Sailboat and yacht charters: We’re on board again!
The start into the season has been difficult for marinas and charter companies at the Baltic Sea. In the meantime, operations have resumed. The weather is getting better and better – so business is picking up again.
After experiencing major losses during the first few months, base operators are thankful for the constant ringing of telephones and numerous booking enquiries. "We’re currently experiencing a high level of demand. Sailing holidays in the Baltic Sea are, like all domestic destinations, very popular in these times", says Rolf Brezinsky of Privat Charter Ostsee. Nevertheless, he says, "From March to the beginning of May the Baltic coast was completely shut down. The loss of sales has been brutal, two to three months out of our seven-month season are simply gone.” Anne Heinrich of Mediamare in Krösslin is seeing a similar situation. But, she says, "At the moment it looks like the next few months are going to be so full that we’ll easily recover most of our losses. But of course, we won’t settle up until the end of the season. After all, in April I was still thinking we might just pack up and quit."
The charter bases and marinas have also had to implement new hygiene concepts. And the frequent changes in these regulations don’t make their lives any easier. "The worst thing has been not having a timetable", says Anne Heinrich, speaking about the past few weeks. "The government of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had hotlines, but I could never get through. And the tourism association didn't know what was going on either, since every federal state had different rules. Our customers would call me up and ask for information I couldn’t give them. That led to cancellations that could have been avoided. For now, sailors will just have to expect that these things are handled differently in every marina and especially in every federal state."
Before planning a sailing trip, skippers should find out exactly which rules apply where. Something that’s allowed here in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern might be forbidden in the next Schleswig-Holstein marina.
Despite the regulations, it’s going to be full in the Baltic Sea this summer. The two charter companies are sure of that. "The weather is constantly getting better and the air is cleaner here than anywhere else", says Rolf Brezinsky. "There are some great destinations in the Baltic Sea, from Flensburg to Usedom. Sweden is within easy reach and there are hardly any restrictions there." And Denmark is also gradually opening up to tourism again.
Anyone who still wants to book, should do so quickly. There are still charter yachts available, even for spontaneous customers, over the coming weeks and months. "And a boat is the safest place to be", says Anne Heinrich. "So sailing is the best kind of holiday, especially for the anxious and higher-risk groups. Fully bunkered and anchored, you can enjoy your holiday without any contact to anyone."