This is probably the most critical aspect of your charter and warrants the full attention of the Skipper (and a Mate, if feasible). This is where your App knowledge will be the most helpful and needed. In most cases, boat check-in briefs are video concluded, see your App, and on your boat after you did your walk-through.
Plan up to a full hour to go through the sail plan and controls, ground tackle, topside gear, power, and domestic systems. A few tips:
- You will receive a scheduling timeframe via App Notification – you don’t want to be early and wait at the pier instead of sightseeing, but also make sure you show up on time. Some charter operators will check-you later in the afternoon of your sleep-aboard.
- Engaging a large crew in the brief may be counterproductive. Better to have only the Skipper or a Mate participate, who then brief the rest of the crew afterward. By “re-briefing” the crew, you’ll learn the material even better, and discover any information gaps. All Apps, under the same booking code, will receive the check-in report, to follow your re-briefing.
- Start with a ship-shape boat to allow easy access to systems, thru-hulls, controls. Stow your gear in advance or wait until after the brief to bring your bags onboard.
- Don’t try to impress anyone with your knowledge, be open and ask what you don’t know. Review the App well and later listen carefully, even if you know the boat well. Every boat has nuances and you’ll always learn something new (which may come in very handy during your charter).
- Take photos and notes as needed and ask if there’s an operation manual onboard for future reference. By now you should also be familiar with an App’s data; Vessel Info, How-To, Repair, Booking info,….
- Be absolutely sure you know how to reef the sails; verify that the reefing gear is properly rigged.
- Demonstrate operation of key functions (e.g. engine start, windlass operation), and get as “hands-on” as the briefing permits. The more senses you engage in the learning process, the better.
- Study the battery bank and selector switches – is the engine start battery isolated from the domestic battery? How much battery capacity do you have? What is the recommended recharge process?
- Ensure that fuel and water tanks are full and that holding tanks are empty.
- If you’ve ordered extra electronics gear, check that the gear is on board and functioning properly.
- Don’t forget the dinghy! Test the outboard motor and the towing painter.
- If you have questions – press the Help button. That is why it is here and that’s why you are doing checkout onboard!
- Verify procedures for departure and return of your boat. Is the staff available to assist with docking? Must you refuel or pump-out before return?
- Ask whom and how to call if you have questions or problems while on charter. Do you have 24/7 Sea Taxi? If not, note the cell phone number. Check the VHF channels. Get familiar with App options, like Weather, Map, MySea, Navionics, and others.
For personal injuries or urgent transportation needs, consider obtaining the 24/7 Sea Taxi, which is also your unofficial SOS button.
For good times and great locations consider obtaining detailed Itineraries (gourmet or adventures, based on your sailing wishes and skills).