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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I've seen a number of "crew" postings in various forums that are asking for payment as "crew". I seem to recall reading about specific rules on this topic but can't seem to find the links. I thought I'd start this thread to gather information on what is required for a skipper to operate a boat with paying "crew" (passengers) internationally.

My personal interest is what is required by a skipper and boat to legally operate internationally if I ever jump on to be crew.

For example,
If a Canadian flagged vessel picks up passengers and sails into USA waters; Which licences are needed?

If a US flagged vessel leaves the US to travel through the Caribbean; Which licences are required?

I'm also interested in European and Australian rules for jumping on boats over there.

Lastly, in reality, do skippers follow these rules or are they lip-service?

Ok, prepare to start adding links... GO!
 

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You will have to abide by your country's Maritime Laws.
Here in the states you have to have a USCG License and a Certificate of Inspection for your vessel.
 

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HANUMAN
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The short answer, as far as the USA, is that money exchanged to share expenses, such as food, fuel or mooring is not considered payment. So, no license or inspection required.

Payment for passage requires USCG license and inspection.

I believe this precedent has been set in US courts. However, I never accept money from friends or acquaintances. I will accept beer and food :D

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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The short answer, as far as the USA, is that money exchanged to share expenses, such as food, fuel or mooring is not considered payment. So, no license or inspection required.

Payment for passage requires USCG license and inspection.

I believe this precedent has been set in US courts. However, I never accept money from friends or acquaintances. I will accept beer and food :D

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
I seem to remember reading near the beginning of the Captain's License study guide that accepting beer, food, etc. was still considered payment. I don't have it in front of me (I gave the book away) but it was the guide written by Charlie Wing if I remember correctly. I remember being surprised that beer and contributing to food and provisioning was considered "payment".
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Ok, a real-life examples: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/crew-wanted/81015-florida-caribbean-mid-december.html

Previous voyage looks like it was from Canada to USA, then this upcoming voyage looks like USA to the Caribbean.

The post requests crew, and reads like a routine crew post but then finishes up with a daily rate. If you read further into the linked website, it appears they are encouraging 'crew' to join for the adventure and sets down a price.

I'm curious to know what licences he would need to A) be allowed to pick up crew/passengers in Canada. B) if he needs the USCG licence for the "crew" or "passenger" situation and C) What happens once he is beyond USA waters? Do the USCG rules still apply? Perhaps the latter is a moot point.

As a Canadian, I would find it hard to believe that I could go to the USA with whatever licence I may have from Canada, pick up passengers and sail away... I would think the foreign country might have something to say about that. So therefore, I would think it's logical to assume that both home country and foreign country rules must apply. ... I can't find a single link to back up my intuition. And this is why I ask the question.

For the record, I don't know this fellow and wish him no ill-will and best of luck on his voyages. It was just the example that got me thinking about this question.
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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In the 80's if you split the gas bill with your friend after a day of fishing, you had just "employed" him and he was in big trouble if he didn't have a license and commercial status. The USCG didn't go looking but there were some court cases that forced the issue. The changes were in response to specific incidents and case(s). So then the USCG made some official pronouncements about that and some specific changes which probably cannot be taken out of exact context. Basically, if you bought a friend (someone you had an existing relationship with) a meal or split the gas, that was NOT commercial and would not be treated as such.

Absent the pre-existing relationship? You might want to ask the USCG directly what their boundaries are, and exactly what that is based on. And if your obligations are going to be verbal and not described or limited in writing...that's a whole other can of worms as well. For you or your estate to explore.

Outside the US and with non-US-flagged vessels? Your mileage may vary with the flag. There's an awful lot of them to choose from.
 

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Ok, a real-life examples: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/crew-wanted/81015-florida-caribbean-mid-december.html

Previous voyage looks like it was from Canada to USA, then this upcoming voyage looks like USA to the Caribbean.

