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charter yacht

Boat rental with skipper is a service that is increasingly in demand with the rise of yachting and boat rental platforms. If the presence of a skipper on board is synonymous with safety and relaxation, we must not forget that the rental of a boat with skipper depends on several factors and is subject to strict regulations.

To avoid unpleasant surprises during your cruise, it is important to be aware of the regulations and to understand how boat rental with a skipper works.

Virtually Yacht deciphers for you the regulations of boat rental with skipper. Whether you are a boat rental agency or a boat renter, this article is for you.

 The registration of the boat, a determining factor in the rental with skipper
     1. Personal Use Vessels – PUV
         Tips for recruiting a crew on a PUV charter
             – Look for a solo skipper
             – Go through a crewing company
             – Post an ad on
     2. Commercial Purpose Vessels – CPV
         What regulations govern the rental of a boat with a skipper?
 Case studies
     1. Case of an owner renting his boat from a rental agency
     2. Case of an owner renting his boat with his services as skipper punctually
     3. Case of a pleasure boat owner with crew
 to summarize

The registration of the boat, a determining factor in the rental with skipper

The boat rental with skipper depends on the registration of the boat.

In the case of pleasure boat charters, there are 2 types of registration: Personal Use Vessel (PUV) and Commercial Use Vessel (CPV).

According to these 2 types of registration, boat rental with skipper will be done in different ways.

  1. Personal Use Vessels – PUV

The registration of pleasure craft for personal use (PUV) concerns vessels used on a private basis for leisure navigation.

The operation of a vessel for personal use can be done exclusively under a “bareboat” rental contract, that is to say that it is rented alone, without the services of a skipper. It is therefore the tenant who becomes the owner of the boat, has nautical and commercial control. The tenant assumes civil and financial liability in the event of damage.

However, the tenant (owner) can, if he wants, recruit a crew on his side. The renter will enter into a contract with the crew member(s) (skipper, hostess, chef…) independently of his boat rental contract.

Note 1: When a lessor invoices both the boat rental and the skipper, he is no longer just the lessor, but the shipowner. The boat must be CPV qualified.

Note 2: Remember that a boat registered PUV is dedicated to private use and therefore does not require the services of a skipper. An owner who rents his boat “bareboat” by almost systematically asking the tenants to hire a skipper on a separate contract, could be obliged to requalify his boat as a vessel for commercial use (CPV).
Tips for recruiting a crew on a PUV charter

If you rent a bareboat to go on a cruise and want to be accompanied, it is necessary to choose your skipper carefully.

To find a skipper, several options are available to you:
– Look for a solo skipper

Several private owners post occasional ads looking for a professional skipper in groups or crew forums. While this form of research can be very effective, it is nonetheless risky.
Indeed, many amateur tenants have no regulatory knowledge regarding the diplomas and qualifications required for this type of service. However, a skipper who does not have the right diplomas will not be covered in the event of damage and will not be in good standing during the inspection. This often leads to unpleasant surprises during the service.
– Go through a crewing company

You can go directly through an employment agency which will invoice you for the skipper service and will make sure to offer you a qualified and qualified skipper. The downside is that you will not be able to choose the skipper. It will be imposed on you.
– Post an ad on

You can post an ad for your cruising need on for free. Depending on the type of boat, the duration of the service, the flag and the distance from the coast, Virtually Yacht offers you several skipper profiles that perfectly meet your needs from a regulatory point of view (good diplomas , titles and qualifications, up-to-date medical visit).

You will be able to discuss with the different skippers and choose the one that best meets your criteria (teacher skipper,
local, flexible, who speaks several languages,…) and with whom you will have had the best contact.

Virtually Yacht will issue a service contract binding the 2 parties (the tenant / shipowner and the professional skipper). You will benefit from a multi-risk & damage insurance covering the loss of use and the loss of operation of the vessel coupled with Skipper Civil Liability.

Whichever option you choose, the skipper will be the skipper of the boat but the tenant will remain the shipowner.

The only compulsory navigation document on board for a bareboat boat rental is the circulation card. Indeed in this case the skipper is an option for the tenant and is therefore not a key element in the boat rental. If the tenant chooses to use a skipper it is for his own use, there is no marketing of the skipper service by the tenant. Therefore, the circulation card is sufficient and the armament permit is not necessary – Ordinance of March 11, 2020 on the armament permit.

