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I want to rent a boat (not a pontoon, but one with a sleeping area, bathroom etc.) which I can use for an overnight stay in open ocean. I am an absolute beginner about boats and don't know anything besides that boats run on water.

The questions I have are:

  • What is that kind of boat called?
    Should I search for yachts, power boats, resident boats?
  • What are some places I can rent it from?
    I'm based in Delaware, so DE beaches and the coastal areas of NJ, MD are easily accessible.
  • What sort of training would I require?
    Driving the boat is for sure a required skill, but the rental place will certainly provide that training. In addition, do I require any based medical training like CPR etc.? I know how to respond to simple issues like taking care of small wounds, burns, insect bites etc.
  • How far in open waters can I go before I'll get into international waters?
    I don't want to leave the US territory. Will there be some indication or coastal guards to help or assist if I get too close to leave US waters?
  • Is it safe?
    Pirates are still there, aren't they? I mean spending a night outside away from everything seems a bit ... frightening.
  • How will I keep the boat from drifting when it is not moving?
    Are anchors still in use?
  • What else should I be prepared for?
    For example: navigation equipment, another rescue boat?
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    Hi and welcome to TGO. Those are quite a lot of different questions for one topic. Although they are related to the type of boat, it would be nicer to split them. E.g. the parts about proper training from the question about searching the proper boat. Besides that, pirates in US territory? I can hardly believe that :D – Wills Jul 7 '15 at 15:41
  • I agree the question should probably be edited to be more focused. Personally, I would just keep the 2nd & 3rd questions and ask the other ones separately, if you want more information. Also I will say that it is not necessarily the case that the rental place will provide any training. More likely they will require you to show that yo0u have had the training. – nivag Jul 8 '15 at 8:59
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    Just to add if you pass international or another country's waters or charge anyone to join you, you may require a Skippers License - this is usually isn't the case if you stay within your country's waters. – Aravona Jul 8 '15 at 10:34
  • I am not sure if this question is too broad. I think that it could be interpreted as how to how to start overnighting on a boat? – sixtyfootersdude Jul 9 '15 at 13:52
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    I don't think this question should have been closed. I think that my answer (currently with 11 votes) is proof that it can be answered. The person asking this question is a self proclaimed beginner and I personally found the question to be interesting and novel. Questions in the form of How can I get started should be tolerated on this stackexhange if we want the community to grow. – sixtyfootersdude Jun 9 '16 at 22:04
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I want to rent a boat (not a pontoon, but one with a sleeping area, bathroom etc.) which I can use for an overnight stay in open ocean. I am an absolute beginner about boats and don't know anything besides that boats run on water.

For virtually all skill levels this is a very poor idea. You should not under (almost) any circumstances spend the night in the open ocean without someone handling/driving the boat. You need to sleep in shifts and make sure that:

  • The boat continues to go the direction and speed you want it to. Auto-pilot can steer the boat, but doesn't know how to adapt to changing conditions
  • The wind hasn't changed. When it does you will need to adjust your heading or sails
  • You don't collide with anything. Land is the most likely thing, but other boats or ships could be problematic in some shipping lanes or close to shore.

For a beginner, I would try to find a well protected harbour (like No Name Harbour, outside of Miami). Ideally as a beginner, you should find something that has mooring buoys but when you get a bit more experience, it is definatly possible to anchor as well.

Overall, I would advise you to proceed very cautiously. Boating is largely unregulated but the complexity/risk is greater than driving a car. Everyone learns to drive by either taking a class or being taught by someone who knows. I would strongly advise you to take some sailing or boating lessons before proceeding with your project.

How will I keep the boat from drifting when it is not moving? Are anchors still in use?

Yes!

I wrote up a anchoring summary for another question. The question is asking specifically about rivers, but I think that the answer applies more generally.

I don't want to leave the US territory. Will there be some indication or coastal guards to help or assist if I get too close to leave US waters?

Probably not. There are some services that you can use that may be able to help if you have engine problems or run aground. Seatow is one such service.

I would strongly advise you to only use these for convenience only. These services are to help you do something more efficiently (in terms of time/cost/etc). They are not there to help you remain safe. At all times you are responsible for your own safety.

What else should I be prepared for? For example: navigation equipment, another rescue boat?

This is probably not answerable without more specifics. Just to layout some of the things you may/may not need:

A lot of this depends on what boat you will be using and where/when you will be using it.

  • Taking a Kayak out along the shore - No maps or compass needed. Just a kayak, paddle, life jacket, and a bail bucket.
  • Crossing the Atlantic requires many orders of magnitude more equipment and experience.

Other thoughts:

  • Will you be traveling at night? You need lights and maybe additional navigational equipment
  • Will you be traveling somewhere with cell reception? Do people in your area us VHF radios? Will you be traveling somewhere where authorities or commercial vessels will try to communicate with you?
  • You may need paper charts for many or most areas
  • You may want a GPS to help with navigation
  • You probably have required safety equipment depending on your jurisdiction.

What sort of training would I require? Driving the boat is for sure a required skill, but the rental place will certainly provide that training. In addition, do I require any based medical training like CPR etc.? I know how to respond to simple issues like taking care of small wounds, burns, insect bites etc.

In your mind think about learning how to fly and maintain a plane. This is of a similar complexity.

Renting a canoe is certainly a good place to start and will familiarize you with the basics, however you should still be careful. Remember that of 1035 deaths in American National Parts from 2007-2013, 365 of them (35%) of them were due to drowning (source).


Be safe and see you on the water.

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You've got quite a bit of study before you are ready for this kind of voyage. I am not how far off shore "open ocean" means to you, but if it's anything beyond swimming distance to shore, you're going to need more training.

What is the kind of boat called? Generally it is called a bareboat charter. To my knowledge, most bareboat charters are for sailboats. I haven't seen powerboat bareboats, but I'm sure they exist somewhere. However, being an absolute beginner, no one is going to rent you a boat in the first place.

Driving the boat is the easiest element, and the rental place won't even train you on that, they'll expect you to know how to do that already. The only thing they'll train you on are the novelties and specifics to a particular boat. The main sheet on a rental might be at a different spot than on another boat, so they'll show where that is, but when they point it out to you, they expect you know exactly what that is supposed to do.

Training? The training you require for being on the ocean is extensive. Not only do you have to know the basics of sailing, but you also have to know basic engine repairs, navigation, usage of the radios, man overboard procedures, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Territorial waters extend out 12 nautical miles from shore. "International waters" extends beyond that, however partial jurisdiction extends out 200 nautical miles from shore.

There will be the coast guard patrolling around out there, but if you run into one of them, they're going to see what you're doing, they're going to board and inspect your vessel for seaworthiness, and they're going to talk to you and quickly recognize you have no business being out there. I don't know what they'll do at that point, but it won't be fun, likely ordering you to shore immediately.

Is it safe? There is no risk from pirates in US coastal waters whatsoever. However, the water itself is very dangerous. There have been a lot of people lost at sea throughout history, and even very large and professionally operated ships go down from time to time. The sea is unforgiving.

Lastly, on the upside, with many bareboat charter operations, you can hire someone to skipper the boat for you. If being alone on the boat isn't important to you, then you can do that, the hired skipper takes care of all the responsibilities, and all you have to think about is having a good time.

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