What To Know When Booking the Best Sailboat Tour in Charleston

Section 1: Pricing & Meeting Point Details

Our sailboat charters suit various budgets, depending on your schedule and party size. Therefor private sailing tours start from $499 to $535, depending on whether it’s a daytime or sunset sail. We also offer customizable sails to cater to your preferences. Please refer to our pricing page for more details.

You will meet the captain at the Harbourage Ashley Marina in downtown Charleston, SC (33 Lockwood Dr). Please refer to our contact page for easy directions. Upon booking, you will receive an email confirmation with all the necessary details. Another email will be sent one day before your charter with important information. It is mandatory to arrive 10-15 minutes earlier for a boat safety briefing, which will not cut into your charter time if you arrive early. The captain will meet you at the dock entrance to guide you to the boat.

Section 2: Parking Information

You can take Uber/Lyft/Taxi directly to The Harborage at Ashley River Marina (33 Lockwood Drive, Charleston, SC 29401). Kindly inform your driver to drop you off at The Harborage at Ashley River Marina and not Safe Harbor Charleston City Marina. The captain will meet you in-front of the building in the parking lot 15 minutes before your experience starts.

OPTION 2: Drive Yourself in Your Car or Rental Car
If you drive, the nearest parking option is the hotel next to us, the Courtyard Marriott (35 Lockwood Dr, Charleston, SC 29401). They sell $10 day passes inside the hotel at the Concierge desk. Please make sure to pay for a pass or you run the risk of being booted.

After parking, follow the sidewalk along Lockwood Drive and continue for a 1-2 minute walk until you reach the Harborage at Ashley River Marina (33 Lockwood Drive). The captain will meet you in front of the marina building in the parking lot 10-15 minutes before your charter start time.

Section 3: Tipping Information

A gratuity (or tip) for excellent service is common in the tourism industry and greatly appreciated by our hard-working crew. We want you to believe we are the best sailboat tour in Charleston. Therefore, if your Captain and crew have provided you with an exceptional experience, they will be grateful and thank you for recognizing it with a tip/gratuity. We accept tips in any form that is easiest for you, including cash, credit card, Venmo, or PayPal.

Section 4: What to Expect on the Sailboat Tour

We ask our guests to arrive 10 minutes before the charter time for a mandatory safety and boat briefing. After the briefing, the adventure begins! We leave the docks of Ashley Marina and sail into the Charleston Harbor, passing by landmarks such as the Charleston Battery, Waterfront Park, and the historical Castle Pinckney. We’ll turn around near the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge or Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.
To learn more about what to expect or how to prepare feel free to read our blog post on preparing for your sail.

We are happy to teach some of the basics of sailing during your tour – and of course, give you a turn at the wheel! Upon request (certainly never an obligation!), you can also participate in operating the sails, adjusting lines (ropes), or helping with fenders/dock lines upon departure and arrival. All of our USCG Captains are also happy to teach you a little about sailing if you want, so feel free to use the experience to learn some new skills. We welcome you to be involved as much or as little as you wish!

Section 5: Additional Time & Preparation

All boats are priced the same because all boats are extremely similar. There are a few minor differences that may help you make your decision though. Xocolata (our 32-foot vessel) sits slightly lower in the water. Therefore, some of our guests who have knee issues or trouble going up stairs find that it is much easier to embark and disembark from Xocolata. All boats offer bean bags at the bow of the boat and a large cockpit seating arrangement for our guests.

If you wish to have more than 2.5 hours on the our boats, please call (843) 743-4915 instead of booking online. We may be able to accommodate a longer tour based on availability.

Yes, there is a full bathroom (“head”) available on the boat, and you are welcome to use it. We ensure that it is well-maintained and regularly cleaned between charters.

No special clothes are required for sailing – though for shoes we ask that they are white soled or rubber-soled. If not, we will ask you to remove your shoes upon boarding and wear just socks or go barefoot (boats are always more fun barefoot anyways)! High heels or other types of shoes can cause damage to the boat. Also, depending on the weather, we, of course, encourage appropriate jackets or sweaters/sweatshirts. We provide cozy blankets for use onboard, should it be chilly.

It is rare for guests to feel seasick during a short charter around Charleston Harbor. However, there may be some movement due to other boats in the active harbor. If you are prone to motion sickness, we recommend taking preventive measures such as Dramamine or other over-the-counter medication. Or you may wish to purchase the “Sea Band” online. These medications are most effective when taken in advance of the charter, so please plan accordingly.

Section 6: Cancellation Policy, Rescheduling Fees, & Weather Concerns

In the event of cancellation by the charter guest once paid in full, there will be a 100% refund if cancelled more than 7 days prior to sail date, 50% refund given if within 7 days of sail date. There is no refund for cancellations within 48 hours of the scheduled charter. We are charged for each credit charge and refund, cancellations mean we lose out on other charter guests that we turned down because of your booking. However, you may reschedule your charter if you wish with applicable fees.

Operator cancellation, due to severe inclement weather or mechanical issues, will be rebooked/rescheduled at no additional charge. If unable to reschedule, a full refund will be offered. Please refer to our terms & conditions for our detailed cancellation policy as the Operator will make any judgments on inclement weather cancellations.

