The end of the year for the Pacific Northwest cruiser often inspires a wave of adventure goals for the next year. New Year resolutions like “Finally sail to Sucia Island” are plentiful, and for many of these dreamers, becoming doers involves a chartering company. Fortunately, Washington and British Columbia are home to dozens of charter guide companies aimed at boaters who want to take on the area’s world-class waterways on their own terms. Most of these companies have been around for years, and glowing references from happy clients are readily available.
As with any major trip, research is key, and it’s important to keep one’s priorities in mind. Chartering companies can greatly differ with their offerings: hired crewed vs. bareboat, sail vs. power, accredited instruction vs. none, fishing gear vs. none, generous cancellation policies vs. strict, and even provided linens vs. no linens. Envision the specifics of your dream, write them down, get your information, and make that trip of a lifetime happen!
We offer the 2017 iteration of our Washington and B.C. Charter Guide as one source of your research endeavor. Although we do our best, there are probably a few outfits that slipped through the cracks. In the interest of constant improvement, we encourage readers to submit their local knowledge for next year’s edition via email at email@example.com. Also note that the many excellent charter companies based in Oregon and Alaska are certainly worth your consideration, even if they are not included in this guide. This guide also does not include sight-seeing/scheduled tours, day-trip fishing charters, or venue charters, of which there are many excellent outfits in the Pacific Northwest.
Bareboat and crewed yacht charters offered with approximately 75 boats in the fleet, including 27’ to 70’ power and sail vessels. Special services include meal provisioning, outboard rentals, fishing gear, and kayaks. ASA certification and introduction and advanced power courses available. Skippers are available for hire.
Phone: 800-233-3004 / 360-293-4555
Sail and power boats with bareboat and skippered charters options. Vessels are 25’ to 60’, including Grady White (day charters available), Ocean Alexander, Bayliner, Meridian, Hunter, and Silverton. Watch the website for new additions and special offers and discounts. Power boat instruction for novices or “rusty skippers” offered as a separate course or with a skipper while on a charter.
Prime season charter rates are $1,975 to $8,400 per week. Off-season rates are discounted 20%. Discounts are available for multiple weeks, multiple boat charters, and returning customers. Insurance by refundable damage deposits. Reservation deposit is 30%, with balance due 60 days prior to departure. Additionally, they are looking for boats to join their fleet at the time of this writing.
Phone: 360-733-6636 / 877-310-9471
Bareboat cruise and learning vacations are the emphasis for the charter. Powerboats 28’ to 96’ and sailboats 30’ to 50’ are offered. The 33% reservation deposit is due 60 days prior to the charter.
Phone: 800-237-2392 / 604-682-2161
This organization is an international yacht charter, brokerage, and management company with offices in London, Monaco, Athens, Moscow, New York, Miami, and Seattle. The Seattle office is headed by Captain Ron Chace, formerly captain of the 200-foot Feadship MEDUSE.
Burgess offers expertise in arranging fully crewed charters on yachts from 120 to 300 feet in length worldwide. Prices range from $60,000 to $450,000 per week, plus expenses, depending on the size and style of the vessel. Areas covered include the Pacific Northwest, Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and more.
ASA: American Sailing Association
Bareboat: A charter that does not include hired crew. These charters usually have fewer or no amenities (ex. linens, meals, etc.), the purpose is to provide the client with a seaworthy vessel — nothing more and nothing less.
IPSA: International Sail & Power Association
IYT: International Yacht Training Worldwide
USCG: United States Coast Guard
Books trips year-round. Cedar Wave provides custom private picnic tours and day cruises on beautifully restored classic wooden yachts. Trips starting at $375 for groups up to six. Relax in style on the waters of Lake Washington and Puget Sound.
Gourmet meal options, including entrées like clam bakes, fish tacos, and sunrise fruit puddings. Private tour guides and other special services, including weddings, engagements and memorials. USCG licensed captains. Maritime heritage education and historic vessel preservation consulting.
Cedar Wave used to operate from the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle, but now they arrange pick-ups individually with clients.
Combine learning to sail with six days and nights of adventure in the San Juans with Cruise-N-Learn. Learn the ropes with an experienced instructor who has been certified to teach the ASA curriculum. Passing the skills and knowledge tests at each level, along with additional practice, will get you certified to charter a boat and feel confident skippering her yourself. The curriculum is taught on Chariot, a restored classic Annapolis 44. The skipper, Captain Cathy Franklin, specializes in and enjoys working with couples.
Bareboat and skippered sailboats and powerboats are available ranging in size from 30’ to 57’ from a fleet of over 40 vessels. Flotillas, offshore training, and circumnavigation of Vancouver Island are options as well. Professional instruction is offered as a special service. There are three operation bases to choose from — Vancouver and Sidney, BC, for the Gulf Islands and Powell River for Desolation Sound.
Spring season (April to June), peak season (July to August), late summer season (September), off season (October to March) are charged differently. Damage deposits are $1,000 to $5,000. Reservation deposits are 30% of the balance, due 60–90 days prior to departure.
Phone: 604-683-6837 / 888-999-6419
Bareboat charters offered with a fleet of 32’ to 47’ powerboats and 32’ to 56’ sailboats. Dinghy with outboard, BBQ, linens and towels for up to four guests, pre-charter briefing on boat systems and operation, assistance with itinerary planning, and cleaning after completion of charter is included. Numerous courses and instructional classes are available to hone boat maneuvering and navigational skills. Car parking is available near the marina.
Prime season (June 21 to September 8), mid-season (May 17 to June 20/ September 9 to 29), and low season (January 1 to May 16, and September 30 to December 31) have different rates. Modest additional charges are added for liability insurance and vessel hull insurance, with reductions in deductible amounts. Early booking and payment receive a 5% discount, as do repeat customers. Ten or more nights are 5% off.
