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  • 1 Post By captainjay
  • 1 Post By sprtn94
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Old 06-26-2012
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Crewed Charter Ownership

I'm kicking around the idea of starting a crewed charter business.

My preliminary thought is to buy an older cat (2000 or newer), perhaps one coming out of charter - voyage 450, lagoon 44. Spend some money on a refit and load her out with great equipment and excellent interior appointments. I'd like to base the boat in St. Thomas as I think it is easier destination as opposed to Tortola from a customers point of view. Market the trips for one or two couples and keep the costs low so it is affordable. Less people, more space/privacy.

Breakfast and lunch provisioning only - encourage guests to dine ashore.
No chef or cook, again adding space and reducing cost. Aiming for a charter cost of around 5k - 7k per week.

Questions,
I have my masters license + sail endorsement but I've heard that there might be issues with owning the boat and also operating it as the charter captain?

Any thoughts positive/negative on purchasing a boat that is coming out of a charter fleet? The brokers seem to push the excellent maintenance programs as a selling point. I can't decide if that outweighs the heavy use.

Thanks in advance for any information you can contribute.
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Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

Don't have much detailed info on your questions but I will ask some of my own if you don't mind.

If you are looking to make money on this endeavor, you better get the boat fairly cheap and not need much. Will you do only captained charters?

Do you have a budget, business plan, ROI, etc?

Just a thought. Basing in St. Thomas would be easy for you initially but the better cruising grounds are the BVIs and you will have to clear into customs every trip. This could delay things.
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Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

Thanks Tim,

Licensing is an issue in the BVI's. They now require a BVI captains license - (not yachmaster) and they don't make it very easy for non-belongers to set up shop. You can enter BVI waters, clear customs and go about your merry way without issue. Picking clients up in Tortola is a whole different ball game.

Yes, I 've been playing with the numbers and this is not a get rich quick business. Yet it seems plausible to break even with around 14 weeks of chartering, if I don't have crew expenses. I've owned several businesses and I have a pretty realistic outlook on this industry. Repairs and equipment failure is the big unknown, pretty difficult to forecast what your actually going to spend. Major economic issues are also a concern (euro collapse, us financial markets etc) as they would kill the charter market overnight.
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Old 06-30-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

Rather than buy the boat I think your better off to hook up with someone who already has a boat, perhaps one coming out of charter fleet. There are ton's of people looking for options with +6 year old boats. I'd think that people would rather go with a crewed agreement than a second tier bareboat operation.
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Old 07-05-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

Cruzan,

talked to an owner of a crewed boat yesterday and got some good information. It does sound like there are benefits to partnering with someone. Anyone interested in putting a boat into the business let me know.
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Old 07-05-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

Would like to find someone interested in sharing ownership in the 41 to 47 range MA or RI
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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

I can give you some insight and or things to consider. So running from St Thomas is doable. You will need a hundred ton masters with sail endorsement and an SCTW 95 safety training. As far as owner operated that is actually the normal scenario for the type of business that your talking about.
You need to look long and hard at what your goals are in this. It is an expensive business with low returns on investment. Most people do it to offset some of their costs for a cruising life style.

Things to consider, do you have the capitol available to buy a boat outright? Financing can and will be an issue on many levels. Also do you have the resources to carry the cost for several years in the red. It will take several years to build your reputation with the charter brokers and build up your business. Also the costs of maintenance can and will be significant. Annual haul out for hurricane season, this bill alone on cat of that size will be pushing the better part of ten grand. Think a thousand a month for storage three or four month minimum, paint, buff, wax, anodes, sail drive service, etc.

Then factor in the oh sh!! factor. Things like the generator just died I need a new back end fed exed from Florida and have to pay how much to make my next charter? I work in the bare boat industry and I can tell you these things happen. The age of the boats that you are looking at are a factor as well. Upgrades to systems and equipment will be an ongoing and lifelong affair. In the tropics air conditioners last about five to seven years, batteries last two to four years, sails are good for five to seven under charter use in the trades, as do biminis and awnings. Mattresses last about five as do most soft interior surfaces, settees etc. Then you add in water pumps that constantly break, heads that clog, alternators that fail, etc etc. I would budget twenty grand a year for repairs and upgrades on a boat of that size and vintage.
Now not to sound like a negative nilly. If you think you are cut out for all of this it can be very rewarding lifestyle, it won't make you rich but you can live like a line from a Jimmy Buffet song most days.





Jay
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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

Thanks for the response Jay.

Can you expand on a few items?
1) Why do you need a 100 ton license?
2) I was told that a STCW cert is not needed if your vessel is less then 200 gross tons and doing domestic trips (starting and ending at a US port).
3) 10k for a haul out? That would be around $225.00 per foot, sounds pretty steep. I think Nanny cay is charging around 16 bucks per foot.
4) I seem to remember someone using CYOA boats for crewed charters? Do they still allow that. Seems like a good back up plan if you had major mechanical issue before a charter.

I've been immersed in research and yes, it is a very expensive business to consider. But I do think the lifestyle adds to the return on investment. Currently talking with a few owners who have expressed interest in putting their boats into a crewed program. Working the numbers I think the only way this makes sense is to use an older (well cared for) vessel. Purchasing a new boat is way to costly and I don't think the maintenance costs are that much lower. At least not enough to beat the deprecation.

Again, thank you so much for the reply.
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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: Crewed Charter Ownership

The 100 ton license is required because even though it starts and ends in the US the government classifies it as an international voyage since you are visiting a foreign country.
The SCTW 95 is required by the BVI government. They also seem to be hell bent on requiring some kind of BVI license at some point for even US flagged boats. Likely illegal but who wants to go to court and fight them. They also continue to require different and or more safety gear than the US. Life rafts, MOB poles, etc even on uninspected boats.
When I stated ten grand that's the haul out, paint, three to four months storage, buff, wax, incidentals, lay days for work you are going to do etc. If you choose to run from the hurricane zone, Grenada etc you can lower that cost but you have to put in the time and wear and tear of that. The more of the yard work you are willing and able to do will lower that number but don't kid yourself going in it's a lot of money any way you slice it.
Yes we do have a few captains that have and do book a few weeks a year and do charters on our boats. It actually not a bad way to test drive the business.
Frankly if you can find a current owner willing to work out a partnership that would be a reasonable way to go. I would want a full survey, determine a baseline condition, necassary upgrades for the crewed trade, future upgrades and a funding source for all of these. In additon I would want a written contract with the owner. The devil is in the details, like most partnerships, things like equity, personal use for both parties, maintenance costs, disaster plan for both repairs and accidents, etc can and will make or break that kind of deal.
Jay
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Last edited by captainjay; 07-07-2012 at 10:06 PM.
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