Top Tips for a successful charter.


If you have already enjoyed a party on the water you may think you know how things work, but onboard XTsea we do things a little differently. Please read on to help make your party the best it can be. You might save yourself some hassle and possibly some money!


If you have a party at home often it’s not a real problem if someone arrives late. They might miss the first round of drinks or not get to try the appetizers, but it’s not a biggie. However when you charter a boat it’s a major problem.

The wharfs are used by many vessels, and there are rules about their use. Some wharfs require booking, and if guests are not on time, we will be unable to pick them up from that wharf and may have to wait in a queue at a public or ferry wharf.

Please ensure that ALL guests know precisely where the pickup is and organise for them to arrive at least 15 minutes before boarding.



If they are going to be a while, rather than delay everyone, your latecomers can catch a ferry and we can pick them up from a ferry wharf near where we are going.
If we are departing from a wharf that needs to be booked and they are only a few minutes late, we might be able to pick them up from a nearby ferry wharf, or use our tender to grab them.

Yes you can, however the clock starts at the first pickup and is turned off at the last dropoff. To make the most of your time to party you should plan accordingly.

What clothes should we wear?

Please check the weather forecast. Conditions on the harbour range from sweltering heat to driving rain. Weather on the water is different to weather on the land. If it’s raining, you WILL get wet so be prepared.

If it’s an evening charter, things will still get chilly even during the summer months. Dress accordingly.


All guests will be required to remove footwear before boarding. There will be a tub on the dock for you to drop your shoes in before you board.

If you have a medical condition that requires specialist footwear then you can wear it onboard. Be aware however that a boat is a slippery, hazardous place.


Most people can easily handle the worst Sydney Harbour can offer, but some people can get seasick looking at a glass of water. We do carry seasickness tablets but have found them basically ineffective unless taken well before we depart and instead will offer you a ginger ale and recommend you sit outside and keep an eye on the horizon.

If you know that you are prone to becoming seasick, consider speaking to your pharmacist to obtain medication that you take early in the day of your trip.

No. Unfortunately there is nowhere to go for a lie down. If you cannot put up with it any longer, we can take you ashore in the tender and retrieve you when you have recovered or as we depart for home.

Please vomit over the side of the boat. It may be unpleasant but if you make a mess inside it affects everyone else.

Pack Light! No eskies or prams or trolleys.

Please bring only the bare minimum on board as there is limited storage space and we can’t leave anything where guests can trip on them. If bringing very young children, leave the pram in the car and carry them aboard.


You would be better off finding another time and place to exchange gifts. Getting everyone and everything on and off the boat at the dock is hard enough already and it is much simpler with less gear to move.


Thinking of having a magician or clown on board? Please reconsider! There just isn’t the room on board for these people to do their shows effectively and if they are not onboard for the entire charter it severely restricts where we can go and what we can do. The best charters are simple gatherings of friends to enjoy a few hours in each others company.

For Bux and Hens parties, waitresses and waiters are fine as they will stay on board for the entire trip. We organise for more explicit short-duration shows to occur towards the end of the charter near our dropoff point. Before planning very explicit shows, please contact us as there are restrictions on what we permit.


Smoking is NOT PERMITTED. We have found that it is impossible for smokers to control their ashes and butts on a windy boat. Vaping is allowed, however it must be done outside (not under a roof).

Simple food only - and not too much.

A charter on board XTsea provides time and space and equipment to allow your crew to prepare and serve a MODEST meal. There is a wonderful BBQ as well as a TINY oven and a TINY microwave and food is presented on a quite smallish table. Don’t bring food that requires complex preparation or needs to be cooked in an oven. Meat should be thawed and ready to cook, and please note we do not cook fish or seafood on the BBQ.

If you need a trolly to bring along your food, you have too much food. People naturally tend to eat less when they are bobbing around on the water than they would at home. The time that your crew are involved in cooking and serving your food needs to be as short as possible so the rest of the charter can run smoothly.

Don’t tell your guests to bring along their own food! This always results in WAAAAY too much food, and it is difficult to prepare and serve up umpteen different dishes. A few packets of BBQ sausages (*NOT* thick gourmet snags!) and nice fresh bread will be quick and easy. Our experience is that fresh bread is much easier to handle and eat than bread rolls.

Make sure you have given all your food to the crew when you board as we can’t cook what we don’t know about and if there are any vegan/vegetarian or food allergy issues, LET THE CREW KNOW EARLY.

We recommend you don’t buy the cheapest foods for your day aboard XTsea. You have spent a lot of money on the charter, so don’t taint the experience by providing substandard foods like homebrand hamburgers or sausages. Life is too short for crap food and drink.

If you want to buy bread or bread rolls, purchase them freshly baked from your local baker. Don’t buy the days-old stuff you will find in a supermarket on a weekend!

Do you like onions? So do we. One thing we DON’T like is the frozen pre-sliced onions sold by the supermarkets. They are mainly water and are just disgusting and not worth cooking on a BBQ! If you want onions, either cut them up yourself at home and bring them in a sealed bag, or bring whole onions and we’ll do it onboard.

