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Old 30-06-2016, 19:46   #1
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Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Hi everyone

So my buddy's bachelor party is coming up in late October, and as the best man I have the pleasure of planning this shindig. I think it would be pretty cool to charter a yacht on Florida's Atlantic coast for a long weekend of cruising, partying, fishing etc. I've found a few yachts that are within budget and available for the tgt weekend, but knowing next to nothing about anything nautical, Ive got some concerns and reservations. Id also like to run the plan by a forum of knowledgable people that can point out potential problems/unaccounted for expenses/other pieces of nautical common sense that I may be missing:

At the moment I'm looking at a 70ft Johnson motor yacht named Charmer:

1. I want to board in Ft. Lauderdale and head south to Miami for the night (Miamarina). Then from Miami to the Bahamas the following day (Freeport Marina), and Bahamas to West Palm Beach (Palm Beach Marina) on day three, then back to Ft. Lauderdale. We will be staying overnight at each of the three marinas (not Ft. Laud) - I estimate dock fees of $750-800 for all three combined. Does this sound right? Any advice here would be great. As far as I can tell dock fees typically include utilities, right?

2. The boat will be fully loaded, probably 10 guys. So 4 of us will need to get creative on sleeping accommodations - think there's room for a blow up mattress or two? Will 10 people fit comfortably on a yacht this size sans sleeping accommodations?

3. At a cruise speed of ~20kts, I am estimating an avg burn rate of 150 gal/hr - is this anywhere near correct? At $2.50/gal for diesel, I am assuming the entire trip will cost ~$4k in gas - Is this realistic? Overly conservative? Too generous?

4. How do captains and crew typically handle bachelor parties? Where will they sleep? Is 10% gratuity based on all expenses (charter fee, gas, marina fees, etc)?

5. Tell me why this is a bad idea - other than the obvious reasons all bachelor parties are bad ideas

6. Any other pointers/tips/advice/suggestions much appreciated

Thanks a lot everyone!

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Old 30-06-2016, 20:53   #2
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Freeport in the Bahamas? That's a commercial port, isn't it? Not exotic stuff.

This is mostly a sailing forum so I don't know what level of info you will get re a 70ft sport fishing motor boat.

How many nights? 4? And you wanna go Lauderdale, Miami, Bahamas, Palm Beach, Lauderdale?

What about something like: Lauderdale to West End Bahamas, clear in, swim, booze up at anchor. Next day fish down to Bimini, booze up... next day fish back to Lauderdale.
If u have an extra day go onto the flats between Bimini and Berry Islands.

Benefit is the only upwind/up current part will be West End to Bimini and you are out of the Gulf Stream.
The other 2 legs have the Gulf Stream partially behind you... more comfortable as someone *will* get sea sick

As for the number of people they can have on the boat, you better check as the charter company now as it may be a 6 person max. (Some weird law).

Hope this helps.

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Old 01-07-2016, 09:34   #3
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Nothing in your plan screams a problem to me, but I would run all your questions by the charter captain. There are no hard and fast rules about how these things work, it's up to the captain to decide how his boat is run.

The major snag you may hit is that the vessel may not be inspected for more than six passengers, this is a hard and fast rule the captain has to follow, or he risks a long stay in jail. So if the vessel isn't inspected you will only be allowed to have six. If it is inspected then you will be fine. 70' is right at the break point where you start to see boats getting inspections, so either way wouldn't suprize me at all.

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Old 01-07-2016, 10:02   #4
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Met someone with a 65' Viking with twin 2,000 HP MTU Diesels, he told me fuel burn was 120 GPH at 28 kts, so your fuel burn sounds right.
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Old 01-07-2016, 16:34   #5
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Your best bet is to ask the captain (or the charter company) all these questions. He knows what the typical dockage and fuel costs are for his vessel.
Of course there's always the risk that the conversation will start with you being told that the boat is not for charter to a bunch of drunken bachelor party types, but you never know unless you ask.
Good luck.
By the way, does everyone involved have an up to date passport?
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Old 01-07-2016, 16:44   #6
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Why dock this boat? Use that $$$ to shuttle girls on the dingy back and forth. I would think this boat could stay out for a week or so without docking it.

Yes...there will be plenty of room to sleep a bunch of extra people on air mattresses.

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Old 01-07-2016, 18:25   #7
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

It says on the yacht's website that overnight charters are limited to 6, max of 12 for day charters. Better see if they'll bend that rule for you.

"Weekly Charters: $18 000.-- plus fuel, dockage and provisioning (seven days)

Multi-Day Charters for up to six people are the ultimate get away for friends and family groups. We are happy to suggest itineraries or work with you to accommodate your requests; see our destination page for ideas. Let us know where you want to go and how much time you have and we will be happy to make suggestions for a truly memorable trip on Charmer. Note that overnight charters are limited to 6 guests. Overnight charters for oess than a week are prorated by 6 ($3000 days plus expenses)"

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Old 01-07-2016, 19:13   #8
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Have you thought about bareboat charter (with or without a hired captain), either sail or power, in the BVI or Bahamas(I am more familiar with BVI). Many of the power cats in 45-ft range seem to be with 10 on board. October is typically great deals. Usually minimum of 5 days but your budget probably close to same.
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Old 01-07-2016, 19:47   #9
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Freeport does have yacht harbors and a casino so that part of the plan is OK. However you don't just show up and walk through a line for a quick stamp like the airport. You have to call the officials to come to the boat to clear customs and immigration and that process on a boat is quite variable.

