Some experienced mariners can think of nothing more freeing than piloting their own yacht through the star-sparkling clarity of Sardinia's turquoise waters or into the romantic fog that washes over New England's salty coast.

But boating with a hired captain at the helm brings benefits.

Piloting a boat yourself means making frequent trips to the cockpit while your guests kick back with cocktails in hand, feeling their worries wash away with the gentle lap of the waves. They might be enjoying the sun loungers you searched so long for while you're worrying about the unexpected challenges that docking will bring.

There's nothing wrong with running bow-first toward the challenge of captaining your own vessel.

But for boaters who want to spend more time seeing the sights and less time steering toward them, there are a few reasons why hiring a captain might be the right call.


  1. With a captain on board, boat owners can truly de-stress.

    There's nothing more satisfying than feeling all the worries of the outside world fade away as you cruise along a breathtaking coastline or close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the sea. You'll want to take full advantage of the peak luxury features that your long searched for vessel offers, as well as the relaxation they award.

    Rather than watching your guests relish in the amenities of your vessel from afar, hiring a captain will leave you with plenty of time to savor the experience alongside them.

  2. You can't captain with a cocktail in hand.

    But with a captain at the helm, all adults on board are free to pour the champagne, mix up an old-fashioned, or start their day with a salty-spiced Bloody Mary.

    In most American waters, the boating blood alcohol limit is 0.08%. While boating BAC limits can vary by country in international waters, one thing remains the same: cocktails and captaining don't mix.

    Hiring a captain leaves boat owners able to relax and unwind with a drink (or drinks) of their choice.

  3. You're not just hiring a captain, you're hiring a local expert.

    You can ask frequent-cruising friends, search through forums, buy guidebooks, and dig deep into blogs on the internet. But all this research will still leave you in the dark about the spots-in water and on land-where locals really prefer to hang out.

    Captains enter your boat with an abundance of local experience (sometimes decades worth) that proves invaluable as you seek out the hidden, hard-to-discover destinations and experiences that will steal your breath and make your vacation unforgettable.

  4. There are challenges that charts don't show you.

    Charts are not always up to date, and no chart can offer what firsthand experience can.

    A knowledgeable local captain will know the waters and weather of the area like the back of their hand, being on keen lookout for the dangerous inlets that lie ahead and the upcoming areas where depths are lower than marked.

  5. Let the captain worry about docking.

    Docking a vessel can be stressful. Accounting for wind, drift, and current while keeping an eye on the pristine white exteriors of the too-close-for-comfort boats nearby can be challenging, even for experienced mariners.

    Having a captain aboard means that owners-and guests-can take pleasure in a smooth glide toward dock, with no stress clouding the day or the docking.

  6. Having a captain can lower your insurance rates.

    Insurance companies trust the expert knowledge and top-notch boating skills that captains bring to a vessel, helping lower premiums.

    Also, having a resourceful captain on board focused on keeping your vessel out of harm's way may mean fewer boating accidents long-term, keeping those insurance rates low.

  7. They'll know the local laws.

    Customs and immigration formalities can sour a peaceful, no-worries-on-the-horizon vacation with frustration.

    A captain can ease the customs process while cruising across international lines, helping you and your guests clear customs and effortlessly enter desired waters.

    Your captain will also be there to assist with the necessary reporting when you're ready to be guided home, leaving you with valuable extra seconds to soak up last looks of the sea and start planning your next getaway.

  8. You can put your vessel's crew cabin to use.

    Most boats 60 feet and up come equipped with a crew cabin, meaning your boat was built to shelter a few extra hands on deck.

    You may as well put these spaces to use while giving yourself the gift of a serene, luxurious, and stress-free cruise through awe-inducing landscapes and dream destinations.

A hired boat captain can make your dream cruise a reality.