Florida FAQ

Choose a Category to Easily Find the Answers to Your Charter Questions:

Bareboat Versus Captained

Am I Qualified to Charter A Yacht With Waypoints?

A license or certification is not required to captain a boat; however, you need to have recent experience captaining a vessel of similar size and type to the one you want to charter. Depending on your experience, it may require you to take a Checkout Captain for one or more days or even through the entire charter.

Some essential elements that help determine your competency to handle the boat you would like to charter are:

  • Recent Boating Experience How frequently have you sailed in the last five years?
  • Boat Familiarity Are the sizes and types of boats you have sailed on in the past similar to the boat you wish to charter?
  • History of Boat Ownership Have you owned a boat? An understanding of the systems and the inner workings of a boat is essential to happy cruising.
  • Cruising Experience Have you planned a trip from point A to point B requiring navigation skills, decision-making, anchoring, mooring, or docking under sail and power?
  • Ocean Experience Have you sailed on the ocean or other large bodies of water such as the Long Island Sound, the Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, the Great Lakes, and so forth?
  • Twin Screw Vessels Are you experienced in the operation of twin screw vessels? It is a requirement to charter a powerboat and a relevant requirement for a sailing catamaran. A boat with stern drives (inboard outboards) is not considered a twin screw vessel. If you do not have any twin screw experience, plan on spending at least a half day getting up to speed in this area before we let you leave the harbor.
  • Crew Experience Will the crew that is with you actively participate in sailing the vessel? If you are on a large cat or a power yacht, you will need at least one to two good crew members to assist you.
  • Professional Training Have you had any professional or formal training? Have you cruised in the area before?
  • Bareboat Certification A Bareboat Certificate is not necessary to charter a bareboat. While a Bareboat Certification course is valuable training, this document alone may not qualify you to charter. Your overall practical experience is what counts.
  • Boating Safety Education Identification Card As of 1/1/2023, in order to operate a motorboat of 10 horsepower or greater, Florida law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC. Boat US offers a free online class. Florida does not have a “boating license.” The Boating Safety Education Identification Card is proof of successful completion of the educational requirements and is valid for life.
    • Who is Exempt (Clients)?
      • A person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel.
      • An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is at least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
      • An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is exempt from the educational requirements, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
      • A nonresident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalency examination from another state.
      • A person is operating a vessel within 90 days after the purchase of that vessel and has available for inspection aboard that vessel a bill of sale meeting all the requirements as established in Chapter 328.46(1), Florida Statutes.
      • A person operating a vessel within 90 days after completing an approved boating safety course, as required in Chapter 327.395(1), and has a photographic I.D. and a boater education course completion certificate showing proof of having completed the required boating safety education course. The course completion certificate must provide the student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the date the course was successfully completed.

What is the Cost to Hire a Captain in Florida? 

We can provide a complete list of licensed captains for you to hire. Captains are available for a day’s checkout sail or the entire charter. Their rates range from $200 to $300 per day. You should plan to include meals for your captain/instructor. Tipping is customary and greatly appreciated.

Tipping Guidelines  

  •   Full-time captain / Instructor:  $75 – $125 per day is encouraged 
  •  Check-out captain (8 hours):  $50 – $100 

Full-time captains/instructors will need their own cabin on the yacht, and they do not sleep in the bow cabins. Once you hire your captain, they will reach out to you directly to discuss plans for the charter. 

Booking a Charter  

When is Your Sailing Season?

We are open year-round!

Can We Start Any Day of the Week?

Absolutely! Our charters start at 9:00 am and if you opt to come the night prior to “sleep aboard”, you can board as early as 4:00 pm. 

Our base is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Therefore, you cannot start, finish, or sleep aboard on any of those days.

Can We Sleep Aboard the Night Before My Charter Begins?

We offer the convenience of sleeping aboard the night before your charter begins for a reduced fee.   This is far less expensive than spending your first night in a hotel and allows you to get your boat provisioned, last-minute shopping completed, and a good night’s sleep prior to your first day on the water.  Your sleep aboard will start at 4:00 pm.

Do We Need Passports?

No.  Passports will only be necessary if you are traveling from out of the country to Florida. Mexico, Bahamas, Cuba and are outside of the boundaries for charter.

This advice is tailored for Americans; if you are visiting from overseas, please check with the State Department for the most current information, including whether a VISA is required for the US.

What Currency is Used?

The U.S. dollar is the official currency of the U.S. Most restaurants will accept credit cards as well.

What is Included With the Yacht?