  1. Commercial Purpose Vessels – CPV “Any pleasure craft that carries out a commercial activity of boarding passengers must be recognized as a pleasure craft for commercial use (CPV). »
    The regulation of professional pleasure craft at sea – Ministry for Ecological Transition

There are 2 categories of vessels for commercial use:

 Commercial vessels with hull length < 24 meters. Division 241 sets the framework for their regulations.
 Vessels whose length is > 24 meters, called large yachts or large yachts. Division 242 sets the framework for their regulations.

During a crewed boat rental, i.e. when the captain is billed with the boat rental; the vessel must be in CPV. In other words, when the responsibility for renting the boat is not separate from that of recruiting the crew, the vessel is considered “manned” and must be registered CPV.

All pleasure boats rented by the cabin with crew are required to have CPV status.

Similarly, any boat owner who wants to hire his services at the same time as his boat must be registered in CPV. He then practices a commercial passenger transport activity and must therefore hold the minimum required diplomas.
What regulations govern the rental of a boat with a skipper?

To be able to rent your boat with the services of a skipper / crew, the boat must be registered CPV. Crewed yacht charter must meet a number of regulatory crew qualification criteria:

 The crew on a boat rental (CPV) must be professional, that is to say, they must have the titles and diplomas necessary for the exercise of the profession. (In France the minimum will be Captain 200 for a skipper, excluding "small patents". The diplomas required vary according to the type of mission, the boat, the distance from the coast and the gauge of the boat.)
 The skipper must present an up-to-date medical examination justifying his good physical condition.
 The skipper must have the basic certificates: CFBS, CGO – CRO, EM
 (To be renewed every 5 years).

Boat rental with skipper – Cruise
Case studies

  1. Case of an owner renting his boat from a rental agency

In this case where an owner goes through a travel agency to rent his boat, it is the agency that becomes the owner of the boat and manages it. It must therefore comply with the regulations in force.

If the travel agency sells cabin services, it must take the steps to register the boat in CPV. The skipper becomes the captain of the boat, he must therefore have the necessary professional certificates. The rental agency then invoices both the rental of the boat and the services of the skipper

On boats registered PUV, the rental agency may indicate professional skippers to its customers / tenants, but in no case charge them or impose the services of a skipper.

  1. Case of an owner renting his boat with his services as skipper punctually

Many owners alternate between personal use of their boat and commercial use by offering from time to time to rent their boat with their skipper services (subject to having the necessary diplomas and meeting the equipment and safety requirements of a CPV boat). Personal use of the boat only requires a circulation card, while commercial use requires a trade license.

This mixed use of a ship is possible: On the one hand, a use of pure pleasure, personal leisure, or a PUV use (bareboat without professional sailor on board). And on the other, CPV use, for professional and commercial purposes.

In this case of mixed use, francization is maintained in yachting, and the vessel is subject to the annual francization and navigation fee. The amount of the annual fee will be determined pro rata to the mixed use.

The mixed-use vessel will therefore have two navigation titles:

 During professional navigation, CPV is the ship's security title (the navigation permit) which will allow the issuance of a navigation title for a professional ship: the armament permit.
 In pleasure use, PUV is the circulation card, part of the title deed of francization/navigation title of a pleasure boat, which takes the place of a navigation title.

Depending on the use of the boat, the owner must present the circulation card for outings for private use OR an armament permit associated with a minimum manpower sheet, which must be requested on the dedicated site ” Shipowners’ portal”; for outlets for commercial use.

  1. Case of a pleasure boat owner with crew

A crewed PUV boat owner does not need to have a crewing license. Indeed the ordinance of March 11, 2020 modifying article L 5232-1 of the Transport Code provides that the license to operate now only concerns vessels for professional use.
However, there is no passenger transport here, strictly speaking, and therefore no commercial activity. The boat owner hires a crew for his personal practice only.

The owner must however present all the documents required to obtain a shipowner’s number and enlist his sailors. Under no circumstances does he have the right to offer his boat for a commercial charter activity. (Otherwise he will have to requalify his boat in CPV).
to summarize

For bareboat rentals, registered PUV, the skipper cannot be provided by the rental company. The tenant acquires the role of owner and responsibility for the boat. The tenant must contract a skipper on his side to accompany him on the cruise if he wishes.

For boat rentals with crew, the boat must be CPV. The tenant rents both the boat and the crew that goes with it. He is not a shipowner and is not responsible for the ship.

Find the professional skipper to accompany you on a cruise by posting a free ad on Virtually Yacht!

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