The post requests crew, and reads like a routine crew post but then finishes up with a daily rate. If you read further into the linked website, it appears they are encouraging 'crew' to join for the adventure and sets down a price.
This is clearly a for hire situation, to operate in US waters the Captain would need a US mariners license. The fact that his web site does not reference that credential would make me believe he does not have one, and is thus simply skirting the law. A good reason to skip any consideration of going with them...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
to operate in US waters the Captain would need a US mariners license.
What about outside of US waters? I suspect flagged ships need to comply with USCG regulations beyond that. Do they also need to comply with the foreign countries licences/laws or are they usually exempt due to being flagged from another country?
 

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In the U.S. The relevant rule is USC 2101 (5a):

(5a) "consideration" means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.

My understanding is this:

The Key word is " Voluntary" If you board a vessel that has advertised costs and the costs are " conditions" of travel; then it's not Voluntary then you are a paying passenger.
The Captain and the Ship must comply with all relevant Rules of licensing and inspection.
The Captain's license will control the waters he/she's allowed to operate in under the Authority of their license.

For fewer than 6 passengers, the vessel may not need to be " Inspected" but must comply with all relevant regulations regarding carriage of equipment. Depending on the tonnage it may or may not need to be " Documented" ( under or over 5 tons) for use as a UPV. ( as opposed to a " Recreational" vessel)

Reciprocity is addressed in the code for foreign vessels..but I would research it.
 

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What about outside of US waters? I suspect flagged ships need to comply with USCG regulations beyond that. Do they also need to comply with the foreign countries licences/laws or are they usually exempt due to being flagged from another country?
I think the country rules always apply within its boundries. Anyone operating in the US is subject to the US requirements.

Off shore is a good question, beats me...maybe that's UN regulatory territory. Somewhat of a moot question, as no one is going to begin or end a voyage not subject to some country"s regs.
 

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Passenger for hire means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent or any other person having an interest in the vessel (46 U.S.C. 2101(21a)).

Consideration means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including monetary payment going to an individual, person, or entity. It does not include a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel food, beverage, or other supplies (46 U.S.C. 2101(5a)).

I know this is not my place to post this, but asking for someone to help with expences seems legal. If I'm wrong please explane it to me before I make this mistake.
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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Never,
If their contribution is VOLUNTARY and actually limited to a portion of your expenses while they were aboard, it is likely to be considered personal, not business. There would seem to be enough gray area on the laws so that a major question is: Did you know this person beforehand? Or did you solicit them with the understanding they'd be paying you?

The law used to be simple, any "consideration" including buying the beer for your uncle when you got back to the dock made the whole trip commercial. Then the USCG lightened things up--with the intention of allowing FRIENDS to buy lunch or share the gas with their friends.

I'd still say if you are advertising and making deals with strangers--that's commercial. Try it, have a problem that goes to court, and see how the courts rule. It is only their opinion that counts--but that's how the laws are intended.
 

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Water Lover
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Ah, it's all about THAT boat... I remember a thread that got deleted as it got contentious between an unhappy former "crew member" and one of the owners.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My original intent for this thread was to determine what the international requirements were all about. Which licences, which documentation and when you need them. I intended the thread to be helpful to the many of us that may run into this issue if we take guests or crew (paying/paid/volunteer) across a border.

My current thinking is the same as SailingFools; I would think that a professional captain must follow the laws of the countries in which he is sailing. In international waters, I don't suspect licences apply. I still haven't found any solid information to back that up.

I did not want to call out just one captain/boat as there may be plenty of boats that do this; I'll take those comments to his threads and not side-track this one. I linked to another thread where the specific captain is asked about the legalities but I don't think it was clarified.

If we must hijack this tread to talk about the interpretation of the USCG definitions, then the rule (5a) above has some fudging areas... It mentions "profit", how would you prove it was a profit or a loss? It mentions voluntary, how do you define voluntary? Skipper says it costs $30/day and you voluntarily choose to chip in that amount or is that payment? I know my opinion, but it does leave grey area without known prior examples.

