BOOKING A CHARTER
Short Term Charters
In the interest of our charter fleet owners to best utilize the charter time on their boats.
Charters of 5 days or more can book and confirm anytime. We are currently booking 3-day and 4-day charters for early & late season, and will accept 3-day and 4-day charters during peak season if booked less than 30 days before your sail date.
Confirmation Policy for short-duration charters:
4 Days – Reserve any time. Charter is confirmed 30 days prior to charter.
3 Days – Reserve any time. Charter is confirmed 3 weeks prior to the charter.
2 Days – Reserve anytime. Charter is confirmed 2 weeks prior to the charter.
Balance payment is due upon confirmation if the confirmation date is less than 60 days prior to charter date. If a long term charter books over your charter we will give you the option to change dates, change boats or get a full refund of your deposit.
We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover and personal checks. Checks are preferred. We can hold your deposit or balance payment on your credit card for up to 7 days to allow you to mail a check.
A confirmation deposit is required to confirm your reservation. The deposit amount is applied as a credit towards your charter balance. Confirmation deposits can be paid with a credit card or if you pay by check, we can place a hold on the yacht allowing up to 7 days for the check to arrive. For charters over 10 days in duration, a 30% confirmation deposit is required.
$2000 or 50% of Charter Fee (the lesser of)
Damage Deposit (refundable)
Upon arrival for charter, the charterer is required to pay a refundable Damage Deposit against any damages or loss that might occur during charter. A temporary hold can be placed on a credit card or we can accept cash, a money order or cashiers check (sorry, no personal checks for Damage Deposits). The Damage Deposit will be refunded to you within 14 days of the charter end pending any damages incurred, if any. An additional $1000 is required for boats that cruise the waters of the North Channel and Door County, Wisconsin.
Damage Deposit Amount
$2000 (refundable) for sailboats or $3000 (refundable) for power boats.
Damage Waiver Insurance (nonrefundable)
This is a non-refundable, $30/day insurance that protects the charterer against losses and/or damages that exceed the Damage Deposit amount held. The yacht’s hull insurance deductible is typically much more than the Damage Deposit held and the Damage Waiver Insurance protects the charterer against this gap in liability.
As a company we are doing our best to keep our staff employed and keep the business financially solid. In our short but very busy sailing season, charter days are in high demand and we highly recommend trip insurance. Trip insurance is fairly cheap and comes in very handy when “life happens”.
Deposits are non-refundable and can be applied to future charters in the same season if changes are requested prior to 60 days before your charter. Please note, there is a $250 change fee.
Not rescheduling this season will result in the forfeiture of the deposit and/or balance payment.
If you have to reschedule or cancel your charter a second time, your deposit and/or balance will be forfeited.
Charter Cancellations 60 DAYS OR MORE from your charter date:
Charter Cancellations 60 DAYS OR LESS from your charter date:
We do not consider inclement weather a reason for canceling or rescheduling a charter of more than one day. Weather conditions that some sailors consider inclement, other sailors may view as perfectly acceptable. With early or late season charters when there are more available yachts and dates, we can be somewhat flexible on this policy and will try to accommodate you as best we can.
We highly recommend that you get trip insurance. “Life happens” and we can’t make exceptions to our cancellation policy.
We recommend purchasing trip insurance through Travel Guard www.travelguard.com, Allianz www.Allianztravelinsurance.com or with any other reputable trip insurance company. Great Lakes Sailing Company will not make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason which is why we strongly suggest purchasing trip insurance.
Tipping the Captain / Instructor
If you’ve hired a Captain or Instructor for any amount of time, it’s customary, but not required, to tip your Captain/Instructor after if you feel he or she did a great job. Just like any service industry job, they make the extra effort to deliver a great service. And if you feel they did, a tip is always greatly appreciated!
The Care and Feeding of your Captain / Instructor during Charter
It’s important to factor in overnight accommodations for the Captain / Instructor. It is customary for the Captain to have his/her own stateroom during charterso that they can retreat at the end of the evening to allow your charter group time together. The Captain can sleep on the converting salon table/berth in the main salon only if the Captain agreed to this prior to.
If you’ve hired a Captain / Instructor for your charter, you are responsible for including the Captain / Instructor into the meal plans. When provisioning the boat with groceries, the Captains should be factored into meals. If your charter party decides to eat ashore, it is customary that the Captain’s meal is paid for by the charterer. It’s never a problem if you’d like to go ashore and have a meal on your own but just make sure the Captain has food aboard to prepare a meal for himself (and don’t forget to fill his water dish!)
