Good advice when Chartering a Motor Boat in the Solent

If you’re thinking of chartering a boat in the Solent it can be a bit of a minefield. For us it’s easy because we know what’s out there but to the uninitiated it can be confusing. If you’ve got 5 minutes we’ll try to give you some advice.

Make sure the boat you charter is coded for commercial use and that the skipper is commercially endorsed ideally to Yachtmaster standard. Boats will be coded for a number of guests and crew. Generally speaking the maximum number of guests will be up to 12 but some boats code for less. There will usually be 2 crew although we code our F55 flybridge for 12 guests and up to 3 crew for day charters.

Most of the boats offered for charter in the Solent are quite old, typically 10 years plus and in some cases 20 years plus. Our Princess F55 was supplied brand new in February 2023. This is significant, the marine environment is harsh and boats can age rapidly.

Size makes a big difference when it comes to boats. The larger the boat generally speaking the more stable it is and the more people it can comfortably accommodate. Newer boat designs are much larger for a given hull length both inside and out on deck. Our Princess F55 is huge. It’s modern design means that it provides accommodation typical of a larger 65 foot plus boat. Conversely some older designs out there provide accommodation below what might be expected for their overall length.

Our F55 flybridge is equipped with a Seakeeper 9 gyro stabiliser. This £100,000 option effectively removes the roll making guests feel much more comfortable. It even works when you are stationary at anchor. Very few other charter boats in the Solent have stabilisation. In addition to gyro stabilisation the Princess F55 features a modern, ultra stable hull design designed to reduce uncomfortable roll. The last thing you want is to have your day out spoiled by motion sickness.

There are 2 types of motorboat available for charter in the Solent. Sports boats and Flybridge boats. Sports boats have a single deck for guests and sometimes a lower accommodation deck. Whilst they can look attractive in poor weather they don’t offer much protection particularly for larger groups. Flybridge boats have an enclosed main deck, an upper flybridge deck and a lower accommodation deck allowing guests to remain comfortable in all weather. Our F55 flybridge can comfortably accommodate all 12 guests upstairs on the flybridge or under cover on the main deck.

When looking at photos of boats online it can be difficult to gauge a sense of scale. Often a group of 5 or 6 people take up an entire space but you can’t tell that until you step aboard. Try to look for clues in any photos.

Marine toilets can be a bit grim, particularly on older boats. Our F55 flybridge has ultra modern fresh water electric toilets equal in luxury to high end land based bathrooms.  The bathrooms feature contemporary Perrin & Rowe porcelain fittings.

If you’re planning a charter feel free to get in touch with us for advice. We know the charter market well and are happy to help you avoid common mistakes.