Your yacht will come with a fully equipped galley, all linens, and towels (bath, hand, face, and kitchen).  A propane BBQ, Bimini, VHF, charts, Cruising Guide, flashlight, safety gear, and stereo (most with Bluetooth).

What Do I Need to Bring With Me?

Even if you have been to Florida before it’s easy to forget something. Print out this handy checklist to make sure you have all the basics.

Plan on packing in a soft, mid-sized bag. This makes it easier to store your suitcase, as yachts typically have less drawer and closet space than you’re likely accustomed to.  

  • Charter paperwork 
  • Cash for incidentals
  • Sunglasses and Croakies so they don’t fall off
  • Reading glasses
  • Medication(s)
  • Sunscreen (multiple bottles)
  • Aloe Vera Gel (in case you get sunburned)
  • Mosquito/bug repellent (for no-see-ums on the beach)
  • Camera
  • Cell Phone
  • Cords for your electronic toys
  • Hat
  • Flip flops/sandals/boat shoes
  • Personal Snorkel Gear
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits
  • Life jackets for children

Note:  Most restaurants in Florida accept shorts and t-shirts.  If you are among the few that pre-plan an elegant dinner out at a high-end restaurant, men should wear long slacks and a collared shirt with boat shoes, and women should wear either a nice dress or an appropriate shirt with a skirt or long slacks and dress sandals.

Is WiFi Available Onboard the Yacht?

We offer Free Wi-Fi to our guests while on the docks.  No Wi-Fi routers are provided on the boats.  Since you are in the US waters, the internet is widely available, and most US carriers work just fine.

Can We Rent Water Toys?

We do have a limited number of SUPs for rent at this time.  Please inquire with your Charter Experience Specialist for more details. Floats and small water toys can be purchased at Target or Walmart locations close to the charter base.

Can We Fish From the Boat?

Yes. Florida residents and visitors are required to possess a freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license when engaged in fishing activities. A license is required to attempt to take fish. Licenses and permits are available online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, in person at a license agent or tax collector’s office, or by calling toll-free 888-FISH-FLORIDA (888-347-4356).

Can You Recommend An Itinerary for Me?

Absolutely! Please use the following link to view our Florida Sample Itinerary | Waypoints Yacht Charters for St Petersburg, FL. 

Stay flexible, as the weather can change your itinerary.  If you need suggestions or more details on the itinerary, give us a call and we would be happy to discuss the options with you.


Where Can I Provision?


The Vinoy Hotel across the street from the marina has three restaurants that can prepare a wide variety of meals and appetizers. A block away on Beach Dr. there are many choices in restaurants serving, seafood, steak, Italian, French, and tapas. 

Grocery Store 

  • Publix: 725 1st Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 3370; (727) 822-1053

You may want to Uber or Lyft back to the boat once you have your groceries. If you need a specific store or product, ask a team member for directions. 


What Will Be Included When We Board?

We provide the basics to get you started. 

In The Galley

  • One sponge
  • A small bottle of dish soap
  • One small roll of paper towels
  • Multiple dishtowels
  • One garbage bag

In Each Head

  • One roll of toilet paper
  • Two small bars of soap

Recommendations: Bring a few extra kitchen sponges, including one for each of the heads, a small microfiber towel for the galley, several boxes of different-sized resealable plastic bags, six to eight tall kitchen garbage bags, and aluminum foil. We also recommend a tiny bottle of air freshener for each head. If you have a few headlamps or small flashlights, they are a must-have for riding in the dinghy at night.

Sailing Area / Boundaries 

Where Can We Sail?

The sailing area shall be restricted to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the northern boundary of 28°N and southern boundary of 24°N between Anclote Key and Dry Tortugas.

Boat & Equipment

How Much Fuel Will I Use?

It is different for every charter, but here are some general guidelines:

Sailboats will burn about a half gallon of fuel per hour per engine; don’t forget the second engine if you are chartering a cat. For most sailboats, you will probably run the engines for about 6 hours per day (12 in total for a cat) for propulsion and battery charging.

If your boat has a generator, you will need to add about three-quarters of a gallon per generator per hour to your total. Most boats with generators return with about 60 hours on the generator – more if you run the generator all day and all night to enjoy the air conditioning.

Does the Boat Have a BBQ grill?

Please inquire with your Charter Experience Specialist to see if your chosen yacht has a BBQ grill.

Can We Upgrade to a Larger Dinghy?

Unfortunately not. Every Waypoints yacht is individually owned and comes with a 10′ – 12′ tender and small outboard.