Adventure aboard a 54’ sailing yacht, the custom S/V Na-Walak pilothouse ketch. Planned trips and custom cruises are available April through October. Meals are provided by a gourmet chef, and a naturalist captain leads wildlife and naturalist tours. Pricing details available online.
Bareboat or skippered powerboats from 34’ to 54’ and sailboats from 31’ to 49’ offered. All charters are fully serviced except for food (provisioning available). Courses in sail and power yacht handling with international certifications are available.
Prime season (June 15 to September 15) rates for power are $3,700 to $4,800. Sail is $2,200 to $4,700. Off-season power boat rates are $3,100 to $4,200, sailboats are $1,900 to $3,800. The damage deposit is $2,000 to $5,000, while insurance is $30 to $45 per day. The reservation deposit is 25% plus applicable taxes, balance due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellation policy is 90 days prior to departure with a $300 service fee. If within 60-90 days, the cost of cancellation is 25% of the total charter fee.
Phone: 250-339-7222 / 877-647-3815
Monohull and catamaran sailboats and power yachts from 30’ to 50’, all in pristine condition. Ownership options are available in the fleet. A Leopard catamaran as well as Beneteau and Jeanneau monohulls are a few of the makes offered. Offering bareboat to competent sailors or skippered yachts that include ASA-trained professionals. Additional charter options from Comox, BC.
Crewed sailboat, and both crewed and bareboat powerboat charters are offered from Puget Sound to Southeast Alaska. Powerboats 26’ to 72’ in length and a crewed option for vessels up to 180’ are offered. Crewed sailboats range from 60’ to 127’. Special services are available on all vessels upon request.
Prime season (July 13 to September 7) weekly rates are $1,200 to $14,000 for power. Mid-season (June 1 to July 12, and September 8 to 28) are 15% less. Low season (before June 1 and after September 28) is discounted 30%. The reservation deposit is 33-50% of the charter rate; due 60 days prior to the charter.
The Nanaimo Yacht Charters management has been in the charter business for over 40 years, having run charter operations in Brazil, the Caribbean, Greece, Vancouver, and now in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island – their favorite of all charter destinations.
Nanaimo is the perfect spot for starting a charter. It’s located at the head of the Gulf Islands while also close to the Sunshine Coast and the world-renowned Princess Louisa National Park. Another day’s sail from here puts you in the heart of Desolation Sound. Nanaimo Yacht Charters are also an accredited Sailing School for IYT, IPSA, and Sail Canada.
Phone: 250-754-8601 / 877-754-8601
The fleet is made up of luxury diesel trawlers (Grand Banks, Fleming, Sabre, and DeFever) ranging from 38’ to 58’ in length. Bareboat charters are offered throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska. Mother Goose flotillas include USCG captains, dock hands, and an onboard naturalist on the lead vessel. They include cruising grounds in Alaska (via the Inside Passage), Desolation Sound, the San Juan Islands, and the Canadian Gulf Islands. Special services included in the rate: linens, fully-outfitted galley, RIB dinghy with outboard, crab pots, and cleaning upon return.
High season rates are $5,200 to $11,200, while low season is 25% less. Multi-week discounts are available. The reservation deposit is 40% of the charter rate, with the balance due 120 days prior to departure.
Phone: 360-676-1248 / 800-826-1430
Bareboat and skippered powerboats 29’ to 57’ in length, sail monohulls 33’ to 47’, and sail catamarans 34’ to 40’. Special services include complimentary linens and towels, and guided flotilla options. Provisioning and crewed charters are available. Full-service powerboat training and weekend/week-long liveaboard sail courses are also available.
Peak season (June 23 to August 31) rates are $3,200 – $7,975 and the second consecutive week of a charter is discounted 10%. The option of daily damage waivers or refundable damage deposits is offered. Liability insurance is $140 per week. The reservation deposit is 30%, and cancellations are required 60 days prior to departure.
Phone: 360-671-8089 / 800-670-8089
Looking to meet up with a charter or reach a remote location quickly? Kenmore Air, a floatplane chartering company, is often utilized by boaters and those interested in exploring the Pacific Northwest’s waterways from the air. The company offers a variety of packages and services to and from Seattle, the San Juan Islands, Victoria, and the remote locations of B.C.’s Inside Passage. Whether you are planning a rendezvous with a boating charter underway, just need to get somewhere quickly, or want to soak up the sights, Kenmore Air can probably help. Check out kenmoreair.com for more details.
Power yachts ranging from a 29’ tugboat to a 57’ North Pacific trawler, and sailboats ranging from a 30’ Catalina to a 50’ Beneteau, are available. Special services such as sleep aboards, provisioning, and instruction are available. Free linen packages, planning maps, and outboard engines are a few included extras. Luxury crewed yachts also available.
Rates vary according to season. Off-season rates are $1,367 to $7,641 per week, while prime season rates are $1,785 to $9,980 per week. Four-day, three-night minimum length charters are offered. Multi-week charters have a 10% discount. The reservation deposit is 30%, and the balance is due 60 days prior to the charter.
Phone: 360-299-9193 / 877-772-6582
Windworks Sailing & Powerboating has been a premiere sailing club in the Pacific Northwest since 1992. They are committed to making boating available, affordable, and approachable to anyone with the desire to sail or powerboat. Use the vessels as you would your own, hire their captains, or take lessons through their U.S. Sailing & Powerboating Certification Program. With annual and quarterly club events and a fleet with boats ranging from 22’ to 47’, the Puget Sound is your playground. All sailors welcome!