Common Bareboat Charter Mistakes


1) A charter vessel may NOT carry more than 12 passengers without a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

2) A charter contract may not provide a crew, the charter must be able to select a crew and have the ability to discharge the crew.

3) The owner of the vessel may NOT be the vessel master or part of the crew. The vessel owner is not allowed on board during a charter.

4) A charter vessel may NOT carry more than 12 passengers while moored. A charter vessel is considered to be “carrying” passengers whether moored or underway.

5) The charterer is not considered a passenger, and there can only be one charterer, even though the vessel may be chartered by several individuals. In this case, one person would be considered the charterer and the rest would be counted as passengers.

6) Both U.S. flag and foreign vessels may charter. All foreign flagged vessels can not carry passengers for hire and must charter and/or operate as a recreational vessel.

These general guidelines are not intended to be comprehensive or operate as legal advice.  To determine whether your captain's license is sufficient to operate in particular circumstances, see 46 CFR Part 11, Subpart D, NVIC N7-94, the Passenger Vessel Safety Act of 1993, the resources found at, or consult a maritime attorney.