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  #1  
Old 11-04-2010
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Charter operator links?

Greetings:

Although this is not an original idea, I know, we want to buy a boat and then charter it ourselves (we being the operators).

I am having trouble finding links or particularly forums where others who are operating their boat for charter may exchange ideas.

Can anyone help? Particularly I am looking for forums that discuss issues specific to charter operations - marketing, client issues, cost vs. income etc.

Any assistance is very much appreciate
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2010
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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
Be aware that you will need to have commercial insurance to do this, which is very expensive compared to regular insurance. Also, in most countries you will need a captain's license of some sort.
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Old 11-04-2010
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I expect insurance to be a business cost, and the regulatory regime is a given. That being said, these are exactly the type of issues I would hope to discuss with existing operators.
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Old 11-05-2010
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No experience here, but you are asking the people that you are planning to compete against to give you their hard won knowledge.

You may need some other approach.....
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Old 11-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottos View Post
No experience here, but you are asking the people that you are planning to compete against to give you their hard won knowledge.

You may need some other approach.....
I have been part of or on the board of a number of trade organizations, and always it was better to share information on operations, marketing and other issues. Some of these have been pretty competitive (car sales as example), and yet dealers would share stats, and deal with common issues such as the regulatory framework.
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It was just a thought....

Best of luck to you then.
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Old 11-05-2010
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cupper,

you may want to contact Soundings, they have a commercial monthly (I think) rag and an on line presence for those in the commercial side of boating.

There really is not much magic in being a charter operator/owner...in the US..

License 6-pack or higher
appropriate business license
Insurance
ability or talent in dealing with the public
ability or talent in dealing with high strung people
ability or talent in a service industry
thick skin
deep pockets

all the rest is just another business. BEen there done that.

If I were going to do it, again...I would find "older" reliable boats and market them to plain joes, with some sailing experience..at daily rates and week rates...not the fancy vacation stuff..just someone who wants to enjoy a sail...YOu would need a few helpers or an arrangement with a marina/tow..but you could buy a half dozen USED boats for what one "charter boat" would cost.

Depreciation would be zilch, you could almost do this as a one man operation if you only 3-4 boats.

I think you will find it quite difficult to compete with those larger/more well known operators. Their advertising budget was more than my yearly cash flow...Unless you have a unique hook.

Best of luck, it can be a blast...
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Old 11-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
cupper,

you may want to contact Soundings, they have a commercial monthly (I think) rag and an on line presence for those in the commercial side of boating.
Can't find anything online, but I have left them a message.

Quote:
There really is not much magic in being a charter operator/owner...in the US..

License 6-pack or higher
appropriate business license
Insurance
This stuff all makes sense.

Quote:
ability or talent in dealing with the public
I shine at this

Quote:
ability or talent in dealing with high strung people
Yes, the service industry does seem to attract those types, doesn't it.

Quote:
deep pockets
That's like saying "how long is a piece of string". I would be buying used, and not financed. And I have a reserve above that, but not what I consider "Deep pockets", in other words, I'll have between 100K and 200K, not 500K or more.

Quote:
If I were going to do it, again...I would find "older" reliable boats and market them to plain joes, with some sailing experience..at daily rates and week rates...not the fancy vacation stuff..just someone who wants to enjoy a sail...YOu would need a few helpers or an arrangement with a marina/tow..but you could buy a half dozen USED boats for what one "charter boat" would cost.
I think I may have given the impression that I would charter bare boat.. I will not... only looking at crewed charter, and therefore, only one boat.

Quote:
I think you will find it quite difficult to compete with those larger/more well known operators. Their advertising budget was more than my yearly cash flow...Unless you have a unique hook.
I suspect the Virgin Islands are close to saturation. We hope to operate out of Antigua, and although obviously cater to anyone, I live in a community that the recession did not affect at all, and have good connections in that community. As example, the number one CruiseshipCenter in Canada was from here, and it was owned by a friend mine... not quiet the same market, but it gives you an idea.

It is my understanding that one can expect 16-20 weeks a year that one actually has clients... was this your expirence also?
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Old 03-17-2011
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risky business

many late model{2006-newer} ex-charter boats mostly bavarias and benes for sale in med{croatia} as well as BVIs under Moorings brockerage,,due to current recession in usa and elsewhere many charter co.s have gone or are going out of business and selling off their boats,,now is a very good time to buy providing the boat is for personal use,,i would not venture into this business area unless i had a signed agreement with a resort in PUNTA CANA or some other island to do daysails,,beware of using old boats as many families will not bring their kids on an old boat and be sure you have knowledge of toilet repair or someone on board who does as that will be your first repair at sea,and many resorts dont want an old boat in front of their resort unless it is an outrigger canoe as used in hawaii or south pacific ,,many people have this plan of buying a boat and chartering it only to be sorely disappointed,,if you want to liveaboard anyways and dont rely on any possible charter income i say ,,go for it,,on some islands south of USVI and BVI you can run daily booze criuse/snorkel runs and get 40-50us a person and do qiute well with an older monohull,,cat woiuld be advantage with at least two toilets,,i met aman doing this out of nassau in the bahamas and he made out qiute well during springbreak,,because he was married to a bahamian he bypassed much of the redtape that a foreigner cannot as a bahamian must own business unless its simply financial in nature such as a bank,mutual fund or finance co. etc,,many islands have same laws in place so it is wise to investigate or authorities can and will seize your business assets{boat} and deport you forthwith along with seizing any money they are of the opinion you earned illegally,,as for dealers helping dealers as in the car business dont rely on free info in charter biz as posted earlier as many customers are one time deals in the daysail biz and nobody gives you the overflow from the criuzeships but directs them to another offship activity like swimming with dolphins etc.,dont want to burst your bubble but some businesses are like a**holes as everyone has one,,cheers
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Old 03-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
many late model{2006-newer} ex-charter boats mostly bavarias and benes for sale in med{croatia} as well as BVIs under Moorings brockerage,,due to current recession in usa and elsewhere many charter co.s have gone or are going out of business and selling off their boats,,now is a very good time to buy providing the boat is for personal use,,
Yup, great time to buy, agreed.


Quote:
i would not venture into this business area unless i had a signed agreement with a resort in PUNTA CANA or some other island to do daysails
Daysails is pretty vended out; what I mean by that is that most islands have enough locals already doing this. Yes, there are advantages, and perhaps I would sub-contract on an overflow basis to an existing island local, but the main focus is longer term crewed charters.

As I suggested, I have great contacts in my local community to people who were not affected by the recession, and they are my target market.


Quote:
,beware of using old boats as many families will not bring their kids on an old boat and be sure you have knowledge of toilet repair or someone on board who does as that will be your first repair at sea
You have no idea how I am NOT looking forward to toilet repairs! I am considering compost toilets, but they bring their own set of problems with other people using them.

Quote:
,many islands have same laws in place so it is wise to investigate or authorities can and will seize your business assets{boat} and deport you forthwith along with seizing any money they are of the opinion you earned illegally
I am aware of the situation, and am working with a couple of island/nations right now to determine the best way to operate within their regulations. It is interesting that some are very responsive, others, well... let's just say they epitomize the term "island time".

Thanks for the thoughts.
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