Charter a sailing yacht in Holland

If you want to charter a sailing yacht in Holland and to skipper it, this article is for you. Be it only a weekend sail or week-long sailing holidays, if you will be skippering a rented yacht, you will need to deal with the matters described below. And good preparation is a always a recipe for enjoyable and relaxed sailing trip!

What do I need to charter a sailing yacht in Holland?

Zeilboot huren

Officially, no certificates are required in The Netherlands for a person to rent a boat of a length up to 15 meters and able to sail not faster than 20 kilometers per hour (and that’s a significant boat by the way!). Unlike in some other countries, no VHF certificate is required either.

However we always recommend people to ensure they know what they’re doing. In other words – to have sailing experience from earlier  trips whereby they sailed at least as a crew and were able to act as a skipper already (even if under someone else’s supervision). Another way to make your sailing trip more safe and relaxed is to be aware of the traffic rules on the water.

What will the charter companies ask you for?

They all are different.  It can happen that no questions will be posed at all and you will just get your boat after you’ve signed the contract, paid the rent price and the deposit. If you get in trouble – any potential damage to the yacht will be deducted from your deposit and the rest covered by company’s insurance. The rest are your problems. But in general, during the process of reservation you will be asked as to how much experience you have, what kind of boats you have sailed on, who will be accompanying you. And of course if you have any relevant certifications – this will be a definite proof of your competence as a skipper. For example, an RYA “Day skipper” certificate is a good level of skill to charter a yacht for coastal day trips.

Hint: It’s always helpful if you keep track of your sailing trips in a log book so that you can show proof of your sailing experience

Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to have a mate on the boat who has a clue of what should be happening on a sailing yacht and who will be able to help. In any case ensure that you are able to direct your crew, you know safety measures and procedures, can handle (basic) navigation, know traffic rules, you’re weather-aware and of course that you can manoeuvre under power and sail.

Where can I rent a sailing yacht…

and what should I take into account?

If you’re going to rent a sailboat for the first time and you have sailed with a sailing school before – check if they maybe also rent sailboats? They know your competence level as nobody else and will let you take their boat out more easily then others.

Otherwise, choose a charter company based on your wishes, budget and the place of departure/destination. Next to this article as well as on our page “Yacht charters Netherlands” you will find an overview of various charter companies in The Netherlands with contact details, rated and reviewed by other sailors.

Aspects  to keep in mind when selecting a company to charter a sailing yacht in Holland:

  • What sailing area? (Large open waters or just smaller lakes, water depth, commercial traffic, tides, locks etc.)
  • Distance from home?
  • Towns, harbours, nature spots within reach of your passages.
  • Yachts quality (cleanliness, equipment, reliability, appearance, comfort).
  • Service (information provided upfront, flexibility at boarding and check-in, insurance coverage etc.)
  • Price and availability of boats (last minute deals etc.)

The contract stuff

Here are some topics to pay attention to while making a reservation:

  • Charter term. This can be a week (few weeks), a weekend, a long weekend or a mid-week. If you book a weekend, often you can have the boat at your disposal already on Friday afternoon. Therefore, you can make a short passage on Friday already or you can stay on the boat and (let your crew) get used to it until departure on Saturday morning. Caution: when booking from Saturday, some companies will only let you on the boat in the afternoon, when a half of your weekend will be already gone 🙁
  • Own risk/deposit: all charter sailing yachts are insured by their owners against damage. Nevertheless, there will always be an own risk for you if you are the person renting the boat. This own risk is usually equal to the deposit you will need to leave at the charterer’s office. If you do not want to accept own risk, almost every charter company will offer you a higher no-risk insurance.
  • Additional costs: cleaning, fuel and reservation costs. Often you can see these (compulsory) costs only at the end of the registration process. Keep them in your mind, especially when comparing different charter prices.
  • Options: Sailing suits, boots, life jackets, railing net, dinghy, outboard engine, light weather sails. The life jackets are often included in the price and are on board per default. In the Netherlands you will usually not need a dinghy. Most of the time you will be mooring in a harbour.


  • Cancellation insurance – (a part of) your charter price will be paid back if you cancel your charter due to some weighty circumstances.
  • Storm/fog insurance – for the case you can not sail out due to storm or dense fog. Sometimes your sailing trip can be ruined by adverse weather. In such cases you have no choice but to stays in the harbour and lose your money. This insurance will get you your money back.
  • Redemption of own risk – reassuring if you’re a beginner and want to avoid significant financial unpleasant surprises.

Questions to the charterer

If you do not ask, you do not know what you get.

Zeilboot huren - waar moet je aan denken?If it was your own boat, you would probably know everything about it. However with a chartered sailing yacht it always makes sense to ask the charterer about a few important things if they are not shared with you and not included in the board book:

  • Are there any defects/particularities about the boat?
  • Does the water depth get measured from the keel of from the water surface?
  • What is the direction of propeller rotation, how powerful is the propwalk?
  • How do you switch from one water tank to another?
  • Where are the main switches and the fuses located?

For the time of arrival:

  • Dock the boat to the same place or not? What are alternatives?
  • At what time do you need to return?
  • Does the fuel tank need to be topped up?
  • Will you need to to up the water tank?

Often you will find these items described in the board book or in the information brochure sent to you before your departure. In any case ensure that you are aware of these.


Zeilboot huren - check het!

Without a doubt, this is list of checks for every skipper who steps on a new for him boat. And for a charter sailing yacht this is an essential procedure to learn the yacht before leaving a harbour:

  • Existing damage (dents, scratches on a hull, lacerated lines or railing etc.). If you find anything – make a note of it, take pictures to be sure. Is it still safe to sail?
  • Fuel level
  • Water level
  • Waste tank empty?
  • Battery charged?
  • Spare gas bottle (available and full?)
  • Engine room dry and clean?
  • Bilge is dry, bilge pump works
  • Location of the main electrical switches
  • Fenders available and sufficient
  • Mooring lines – quantity, length, state
  • Engine is working
  • Cotter pins, locking rings ok?
  • Rigging not damaged?
  • Boat hook, emergency tiller, pail, motor sailing cone, anchor ball available?
  • Lifebuoy
  • Anchor, anchor chain/line, windlass is working?
  • GPS plotter functions, instruments all right
  • VHF radio is working (what is the call sign of the boat?)
  • Winch handles available and OK?
  • Board book, charts, pilots, currents atlas enz.
  • Contact details charterer, KNRM (Dutch lifeguard)
  • Plotter, dividers, pencil
  • Sailing knife, handbearing compass, binoculars, flashlight
  • Life jackets, life lines
  • Emergency signals
  • Tools

Everything checked? Ok, then the boring part of your trip is behind and the enjoyable part can begin! 🙂