This is clearly a for hire situation, to operate in US waters the Captain would need a US mariners license.
I just read through the site again and although I think he has reworded some of the info on there, his responses to people posting on his site still implies it is a "for hire" situation.
The site also claims the ship is US flagged.
So... In this situation, he would need to comply with US regulations no matter where he goes, even in international waters?
In my case, being a Canadian, if I achieved whatever licence requirements we have
then I would be allowed to operate in US waters? That doesn't sound right to me. I have a hard time believing the US would accept Canadian rules. Heck, even for maritime VHF they won't sign a reciprocal agreement even though the US rules are more lax than ours. Outside of this discussion, I'm sure there are tax and VISA issues that we'd face if we tried to pick up US passengers. I imagine other countries, lets say in the Caribbean, would also not be ok if a ship pulled in and picked up paying passengers without paying taxes - everyone wants their piece of pie.
We were told by a bareboat skipper in Italy, that the reason we didn't see many sail boats near Positano was that Italy had some really strict laws about Captain's Licences. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. However, if International agreement applies, there *should* have been quite a few other flagged vessels in the area... there really wasn't, which was strange.
Do we have any links or is this still all conjecture?