Hiring a delivery captain to transport your sailboat is historically a logistical transaction. You need to get your boat safely from point A to point B within a specific timeframe.
But spend any time talking to boat owners, and you’ll find that there are many ways for expectations during delivery to fall flat.
Onyx has a more comprehensive mindset on sailboat delivery services—it’s based on providing superior service and skilled professionals so owners can feel confident through the whole delivery process. In addition, our processes reflect our respect that you are trusting us with not just your boat but also your time and resources.
So, what do our deliveries look like and how are they different?
First, Onyx provides sailboat delivery services to meet almost any boatowners needs.
- NEW BOAT RELOCATION- if you have finally found your dream boat, but it wasn’t in your homeport, Onyx captains can help you bring her home. They can handle the delivery on their own, or you can be part of the delivery and benefit from having experienced professionals on board to help you learn about your new boat along the way.
- SEASONAL DELIVERIES– every year there is a migration of vessels up and down the coasts. Our captains assist boat owners who don’t have the confidence or skill to make the trip independently or simply need highly qualified sailors onboard.
- NEW CRUISING GROUNDS-sometimes there just isn’t enough vacation time to sail to a new destination AND enjoy exploring the new cruising grounds. Onyx delivery captains can help boat owners transport their vessels ahead of time and have the boat clean, prepped, and ready to join.
Onyx’s Licensed Delivery Captains
All of Onyx’s delivery captains are USCG certified. Our captains typically have one of two types of licenses, either an OUPV or Master License. We find the best fitting captain for you and your vessel. To help understand what is required for those licenses and what that License allows them to operate, we’ve broken down the licenses and requirements:
OUPV License-You may also hear this type of License referred to as a “six-pack” license. This captain’s license allows delivery captains to handle recreational vessels up to 100 gross tons, roughly 100 feet. This License is strictly for uninspected boats—which excludes commercial vessels. (Almost all sailboat delivery boats fall into this category.) This License allows the captain to have up to six people on board.
25/50/100-ton Master License– This captain’s License allows captains to operate either recreational vessels (uninspected vessels) or some commercial vessels (inspected vessels). The captain may also operate vessels with seven or more people on board.
In addition, the US Coast Guard offers a sailing endorsement that may be added only to a Master License. It’s important to note that a sailing endorsement is not required for a captain to operate a sailboat. In fact, OUPV licensed captains cannot add a sailing endorsement to their licenses, yet many are superbly skilled and qualified at handling all types of sailboats.
Onyx hand-selects our experienced captains based on skill, experience, and reputation. All of Onyx’s captains have at least five years of on-the-water experience and uphold our level of service. We verify the sailing experience of all our captains and match you with the most experienced professional with boats most like yours.
Further, for the safety and protection of your boat, all of Onyx’s sailboat deliveries have a minimum of two crew members on board.
Onyx’s Process for Sailboat Deliveries
We have streamlined our processes to give you a stress-free experience. The process starts with our first discussion outlining where your boat is, where you need to get it, and when. Next, we’ll discuss other details such as the type and condition of the boat and whether you will be joining the delivery.
As we move forward together in the process, we will agree on things like travel arrangements, provisions, and trip expenses so everyone can feel fully comfortable with how the delivery will work.
Once arrangements are finalized, your delivery captain and crew will arrive at your boat and conduct a thorough pre-departure inspection. The checklist may include a review of:
- ENGINE & FUEL SYSTEMS
- DECK, HULL & HARDWARE
- RIGGING & SAILS
- ELECTRONICS & CHARTS
- BATTERIES & CHARGING SYSTEMS
- SAFETY GEAR
Even on new boats, it is not uncommon to find minor repairs or additions that need to be done before getting underway. In most cases, Onyx’s experienced captain and crew can handle these tasks on their own and keep the delivery schedule safely progressing on schedule. They will also take this pre-departure time to load provisions, fuel the boat, and securely stow items. Weather will be checked and rechecked as the departure time arrives.
Sailboat deliveries require more routing considerations than powerboats. In addition, the slower speed means longer timeframes between opportunities to find safe shelter, especially if navigating offshore down the coast.
The draft of some sailboats may also have to be taken into consideration. For example, with a deeper draft and navigating in shoaled-in channels, the captain may consider only transiting on a rising tide.
Similarly, bridge clearances may also affect the route. For example, either making some routes impossible or requiring adjustments to timeframes to allow for scheduled openings.
Weather, particularly seasonal weather patterns, will also play a factor in choosing the best route. While perhaps able to handle the most challenging sea conditions themselves, our captains understand that you don’t want to put unnecessary stress or risk on your vessel and will make the wisest choices with you in mind.
Onyx’s experienced captains will lay out the best route considering all these factors and plan a backup route before departure. This will help you feel more comfortable if plans change during delivery, that they are well thought out and deliberate.
Tracking Your Boat’s Location
All Onyx’s sailboat deliveries include GPS tracking. We monitor the progress of the delivery from the shoreside and can assist quickly in case of an emergency. You can also track the location and progress of your vessel. Or, if you are aboard, friends and family can see your track as you head to your destination.
Minimizing Weather & Mechanical Delays
Sometimes it happens. Either the weather conditions become so severe that it’s not worth the extra stress to your vessel or the crew or something that needs repairing to travel on. Our experienced crew is excellent at minimizing these delays by knowing how to adjust routes to safely make progress in poor weather still or capable of fixing a wide range of problems on board without the need for additional hired help. If delays are unavoidable, we minimize them as much as possible and keep you up to date with your boat’s situation.
Onyx’s Service Continues After We Arrive
Once we have safely delivered your boat to its new homeport, we have more work to be done. First, we will wash your boat inside and out to leave you with a cleaner boat than when we arrived. Next, gear will be rinsed and properly stowed, and lines secured and tidied.
Further, we use this time to brief you on any final details about the tip or your vessel that you’d find helpful. For example, if it is a new boat delivery, our captains can go over fuel consumption, your cruise speed at certain RPMs, steering characteristics, and more. Likewise, if our captains or crew noted any maintenance or upgrades that may be helpful for you to know, they take the time to share.