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Old 17-02-2013, 17:46   #16
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Or rather, being a divemaster, could I also become. Sailmaster and offer 1-2 week open water diving + basic sailing course instruction? Ah? Combine my love of teaching and my passion for the sea for that stuff that makes our worlds go round? Again, propers papers notwithstanding.
Djent. I've been diving for a while, I'm a dive master, and a professional public safety diver. The rolling eyes of my fellow readers is all that resume is worth. I won't comment on how a 20 year old managed to get an instructors card, but LOTS of your prospective customers will.

I've kicked this problem around for a while. And I've figured it out. It's not quite what you asked after, but it's practical.

What I've found from both taking and "working" lots of dive charters is that it's a small margin business. Captains are forever looking for dive masters who are competent and cheap. If you are truly competent in the water it will show, and if you are a normally hard working and helpful person, you can land subsequent trips for free. Many (not the Mike Ball types) live aboard charters will let you go and dive free in exchange for guiding the clients and cleaning/dishes/deck work. If you're a whiz with an underwater video system and laptop, you can sometimes find ops that will trade you discounted trips for your making and selling the folks videos of their trip.

So, long story endless... You use your sailboat to get you to a nice place, hopefully that you've had an email exchange with, and dive for free. You aren't making anything (tips are a touchy subject, leave them for the local dive masters), but you'll score amazing diving. You don't need a huge boat, you don't need all the extra insurance, you don't need to advertise, you don't need much. I think the cost difference between what you would pay for the charter biz vs. what you might make at it would be underwater (pardon the pun) compared to getting yourself somewhere and "working for free."

Personally, if I was "experience challenged" (read: young and free), I'd head for Cairns and trade labor for free trips. Stay in a hostel when you're not on a boat. You'll meet tons of people from all over the world, and by the time your visa is up you should be able to line up the next gig. Some of the boat crews used to hit this place called "The Green Ant" between trips. As good a place to start as any, and if you strike out there, at least the beer is cold.

JRM
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:01   #17
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Thank you JRM for your suggestion and tip on the Green ant. I appreciate you lending some experience to the young and free. Only problem is how to also satisfy my girlfriends wants. I quite like her and we are a good match, especially for frugal living/ cruising abroad. Hence this money issue. Whats cheap? $4-500 per week or two? Enough to sail around on until I hit onto some better plan per se. Food drink and fuel is all a guy needs. Plus diving supplies which can add up. I'm probably going to have to work in Canada's oil patch to save up for a nice rig and take a break from diving which sucks, or do liveaboards, either way I'm gone from my girlfriend. This is kind of depressing that my dreams conflict with real possibility haha. Dream big they said! Where there's a will theres a way they said!!
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:06   #18
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

learn to surf!
surf charters pay better,with little equipment and less risk
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:15   #19
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

More than 500 dives. 200-300 of them off charters in Washington and British Columbia. Maybe 150 of them off liveaboards. Maybe 100 warm-water dives.

I would not charter a sailboat to dive from.
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:16   #20
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pirate Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Canadians don't surf. Maybe I could help with the GF's experience level, eh?
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:29   #21
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

You really need to look at the big picture. SCUBA diving, done by book, still is a risky sport. If you are injured, who is going to pay for your medical bills, let alone care for you?; you need medical insurance. Since SCUBA diving is risky, you may not even be able to get insurance. To give you an idea how much surgery costs for a pair of herniated disks, it is upward of $60,000 USD. This does not include months of physical therapy; a career ending surgery. Forget about working for low wages or for free so that you may visit cool places; that is not reality. When you find a steady job, weigh all the pros and cons of starting a business. A SCUBA diving business requires a lot of capital up front; less than 1% of start-ups make it over a year. Have you considered teaching SCUBA diving on a cruise ship? Your girlfriend could also work as well on the same ship, doing something she likes. I'm not sure how you became a PADI OWSI, at the age of 20; not going there. What everyone is telling you in a friendly way...you have a great dream, but it requires very very deep pockets to achieve and with no guarantees of success. I wish it was otherwise. Good luck! Mauritz
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:52   #22
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

I think if you play up the sailing part, it could become part of the charter package. Sail/Scuba excursions. That way the sailing becomes a plus rather than a liability. If you want to work "under the radar" you can't. You would be charging for your charters, and would need Coast Guard certification and insurance. If you can get certification for your boat as a charter vessel, you might do better with eco-tourism rather than diving, as I expect the insurance premiums might be more affordable. To fly under the radar, you would be wide open to lawsuits and criminal charges for tax evasion or negligence if someone hurt themselves. BTW, there is a sailing vessel chartering out of Snug Cove on Bowen, just doing sailing excursions with a little lunch thrown in, and seems to be quite busy during the tourist season.
Good luck.
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Old 17-02-2013, 19:22   #23
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I'm a retired PADI Master Instructor and NAUI Instructor Trainer.

