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Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 141 Times in 138 Posts
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Re: "Paying" friends wanting to go on the boat.
Something many people overlook is that when the USCG says guests may "contribute", contributions are always voluntary. Museums found this out the hard way, if they are required to let the public in (because they receive public funding) then they are also required to let them in even if someone does not want to "contribute" the suggested donation. Ditto for "guests", if the arrangement is that they can and shall pay you--that's not a voluntary contribution.
The big bugaboo here in the US is of course litigation and liability. A passing boat throws a wake, your guest busts a rib on the cabin table, guess who's going to get the bill? Or they slip in the companionway. And anyone else, like your insurer, will say gee, no, we didn't write a commercial policy.
Now some folks have skirted that, they say "Oh, my friend was..." and get away with the fraud, which is what it is. Depends on how you feel about these things and how your karma is.
Odds are that you have enough logged days on the water to go for a six-pack, and the "knowledge" is probably something you're already 95% up on anyhow. Airbnb and similar operations are actually negotiating with tax men all over right now, and the bottom line on that is that "recreational" innkeepers are going to wind up conforming to some rules and paying regular taxes and such, pretty much all over, pretty much soon.
But if you can figure out a business plan...or a compromise that doesn't give you worries...And of course, if you don't mind dealing with the public and all sorts of strangers making demands on you or your boat. Or your spare bedroom.