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Old 11-09-2015, 23:07   #1
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Plans for a future Charter Business

Recently, I have not been able to get sailing out of my head. I love the sea, and after a recent cruise, my wife and I have decided we'd like to live in the Caribbean Islands ...

I am considering a Lagoon 620 for charters, to take fairing passengers on island journeys in the Caribbean Islands. I've been studying sailing for months now, have some boating experience, and have always been able to learn fast.

I'm an avid Ham radio guy, an engineering sort, handy with figuring things out, and love to cook. I love people, traveling, entertaining, and exploring. I'm big on safety, training, and navigation ... with gadgets and with maps.

Originally, I was looking at a Beateau Oceanis 55 but think my wife would work better with less tack-'n-roll and the more-or-less flatter stable ride of a catamaran. I've also considering some on-water business ideas like the "Cloud 9" thing in Fiji, but geared more towards cruisers passing through, as well as tourist stops.

I'm serious about this ... and I want it bad!
I'm learning, studying, reading, watching scores of YouTube videos of travelers, cruisers, boat maintenance and repair videos, etc. and am at this time gathering all of the knowledge I possibly can to ready myself.

I have a number of ideas on the charter service, but I have no experience in that area. This is a new venture for me. I'm determined. I constantly am able to go out and do things others have never done, or have difficulty doing, and have this uncanny ability to learn and remember.

I would appreciate some input on the following ... (be kind)

1. Catamaran charters with a Lagoon 620
A. Boat choice, other options or comparisons
B. Feasibility of obtaining regular charter customers
C. Financing/Investor options

2. Designing an on-water restaurant/bar & entertainment venue
A. Cloud 9 in Fiji did it, should be possible in the Caribbean islands
B. How would cruisers like an on-the-water R&R stop
C. Restaurant & Bar, Mini-Shops, General Store, ideas


I'm brainstorming at this time ...
I want to be able to make a good living there, and hopefully employ some of the locals and help them as they help me

I welcome your thoughts ...

-rich-
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Old 12-09-2015, 04:07   #2
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rich.

http://www.foxyladycharter.com/
http://horizonyachtcharters.com/bvi/...20-lady-katlo/
http://www.charterbrochure.com/tellstar62#.VfP6PZeidOg
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Old 12-09-2015, 05:22   #3
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

> I've been studying sailing for months now, have some boating experience,

It may pay to look at the experience of the crews in GordMay's links.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:07   #4
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Welcome to CF Rich n Jane!

Wowza... If I had a nickel for every charter business idea in the Carrib... I digress...

Don't take this too hard, but the obstacles are fairly overwhelming for anyone who has sailed a lifetime AND... Has tons of connections... But truly daunting for a new sailor...

Start doing your research on threads here, and most of your questions will be answered...

Please do stick around and be part of the CF crew...
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:33   #5
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Best research is practical. Get a crewing job for an established charter company.

Once you have done your research and have the most conservative plan and budget possible, triple the length of time and double the budget. If it still makes sense then go for it.

Good luck

Peter Beale
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:52   #6
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

When you finally arrive at practically any Caribbean island, reality will strike hard.

As a "non-belonger" you will need a work permit and a local business license. Both of these permissions are political in nature, and can only be obtained if you either have a local partner, or equivalent connections. Most cost many thousands of dollars annually, with incredible levels of bureaucratic effort required to maintain them.

Many jurisdiction now require proof of professional qualifications to operate
a vessel carrying passengers for hire. i.e. you will have to obtain a captain's license suitable for the size of vessel and number of passengers.

And then there is the import duty. Bringing a vessel into most any island country for commercial purpose will require import duty be paid. This can be a very steep tax, up to 50% of the vessel's value in some places.

I agree with the other advice above. Before committing yourself to life in the Islands, spend some time as a simple tourist. Then seek employment with an established charter company to see if the chartering (and small island life) really suites you.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:03   #7
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

After the boat the first thing you will need is a USCG license. That will require verifiable sea time as well as the written test.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:13   #8
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

It's great to enjoy your work... the opposite is pretty bad. Having said that making something you love into your job can be a disaster. As much as I love sailing and have for 30 years and identify as a sailor... I continue to work as an architect... and would never work in the marine industry and certainly would never have a string of strangers occupying my "home" day after day for "money". Some do this and it seems to work for them.

Frankly I have enough "problems" when land lubber guests come aboard and I have to watch out that they don't break things... by trying to help or do things with their own initiative. And finally I am not the sort of person to wait on people... 24/7 and that's what term charters are.