To hijack my own thread further, I have to wonder if it's ethical or wise to try to supplement your cruising kitty, or offsetting cruising costs, by asking crew to pay? As a skipper, I look at crew as people who are helping me out so that I can go sailing. My boat, my dream, my costs. If I were chartering a boat, then it's our boat, our dream, our costs. These mixed shenanigans of "My boat, your dream, who's paying?" is where it breaks down into the grey area.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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This is clearly a for hire situation, to operate in US waters the Captain would need a US mariners license.
Not so. If the master's license meets the requirements of the flag country I believe all is well. There are terms of reciprocity in International Maritime Organization (IMO is a UN agency) agreements. I suspect but don't know that some countries have laws that allow for additional reciprocity. For example, a Liberian-flagged ship might be owned by a German company, chartered to a US company with French-licensed officers and a Filipino crew.

Many countries including the US have additional requirements specifically intended to protect domestic industries. In the US, the Jones Act requires that cargo or passengers carried from one US port to another US port be aboard a US flagged vessel. The linked example earlier in this thread referred to this requirement when noting that they don't take crew/passengers between US ports.

In international waters, I don't suspect licences apply. I still haven't found any solid information to back that up.
For a US flagged vessel you must comply with US requirements regardless of where you are, including international waters. I suspect most countries are similar and in fact the requirement may be codified by the IMO.
 

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Off shore most crew contribute to the costs. Nothing being said about a commercial enterprise. Up to you how far you want to take it, if you don't need any help with the costs then there are hundreds that will "crew" for you. Big question for you is do you want these folks on your boat? I found that those who contributed something were much better crew members. I don't need anybody to help finance my dream either, but for all the hassles with having crew on board, a paying crew member is better.

If your heading offshore then a whole new set of rules apply, mostly your own.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Off shore most crew contribute to the costs.
Not on Auspicious. I pay costs from the time we leave the dock until we hit the dock again, and have even helped beyond that in some circumstances. Crew are not passengers. They have duties and responsibilities.

Sure there are a lot of people who want to sail with me, but not all are qualified. Not all will be available. Frankly, some are more talk than action and won't show up.

In my experience many of the really good and experienced crew (with some exceptions) have lots of rides to choose from.

If you're talking about day-sails then food and beverage contributions are always appreciated. I would never ask anyone to contribute to boat costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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.

We´re not paying. Rather, we will rent you a cabin for the Caribbean cruise.
Winter 2011-2012 Caribbean Explorations «
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 :confused: 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?
 

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Well presently I own a sport fishing boat and am looking to go over to sail because of high fuel cost. I've done the payed crew thing for a fishing trip from Louisiana down to Bimini were just my friends and I cover cost. I have to say the whole thing was a disaster. 2 of the 4 crew thought because they were on the boat that they were going to be treated like friends and share in the fishing. And Ever since then I've given a choice to either be payed and work or share the cost and have fun.There 's no middle ground here as I see it. Bottom line trips cost. If you want to have fun it will cost and as I told before I don't presently own a sail I have power but it seems to me that $30 a day is a very low sum to spend time Paradise. As for what I take from reading the law even if a boat owner tells up front that crew member has to pay it will be up to that person as to agree or decline. I've been thinking of joining a boat recently just to see if switching to sail would work for me and see nothing wrong with paying my share.
 

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If we must hijack this tread to talk about the interpretation of the USCG definitions, then the rule (5a) above has some fudging areas... It mentions "profit", how would you prove it was a profit or a loss? It mentions voluntary, how do you define voluntary?
I think that defining "voluntary" is pretty easy. If the captain will let you come along regardless of whether you pay anything or not, then it's voluntary. If the rule is, pay or you cannot come, then it is very clearly NOT voluntary. In the latter case payment is a condition of being allowed to come along and as such you are clearly a paying passenger--captain must have a license, and vessel must be inspected.
 
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