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Yacht Charter Canada

Yacht Charter Canada

Book a Canada yacht charter with Borrow a Boat and see the country in all its awesome beauty on a sailing holiday to remember. With your boat hire in Canada you'll encounter some of the world's greatest wildernesses, wildlife as well as its array of great towns and cities.

Much of Canada's mainland and islands are untouched by man, yet the towns, cities and settlements live comfortably side by side some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

There are three broad sailing areas where it comes to a Canada yacht charter. Most popular is British Columbia on the west coast, centred on Vancouver. Here you will see land and marine life that you'll be lucky to see anywhere else on the planet from orcas and great whales to bald eagles and black bears.

A less well known charter destination, though no less an exciting sailing area, is the Bay of Fundy centred on Halifax, Nova Scotia. One end of the Great Circle route from North America to Europe, there is a deep maritime tradition here that sits with over 10,000 miles of coastline and inlets. The tides and weather are challenging but the rewards are every bit worth it.

Ontario sits on the Great Lakes, and out of Toronto you can explore the second biggest body of freshwater in the world (after Lake Baikal in Russia). In some places like Georgian Bay, the water is so fresh you can drink it straight out of your hands while enjoying this huge waterway and its unique sailing conditions as you go.

The three major cities we'll look at - Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax - are buzzing cosmopolitan centres yet the towns and settlements outside are laid back and fun. Though on many sailing holidays you will go for the sun, sea and sand, from the fjords and mountains to the islands and wildlife, a Canadian boating holiday is as much about exploration as it is the simple things in life.

Hiring A Yacht In Canada

On a skippered or crewed yacht charter in Canada, you will turn up at the dock, meet the skipper, pay your remaining fee and off you go.

On a bareboat yacht charter you will have to present your sailing credentials to the charter company or boat owner, sign the paperwork and inspect the yacht. In the sailing season, sailing conditions can be challenging but if you have an ASA 104 or RYA Day Skipper you should have enough experience to enjoy sailing in Canada without too much stress.

Getting to Canada

From Europe there are direct flights to Vancouver for a western Canada yacht charter. Depending on the location of your charter base you can make arrangements to go by ferry and car to the marina.

For a Great Lakes yacht charter you will fly from Europe direct to Toronto and take a taxi or bus down to the marina from there.

If flying from Europe, a Nova Scotia yacht charter will require a change of planes at Toronto and a flight onward to Halifax. From there you can take a taxi or bus to the charter base.

Best Areas To Charter

Broadly there are three areas of Canada you can rent a boat with Borrow a Boat.

British Columbia

The islands and mainland of Western Canada is the most popular charter destination in Canada. Go whale watching and explore the Sunshine Coast of Vancouver Island. See the high mountains and fjords of Desolation Sound as well as the settlements of Powell River and the Gulf Island archipelago - island cruising at its best! You will encounter all manner of wildlife and marine life, and soon come to love the almost unrivalled sailing in this beautiful area of the world.

Bay of Fundy

Just north of the state of Maine in the USA, the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is renowned for having the biggest tidal range in the world. Though ice free year round, there is a relatively short sailing season but when Nova Scotia wakes up from its winter slumber it comes alive with a buzz! Great sailing, beautiful coastlines and beaches, as well as the vibrant city of Halifax that has played a long role in Canadian maritime history.

Great Lakes

Out of Toronto you can explore these vast inland lakes that are connected to the Atlantic via the St Lawrence Seaway and Niagra Falls. Sailing isn't like a smaller lake like Lake Geneva - expect seas of up to four feet in some conditions - but again, you will get to see Canada's southern boundary from a unique and interesting angle. Often mistaken for the country's capital, Toronto is as fun a city as you will find anywhere else in the world.

Best Cities to Charter a Yacht in Canada

Vancouver

Vancouver is a vibrant and fun city just north of the US border in western Canada. From here you can enjoy a British Columbia yacht charter including Vancouver Island and the Strait of Georgia.

Halifax

On the eastern side of Canada, the capital of Nova Scotia is close to many charter bases for exploring the Bay of Fundy and the US Northeast.

Toronto

For a Great Lakes yacht charter, Toronto is a major city on Canada's southern boundary where you can sail Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron within a 7-14 day sailing holiday.

Types Of Yachts To Hire

There are three broad types of charter - bareboat charter, flotilla charters, and crewed yacht charter. Where it comes to the types of charter boat you can hire a motor boat, a monohull sailing yacht, catamaran,superyacht or luxury yacht charter and RIBs or day boats. Each have their benefits.

Motor yacht

Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping accommodation - much less if they are day boats.y boat and can be hired for as little as $110 a day for fishing trips or just blasting about the bay. The 15 metre plus size of motor yacht will have cabins and often en suite heads and cost upwards of $400 a day.

Superyacht

Starting at as 'little' as $10,000 a day a superyacht charter will come with skipper and crew as part of the package. On the crewed motor yacht or sailboat you will be treated like kings and queens on your personal mini-cruise-ship that will often come with tenders and toys such as jet skis and even sailing yachts!

Luxury Yacht Charter

Coming with or without skipper and/or crew, a luxury charter yacht will cost upwards of $700 a day and will come fully fitted out with all the modern conveniences and comforts of the very best sailing craft afloat. Expect en suite heads and comfortable staterooms but also a lot of fun under sail!

Catamaran

Starting at $450 a day, catamarans are luxury yachts that offer lots of space, a fair lick of speed on a reach and a shallow draft for mooring close into shore. They have twin engines in the hulls so while large they are incredibly manoeuvrable when in marinas and so forth.