++++

The last landlubber guest aboard proudly told me that some sailor friend of his told him that ... "the key to sailing is patience"

To which I replied... probably as far as YOU are concerned the key to sailing is that everything you THINK you know about how "things work" and how to do everything... is different on a sailboat. Nothing to do with patience.

++++

There are ways to live/cruise and make a living without running a charter out of your home. You can be a write, a photographer, artist, graphic designer, a travel reporter, a roving mechanic, sewing, or some work that can be done using the WWW which can be accessed from most harbors these days... or if your biz can afford the expense... sat com. I can work as an architect for much of what I have to do aboard... but even this work requires that I go ashore to where project clients etc. are... and I could only work as outsource CAD work for example from "anywhere".
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:22   #9
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbeale View Post
Best research is practical. Get a crewing job for an established charter company.

Once you have done your research and have the most conservative plan and budget possible, triple the length of time and double the budget. If it still makes sense then go for it.

Good luck

Peter Beale
Good morning Peter. It's Mark. Did I see you out sailing last week? If not I must have confused a complete stranger when I said hello
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:39   #10
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Mark,

I did 10 days solo cruise, Redondo, Long Beach, Newport, Dana Point, Avalon, Cat Hrb and back to Del Rey last Saturday afternoon.

Peter
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:04   #11
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

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Originally Posted by Mark Killam View Post
Good morning Peter. It's Mark. Did I see you out sailing last week? If not I must have confused a complete stranger when I said hello
Quote:
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Mark,

I did 10 days solo cruise, Redondo, Long Beach, Newport, Dana Point, Avalon, Cat Hrb and back to Del Rey last Saturday afternoon.

Peter
geezo... where you guys at?

My poor lonely 'ol Morgan is over by the hotel...

And Mark???
You have more boats than me... (and an F-ton nicer) what gives Mr Playboy?
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:11   #12
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Yikes..... if you're still interested in chartering after that barrage of "reasons why not", then you probably have it in your blood and can make it work. Remember, there are a ton of charter operations and all of them started and exist somehow.
To throw in another possibility to add to your due diligence that I don't see mentioned here. See who is selling their charter business and why. You may want to start with the ball up the field further and you can hyperspeed your knowledge of the business. The owner of a charter business has been there and can help you avoid pit falls, learn local best spots, deal with permits etc. There are some basic truisms that can be of immeasurable help that only the owner could share with you.

Yes, crewing for some charter company is helpful.... If you're 18 and have 10 years to build sea time scrubbing and scrubbing. You can hire a captain until you've built sea time to get your own license so don't let that stop you. They're called "paper captains" and for all intents and purposes you are the captain but he is aboard with the proper license. There are plenty of captains willing to work as crew just to get out and make a few bucks.

After 14 years in the charter business in Hawaii I can give you plenty of why not's. The first guy that barked at me "make me a Margarita !" conjured a response from me, "Make me a Ferrari !!!), I can also say I wouldn't have done it for 14 years if I didn't love it.... at least sometimes.

PM me if I can be of any help because I can see the tone of the responses you've received and I don't see a lot of support.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:15   #13
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Rich-Jan I can clearly identify with your desire to get into the cruising business, but have to agree with the cautions clearly outlined above.
I have worked in the Caribbean as a charter captain for 7 years and enjoyed it a great deal. So here is my recommendations for you: get a job with a company called Trade Winds, their main office is (or used to be) in St Maarten. They pay peanuts, treat their crews like sh.... But they take any couple who ever spent a weekend on a boat to work for them. Then you get your foot in the door, make a name for yourself, collect info from happy customers and when you feel ready start your own business if you are still so eager.
Good luck.


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Old 12-09-2015, 11:02   #14
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

The Caribbean is a hard place to start a business - but that is why there are so many opportunities here too. It isn't for everyone - but I can tell you from experience - it is possible! Besides - no matter what, you will come away with some very interesting stories!

If you would like some help learning to sail - check us out! We would be happy to take you out for a week in the Grenadines and help you with the "learning to sail" part.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:31   #15
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Re: Plans for a future Charter Business

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
geezo... where you guys at?

My poor lonely 'ol Morgan is over by the hotel...

And Mark???
You have more boats than me... (and an F-ton nicer) what gives Mr Playboy?
I only have one boat, the rest just hire me as captain. Mine is the Beneteau. I am in A basin, Tahiti marina. What Morgan do you have?
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