Common Questions / FAQ

Things You Will Want to Know

Can I bring food and drinks?


Of course. Guests do tend to eat and drink significantly less than you imagine when on a boat. You may bring your own drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Please avoid things that stain such as red wine and dark colored items. Remember, the effects of alcohol are accelerated on a moving vessel, please enjoy responsibly.

The Manhattan Mermaid is great for drinks and taking in the magnificent sights. We do not suggest food on this vessel as there is no dining or galley area. Simple hand held items are sometimes fine. Our sister yacht is better equipped for groups with more food/dining plans.

The Hudson Star is set up for bigger groups. Remember, the boat moves a lot, so some food items work much better than others.  Plated dinners are not that practical, while charcuterie and cheese boards are generally excellent options. This allows guests to snack and mingle. Cakes also do not work very well on a boat.

Think simple and you will love it!  In any case do not recommend bringing food for charters under 3 hours.  The time goes fast and we want you to enjoy the experience and sights instead of loading, managing and dealing with a lot of items. We of course have cups, plates, napkins, etc for your use. We can help arrange catering with sufficient notice.

What is the cancelation policy?


Our cancellation policy is simple and fair. We are a small business, with a short season, and will do everything we can to work with you. However, once we lock in a date, we must pass on other bookings for that time.

Cancellations more than 30 days in advance will receive a 90% refund, less any fees that may be incurred by credit card companies, booking sites etc.

Charter guests may reschedule to another date within the current season, if done so more than 14 days in advance. Rescheduling is not permitted with less than 14 days' notice.

Cancellations less than 14 days in advance will forfeit payment and any balance due remains the responsibility of the charterer and must be paid in full. Holiday bookings and charters over 4 hours, have a 50% non-refundable fee for rescheduling under 30 days' notice.

What if it rains?


The only thing guaranteed about the weather is it will change up until the time of your departure. We are seasoned professionals and have your safety and enjoyment as priority. The forecast changes hourly and we rarely get the rain that is predicted. Often showers are forecast in the area, but not necessarily where we cruise. We highly discourage spending a lot of time looking at weather forecasts.

We have custom enclosures, so a passing shower or cool breeze will not change your plans. We only cancel if the USCG issues a marine craft advisory, or the captain deems it unsafe. In this rare case, the captain will make a call usually just prior to your departure.

We suggest always keeping some flexibility in your schedule if possible, as adjusting your charter by an hour or two may be necessary. We will always try and make reasonable accommodations.

Do I save money if I book direct with you?


Yes. My boats are listed on many websites, but many of those sites charge fees for booking through them. Brokers have booking fees that we do not have. If you want to save that money, just contact us directly.

Is there a bathroom?


Yes! Unlike some charter boats, both Hudson Star and the Manhattan Mermaid have nice bathrooms, with electric Vacu-Flush toilets that works much like the one you have a home. They are incredibly clean and have everything you need.

Big Apple Charter's are luxury vessels after all and we want our guests to be always comfortable. We still always suggest using the restrooms at the marina, prior to boarding, as many guests find it easier.

Where are you located?


You can find the Big Apple Charters at 59 Chelsea Piers, in Manhattan, just south of the golf driving range.

The marina entrance is located just off the West Side highway, across from 17th St. Boarding is outside, at the end of the boardwalk pier, by the dockmaster house. The M23 bus crosses Manhattan on 23rd Street and stops directly in front of Chelsea Piers.

There is paid onsite parking at Chelsea Piers, as well as several parking garages within a few blocks.  The closest subway is the A,C,E line.

What should I wear ?


Our yachts are sexy, fashionable machines, and we all want to look our best while aboard, especially for those Instagram posts! It is generally about 7 degrees cooler on the water, so keep that in mind for evening trips.  Both vessels have nice blankets available, if guests get a little chilly.

We are shoeless vessels, keeping with the nautical lifestyle. Footwear should be comfortable and have a non-marking sole. High heels, leather soles and black soles should not be worn. Casual Nautical is our vibe here. Ballgowns and cowboy chaps, might not be the best choices... but what do we know...

