You’ve seen dreamy images of friends sailing around Croatia and it is on your bucket list but you’re wondering – “Do I need sailing experience to go on a sailing holiday?”
The short answer is – no, you do not need sailing experience to go on a sailing holiday.
Bareboat charter in Croatia
Let’s start here with a disclaimer – no, you do not need sailing experience to go on a sailing holiday, UNLESS you want to bareboat (charter a yacht without crew). If you want to bareboat, then a valid skipper’s license and VHF license is required. A list of accepted licenses in Croatia can be found here. If you don’t possess the necessary licenses, you can obtain a skipper’s license in Croatia at any harbourmaster’s office. The exam takes one day (1 – 2 hours) and will be ready in 1 – 3 days after passing the exam (note: in peak season this could take longer). The Croatian skipper’s license is international and valid in other countries. You will need to check whether this exam covers VHF use, if not, you will need to apply and pay separately – be sure to ask. And while the license can be easy enough to obtain, we do not recommend chartering a yacht without sailing experience, if you plan to skipper yourself.
Chartering a yacht with a skipper
If you do not have the valid licenses (and sailing experience) required to bareboat charter, then your next and best option is to charter with a skipper. You can charter with a full crew or just hire a skipper, depending on what you want from your holiday. This way, no sailing experience is required by you or your guests.
There are many benefits to chartering a yacht with a skipper. The three main benefits of chartering with a skipper are peace of mind and safety, local knowledge, and the opportunity to learn about sailing from your experienced skipper.
Peace of mind and safety: even if you do have some sailing experience or a valid license, sailing with an experienced skipper offers peace of mind. The skipper will check the forecast and plan the route accordingly, take responsibility for the security of the boat and safety of all passengers. Sailing with a professional skipper lets you have a proper holiday and relax.
Local Knowledge: all of our skippers are local with years of experience. Our professional skippers will talk about the destinations, recommend activities, restaurants and bars, and they will take you to some of their favourite spots along the coast.
Learn to Sail: our skippers are all passionate about what they do, and will be happy to teach you more about sailing if you want.
Read more about chartering with a hostess or skipper here.
Won’t I need some sailing experience to help around the boat?
If you have a professional or experienced skipper aboard, you do not need sailing experience. If you charter with a skipper, from the moment you step aboard, they will explain where everything is and how everything works. If they need help, for example, when pulling into port – they will explain exactly what they need. And, if you are interested in learning more, they will be happy to teach you about sailing throughout your charter.
If you or a friend plan to skipper, then the responsibility lands on your shoulders. You will need to explain to your passengers everything about the boat and brief them on safety and certain protocols or procedures. Communication is essential at sea, orient your guests around the boat and throughout the week be sure to communicate when you need your guests to pay attention – i.e., when crossing a wake (especially if someone is in the galley), tacking, docking etc.
A sailing holiday is the best holiday, no experience required
In our (slightly biased) opinion, a sailing holiday in Croatia, is one of the best holidays. There is so much to enjoy – the sun and sea, being in nature, spending quality time with friends and family, exploring new destinations, avoiding crowds… we could go on and on. In short – do I need sailing experience to go on a sailing holiday? No. Just a desire to disconnect, relax and enjoy.