Depending on the port, how many other boats came in that day and the day of the week (weekends are holidays, the officials charge overtime and sometimes take their time getting to the boat) it could take 1-2 hours or half a day before you are allowed to leave the boat. Going for a few hours or even one day sometimes isn't really practical.
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Old 01-07-2016, 20:13   #10
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

A Bachelor party with blow up "mattresses"?
I guess bachelor parties have changed a bit since my time.
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Old 01-07-2016, 22:11   #11
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

I could be wrong but in addition to the inspection of the vessel for charter for over 6 folks, you may be faced with the issue of licensing of the skipper. A 100 ton Masters license would be required for the number you are planning on entertaining as well as the vessel inspection. A 'six pack' license allows the skipper to take up to six passengers for pay as I recall. There is a big difference between a six pack and higher ticket certifications both in sea time and study required.
There have been several changes to the certification process in recent years and I had heard that only those who currently hold valid 100 ton Masters certification and keep their ticket current are permitted to hold one. The next step from there is a 500 ton Masters then up to seagoing unlimited tonnage almost exclusively held by graduates from Maritime Academies where they put in a comprehensive 3 years and start their seagoing apprenticeship as a third deck officer or third engineer below decks.
If I were you, I would check out the certifications of the skipper taking you out, his/her background and experience, licensing and familiarity with the area you plan to cruise.
Cheers, hope that helps... Phil
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:12   #12
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Assuming the boat is legal, and anyone operating a 70' charter boat is likely on the right side of the law, then if they are carrying 12 for a day charter then the captain has a tonnage license and the boat is inspected so that's not a worry.

The 100 Tonn is still pretty trivial to get with a couple weeks of study.

You just need to confirm that the captain/chartered is interested in making this trip.

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Old 02-07-2016, 07:50   #13
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Your trying to do to much in a short time.
That derelict boat was another dream for somebody else, don't let it be your nightmare and a waste of your life.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:38   #14
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

Forget the power yacht. Rent a large sailing yacht with keel stepped masts.

That way you have built in poles for the strippers.

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Old 02-07-2016, 08:46   #15
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Re: Advice on Yacht for Bachelor Party

As a charter operator/captain in the BVI, but with a US Master's license, I can confirm all the comments about inspected/not inspected. The charter company or crew will be able to inform you of what they can/are willing to do, and do be upfront with them.

Yes, in the BVI, the licensing provisions are a bit different, and there is now a Jones Act exemption in the USVI for BVI compliant boats. In other words, if your yacht meets the MCA code requirements for taking up to 12 passengers in the BVI, you can do the same in the US...if you so request...this is a very new rule, suggested by the USCG and passed by Congress and not popular with the BVI authorities.

If the crew are able/willing to take your group overnight, they will tell you what the sleeping arrangements will be, and what a reasonable itinerary, with all the necessary caveats regarding the actual weather you face, might be. If you work with a broker, the broker can do the same. It's not the first rodeo for any of them!

For what it is worth, your itinerary seems a bit ambitious to me, particularly in light of the fact that your party may not be feeling on top of their game at all times (!) due to potential sea sickness, general exhaustion, or various altered states. Which brings up the fact that most charter contracts include a clause that more or less says "if there are any drugs on board, the charter is immediately cancelled, the guests put ashore, and no refund is made." This is particularly true of international charters and the Bahamas fall into that category. Don't have any idea whether this pertains to any of your gang, and I certainly don't mean any offense, but beware. Don't put the crew to the test on this one.

An appropriate tip for a crewed charter is 10-20 % and 10 is considered to be pretty low. And, before the masses jump in to say there should not be a tip, or that tips should not be a part of someone's assumed income, or that it should be less, or whatever, let me assure you that the cost of the charter has been calculated on the basis that you understand the tipping custom and are content with that. In view of the fact that this trip is likely to be on the tricky side as regards the crew (assuming that they are willing to even do it), I would budget 20% for a great experience, and knock something off for something not as good.

Stumble, I don't know if you have tested for a Master's license any time lately. During my life, I stupidly let my license lapse two times, thinking that I would never use it again. So I have taken the test, and passed it, three times! The first time, nearly thirty years ago, it was, indeed, trivial (although a considerable percentage had to re-take various elements). The second time, eleven years ago, it had gotten somewhat harder, but was still a one day affair (including sailing and other endorsements) that someone who knew their stuff could do pretty easily. The last time I took it, about two years ago, it was a total bear. It has been completely changed and now takes three days, including a sailing endorsement! It's not trivial, at all, and I don't think it's just because I am older and maybe not quite as nimble minded as before. Beyond that, a Master's license needs twice the sea time that a six pac license does, and that can take awhile. And operating internationally means the whole crew needs to have their STCW certification, which is easily done but can take a week. Not that anyone has to anything special to accomplish all of this, but I question the word trivial! On the other hand, I never took one of the schools that more or less feeds you the answers, etc. I did my own study (there are several very good guides) and took the test from the USCG, and I realize there are easier ways.

Best of luck to the bachelor party!

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