Can I Use My Hair Dryer on the Boat?

Yes, all of Waypoint’s yachts are equipped to allow for the use of hair dryers, however, please ask during your chart briefing about the rules of power management.

Will My Computer/Phone Work on the Boat?

Yes, Waypoints yachts are equipped with inverters that will allow you to charge your cell phone and laptop but, HEY – you’re on vacation – leave the laptop at home! 

Do You Have Children’s Life Jackets and Netting?

No. It is best that you bring properly sized life jackets to fit any children in your crew, as well as netting that can be attached to lifelines. 

Upon Arrival / On Charter

How Far Away Are You From the Airport? Do You Have a Shuttle Service?

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is less than 25 minutes away and has plenty of ground transportation options. Your personal Charter Experience Specialist can help you make arrangements.

St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is 13 miles away from the marina and takes less than 20 minutes by taxi or rideshare.

What is your Physical Address?

If you have ordered rental equipment, or are coming by car yourselves, our marina address is:

Waypoints Yacht Charters at the Vinoy Marina 
501 5th Avenue NE 
St Petersburg, FL 33701 

What Facilities Do You Have at The Base?

Inside the marina, is a public bathroom for all guests. No shower or laundry facilities available.

What Happens When I Arrive at Waypoints?

  • When you arrive in St. Pete, please head directly to the Vinoy Marina which is located at St. Pete Base @Vinoy Marina  501 5th Avenue NE, St Petersburg, FL 33701. Parking is available at the Sundial Parking Garage (about 1/2 mile away) for $20 a night if there is availability. There is a loading zone in front of the marina and dock dollies to use while you are unloading.
  •  Walk directly through the marina gate and turn right. Our friendly team members will welcome you! You’ll receive pre-departure checkout forms on a black clipboard and be directed to your yacht.  For those arriving after 5:00 pm, an email with detailed instructions will be sent to you prior to arrival.
  • Before you unpack, you’ll want to go through the yacht to verify that the inventory items on the checklist are all aboard.
  • Select snorkel gear from our dock box and stow it on board.
  • If you ordered full provisioning, your food will be on board when you arrive – you’re ready to go.
  • If you plan to do some grocery shopping, now is the time to do it. Send crew members off while the Captain and First Mate get acquainted with your yacht.
  • A team member will go over the yacht’s systems and operation and go through a chart briefing with you. Both the captain and the first mate must attend the briefing! After the briefing, we’ll help you off the dock and give you a chance to briefly sail the yacht with one of our crew aboard so that you can be satisfied everything is in order before you leave the harbor.

What Time Can I Board the Yacht?

Officially, your charter starts at 9:00 am on the first day and finishes at 5:00 pm on the last day of your charter. If you booked a sleep aboard the night before, you can board the boat at 4:00 pm on that day and your briefing will be at 9:00 am the following day.  To request an earlier time, please speak with your Charter Experience Specialist and they can put the request in with the Base Manager.

Will Someone Be in the Office After 5:00 p.m?

No, we all head home at 5:00 p.m. About one week before you arrive, just give us a call and we’ll let you know the name and location of your yacht. Even though we’ll be gone, the yacht will be left open for you and it will be well-lit. Make yourself at home, Check in with one of our staff members in the navy Waypoints shirt the following morning at 9:00 am. Our contact details will be listed on the black clipboard on board should you need after-hours assistance.

What Time and How Long are Briefings?

We normally begin your briefing at 9:00 am, however, times may vary depending on many factors.   You will need to do a full briefing at the start of your charter which should take about 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on how many questions are asked. 

How Long Does it Take to Get Off the Dock?

For the majority of our charters, you should be able to complete the paperwork, pre-departure checklist, and chart briefing in about 60-90 minutes if you and your crew are organized. Please allow 2 hours for those who need a full briefing.   Allow extra time if you need to do some grocery shopping. 

Where Can I Expect to Get Off the Docks on the First Day?

On your first-day sail, you can anchor off Egmont Key or Passage Key and enjoy the islands. Sail into Gulfport for the evening, anchor and take the dingy and enjoy the quaint town with restaurants and bars

Can I Sail After Dark?

No. You should be securely anchored, or on a mooring buoy, or docked by 5:00 pm.  Our insurance will not allow our guests to cruise between sundown and sunrise. Get to your anchorage early so that you can enjoy the sunset with a beverage and have a refreshing swim before dinner. 

What Happens if the Boat Breaks Down?

