Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Whitsundays Travel Blog

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bareboating Whitsundays (Sailing Without A Crew)

 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bareboating The Whitsundays With Friends (Without A Crew)    

Should You Hire A Private Charter Or Sail Yourself?

It sounds dreamy.

Just you and a group of friends (or family) bareboating the whitsundays sailing the vast crystal clear waters.

No crowds, no plans, and not a whole lot to do… except relax and enjoy your holiday.


Wrong. Bareboating involves a lot more than you realise and it’s not quite as relaxing as you think.

It’s important to consider every part of your trip before deciding as you might discover, a private charter may actually be the experience you are seeking to whisk you around the Whitsunday Islands.

#1 Bareboating The Whitsunday Islands Isn’t Relaxing For Everyone

There is a lot to consider when you are responsible for safely navigating the boat each day.

You’ll have the daily challenge of carefully planning your trip based on the weather forecast. Including watching for potential hazards on the way.

You are responsible for checking the condition of the yacht and making sure no one damages the vessel and will need to ensure that the anchor is holding at all times and that the boat and everyone is safe.

Then who is the contact in case of emergency?

The mental space this takes up can consume your ability to truly relax and enjoy your holiday.

What about a few glasses of wine you want to enjoy after lunch? Not if it’s your turn to drive and anchor up for the evening.

Safety and navigation aside. You’ll want to relax before dinner right? But if it’s your turn to cook and clean there will be no relaxing.

Imagine enjoying the afternoon at Whitehaven Beach snorkelling and swimming. You are sunkissed, tired, and ready to wind down for the evening.

You arrive back on the boat to the stark reality that dinner isn’t cooked and you are on that night.

While bareboating might seem like a good idea. There are always one or two people who are not relaxing. Therefore missing out on those special moments with others.

If you decide to sail around the Whitsunday Islands yourself, you are still doing a lot of the work.

#2 You’ll Need To Do A Big Shop (And You Will Forget Something)

When sailing a bareboat it is your responsibility to take on board the provision for your entire holiday.

This requires extensive planning of every breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks with your friends. You’ll need to take the time to go shopping and think about other items you’ll need when out on the water.

With 20+ years of experience in the sailing industry, Owner of Explore Whitsundays Roy West says inevitably bare boaters forget things.

This can be inconvenient and takes up valuable time to return to the islands to collect the missing items.

#3 Local Knowledge Is Invaluable

The Whitsunday’s has 72 islands with many of the most pristine places off the beaten track.

Prior research will provide you with a great itinerary. But what happens when the weather turns?

Which beach is the calmest for snorkelling? Where is the best place to anchor for the evening that is out of the wind? It’s local knowledge like this that becomes invaluable in unforeseen circumstances.

When bare boating you must be moored up at 4:30 pm. While a crew charter can sail in the evening – this offers you more flexibility and no wasted time. You get to sit back and enjoy a wine as the sun sets while your crew sails you to the next location ready for when you wake up.

Insider knowledge can be the difference between a great holiday, and an unforgettable one.

#4 It Could Get Very Expensive For You

Everything is planned and booked for your Whitsunday getaway with friends. But then someone cancels at last minute. As the organiser of your bare boating holiday you are liable for any cancellation fees. Or you are lumped with the cost of a vessel but now with less people on board.

Not an ideal situation.

With a private charter, there is a minimum person requirement. As long as this is met then the costs do not differ if some of your friends can not make it.

#5 It’s Not Necessarily The Cheapest Option

Are you choosing bareboat because you feel it is the most cost-effective way to sail the Whitsunday Islands?

After the boat hire and shopping is done you’ll find that it is comparable to having a full inclusive boat with crew and meals provided.

Let’s consider this; a 3 night crewed boat holiday would be the same experience as 5-night sailing holiday on a bareboat.

Your skipper knows the most stunning locations, the best snorkelling, and secluded bays. They can take you to unforgettable places and help you make the most of every minute of your holiday.

You’ll have a far better experience with this local knowledge.

Lastly, the extra charge of the bond for insurance can set you back. This impacts the amount of cash you have on hand for your actual holiday.

On a private charter, your meals are prepared, your safety is your crews highest priority and you benefit from their local knowledge navigating the islands and mooring each evening.

In the below article you’ll discover the immense difference between your holiday experience on a private crewed charter vs bareboating the whitsundays:

Read This: Why Sailing The Whitsundays With Friends On A Private Charter Will Be A Holiday You’ll Always Remember

Are you ready to sail the Whitsunday Islands on a private charter with family or friends?

Ask one of our reservations team and they can tailor a charter just for you.

Choose Your Charter Boat

We have six private charter vessels purpose-built for small-group overnight sailing in the Whitsunday Islands.

Your preferences are paramount on a private charter. We can tailor itineraries, duration and meal options to ensure you leave your holiday completely satisfied. Don’t just set your watch to island time, set your watch to you-time as you relax and enjoy quality time with your nearest and dearest.  With meals, cleaning and sailing looked after, you won’t have to lift a finger!

View our selection of Private Charter boats here.


How to get to Airlie Beach For Your Whitsundays Holiday

Arrive at Airlie Beach by bus, train, or air.

Fly into Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport with any of the Australian domestic airlines – Virgin, Qantas, and Jetstar. Each has daily flights as well as connecting flights from other destinations.

Our private bus transfer will collect you from the airport and take you to Coral Sea Marina Resort ready for departure.

You can get started by considering the below:

  1. Who are you going to travel with this time?
  2. What time of the year to go?
  3. What kind of travel experience do you want?
  4. How long have you got for the time?
  5. What is your travel budget?

Who are you inviting along? Is it family or friends (0r both)?

Is it a getaway with a few friends or a romantic break with your loved one? Are you going to show the kids something special in their own backyard?

The time of the year matters quite a lot.

Winter (June and July) in the Whitsundays is wonderful. Spring (August through to November) is divine. Summer (December to March) is warm but sometimes wet. Autumn (April and May) offers cooler sunny days.

A Whitsunday sailing holiday is something out of the box.

It combines the best of a range of activities and a choice of accommodation. Sailing yachts vary from the highest quality catamarans to more budget bunk style accommodation. Ex-racing yachts offer a unique experience. Appreciate what it’s like on the start line of the America’s Cup or Sydney to Hobart classic.

You can choose from a day trip to a week long live-aboard charter. Two and three night charters are very popular with options running every day of the week.

A Whitsundays sailing holiday can be far more affordable than you think.

Especially when you factor in that all your expenses are paid upfront. There are no shops to buy anything from out amongst the 74 Whitsunday Islands. Overnight sailing cruises range in price from $150 per night to $350 per night and everything in between.

Take some time out for yourself and truly experience one of the best holiday experienced Australia has to offer.

Ready To Book Your Private Charter Sailing The Whitsunday Islands?

Our Private Charter Team can also help to organise all details of your charter. We can arrange airport transfers to/from your accommodation or the marina, taking the pressure off your shoulders.

We will go through every detail to make sure everything works. This means you can relax, show up and enjoy your holiday!

Find out when you will experience the best weather in the Whitsundays here.

Enquire about available dates on (07) 4967 7555 or email

Download The Explore Whitsundays private yacht charter brochure