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How a week chartering in Croatia with SamBoat changed my life

5 December 2022• Written by Sarah Briquet for SamBoat

Last year I hit the road with seven of my best friends on a European summer adventure, and I felt like being more adventurous than usual. It was our first time away together post-pandemic and being together again on holiday felt really special. For me, there was only one thing that would make this time all the more perfect: a boat.

Spending a few days on a boat was the only thing I really wanted to do, and admittedly, some of my friends weren’t totally on my wavelength. But as soon as we landed on the Croatian coast and caught sight of the bright blue ocean… we all began dreaming of the boat life.

The only concern was the expenses. Even the one in the group who held her own captain’s licence thought it would be too expensive to rent a boat for a week in the Mediterranean (or anywhere for that matter). In a bid to prove them wrong, I took it upon myself to find a solution and naturally, started digging around on Google.

What I found was SamBoat, a boat rental platform that really reminded me of Airbnb. The search function felt familiar and easy to use, and what surprised me was there were so many different boats available. My search result brought up everything from Jet Skis, motor boats, pontoons and sailboats to catamarans and even luxury yachts. There were plenty of filters to help navigate the search results, but given the size of our group, knowledge of boats and sailing ability, I had no idea what type of boat would be the best option for us so I clicked on the ‘help’ section of the SamBoat website.

I decided to call the SamBoat team directly, and by the time it took me to drink a coffee, I’d already had Nicolas, a customer service rep, on the phone offering me some recommendations and advice. After telling my friends what Nicolas had told me, we settled on a sailing boat. We were imagining our captain friend at the helm, shouting out orders, and sailing up close to the small Croatian islands, where we could swim and spend plenty of time on deck. We found a Bavaria 42 cruiser that ticked all of the boxes and was big enough for all seven of us.

Prior to finding SamBoat, we had already decided on our budget and had predicted that it would afford us just a few days at sea. The search function gave me quotes for various time periods, and we couldn’t believe it… we could get a whole week on board a Bavaria 42 cruiser for €245 each! We had just paid the same for less time in a fancy hotel in town.

Even though the SamBoat team were super helpful and guided me through the whole process, I was scared it was all a scam. It was all too good to be true! So you can imagine my relief when we got to the marina and the boat was exactly where the booking said it would be, with the owner waiting for us with the keys and instructions. The owner was so friendly, and the boat looked so nice and comfortable – we were so keen to get out on the water.

A memory I will never forget is our excitement when we first departed from the port. It was the end of the day, the light was low and the sky was blue and pink. We were living the dream! The next morning was also something special: we woke up on board in the middle of the sea with the port far away in the distance – that sense of freedom was everything that we needed from the trip.

We spent the morning jumping into the water, making coffee in the galley while deciding which island to head to next. For lunch we would hop off at a small port and find a local restaurant, and a few times our dinners were just picnics of delicious local foods we had collected from a market, enjoyed on the deck while watching the sun go down. I remember one afternoon, a little dingy arrived alongside us selling food, and we found out about a music festival nearby, so we quickly bought what we needed and headed off towards the party.

Since that holiday and my charter experience, the way I travel has changed. Because SamBoat is so affordable, it has made boating a viable option for me – which I never thought would happen. Recently I went to Florida and found that SamBoat was also huge there, as it is one of the few boat rental platforms that has a presence in both Europe and the US. In a matter of minutes, I had booked my family on a boat for the day in Miami for an adventure for around $150 for 10 people – with a skipper, drinks and water toys included.

What I like most about SamBoat is that you can choose the exact time frame you would like the boat for, and if you don’t happen to have your captain’s license, there are so many boats that come with their own captains. In Miami this was perfect, as the captain knew the area, could give us tips, tell us the history of the area, and show us nice restaurants and spots for swimming.

When I said SamBoat changed my life, it really did! The service was flawless, and although it seems like a digital platform, there really are friendly humans behind it. I am now always looking forward to next opportunity to rent a boat, travel and explore the world in a different way. And next year, I am planning to rent a yacht for a day in Corsica to show the beautiful islands to my partner – hopefully with my own captain’s license!

To find out more about SamBoat and how the platform works for both renters and boat owners, click here.

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