Of course yachts are moving vessels, and we want you to be safe. If you would like more suggestions or have questions, let us know.

What does it cost?


Charter rates vary based on a few factors. Which vessel, duration, the time of day and day of week. Weekday/morning and early afternoon being least expensive. Weekends and sunsets cost a bit more.

Hudson Star - $400-700/hr
Manhattan Mermaid - $300-$400/hr
Holiday rates can be higher, so please inquire. We are glad to offer a discount on charters of 4 hours or more.

For groups over 6, the charterer will hire a captain/crew directly, which will usually be between $60-$90/hr. This is a simple process, with which we can assist. Each trip is customized, so reach out and let us know a bit about your vision.

Can I do a marriage proposal?


Congratulations!!  We are so happy you chose us to share your special moment.  Our team knows proposals and can help you arrange everything from flowers, gifts, photographers and much more.

Let us know your ideas, or let us plan it for you.

Can we organize a surprise celebration?


We love celebrations, and it sounds like you want to do it in style. Ask us about special packages and extras to truly have a one-of-a-kind event.

We can customized a keepsake banner with your theme, colors and even photos. Need photography or more? We can help you make the most of your fun-filled plans.

What are your entertainment systems ?


Our sound systems are amazing! We keep a playlist of fun New York and Nautical songs, in addition to having music apps. You are welcome to bring your own playlist, which you can connect via Bluetooth.

Did you know we offer a "Movies on the Hudson" option, with our projector and a huge screen off the back of the Hudson Star. Anchored by the Statue of Liberty, it is an incredible experience.

Where can we go and what sights will we see?


Totally up to you! Within constraints of time, you have almost unlimited flexibility on the route. Our most popular trip is up the West Side of Manhattan, with calmer waters and iconic views, as you head toward the George Washington Bridge.

While there are more commercial ferry's (and their wake/waves), some groups want to head south towards Battery Park, Governor's Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island and of course the Statue of Liberty.

With either route, the iconic skyline is rapidly evolving and you will see new glass towers and old deco favorites, all as you cruise past the greatest city in the world. A popular summer charter is an all-day trip down to Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook. Paddleboards, BBQ, friends and family make the perfect summer escape.

We can do the loop of Manhattan, trips to City Island and more, if we have the appropriate time reserved. In the fall we cruise up the Hudson River past the Palisades and toward the Tappen Zee, for spectacular foliage photos. All great choices for an incredible day.

Can we bring our kids aboard charters?


Absolutely! We love kids and want to share our love for boating and NYC with them. We carry life jackets, for infants and children, according to all USCG regulations. Kids under 12 are required to wear life vests during the entire charter.

Please provide us the ages and approximate weights of children prior to the charter and we will make sure to be ready. Also, we like to arrange for a special surprise for kids, so please do not be afraid to bring them along.

How many guests can be aboard?


Hudson Star can comfortably host up to 12 passengers and the Manhattan Mermaid can take up to 10 guests. When you charter under a bareboat agreement (over 6 guests) the USCG requires you to hire and pay for the captain / Crew yourself. This is easy to do.

If you do not know a USCG Captain, do not worry ! You can use independant sites like,,, which are services for bareboat renters to find and hire qualified crew.

What if I get seasick?


We hear you. This does not mean you have to miss out on the luxury yacht experience. Boats are a moving vehicle, and we want you to have only great memories. Hudson Star and Manhattan Mermaid are pretty big boats and thus very stable. However, we are still subject to the wakes of even bigger ferry boats.

Medications like Dramamine work well for many folks. They must be taken according  to directions, prior to departing, to be effective. We have seabands on board which help some guests and keep ginger candies available as well.

If you are worried, we certainly recommend going north up the Hudson river, as there is generally less wake and waves. Sitting up, with your face in the breeze is a great start. Ask your Captain about driving the boat too. Few people get motion sickness when they are driving a car and a boat is much the same way.

Are shoes ok on the boat?


