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post #8 of Old 03-14-2013
Captain Bill
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Re: Great Charter in Marathon Key

How much is charged per person is dependent on the boat and type of charter. There is an open-deck catamaran charterboat near us that takes out up to 30 guests for a 1-2 hour sunset cruise. They charge $35 per person.

Our “niche” is private charters. We take out 2 to 6 guests on our boat but don’t book anyone else on “their” cruise. Of course, we are able to charge a premium for this. Many guests don’t want to be on an open-deck boat with 30 other people. For a 2-hour, sunset cruise with no meals, we charge $190 for one couple and $50 for each additional couple in the group. $190 is not a lot of money to take the boat out considering our insurance costs about $40-$50 per charter (dependent on how many charters we book in a year). But, the boat is not making any money sitting at the dock and we can sometimes upgrade the charter to a dinner which costs $350 for 4-hours plus a 3 course, home cooked meal.

In a vacation hotspot like the Florida Keys, a good percentage of our charters are from guests that call the same day. I’d say maybe one-third to one-half call for a sail the same day or next. These are people who don’t pre-plan their vacations. They wake up in the morning and say, “What are we going to do today?” Recognizing this scenario is key to a successful marketing strategy.

Not all 40-45 foot boats will hold 6 guest plus 2 crew comfortably. We looked at many boats before purchasing our 43 foot Endeavour, center-cockpit ketch. The cockpit has to be roomy, covered and able to be enclosed if the weather turns.
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