on a number of factors, but you can usually expect to pay around €150 per day. If a skipper is what you need to make your holiday perfect, this cost is definitely worth it.

Where does the skipper sleep?

Most vessels have a smaller ‘crew’ cabin where the skipper sleeps but, if you book a boat that doesn’t have this, you’ll have to allow one cabin space for your skipper when booking the boat of your choice.

Am I responsible for feeding the skipper?

Even though they’re working on this trip, hiring a skipper means considering one extra person on the boat. This means when buying food and (non-alcoholic, of course) drinks for consumption on the boat, you’ll have to consider the skipper, too. You won’t need to pay for any food for the skipper while they’re on land, but you will need to include them when purchasing your provisions for the days on board the boat.



I have a boat licence

To rent a boat in most countries you’ll need an internationally recognised boat licence, such as ICC, Radio License or CEVNI. These prove the holder has undergone formal training and has all the necessary boating skills to manage a vessel in international waters. If you have a licence from your home country, you can usually fill out an ICC application and send it in with proof of your current licence to receive an ICC certificate. If you want to know the details of your holiday destination and the licence required there, you can always mention it in your contact with our sailing experts. You can also check the websites of the government of your holiday destination.

Boat licence requirements can vary from boat to boat. To rent a motorboat, you’ll often need a different licence to that of a sailboat. The best way to determine what kind of licence you will need is to ask the charter you book with, and when you book with Zizoo, ask us.

Not only does someone on your boat need a licence to sail, but they’ll also need the confidence to sail it on their own. All boats are different and, chances are, you won’t have sailed these waters before. There will be many things to consider and be aware of when sailing in new waters, so only if you feel comfortable should you choose to sail the chartered vessel on your own.

people jumping off a boat


Now that you’re armed with all this info, all you need to do is choose the perfect boat! Regardless of whether you want to sail it yourself or kick back and have someone else do it, we’re certain you’ll have the holiday of a lifetime. Gliding through pristine water in the privacy of your own chartered yacht is truly a unique and unrivalled holiday.

The sea is calling and the skippers are waiting. So, what are YOU waiting for?

If it’s your first time renting a boat and you’re still looking for a little more information, check out our first-timers sailing checklist for an entire list of everything you’ll need to consider when planning your first sailing trip. If you are in doubt on where you should go, read more about different sailing destinations on our magazine.



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