We are shoeless on all our vessels during warmer months. We highly recommend the nautical option of barefeet when on the water. Our comfortable seadeck flooring feels great under your feet and gives you a nice grip.

High heels and wedges are certainly not safe on a movingvessel. Heels, leather bottom and black sole shoes should not be worn. Wearshoes that slip on and off easily.

Should I bring sunblock?


You have beautiful skin, and we want you to protect it. The CDC suggests protection from UV rays all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, even reflecting off the water.  

Applying sunscreen, before your charter begins, is best for skin protection. Sunblock is great for you, but no so great for the fabrics aboard our yachts. Please apply sunscreen before you board. We do not allow spray sunblocks to be applied on the vessels, as they damage the fabrics.

Is there Wifi aboard?


We assume you want internet so you can tag us with your amazing photos on Instagram! Most guests choose to cruise right in New York Harbor and 5G reception is everywhere.  

Can we stay overnight or use the cabins?


While there is nothing like curling up aboard a yacht, you are on a yacht in New York City! So take in the splendor of the Statue of Liberty and the NY skyline. If you are really looking for some rest, we encourage you to stretch out on the luxurious seating areas, all in the shade of the cockpit, or get some sun napping on the spacious bow cushions.

Sadly, we do not offer overnight charters on our vessels here in NYC, but we can arrange for overnight to multi-week charters on other yachts in the US, Caribbean and Europe.

Can we shower on board?


Hudson Star has a full outdoor hot/cold shower to use for a quick rinse off, only when we are doing a full day beach excursion. This comes in handy after swimming, paddle boarding, visiting the beach and all the fun water activities we provide. We do not use the showers at other times.

What speed do we cruise at?


Slow enough to now spill your drink! We love being on the water and taking in all the great sights. We cruise at a comfortable pace that will allow you to enjoy the scenery, great conversation with your guest and listen to great music on our amazing sound system.

Most guest have drinks and snacks, so we make sure our pace does not send things flying.  We like to think of being on the water as "Island Time", after all it is Manhattan Island. If you would like to go at faster speeds, please notify us ahead of time so we can calculate fuel surcharges to get you where you need to go.

What should I avoid?


Our goal is a safe and ensure an exceptionally great time for you and all your guests.  Being prepared and knowing a bit about what should be avoided on boats is thus important.

To avoid any issues avoid the following :

- Food and drink items that stain including colored drinks such as red wine, cranberry juice, blue drinks and heavy pigments.
- Sauces that are sticky and heavy in color and scents such as soy sauce.
- Cake that is heavily colored such as red velvet, or that has colored icing.  We really do recommend not having cake on the boat, as this is one of the main culprits that causes issues.
- No glitter, confetti, feathers and items that require significant cleanups.

Remember - simple is always best and for food, if it requires a utensil, you may want to avoid it on a boat. Charcuterie and cheese boards are a crowd favorite and the easiest for you to manage.

We are a smoke free and drug free business, in compliance with federal laws. No drugs of any kind are permitted on board.

Also, please remember, you are responsible for returning the vessel in the same condition you depart which means no stains, marks, damages etc.

Smoking and Drug Policy?


We are 100% USCG compliant and we have a strict no smoking and no drug policy. Once we are on the water we are bound by federal regulations, not local state laws.

Please refrain from bringing any tobacco products and all federally prohibited drugs. You will not be allowed to bring them aboard. The USCG does random checks and may board the vessel and conduct a search for any or no reason. For everyones safety and consideration, please leave these products at home.

Any illegal substances found to be brought onboard will result in immediate termination of your charter.

What recommended gratuity for our Captain and crew?


Your crew works hard, before and after your charter, to make sure you have an exceptional experience. It is customary in the charter business, like most service industries, to leave a 20% gratuity on your charter total. Gratuity is based on the charter total, prior to any discounts.

Gratuity, like the crew fees, are paid directly to the crew. Unlike many charter companies, we do not keep any of the gratuity. 100% of your generosity goes to them and represents a substantial portion of their income.

Cash is probably best, but most have Venmo accounts too. We can provide an envelope for your convenience.