Neither professional association will allow you to certify students unless you have liability insurance. To do it right, you need a certified boat captain staying with the boat, and a certified instructor going into the water with the students/clients.

Running an onboard compressor is a huge expense. To do it right, you'll need a boat with a diesel generator and huge lazarette. There's no way you'll host two crew and 7-8 customers overnight on a 40' sailboat with a compressor. That's the stuff of nightmares.

Sailboats tend not to be great dive boats. I used to own a diveboat. Your customers will tend to want to get on site fast, and the biggest problem you'll fight on a day to day basis is seasickness among your customers. If it takes three times as long to get your customers from the dock to the dive site, you're going to have three times as many seasick customers.

Dive tanks and weights beat the hell out of a boat. Ask yourself how you're going to deal with such equipment when the clients are not in the water.

Bottom line: a 40' sailboat will never give you the margins you'd need to keep a business solvent.
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Old 17-02-2013, 19:27   #24
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You really need to look at the big picture. SCUBA diving, done by book, still is a risky sport. If you are injured, who is going to pay for your medical bills, let alone care for you?; you need medical insurance. Since SCUBA diving is risky, you may not even be able to get insurance.
+1. I got a life insurance policy when I was newly married. I was an occasional backcountry and mountain guide and had been skydiving. That mattered none. They had *tons* of questions about my diving. That was before I did technical diving, so I was able to answer truthfully and still get insured. When I started working for the fire department I figured I better get more insurance. They weren't overly concerned with my occupation, but I got denied because I answered truthfully about my diving. Don't even think of mentioning you dive below recreational limits, and don't list it as an occupation. Diving makes up about 2% of my work, but it gets 90% of the bean counter's attentions.

JRM

-- and I disagree about crewing for free isn't feasible. It's like the cruising on $500 per month. Not for everyone, but totally doable. Just not forever. But the kid is young. He wants to live a little before a life sentence in the salt mines. And it's about a thousand times more feasible than trying to run a diving charter from a 40' sailboat, and a couple million more than on one that costs less than $50K. Heck, for $50K I could ride the "work for diving" train for several years.
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Old 18-02-2013, 08:38   #25
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Or you can take a page from the "education" travel industry. Form a non-profit research corporation as a charity, perhaps monitoring the state of coral reeefs around the world. Now, in addition to all the other requirements on you, you have to be careful about those.

But you get to invite people to pay you gobs of money to sail to pristine unreachable reefs, powered by renewable energy from the sun and wind, and dive on them to study them.

A niche market but one that isn't competing with the locals because now you're an educational charity doing research.

Now, THAT could work. And if it does, I want a seat on the board of directors. :-)
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Old 18-02-2013, 16:58   #26
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Speaking as a diver, who has done extensive cold water boat diving: first, my wife and I are the folks you want. She's a doctor, we have disposable income, and we met on a charter dive boat. Our vacations are dive trips, mainly to the Sunshine Coast or Port Hardy. We prefer British Columbia diving to warm water diving.

The reason we wouldn't charter a sailboat is because we want to dive, not sail. We have no energy to put up with sailing on a dive trip, and our limited time aboard means we want to get to the next dive site.

Not to mention the safety issues that diving off a sailboat presents.

Doing two or three cold water dives a day for more than two days in a row is exhausting. Particularly when you're over about 25. You'll see. Add a night dive or current, and you'll fall asleep as soon as you finish your hot cocoa, and some beautiful crew member will have to wake you up for dinner. Under those conditions, the boat needs to be fast if it's a day boat, to get us back to the hot tub, and it needs to be huge and luxurious if it's a liveaboard. With a large bar.

Favorite day boat: Bryce Christie, Sunshine Coast Charters. The Topline. Favorite captain, for that matter.

Favorite liveaboard: the Nautilus Explorer, although she no longer sails in Canada during the winter. Which is way too bad, winter is the best diving.