It’s not likely that you’ll run into a problem, but boats are boats and anything can happen! If you have mechanical trouble, just call the service number that you were given during your briefing. If we can’t talk through a solution to the problem by phone, we’ll make arrangements for you to receive help at a nearby repair center, or for a reputable repair person to come to the boat.

What Do We Do if a Hurricane is Approaching?

All prudent mariners should listen to the marine weather on a daily basis. There is a page in the vessel operations or general info manual that lists numerous broadcast radio weather sources. In the unlikely event that a hurricane or tropical storm is in the forecast, please contact us for instructions. If it appears that Florida will experience a severe weather event, we will instruct you where to leave the boat and where to seek shelter.

What Happens at the End of My Charter?

  • Allow enough time to refuel the yacht as explained in your pre-departure briefing, and then call the base staff as you leave the fuel dock. A Waypoints team member will meet you on the T head to help bring the boat into the slip for you.
  • We will meet you at your boat with the post-charter paperwork to conduct a debriefing and a dive check. While the crew is packing, we go through the checklist to make sure the boat and all equipment are in order.

How Do I Get My Deposit Back?

At the end of your charter, a Waypoints representative will meet you at your boat to conduct a debriefing. If everything is in order and there is no damage to the boat or dinghy, your deposit will be refunded within 72 hours. If there are damages, a team member will be in touch with you on the cost estimate of any damages held from the security deposit.

Booking Process / Costs

When is the Best Time to Book My Charter?

We recommend booking as far in advance as possible.  That way you can choose the boat and the exact dates for your charter vacation especially if your dates aren’t flexible.   December through April book well in advance as they are our busiest time of the year.

What is a DRA or Damage Reduction Agreement?

This is a fee that Waypoints collects per day for your charter that will limit your exposure from possible damages or loss while on charter.   There is a deductible per incident dependent on the yacht charters. 

What is the Cancellation Policy & Cancellatioin Insurance Fee?

CANCELLATION POLICY – Payment for the charter is non-refundable once your boat is booked and the deposit has been received. In the case of unavoidable cancellation, any money received by Waypoints will be forfeited.

CANCELLATION INSURANCE FEE – The Cancellation Insurance Fee of $200 will be automatically added to your booking. You have the option to decline this fee prior to making the initial deposit. Once the deposit has been made, this becomes non-refundable. Please read our Cancellation Policy below.

• If a charter is canceled wi t h i n 91 or more days of embarkation, a $300.00 administration fee will be deducted from the deposit monies. Alternatively, all funds paid can be held on account and applied to a new charter within 24 months.
• If the charter is canceled within 90 and prior to 61 days of embarkation, the penalty is 50% of the total charter fee, including the sleep aboard fee. Alternatively, all funds paid can be held on account and applied to a new charter within 24 months.
• If the charter is canceled within 60 days to 31 days of embarkation, the full charter fee, including the sleep aboard fee, is forfeited less the cost of additional extras. Alternatively, 50% of the total charter fee can be held on account and applied to a new charter within 24 months.
• If the charter is canceled within 30 days of embarkation, the full charter fee, including the sleep aboard fee, is forfeited less the cost of additional extras, except for pre-paid Skipper fees.

Cancellation insurance can only be used once. In the event of cancellation, where Cancellation insurance is used and a charter is rebooked, the new dates are considered non-refundable. Cancellation insurance is not available to purchase for ‘rebooked’ charters. In the event of a refund, Credit card surcharges, wire transfer fees or any fees occurring through any other method of payment will not be refunded.

The charterer is also advised that Travel Insurance is highly recommended for all travelers to all destinations.

Where Can I Get Travel Insurance?

We advise and highly encourage all charterers to purchase Travel Insurance for all travelers to all destinations. We recommend Travel Guard as a good source for coverage. 

Will I Have to Re-Fuel the Tank Before Returning the Boat?

Your boat will be ready for you with a full tank. After your charter, we require that you refuel the tank completely before returning your vessel. Fuel prices vary depending on the market.

I’m Ready to Book a Boat. What’s Next?

Contact our Sales office at 443-225-4355 x1 and let us know what you want to book. A team member will send you a quote. If you like what you see, there is an option to book it right from the quote. 

What is the Payment Schedule?

Within 7 days of booking, a 50% deposit will be required to secure your charter. Your final payment is due within 60 days prior to the first day of your charter.

What Type of Payment Methods Do You Take?

We accept Credit Cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover), ACH, Wire Transfers, and Checks. Check and ACH payments do not include the fee.