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Old 17-02-2013, 00:49   #1
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Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Hello all,I am new to your fine community and have been quite entertained browsing through the forum. I am a new sailor, a wet foot, but hooked and looking to buy a boat in the next year or so. So a couple things to discuss:
First) its intended final purpose will be global circumnavigation for my girlfriend and I, ill mostly be singlehandling, and once at destinations, to keep "afloat," I would like to...
Second)...dive charter! So I've already started my research and have decided +/- 40' is a must (4-6 happy customers) probably just a sloop, needs a dive/swim platform for ease of entry in North Pacific waters (bulky dry suits and heavy weighting) so this causes some confliction in what to start looking at purchasing. Looking for <$50,000 sail away. Remember accommodations for 7-8 total. 70's-80's is fine
Third) can I just scoop up customers and take them out and charge professional rate (certified PADI specialty instructor in victoria bc, huuuuuge client base for diving) and not need to worry about insurance and licensing? It would be like taking out friends and going diving but they would be "fare-paying passengers" in real life and I don't desire to be above the law, staying out of trouble so I have a future in sailing/diving is a must.
Fourth) what do you guys suggest? Have in mind? Any info or comments will probably be appreciated, content-specific


Anyway, I'm 20 and would like a future of nomadic voyaging for my girl and I but with a Canadian based diving charter business with legal canadian business address (home based at my dads house, he's cool) so I can make-a-tha-money abroad. Just trying to live my dreams here, no big deal. I'm patient as fcuk to see the right things happen. Now, end rant.


Thanks.
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Old 17-02-2013, 03:01   #2
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

A few things to consider, from a 30+ year PADI SCUBA Dive Master... 1) You'll need to be close to a Hyperbaric/Decompression facility, just in case someone exceeds his/her diving limits; 2) You'll need insurance, just in case someone slips and falls on your boat; 3) You'll need a couple of air/nitro compressors, plus 3 tanks per diver...that's a lot of weight to carry, plus the required power for these compressors, plus maintenance parts for all of the above; 4) You'll need facilities for 8 divers (sleeping quarters, entertainment, projection room, large galley to feed everyone)...that requires a live-aboard trawler rather than a sail boat; 5) You'll need at least one Dive Master to help with the operation, back-up navigation and diving related issues. There are other factors to consider, but you'll need to do your homework by being an intern on a live-aboard diving ship for a year. And, one more thing...You don't see too many Dive Masters in their 40's and above doing this job, because by that time they have herniated their backs and necks because of daily lifting of tanks and such; required corrective surgery is career ending. A career dependent on your health condition is extremely risky; I wouldn't do it! Mauritz
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Old 17-02-2013, 05:40   #3
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I would think lots if not all other countries would have an issue with you conducting charter business in their territory without a local business partner-i may be wrong- having the amount of dive gear you would need to accommodate even just 4 divers professionally would be overwhelming on a 40 ft mono. A 40 ft cat no problem.
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Old 17-02-2013, 06:30   #4
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

I mean this is the nicest possible way, but you need to go get some more experience working dive charters first. The idea of running full price dive charters in the Pacific NW in drysuits off of a 40' monohull sailboat with 6 passengers is fraught with problems. Sailboats are normally a tough way to do dive charters. It can be done with a catamaran, but you've still got to be close from dock to dive site. Most countries/areas where there are people who want to go diving, already have locals running dive operations. They don't want you pulling up in your sailboat and taking their customers. They have laws in place to prevent that.

Life is not like the movie 'Field of Dreams'. You can 'Build it, but no one will come'. Just having a boat, and being a dive instructor, and being a licensed Captain...doesn't make you a charter boat operation. A solid business plan would involve knowing where your passengers are coming from, ie. building a customer base on an existing operation, taking over an existing operation, experience working in the area with the customer base, and then making sure those customers who have been diving on nice comfortable power boats still want to go dive with you off of a small monohull sailboat.

Your age is also working against you. People will have trouble trusting a charter boat captain/operation with a 20 year old in charge. My advice would be to get more experience first, when you know the answer to all your questions yourself, you'll be ready.

Get your PADI MSDT rating locally, then go on the padi pros website and find a job working for a dive operation in one of the nice, warm water locations. You won't make much money, but you'll have a good time and in a couple of years you'll have a very good understanding of the dive business and may even be able to find your own niche there.
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:33   #5
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Old saying: you don't really know someone until you've sailed offshore together. Sorry to sound like an old fuddy-duddy but you need more experience in every facet of this plan starting with the girlfriend.
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Old 17-02-2013, 12:52   #6
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

I see a few problems and hurdles in your idea.

+/- 40' with accommodations for 7-8. Maybe if most of them are couples or at least very good friends and the captain sleeps on deck and you make bunks in the main cabin.