Briefings (yacht familiarization)
Charters and briefings start at 9:00 am on the contract start date. The contract states that the charter will start at 9:00 am but you will not leave the dock at 9:00 am. Briefings can take anywhere from 45 minutes – 2.5 hrs. This directly depends how organized the captain and crew are and if the inventory sheet has been completed. We do not rush briefings and will take as much time as needed to completely familiarize you with your yacht.The amount of time involved in your pre-charter briefing directly depends on the charterer skill level, organization of crew and gear and completion of the inventory sheet. When we have several boats going out the same morning, the crews that are the most organized with their inventories finished will receive priority.
Debriefings (charter end)
Charters end at 4:00 pm on the contract end date. This means you should be off the boat by this time. We will conduct a post-charter debrief when you return to report any problems and count yacht inventory items. Allow 30-45 minutes for our staff to debrief the yacht and allow you and your crew time to unload luggage and to be off the yacht by 4:00 pm. We strongly encourage charterers to be back in the marina by 2:30 pm to allow ample time for lines at the fuel dock and an opportunity for a relaxed and unhurried departure.
The Island Clause
Boats, like everything else in this modern world, are more complicated and are equipped with more amenities and non-essential accoutrements than ever before (flat screen TV, bow thruster, auto pilot, electric winches, etc). It is often impossible for us to predict when these will fail. We do not consider the malfunction of a non-essential component reason for immediate service nor will it automatically constitute a refund or change of boats. Equipment failures happen beyond our control and an experienced boater will understand this and continue to enjoy the sailing experience.
In the event of a breakdown or equipment failure on Beaver Island, Mackinaw Island or any location not readily accessible by car, we do not offer expedited service for repair. It is very, very important that you thoroughly double check your vessels systems (battery charging, rigging, sails, heads, etc) before you leave for a remote location. If you get to an island and then call for service, you may end up waiting several days and compensation may not always be an option. In summary, before you head off to an island, double check your vessel systems. If you find or suspect there’s an issue with your vessel and you are still at a mainland port, we will do everything in our ability to be preventative and expedite the repair but we can’t expedite a repair when you are on an island. Worse case scenario you may have to settle in and stay on the island for a few days awaiting service. This is rare and unlikely but it has happened. So unless you’re ok with this, stay to the mainland.
Lost & Found
Ship Shape – At the end of your charter, check the boat carefully to ensure you have not left any personal belongings behind. It is your responsibility to keep track of your gear and make sure you leave with everything you brought with you. We cannot be responsible for locating or mailing items left behind.
If a yacht becomes unavailable due to events beyond our control, every effort will be made to move your charter to a similar size boat with similar appointments. Week long charters take precedence over shorter duration charters.
Sleep Aboards & Late Departure
Rates are subject to change without notice. Our general policy is to honor published prices for the calendar year.
We expect boats to be in a similar condition at the end of your charter as when you arrived. Please be respectful and clean up after yourselves. A dirty boat will result in additional cleaning fees assessed. Our standard cleaning fee is $250. Bugs smashed into the headliner, walls, blinds, upholstery, etc. may result in the loss of your entire deposit if fabric needs replacing.
Standard Yacht Inventory
Click for a complete list of yacht inventory.
Excessive Engine Hours
Sailing with the wind and weather often results in the most fun, and least amount of stress. We understand that sometimes the wind just doesn’t cooperate. And sometimes itineraries have been set in advance that your crew may insist on sticking with. On average sailors motor between 1-4 hours per day during a trip. We are allotting up to 5 engine hours per day for motoring. Additional hours will be charged $200/hour.
To clarify, a 5-day charter is allowed 25 engine hours. It is okay to use more hours some days and fewer hours other days. As long as the end result is less than 25 engine hours, there is no extra fee.
Fueling & Pump Out
Your final fueling and pump out at the end of charter are paid for by Great Lakes Sailing Co. You are still required to stop by the pump & fuel dock at the end of your charter and the marina staff will take care of this for you. If you prefer to not stop by the pump & fuel dock at the end of your charter and would rather come directly to your slip, we will take care of the pump and fuel after you depart for a fee of $150.