Want to start great lakes charter co. - advice appreciated!! - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-02-2006
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Want to start great lakes charter co. - advice appreciated!!

I am 19, been on boats all my life, and will be purchasing a Columbia 8.3m next summer out of Manitowoc, WI (on Lake Michigan). I'll be spending the entirety of next summer on the boat, learning it, bettering my sailing skills, and exploring Lake Michigan. The following summer I'll be graduating college, and would love to charter sailboats on the Great Lakes (it may take awhile for me to be able to live more than driving or sailing distance from Chicago). I saw a few people who do mostly day sails, at a rate of $150/hour, and didn't have prices for longer trips on their website. This price makes it possible for me to purchase a Catalina 30 or similar, which has two cabins to make longer crewed charters possible. However, I have a few questions which I hope some more experienced members may be able to answer.

First, I see that all the charter companies (sailing and fishing) have captains with a coast guard license. How hard/expensive is it to get said license, and is it helpful legally, or just to inspire confidence in possible customers?

Second, how much is insurance on a boat that is to be chartered?

Third, does anyone have a knowledge of what the sail-chartering market is like on Lake Michigan? I see fishing charters everywhere, but it took a full three hours of searching to find a crewed sail charter.

Fourth, it's hard for me to ignore inexperienced people's thoughts that this is not a possibility for me. If anyone has done it, on the Great Lakes or otherwise, please help bolster my confidence.

I know the basic costs involved with keeping a boat, and can do the math, but if anyone has any insights into things I may not be thinking of, don't hesitate to interject. Thanks for all your help.
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Old 10-02-2006
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xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about
Any operation of a boat for pay has to be by a coast guard licenced captain. There are some exceptions for operating harbor launches.

Without the licence, you face real liability and you will not be able to get insurance for a charter operation.

Surf the web for tons of info on licence qualifications and schools that help get the licence. If you have been on boats all your life then you may pass the requirement of 360 days at sea. You'll need to pass the exam.

Good luck
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Old 10-02-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
First, a USCG-license is required for anyone working commercially as a captain. This means if you are paid to sail a boat as part of a business venture, have passengers who pay you to sail a boat or teach them, you probably will require at least a OUPV or six-pack USCG captain's license.

Charter companies want to have a fair amount of insurance, especially liability, so that if their customers ever cause a huge crash or are injured, they are covered financially.

No idea...

Anyone can start a business...whether you'll succeed is really more up to what kind of person you are, what skills you have, and how willing you are to learn what is needed to run such a business.
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Old 10-05-2006
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Angry

Well it appears you must be 21 to attain the proper license. Guess I'll have to wait on that.
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Old 10-06-2006
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Tell 'ya what I would do - in the waiting time - is go here

http://www.uscg.mil/stcw/download-do...-0040-719s.pdf

Save a copy of the "Small Vessel Sea Service Form" on your computer.

Read the instructions.

Then print off a copy and take it with you each time you crew on
someones boat - have the owner sign it after you fill it out.

If you own your own boat - you sign it off for your time on your sailboat.

Start keeping track of the Sea Days now -
(4 hr min away from dock = 1 Day)
by the time you hit 21/22 you will probably be supprised at the
number of Days that you will have acquired.

Good Luck
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Last edited by sidiag; 10-06-2006 at 10:54 AM.
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