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post #1 of 23 Old 03-11-2008 Thread Starter
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questions about non profit, Jones Act and Chartering

I had a discussion with another sailor on the airplane today. I did a little research but thought that someone on these boards will be able to give me an answer.
If I give sailing lessons on a sailboat, is this a "charter" for which I need a captain's license?
What if the boat is owned by a non-profit?
What if the students only pay a nominal amount or make a voluntary donation?
What if its a bunch of sailors that go out sailing for fun and pay a donation for the fun, like a sailing club? Do we need a licensed captain?
Does the sailboat have be licensed for charter and meet the Jones Act under any of these circumtances?
Can you get a waiver from the Jones Act?
What about giving sailing lessons in the USA with a Benetau or Bavaria sailboat, is this illegal?
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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I'm no sea-lawyer but I'd guess that if you take any payment, payment-in-kind, and probably donations also, you're going to get into a licensing situation. Others with more experience in exactly what you're doing, like Bill Trayfors, will probably be more helpful. You may not need a license but there may be requirements regarding the vessel as well. I think you can use a foreign built vessel up to a certain size and for limited activities. Federal law on these matters is pretty touchy as the Jones Act grew out some horrific ship fires and such back in the twenties and thirties.

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post #3 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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I was told in my ASA sailing school that if a person so much as buys the gas for the boat, he's a paying passenger and there would have to be a CG Captain on board. He can bring a cooler full of beer to share, no problem.
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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US27inKS is pretty much correct

If you 'solicit' no compensation, then you should be ok. In other words, if someone slips you a $20 as a thank you toward gas, you might be alright. Sharing in food or drink brought aboard would not be considered compensation. This is info I came by from a sailing club.

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post #5 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dohenyboy View Post
I had a discussion with another sailor on the airplane today. I did a little research but thought that someone on these boards will be able to give me an answer.
If I give sailing lessons on a sailboat, is this a "charter" for which I need a captain's license?

yes

What if the boat is owned by a non-profit?

does not matter

What if the students only pay a nominal amount or make a voluntary donation?

The the amount of payment does not matter, the CG does not care if you undercharge for your services

What if its a bunch of sailors that go out sailing for fun and pay a donation for the fun, like a sailing club? Do we need a licensed captain?

Payment is Payment regardless if you call it a donation

Does the sailboat have be licensed for charter and meet the Jones Act under any of these circumstances?

Yes, it becomes a commercial vessel. this is where many 6-Pack skippers mess up.

Can you get a waiver from the Jones Act?

NO!

What about giving sailing lessons in the USA with a Benetau or Bavaria sailboat, is this illegal?
yes

As far cost sharing goes, if you take 2 people out with you and they pay the expenses you have created a for hire situation. However, if the expenses are shared in equal thirds then you have not.
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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Our community has a youth sailing program that operates a fleet of 420's, teaching a couple of weeks worth of lessons every summer for a couple hundred bucks a 'camp'.
This used to be part of our Yacht Club, but has since moved out to it's own fully licensed and registered business exactly because of the licensing and insurance issues. They now have a permanent committee chair in our yacht club but that is the only involvement.
The answer is as Bubb2 has it above - in all cases in which you take direct or indirect compensation you must be or have a USCG licensed skipper aboard. You can not even have guest bring food and libations unless you do as well; the operative word is share - and by that the law is taken as equally share.
To play it safe if there is a question of whether or not you must be licensed a) call your insurance company, and b) take the law at it's most strict interpretation.
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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Not quite correct IIRC.

From what I've read the USCG only considers it a "for-hire" situation if the compensation is a requirement of teaching or taking them out on the boat.

For instance, if you and two friends go out on your boat and you teach them some things about sailing, and they, being nice people, have brought a case of beer, $30 bucks for gas and lunch along, it isn't a "for hire" situation unless you REQUIRED the food, beer and money as a condition of taking them out and teaching them.

Another example: Say you and three friends are sailing from Dana Point to the Channel Islands. Before the trip, you suggest that your friends buy all the provisions for the weekend trip and give you some money for gas, since its your boat. Again, this is not a "for-hire" situation unless you require that they buy the provisions and give you money for gas to take them to the islands. If they don't, my guess is that you need new friends. If they forget and you don't take them... my guess is that they need a new friend with a boat.

Again... one last example. You meet two people from sailnet, and they ask you to teach them to sail on your boat, since they don't own one yet. You tell them you will for 20 bucks and lunch... This is probably going to be considered a for hire situation. If they did own a boat, and you taught them on their boat for the same consideration, I don't know if it would be a "for hire" situation, since it is their boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
yes

As far cost sharing goes, if you take 2 people out with you and they pay the expenses you have created a for hire situation. However, if the expenses are shared in equal thirds then you have not.

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post #8 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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As for your last question regarding lessons on "foreign" boats like Bene & Bavaria, I got my ASA certs on a Beneteau so there is no problem. A commercial vessel (e.g. passenger liner etc.) MUST be an american flagged vessel if it operates only between american ports. That's why foreign cruise ships from the West Coast make a stop in Mexico or another foreign port enroute to Hawaii.
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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Also, Foriegn built vessel are legal if they're flagged in america. If you purchased the vessel from an american dealer or have rgistered it with the state or the coast gaurd then it's an american vessel.

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post #10 of 23 Old 03-11-2008
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In general, it's "passengers for hire" that triggers the licensing requirement. If sail only, no auxiliary engine, then no license required, unless it's a very large sail-only boat (think Tall Ships).

But if more than six passengers carried for hire, then the boat has to be "Certificated", meaning Coast Guard approved the build plans and inspects to keep the Certificate of Inspection current. Most recreational sailboats won't qualify for a Certificate (lack of collision bulkhead and watertight subdivision, and a bunch of other things). And to get a COI, you have to be US-built. If you don't require a COI (you carry no more than six paying passengers) then you can be non-US build.

As mentioned above, sharing cost of gas and food among friends isn't "hire", but beyond that, it may be.

Last edited by nolatom; 03-11-2008 at 01:05 PM.
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