We've done cramped boats, small liveaboards, for low rates. We once dove off a herring skiff. A herring skiff! We also dove with an operator who spent more on his TV than he did on his boat. He talked about it all day, and couldn't wait to get us back to watch it. Never again. There were at least two dozen boats that we looked at each other, shook our heads, and never went back. You don't want to be one of them, they're all out of business now. With the herring skiff, we came back to the dock, checked out of the motel, bailed on Sunday and Monday's diving, and drove home. Now we make jokes about it, and no one who hears the jokes would consider diving off that boat, but it doesn't matter. He's working construction. You don't want us making jokes about your boat.

In the dive boat industry, the patrons have money. That makes us uppity. The poor divers are all out on Little Cayman, working as dive masters because they can't afford the airfare home. We know other divers, who also have money. We band together and talk to each other.

There are luxury dive boats that do what we want, and there are former dive boat owners. There is nothing in between.

My suggestion is the same as others: crew on the Nautilus Explorer. The captain (and his lovely wife) count on folks like you finding them. They'll welcome you. I know you think you know how to run a dive boat, but go see how they do it, and compare their methods to what you have in mind.

There is another, rather rude problem that I haven't mentioned, but perhaps someone needs to come out and tell you. Those of us with the money you want aren't going to sail under someone your age, particularly on a trip that has the added risks of diving. We want a captain who has 25 years at sea, not 25 years alive. Be patient. Start now, and you'll get there. When you do, you won't have any competition, because we'll recognize you for exactly what you are.

Best of luck, there's always room for another top-of-the-line diveboat.
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Old 18-02-2013, 17:07   #27
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
More than 500 dives. 200-300 of them off charters in Washington and British Columbia. Maybe 150 of them off liveaboards. Maybe 100 warm-water dives.

I would not charter a sailboat to dive from.
Jammer is dead on. I have outfitted lots of scuba charters with compressor systems and only one of them was a sail boat. But even that one was a 80' motor-sailer.

Northwestern divers are a hearty breed, but if we are going to be paying for a diving trip, we want to be pampered with food, drink and lots of space for our heavy equipment.

While I would love to sell you a compressor, I suggest you either get a bigger boat or, better yet, consider crewing on one of the existing charters for a while to help get it out of your system.
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Old 22-02-2013, 00:42   #28
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Or you can take a page from the "education" travel industry. Form a non-profit research corporation as a charity, perhaps monitoring the state of coral reeefs around the world. Now, in addition to all the other requirements on you, you have to be careful about those.

But you get to invite people to pay you gobs of money to sail to pristine unreachable reefs, powered by renewable energy from the sun and wind, and dive on them to study them.

A niche market but one that isn't competing with the locals because now you're an educational charity doing research.

Now, THAT could work. And if it does, I want a seat on the board of directors. :-)
Tell me more :P
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Old 22-02-2013, 00:45   #29
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.

My suggestion is the same as others: crew on the Nautilus Explorer. The captain (and his lovely wife) count on folks like you finding them. They'll welcome you. I know you think you know how to run a dive boat, but go see how they do it, and compare their methods to what you have in mind.

There is another, rather rude problem that I haven't mentioned, but perhaps someone needs to come out and tell you. Those of us with the money you want aren't going to sail under someone your age, particularly on a trip that has the added risks of diving. We want a captain who has 25 years at sea, not 25 years alive. Be patient. Start now, and you'll get there. When you do, you won't have any competition, because we'll recognize you for exactly what you are.

Best of luck, there's always room for another top-of-the-line diveboat.
Respect.
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Old 22-02-2013, 01:53   #30
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Cool Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Hang on to that dream mate! I know someone that has done exactly that, although he bought an ex-cray boat. In the off season he's doing crew transfers to the offshore rigs off Western Australia. Age - 27yrs

I have just bought a new 44' cat with the exact same plan as you. I'm going to the Solomon Islands thou, and after living there for 5yrs first, having contacts in place and knowing the language. My boat has not even arrived in Australia yet and I have had 4 charter enquiries already. I see everyones point about the drysuit diving, tropics is much easier, no wetties. Compressor essential, and unless you plan to carry petrol (gas) on top of your required diesel factor in a generator to run the compressor. I am an SSI adv instructor, a scuba equipment technician, and a commercial diver. I am just completing my Master 5 (Captains Ticket) and have Marine Engineer quals now. Its taken me a while to get here and i'm a little (lot) older than you.

The point is it can't be done without a plan (mines a 5yr plan), lots of study, lots of work, and considerable experience. Keep working, its doesn't happen overnight but it does happen. Good on ya, everything good starts with a dream.
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