Want to drop off food/drinks early?

If we can do anything to make your day easier, we’ll do it if it’s possible. If you are the first charter of the day it’s usually not a problem and we pick up from the Elliot Street wharf in Balmain. We do not charge any extra to do this.

We provide EVERYTHING!

Don’t bring along plates or cups or bowls or cutlery or serviettes or knives or condiments or platters. We supply EVERYTHING that is required to host a party. Just bring on board your food and drinks and everything else is already here. Seriously! We have it all!

Ice and water. We supply it FREE!

We supply ice and drinking water to all our charters so you don’t need to lug it to the boat. Many of the booking agencies will tell you that you need to bring water but we supply it so please save yourselves the time and effort.

Want to do shots?

It’s your party so you get to make the rules.. up to a point. We try to make taking shots a bit of an occasion and not just a way to get wasted quickly. We will serve rounds of shots in lovely glass shotglasses so we can manage the consumption to a reasonable level.

We also allow snokels and shotgunning cans, but you’ll be asked to do this out of the saloon so the inevitable spills can be dealt with.

We WILL require persons who approach an unsafe level of intoxication to take a break or may even cut them off entirely.

Jellyshots usually don’t survive the long hot trip from your home to the boat. Everytime someone has brought them aboard they have ended up as a failure.

Bring them if you want, but we recommend you don’t.

Cakes don't work on a boat! Seriously!

If you want to bring along a cake, we’ll do our best to squeeze it into our limited refrigeration and haul it out for the photos and the candle extinguishing.

A warning though… Our experience is that after a few hours on the harbour and a lot of drinking, there is usually little interest in eating cake and most or all of it ends up in the bin. We have been running charters on the harbour for years now and there have been very few times when a cake has been a roaring success. If you simply MUST have a cake, we strongly suggest a small inexpensive one.

A better alternative are small bite-sized sweets and chocolates as they do tend to get eaten.

One important point. ABSOLUTELY NO SPARKLERS!! The sparklers are small pieces of molten iron and even when they cool and drop to the floor they cause immense damage to the plastic coating of the boat. It is almost impossible to remove without using expensive specialist cleaning agents. Lighting sparklers on board is about the worst thing you or your guests can do.


Congratulations! You have booked the charter boat with the best audio system on the harbour! Give some thought to the music you want to play in advance as there is nothing worse than having a DJ-wannabe swapping music mid-track all day.

You can choose to put together a playlist of your best party bangers, or pick a playlist you think might work from one of the thousands of curated playlists on Spotify. Share a link to us and we will already have it running as XTsea approaches to pick you up.

Thanks for asking! Know your target audience and provide music which everyone knows and which few people dislike. As a suggestion, popular party tracks from the decade of your teenage years will get everyone in a happy frame of mind.

You might like to provide two or more playlists and when you feel it’s time to start dancing we can swap over.

We normally run playlists you provide us in shuffle mode. If you want them played sequentially, let us know.

DJ decks?

We definitely do not recommend a DJ deck unless your group is very small. Apart from the saloon table there is nowhere to setup a deck and we cannot safely supply 240V power so the equipment would need to be self-powered. Also when food is served then the deck would need to be moved off the table to make way.

We have a fantastic 2000W audio system onboard which will blow you away so there is no need.

Balloons and Decorations

It gets windy on the water, and space on a boat is very limited. There is practically zero headroom and very little wallspace as we have large windows which are usually open. Balloons and decorations just get in the way of a good party on our boat.

Inflatable toys

We provide the largest available swimmat, a stand-up paddleboard, a Hobie stand-up stepperboard, and a one person kayak. We have found that these provide plenty of fun times in the water, are simple and easy to deploy and recover, and don’t take up valuable space aboard. You’ll have to pump up your watertoys yourself, make sure they don’t blow away from the boat, and then deflate them at the end of the charter. Definitely not recommended.

Swimming - Daylight only

Swimming on the harbour is great fun. XTsea has a fantastic swimmat as well as plenty of free watertoys and a deckshower for a freshwater rince after your dip. Swimming is ONLY permitted during daylight hours as there are too many forms to fill in after a shark attack.

Red Wine

Red wine causes staining on the boat’s hull. We ask that if you bring red wine aboard you only drink it while sitting inside at the table.

No single-use plastics please

We do not use single-use plastics like cheap party cups and straws. The waterways are our home and we are passionate to help keep them beautiful and healthy. We provide quality drinkware, plates, cutlery and absolutely everything else you need for an eco-friendly party on the water, so leave the plastic at home please.

If someone has a medical requirement, we will provide them stainless steel straws on request.

Do we get to sail? Fish?

We are not permitted to raise the sails when there are more than 8 guests on board for safety reasons. Unless your party is very very small, the sails won’t be coming out to play.

XTsea is a party boat and is set up for partying. We do not hold the required commercial fishing permits so if you want a fishing charter, you’ll need to look elsewhere.