Enjoying the seven seas is one of those things best done from a chartered yacht. You get to explore hidden coves and really enjoy getting away from it all. But how can you find the best price for a boat rental or yacht charter?
Making a splash isn’t just the reserve of the rich and famous. Enjoying a sailing trip, or a simple boat rental is an enjoyable activity all around the world. If you’re exploring countries like Greece, Croatia, Thailand, the USA or Australia, going sailing can be an experience that makes the whole trip.
Finding the best price for boat rental can be an arduous task. But… A whole new generation of boat hire sites is making it easier than ever to find and book your perfect yacht charter.
So, if you’re looking to go on a day trip with your crew, or you’re thinking of a longer sailing trip, how can you find the best deal on boat rental?
The test criteria
These boat charter website reviews will take a few things into consideration.
- Choice of boats
- Choice of locations
- Price range
- Ease of site use
We’ll award 5 points for a maximum score for each of the categories above, so in our test 20 is a perfect score.
We looked at 3 locations: The British Virgin Islands (BVIs), Mallorca and Phuket – a spread of yacht charters across three continents, and each of which are popular yacht charter locations.
Who will score the highest in the battle of the best boat rental websites?
First up is Spain based Nautal. Their site is sleek and modern, with a quick loading time and a easy to navigate interface. They also offer lots of opportunity to customise your search and add the bits that matter to you. So far, so good. They get a nice 4 for their site, so they’re off to a good start.
We ran our search on the three locations mentioned above, with a good selection of boat rentals in Phuket, Mallorca and the BVIs. A solid selection, so a solid 4 points.
Nautal tends to focus mainly on sail boats, with a few motorboats and party boats in there. Overall, a decent mix, so 4 for variety.
Price wise, we found the spread went from a very reasonable $250 ish per day, to the sky is the limit. We’re gonna go with a solid 5 for Nautal’s price offerings.
Score for Nautal? A salty 17/20
USA based Sailo are next to cast off, and we like their nice big splash page and highlighed destinations below the fold. A big no nonsense search bar asks you where you want to go, so it’s a very easy start. Customising your search is simple too, so Sailo also score a decent 4.5 for their website to start.
When it comes to searching, we find that Sailo have LOADS more boats in Phuket than Nautal, but about half the amount in Mallorca. The British Virgin Islands slightly lets Sailo down, with less than Nautal, but overall they’re pretty decent. Phuket keeps Sailo in the running, with 4.5 for locations.
Choice of boats is pretty much the same. A good mixture of motor and sail boats. A 4 for Sailo.
Prices? Across the board, Sailo are not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either, with a good spread. It’s a 4 to Sailo for price.
Sailo score a solid 17 (it’s a tie so far…!)
Is this site named after a Wes Anderson film? Because that might score it some extra points… Whatever, the site looks nice and clean and is easily browsable from the start. In fact, this might be the best front page of all the sites so far, so Zizoo get a solid 5 for their website. *Crowd gasps*
But what about the boats and the locations? Well…. Zizoo takes the wind out of the sails of both of the previous entries because they easily trump them for choice of boats in all three of the chosen markets. A peak of 5 points.
Both the prices and the choice of boats is on a par with the other two in the race so far, so a 4 for choice and another 4 for price.
A life aquatic? Zizoo score 18!
One thing that seperates Boat Around for me is that on the home page (scroll down a lot) and you can choose your boat by brand. This also seems to be more of an aggregate of other boat rental sites, but it’s nicely laid out and easy to navigate. Not as slick as Zizoo so it’s getting 4.5 for site.
Choice of locations? Boat Around shades all of the competition for the BVIs and Mallorca, but loses out in Phuket. Still a solid selection nets Boat Around 4.5 here. And they have a good spread of boats too, so another 4.5 there.
When it comes to price, Boat Around really do have the competition licked. Their lowest price in Mallorca is $107 for a day, which is easily the lowest of any of these sites so far. Phuket boat rental prices are also pretty tempting. 5 for price? Is that fair?
Boat Around scores 18.5 putting them in the lead.
There is kind of a Airbnb of boats vibe with this site. The logo for starters, an origami boat, conjures up images of that famous home rental site, as does the colour scheme. The front page is clean and easy to navigate and has lots of testimonials and stuff. A now uniform 4.5 for the front page (apart from Zizoo who sneaked that 5).
When it comes to choice of boats, I think Click and Boat just stole the show. Their Phuket and Mallorca selections seem to be never ending. BVI’s too is pretty respectable. They get a 5 for the choice of yacht charters.
Boat variety is also a very solid 4.5, with everything from ribs to luxury motorboats on show here. And prices? It’s a tie for first place with 5 for some of the lowest prices on display on this list.
Click and Boat sail into the sunset with 19.
The best boat rental website is….
In our test, we ranked Click and Boat as your best choice for choosing a yacht or boat charter website. However, all of these sites had their pluses and minuses. Some don’t cover certain areas, others might not quite have the boat you’re looking for.
So, as a guideline for anyone looking to charter a yacht or go on a sailing vacation with a boat rental, this is a good starting point.
Have you had any experience with renting a boat on holiday? Share your experiences below…