I mentioned in the last chapter about ensuring that you have the money to complete your journey.

This is exceptionally important because if you can’t prove it to the skipper, you may not get a place on a boat and if you can’t prove it to customs on the other side, you may find yourself in a serious situation. 

Customs are not above demanding bank statements.

Different skippers will want different financial things from you. It’s common for the skipper to handle all boat fees including maintenance costs, berthing and mooring fees and any taxes required while the crew may well pay for the food.

In reality, this won’t be vast quantities of money because after the initial provisioning, you’ll be at sea. But it’s worth bearing in mind. It’s referred to as ‘sharing costs’.

Other skippers may set a daily price – perhaps $25 per day that the crew must pay. This is obviously considerably more expensive as you’re looking at potentially 30 days of sailing alone, not to mention the week or more you’ll be on the boat before and after.

However the skipper decides to charge, you need to be prepared and agree whatever cost at the outset.

You do not want to get to the Caribbean and enter into some protracted argument over a financial misunderstanding.

It is sometimes possible to work a passage and not pay anything but on a pure crossing, this is rare. If you want to work your way around the world on boats, thumbing a ride on a small yacht across the Atlantic is probably not the way to do it.

Whatever happens, ensure you have easily enough money for a flight home from the destination. One way flights to Europe from the Caribbean aren’t that expensive but it’s crucial you can cover the cost for entry purposes. Even EU Caribbean islands will not welcome EU boat-hikers with an empty bank account.

Want to start at the beginning? Check out Part 1 in the boat hitchhiking series.