Assuming your charter will continue as scheduled unless you hear directly from us. However, if there is a chance of thunderstorms, lightning, or excessive wind, the captain will proactively reach out to you as far in advance as possible to discuss options. Please refer tou our detailed weather cancellation policy on our Terms and Conditions page.

Charter fees are deemed earned upon placing a hold for desired date and time. Charterer’s requests for rescheduling will be considered on a case by case basis and are subject to a rescheduling fee and availability. The rescheduling fee is determined by the amount of notice given prior to the charter date and time and are as follows:

  • 14 days or more prior to sail: free
  • 13 days-8 days prior to sail: $25
  • Within 7 days of sailing: $50
  • 24 -72 hours prior to sail: $150

Requests to reschedule within 24 hours or less from the start time of the sail are not accepted and Charterer is responsible for full payment, regardless of whether the scheduled sail occurs or not.

Section 7: Late Arrival & Safety Information

Guests are requested to arrive 15 minutes early for their tour to ensure an on-time departure. For private tours, the sailboat will not leave the docks unless the guests are onboard. Any late arrival will result in reduced booked time. For example, if you book a 2.5-hour sail and are 30 minutes late, the duration of the voyage will be reduced to 2 hours.

Leisure sailing is a very safe activity enjoyed by thousands of people worldwide. Our vessels are modern sailboats equipped with the latest technology and US Coast Guard safety equipment. Our captains and crew are highly experienced, with USCG Master licenses and extensive sailing experience. A safety review on basic precautions will be conducted at the beginning of the charter. While lifejackets are provided for all guests, they are REQUIRED by South Carolina state law for children age 12 and under.

Absolutely! We welcome all ages on board our sailboat charters. Children will have a great time experiencing the thrill of sailing. Parents and guardians should closely monitor small children, especially when moving around the boat. Lifejackets are required for children aged 12 and under, according to state law.

The US Coast Guard regulations restrict boats of our size from carrying more than six guest passengers, in addition to the crew. This applies to most private boat charters in Charleston Harbor. By keeping the group size small, we can provide a more intimate and exclusive experience for our guests, away from the crowds.

Section 8: BYOB Food & Beverages

You are welcome to bring your own snacks and beverages, including alcoholic or non-alcoholic options. We recommend choosing finger foods and snacks that are easy to eat on a moving boat. Simple foods work best, and we also offer catering options. We provide a refrigerator, drinkware, plateware, utensils, and wine/bottle openers for your convenience. Additionally, we offer a complimentary selection of bottled water and sodas on every charter. You also have the option to have catering provided for your time on the water which always helps to elevate the experience.

Yes, you can bring your own alcoholic beverages on board. However, please avoid glass beer bottles due to the risk of breakage on a moving vessel. We provide drinkware and wine/bottle openers for your use. The captain may request ID from guests and remind everyone that drinking is not permitted for anyone under the age of 21.

Section 9: Sailboat Charter Activities

Charleston Harbor has very strong tidal currents meaning if you’re not a strong swimmer, you can easily be swept away from the boat. This means that on most occasions, it is too risky to allow guests to jump in the water and swim. If you are very interested in swimming, we suggest booking a customizable (longer duration) charter. This will allow us optimal time to find a fun and safe place to anchor and spend time swimming with no risks for our guests. We can even bring out the water toys to play with!

Without a doubt, you will have an epic experience on the sailboat! We have had many guests with a sour tastes for boats come onboard and leave with nothing but smiles and wanting more at the end. Therefore, this is why we claim to be the best sailboat tour in Charleston. Sailing is an energizing yet serene activity, and we predict that once you try it for the first time, you will want to experience it again and again! So, YES, absolutely, you will have fun sailing – and generally, you will be thrilled to absorb the sights, sounds, and action around you in the Charleston Harbor. It will provide you with the memories of your trip to Charleston that will last a lifetime.

Yes, and as many as you want! What better way to experience your memories of the best sailboat tour in Charleston than snapping a few photos! Capture the epic and iconic sights of Charleston, including the Battery, Ravenel Bridge, downtown peninsula, and more in sailboat. We also have some of our crew members that are professional photographers that are always available if you’re interested in letting them capture the moment for you.

Section 10: Additional Information

Yes, you can easily sync your favorite tunes via Bluetooth to the great sound systems on both Llibertat and Xocolata.

Smoking of any kind is NOT permitted on sailboat. We also have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs. The sail will be immediately concluded, with no refund for time not used, if drugs are discovered aboard.

Guest pets of any kind are not permitted on board the sailboat. However, you may request that Popsicle (the boat owner’s dog) joins your charter, and if available, he will come aboard to say hello.
Still unsure about sailing? Feel free to take a look at our blog post on why a private charter is the best option in Charleston.

Yes, we truly do hope you also think we are the best sailboat tour in Charleston! We agree – a sailboat charter in Charleston is the perfect gift! Consider it for that newlywed couple, top performing team at work, or as a special surprise to help someone celebrate a milestone occasion, such as an anniversary or birthday. You can tailor the gift to any amount or purchase an experience from our menu of options. See our pricing page for selection and purchase.

Have More Questions? Just Reach Out!

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Sail around iconic sights on the best sailboat tours in Charleston. Relax, celebrate, and make magical memories!