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post #1 of Old 04-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Starting a business?

Greetings all at Sailnet. This will be my first post, and much to the dismay of many veterans here, it will be to ask about starting a charter business. I'm sure there are many threads like this, but not many answer my question fully.

My situation and vision:

I am a young guy very interested in buying a boat to live aboard in/near the Annapolis area. From that liveaboard boat I am considering the prospects of running a daysail/tour/transportation/delivery/courier (spanning anything really, but not really into fishing just yet) service in the daytime, and maybe some extended cruising if the money's right.

Being a novice who doesn't even own a boat, nor do I have a grand amount of experience (been on/helped/watched sail a boat a couple times) I have been slamming the internet lately trying to educate myself however I can.

Despite this, I do have an idea of what it would take to start and run a business, and I know, as I have read this a hundred times, that the charter business is a fool's errand. However, the majority of advice that I've seen has been related to fishing charters... Not travel charters.

So I know about all the negatives and "you'll have no monies" and stuff. I am a musician, and they don't call us "starving musicians" for nothing.

But my point: for strictly a travel charter business, no more than 6 passengers, on my own liveaboard boat (really looking at a 1984 Baba 30 or similar, and I'm a minimalist liver as it is) Where I would hope to be doing all the work myself as the sole owner, operator and proprietor, what licensing, coding, regulatory things, credentials or whatever else will I need to be fully legal and functional? I understand that a Coast Guard license, a captain's license, and insurance are definitely needed. But is even a captain's license necessary with my business plan?

What other things will I need to consider? I understand many of the monetary holes: maintenance, supplies, passenger feel-good things, etc. I also understand that "most liveaboards don't sail because they don't put their things away" or whatever. I would plan on keeping the boat at the most an hour's work from being ready to sail on a normal day, not regarding extended maintenance days and whatnot.

Any other advices/resources I should check out? Is there a "one stop shop" that defines EVERY FORM, EVERY PAPERWORK/EVERY LICENSE I will require?

Thanks a lot for any advices, tips and direction from the veterans, and fair winds.
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