Monohull Sailing Yacht

Ranging in size from 10 metres up to 20 or so, monohull sailing yachts form the backbone of the Canada yacht charter industry. Very good to windward, you will find yourself chewing up the miles at all points of sail without relying on the engines. Costing as little as $120 a day you will enjoy comfort and fun for a good budget price.

Crewed Yacht charter or Bareboat?

Where it comes to a Canada yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat or crewed yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.

Crewed charter

No sailing qualifications or not confident enough to bareboat charter yourself? That's no problem when it comes to yacht charter - you can take on a skipper and crew for the week or two touring Canadian waters! With a crewed yacht charter you have someone aboard who knows the ropes and the best places to visit on your sailing holiday. They will know the best spots for what you want, be it hideaway restaurants or the best hiking and diving to be found! Costing as little as $100 a day (depending on the size and type of vessel) you will get the very best from your yacht charter holiday with one aboard. Don't forget the tip at the end of the week!

Bareboat yacht charter

A competent sailor? Have the qualifications required? Dreaming all year of casting off and exploring the Canadian mainland and islands with just you and your friends? A bareboat charter is just the thing for you. This is cheaper than a skippered yacht charter but you also get the privacy of being in your chosen group without a stranger in your midst. You get to choose your own adventure and go at your own pace - not a bad thing for a holiday to recharge your batteries ahead of rejoining the rat race...

Do you need a licence to charter in Canada?

If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification, below is a list of relevant qualifications:

International Certificate of Competence (ICC): Standard European Qualification for bareboat sailing

ASA 104 Bareboat certificate: The American Sailing Association's skipper standard qualification for hiring bareboatyachts.

RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Skipper level) is necessary for bareboat hire, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some private yacht owners will require this.

There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before hiring.

If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.

Best Times To Hire

Generally speaking, May to September are the best sailing months in southern Canada. Winter hits the country hard with the Great Lakes freezing up and very bad weather in the off-season.

In Nova Scotia, if you can get sailing in September or October, while the weather can be difficult at times the colours of the forests in Fall are world reknowned.

The Great Lakes are better done in July and August when the waterways are awash with yachts and boats, though in June and July it is quieter - thanks in part due to biting insects!

The busiest time for charter companies in Western Canada is July and August but this is nowhere as bad as more tropical charter destinations.

If you can rent a boat outside of school holidays you will find the marinas quieter and the prices cheaper. This would put May or June the best times across Canada.

The Climate

Unless you're into ice yachting, you'll want to do a Canada yacht charter between May and September!

Around Vancouver Island between May and September the winds are generally easterlies and never much above a F5-6. Expect rain but 70mm a month is not horrendous. Temperatures are a comfortable 18-25 degrees C.

Nova Scotia does see fog and westerly gales through the year. Generally speaking in high summer, the winds die down to a F3-4 and the temperatures sit at a comfortable 20-25 degrees C.

The Great Lakes are subject to continental weather. This can mean temperatures in the 30s Celsius in summer and thunderstorms - even waterspouts. That said the weather is generally benign in the summer months. Do keep an eye on the 24 hour weather forecast as it can change in a heartbeat from hot and comfortable to windy and freezing.

How much does it cost for a Canada Charter

There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For US $120 a day - $840 a week - you can take a sailboat monohull out with five other adults. That is going to be cheaper than a week in a hotel for everyone.

Catamarans cost a lot more - expect to pay anything from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the season.

Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping acommodation - much less if they are day boats.

RIBs can cost as little as €50 for an afternoon.

In each of the examples above you can take on a skipper starting at $150 a day depending on what the vessel is and their required qualifications to sail it.

Superyachts and luxury yachts are a different league - expect to pay $15,000 a day and up to $100,000 a day if your budget can manage it.

Explore Canada By Renting A Yacht

Canada in all its varied faces is a country you could spend a lifetime exploring by sea, and enjoy every moment. From its wild western mountains and islands to its challenging east coast, the country isn't just a jewel as far as yachtchartering goes - but many! Whatever you want from a sailing holiday, you are likely to find it without the crowds that can overwhelm more popular sailing destinations.

FAQs

Is Yacht hire in Canada Legal?

Canada's yacht charter industry is legal and regulated by the relevant authorities.

What kind of Yachts can I hire in Canada?

You can hire everything from a small motor boat to a large superyacht. Monohull sailing yachts are common, though catamarans are more comfortable and spacious metre for metre.

What should I consider when hiring a Yacht?

Your budget for the sailing holiday should come first. Travelling - both getting there and what destinations to explore. What do you enjoy on a yacht charter? Work out your itinerary from there. Who are you taking with you and what are your limitations as a sailor?

What are the best times to hire a Yacht in Canada?

The sailing season between May and September is short thanks to its latitude. That said, if you can do your sailing holiday outside the school holidays in June or October you will find the marinas less busy and charter prices lower.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht in Canada?

There are two deposits to consider. Firstly you will normally have to pay a 50% deposit on booking. This secures your trip. On arrival you will have to pay a refundable security deposit for the trip on your credit card though you can get yacht charter insurance - though non-refundable this can be cheaper.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.

What should I think of before I hire a Yacht in Canada?

Do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book? Where do you want to go? Bring warm clothing but prepare for cold weather anywhere you sail here.

Do I need a visa to visit US Canada?

If you are from a North American, Oceania or European country you shouldn't normally require a visa to sail in the Canada. Check with your US Embassy if unsure.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when hiring a Yacht or Boat?

The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht?

​You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.

What should I think of before I hire a Yacht or Boat?

You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.

What Qualifications Do I need to hire a boat or yacht?

If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.