By Zuzana Prochazka for Yacht World Charters
Are you thinking about chartering a boat with people who may have sensitive systems? No problem, as long as you choose your charter destination carefully. Here are some locales where you’ll find calmer waters, but still have plenty to do and enjoy.
Protected Coastal Regions
Saltwater boating is not off-limits to those prone to seasickness, especially if you're able to charter in an area with calm seas. One good area to consider is the Pacific Northwest, or more specifically, the San Juan Islands. Choose a power or sailboat and enjoy hopping short distances between many interesting islands in clear waters that team with sea life. This archipelago is nestled on the Salish Sea north of Seattle, WA, and is protected from the open Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. While you may find some wind chop, long swells or high seas are rarely a problem.
Another option is the vast Chesapeake Bay, with its 11,684 miles of shoreline. Yes, the Chesapeake can get boisterous when nor’easters or stiff fall winds kick up, but if you choose your weather carefully and stick to exploring a specific area, such as St. Michaels, MD, Annapolis, MD, or Solomons, MD, you are less likely to encounter uncomfortable seas. With clear weather, you can usually see land on one side or the other, so for those who get nervous on open waters, this may be a calming influence.
Whether it’s the stark desert beauty of Lake Powell in Utah or fishing on Michigan’s Lake St. Claire, there are a number of ways to enjoy boating without ever having to visit the left or right coasts of the United States. Houseboats and pontoon boats are especially popular on lakes, and provide a stable boating platform that is appropriate for families with small children or more senior crewmembers. Many smaller independent charter companies also offer fast center-console boats for fishing or tow boats for waterskiing and wakeboarding.
For the very sensitive or ultra-nervous, opt for a powerboat on a canal or river. Very popular in Europe, river boating has grown significantly in recent years. Cruising rivers and canals is usually slow going—no more than five knots—so anyone who needs to get off the boat for a while can keep up with the charter by biking alongside on a footpath. The rivers experience some current, but just about no chop and certainly never a sea swell.
Cruising the River Shannon in Ireland or the Canal de Bourgogne in France combines history, amazing scenery, and a convenient moving hotel, not to mention access to wineries, restaurants, and quaint towns along the route. Very little experience is required to handle rental canal boats, and if you break down, you’re never far from help.
Don’t dismiss boating with family and friends because or potentially queasy stomachs. Broaden your definition of chartering and learn your location options, and you’ll soon be on a boating vacation that is bound to make everyone feel good.