1. What role does Captain and Crew play, and what responsibilities do they have?
The Captain and Crew are there for two main reasons: to ensure your safety and to have the yacht charter run as smoothly as possible. The Captain and Crew with Sea Friends are full time employed professionals in this industry (other charter yachts may have owner-operators or rely on part time crew), and are intimately familiar with the yacht, local waterways, weather conditions, etc. The safety of all aboard the yacht is always the top priority of Captain and Crew. Besides safety, the Captain and Crew will do their utmost for guests to feel at home and to have a pleasurable experience, but not at the risk of safety. Whenever safety and regulations are concerned, it’s always best to follow the Captain’s advice.
Typically the size of the yacht determines the size of the crew. Sea Friends will usually have one Captain and one Crew on board; in some situations there may be 2 Crew. The Captain must be PPCDL or equivalently qualified (i.e. licensed to pilot pleasure craft), and is the master of the vessel; all Crew members report to him. The Captain holds overall responsibility over the boat, its passengers, the course taken, ensuring that the Crew do their job and that everyone onboard is safe at all times.
2. Can changes be made to the Itinerary?
Before your charter commences, the sales team would plan with you to fix the itinerary. For package charters to the southern islands, the general area is fixed, but we may offer a few options depending on the type of charter you are looking for, whether it be a quiet family charter, or a fun celebration with your friends. For custom itineraries the exact route and activities must be mutually agreed upon before the charter is confirmed. Check with the sales team for further details.
3. What are Safety Briefings for?
As soon as guests step aboard the yacht, the Captain will introduce his Crew and deliver a short safety briefing regarding lifejackets, yacht layout, what to do in emergencies, and other safety information for the yacht and the surrounding area. This briefing is both maritime law and an insurance requirement, but above all else, it serves to ensure that everyone is well informed about how to be safe while aboard the yacht. Once this is over, the cruise may begin.
4. Is footwear allowed on the yacht?
While no two charter yachts have identical practices, there’s one thing they all have in common - a basket for shoes, usually by the gangway. Before stepping on board, the crew will place your footwear inside this basket which will be stored in a safe location until the yacht is back in the marina and the charter is over. A yacht’s deck is delicate, so if guests must wear shoes on deck, keep in mind that they should be soft soled “deck shoes”. High heels may scratch or damage the teak floors and black soles can leave ugly scuff marks. Similarly, street shoes can damage a yacht’s carpets or custom flooring.
5. Can I invite or host other guests?
One of the pleasures of chartering a yacht is being able to entertain friends and family in a unique setting. Let us know in advance if any guests will be joining you on board, as we have to ensure that the total number of passengers conform to both MPA Covid-19 regulations as well as the rated capacity of our yacht. We would be happy to facilitate surprise celebrations too for special occasions, let us know in advance!
6. Are children allowed on board?
We have life jackets for children and toddlers and so are able to accommodate parents who wish to bring their kids; however we would caution parents against bringing young babies. One important thing to take note is that while our staff love being around children, they each have a job to do on the boat and will not be able to babysit children constantly at every moment. Captain and Crew will help out with water-related activities, but if parents are looking forward to relaxing while the children are entertained without their oversight, we recommend arranging for childcare to be present on the charter.
7. Are pets allowed on board?
First and foremost, it is important to consider your pet’s overall well-being and safety. Pets are not allowed in the cabin and must stay on the outside deck, so on most charters that means a somewhat confined space for your pet while being on the water for the duration of the charter. Some pets may get seasick so be sure that your pet does not get seasick easily. Do check with our sales team if you would like to bring your pets on board; we usually allow pets with some exceptions, and some additional charges will apply, the amount depending on the type of pet. In all cases, owners are expected to clean up after their pets. We do have some dog charters to Lazarus island where some of the time is spent on land, get in touch to find out more!
8. Can food and drinks be brought on board?
Yes! There is no corkage or other such charges for bringing your own food and drinks on board.
Note: Food and drink consumption is subject to Covid-19 regulations. MPA currently allows food and drinks on board but government policy may change from time to time.
9. Can alcohol be brought on board?
Generally yes; however we would request for red wine not to be consumed on board since it stains easily and is later extremely hard to remove from fiberglass and other surfaces.
10. Any safety precautions when out on the water outside of the yacht?
Captain and Crew are trained to keep an eye out for guests, but as a good practice, if you plan on leaving the yacht and going for a swim or trying out one of the water toys, it is always best to inform someone in your party as well as a member of staff. Once out on the water it is important to stay within line of sight of the yacht so that Captain and Crew can know where you are and keep an eye out.
11. Can someone teach me how to use the water toys?
Most of water toys provided are self-explanatory and easy to use. If guests need help on the kayak or stand up paddle board, our friendly staff will be happy to provide some basic instruction. Guests should always wear your lifejacket while on the water toys, and should never be on water toys after drinking alcohol. An accident may result in injuries and will definitely spoil the fun.
12. Is there smoking on the yacht?
Smoking onboard our yacht is restricted for safety reasons.
13. How many passengers can the yacht take?
Sea Friends is licensed to carry 14 people, i.e. a maximum of 12 passengers after accounting for Captain and Crew. However, during this time of Covid-19, MPA regulations currently restrict group sizes to 5 passengers excluding Captain and Crew. Government regulations are subject to change from time to time so this number could go up or down in the future.
14. Can we bring balloons to the yacht?
As much as we want to give you the freedom in adding decorations and a personal touch to your special occasion, the MPA doesn't allow balloons of any type to be brought to the yacht.