Also, 7-8 people on a +/- 40' boat (at least a monohull) will be very, very crowded and I think most paying passengers will be looking for a little more space and luxury for their money unless you are selling trips really, really cheap.

I chartered a 45' Hunter with three double sleeping cabins (2 aft, forepeak) and two settees in the main cabin that made singles for a 2 week dive trip to the Bahamas. Every locker, cabin and spare cubby hole on the boat was filled with dive gear and the deck was lined with tanks strapped to the lifelines. This was in the tropics where we were diving wet. Diving dry with the extra gear involved would have been too much. Even wet it just worked for a group of good friends but for a commercial operation it would have been a huge pain. Haven't even gotten in to compressors and all the other stuff you would need for a commercial operation.

Singlehanding? Not if you're taking divers out. You need at least two, one competent boat driver and one dive master who is at least available for safety diver if he/she is not actually in the water with the guests.

Regulations and permits. Don't know the rules in Canada but in the US you will have to have a captains license. If you are considering this outside of your home country you will almost certainly run into local laws requiring work permits for foreigners. Don't even think about trying to avoid that and just have "guests" come for a "visit". The locals you are competing with will bust you in a minute and very quickly turn you in to the local authorities who is probably their cousin.

<$50,000 sailaway. Unlikely for the kind of boat you would need.
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Old 17-02-2013, 13:08   #7
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

"can I just scoop up customers "
Sure, just remember the locals will not like the competition. If they don't sink you, they'll drop a dime on your unlicensed business and let the local taxmen seize your boat. No, wait, if you're running a charter operation and you're not a USCG-licensed captain, they'll let the USCG come get you. After they seize your boat.

Oh, and I've never heard of divers chartering out on a small sailboat. Divers want to get out and get back, not putz around all day at six knots in a crowded boat on narrow berths with minimal facilities. Or does your experience as a divemaster contradict that?

And of course, you know you'll hae to book those dives in advance, and some of them will cancel or no-show, and you'll have to split payments with whoever is doing the booking and marketing and reservations for you. The hotels and shops already have partners in place, they're not going to dump them in favor of a transient.

Then of course, the divers will want fills on the boat, and putting a compressor on your boat won't be cheap or easy.

If that sounds like a lot of rain on your parade...Right, that's how it goes today. LOTS of regulations and rules and homework to be done, or your investment joins the many that have gone down the drain.

More likely to work if you can get hired as an employee in various ports, and then do your cruising in between them. But as a divemaster or instructor? Most folks don't get rich that way, they get burned out and underpaid. It is a hard business to make a buck in, let alone a living wage.
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Old 17-02-2013, 14:05   #8
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pirate Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Yep to all of the above. Moreover, there was a thread in the past where someone was talking about being an instructor, and it seemed that about half the CFers were instructors. The instructor card, particularly, a PADI, and $2.50 will get you a small coffee at Starbucks.

May I suggest a new thread where you ask to be given a dive boat and charter operation? Ya just never know.
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Old 17-02-2013, 14:26   #9
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Damnit.
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Old 17-02-2013, 14:49   #10
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

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Damnit.

Wot?

The usual reaction is to tell us how little we know!

Good on ya mate.
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Old 17-02-2013, 14:51   #11
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

OK, Crab...we got the underlying message! Mauritz
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Old 17-02-2013, 15:16   #12
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

Sailboats are great for crossing oceans without burning fuel. Sailboats are great for racing. Sailboats are great in pictures on your wall.
Powerboats are much better for fishing and diving and drinking parties. Sailboats kind of suck for fishing and diving and drinking parties unless you're drinking at the dock.
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Old 17-02-2013, 15:49   #13
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Re: Scuba Charter from SailBoat?

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Damnit.
Ya bet! Thought that a long ago.. needs a bigger boat, maybe 60'oneoff mono and million $$$$. Never pays back...
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Old 17-02-2013, 16:54   #14
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I just want my cake and to eat it too haha. Diving sailor. Sounds legit. I could deal with a lifetime of sailing around the seas and diving exotic locales. And teaching others giving them an experience that hopefully installs respect for the ocean and its natural forces, wind not withstanding. I'd charge relatively cheap, just enough to make a 1-2K a month for my own expenses. Savings not required I'd built that up over time I suppose. I'd charge probably less than half what most million dollar boat charters cost but I can see the appeal there too for people. Idk. I would pay to sail and dive but I'm not put off by "such terrible things" as the minor difficulties of sailboat diving and lack luster accommodations. I'm fine with good food, good friends and better drink. I didn't think it would be so difficult to make $36,000 a year while owning and operating a sail/dive business and its so damn important to me, it's my dream. Life over money man, but in that sense done what locals sinking my boat or being illegal. I'd rather just get along haha. Can you rent your services out to resorts for dive excursions? Daily or overnight? proper papers being had and all minor shtuffs dealt with??
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Old 17-02-2013, 16:56   #15
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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.
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