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BYO or Catering for your Sydney Boat Hire? What to choose?

September 12, 2021

The best boating experience is a hassle-free one. From choosing the right boat for your group to the on-water experience, simplicity is key.

Fact is, with the NSW RSA rules, you’ll need to have a sufficient amount of food available on your boat charter. No matter what boat or yacht you will be going out with on the day, food is mandatory when alcohol is involved, even for a BYO hire.

Bringing your own food is a great low cost option, but there is definitely something to say about having your boat charter catered. With a catered option, you can skip the planning of the shopping list, the trip to the supermarket and the transport of the food to the boat.

If you have your food organised externally, all you have to do on the day of your cruise, is show up on time at the pick up wharf. Easy peasy. So, why not take out the hassle of organising food for your group and make life a little bit easier on yourself? 

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Catering or BYO for my Sydney boat hire, what do I need to know?

Let’s talk about BYO food and drinks or catering for your upcoming Sydney harbour boat hire. Our aim is to make your complete experience – from selecting a boat, organising the food/drinks, sharing the pre boat party checklist with your guests until cruising on the day – as easy and enjoyable as possible. Next we will lay out some of your BYO and catering options for you, so you can forget that chef’s hat and focus on the party one. 💃🏽️🎉

What are my catering options when hiring a boat or yacht on Sydney Harbour?

For bigger groups such as a wedding or corporate event, choosing professional catering for your boat cruise is a must. You definitely don’t want to be marching the isles of Woolies yourself trying to shop for a group event of 50+ guests. Also, on some of the bigger yacht hires, it’s compulsory to book catering in advance. But what happens on the smaller boats, up to 45 people? Let’s have a look now.

Boat catering for up to 45 people

Your catering options can vary depending on the boat you hire. Smaller sized vessels and catamaran day cruisers have an onboard BBQ. These boats offer a few different catered options which usually the skipper or an external party will organise for you. From a piping hot BBQ snag on a slice of bread to gourmet roast food platters, the world is your oyster (yes, you can order those too 🤤). You’ll be able to find a fully catered boat BBQ for around $20/per person or a more significant buffet-style spread of different varieties for about $50/per person. Get foodie inspiration in our Private Boat Hire Food, Drinks & Entertainment Add-Ons Blog. 

Sydney Boat Hire - Catering Options

Catering on yachts and boats of over 45 people 

For double decker catamarans, smaller yachts and luxury yachts that come with full galleys, you’ll typically also find wait staff on board. The staff is great for a big corporate boat hire to get the finger food appetisers flowing. You can go all out from buffet-style to a 5-star lobster menu for wedding boat hire catering. Let us know what you’re looking for, and we will make it happen. Depending on how fancy you want to go, your food costs can range from $40-$100+/per person. If you want to go all out, you can even get a chef to come with a yacht hire. Or get put together a special menu for you to take that Sydney Harbour boat experience to the next level. 

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Drink catering packages

If you’re looking to have drinks provided, you have a few options here too. Some boats are licenced, which means you can choose from a drinks package or pay on consumption. Drinks packages start at $15/ per person per hour and have everyone covered for your standard house beer and wine. Platinum drinks packages are available upon request, perfect for that big celebration, with top-notch wine and spirits. Dom Paragon on the high seas, anyone? 😉🍾

Pay on consumption is on a per drink basis. You’ll put a card behind the bar, and settle up when done. Drink prices are similar to what you’d pay at a bar. This option is helpful if you don’t have a lot of people drinking on the day. 

With drinks packages and pay on consumption, you’ll also need a waiter serving the drinks. We will organise this for you with the boat owner or catering company. It will cost roughly $250 for the charter depending on the vessel. No matter what package, we’ll get a quote over to you so you know what you’ll be paying way in advance. No surprises there!

What to expect from BYO when hiring a boat or yacht on Sydney Harbour?

As we mentioned before, you will need to have food with you if you will be consuming alcohol, even on your BYO boat hire. Aaaaand chips and nibbles are tasty, but not sufficient. You will need to bring something sustainable. We suggest bringing a few packs of burgers, snags, hearty potato salads, bread and dips to keep your guests well nourished. 

What happens if you don’t bring an adequate amount of food on your cruise? Well… just imagine 4 hours of sun, drinks, tunes and saltwater sailing = nighty nighty KO. Your guests definitely won’t make it to the after party. 😉

Believe us, your future self will thank you. Pretty much all smaller boats and catamarans that don’t have a galley will typically have a BBQ on board and the captains will help with the cooking.

Most boats charge a BYO fee of $100-$150 (or a $10-$15/pp amount), which includes the use of the BBQ, bins and esky. Normally they recommend bringing 1 bags of ice per 4-5 guests for a 4 hour cruise, to keep your drinks nice and chilled.

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BYO or Catered – what to choose for your boat hire on Sydney Harbour?

If cost is a concern, consider the cost you’ll spend on food and how much extra hassle it’ll be to take that food to your dock to load on the boat. Public transport is a pain with bags of food, drinks and ice. And don’t forget to add your Uber cost to the price. Catering can be a quick and easy solution. From as little as $20 extra per person, you can get your basic BBQ package sorted on most boats. 

Time is another factor to look into when choosing to cater your boat hire. If you have a big group to look after, how much time are you going to spend shopping and planning to cater for everyone? 

Catering to match preferences can be difficult. We work with our boat partners and boat hire caterers like Shared Affair who are experts at putting together food menu options. So no matter how diverse your group is, you’ll know everyone will be able to enjoy great food. 

A catered event makes sure food is on board before you arrive, and you can still bring a cake or something extra if it’s a special birthday boat party or other events.

Now that you’ve got a sense of what you can order, it’s time to make some decisions. When it comes down to it, it’s all about what works for you. We’ve booked all sorts of boat parties, from budget BYO boat hire to fully catered events. So if you have any questions, we’re here to help.

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