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Old 25-10-2013, 03:15   #1
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Advice for Day Tour business in California

Hi there,

I'm a new member from sunny Italy.
Next year I'll be moving to California and I was wondering if any of you could give me some advises on starting a day tour on a sailboat for less than 6 passengers.


I was thinking to establish it in San Diego because I use to live and sail there,do you think I could make a living with it?

Questions in detail :

1) what license? I hold a RYA Dayskipper commercialy endorsed but I believe I'd need to get a 6 pack USCG.

2) What kind of permit do I need : ie from the harbour, townhall etc.

3) a 36 feet american built s/y does it need to be ispected if host less than 6 pax?

4) what kind of boat would you recommend for such a business.
I was thinking about a 36 feet Mariner or Cal-Jensen year 70-80', I have a budget for the boat only of around 35 000 usd.

Any advise is welcome.

Thank you

Max
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Old 25-10-2013, 06:22   #2
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Re: Advice for Day Tour business in California

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Max.
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Old 25-10-2013, 07:22   #3
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Re: Advice for Day Tour business in California

You will need the 360 days at sea documented to get a 6 pack, a nice boat, a good web site, and insurance...This will be your competition...

HOMEPAGE | Sail San Diego
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Old 25-10-2013, 08:37   #4
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Re: Advice for Day Tour business in California

1) what license? I hold a RYA Dayskipper commercialy endorsed but I believe I'd need to get a 6 pack USCG.

Yes, a 6-pax license.

2) What kind of permit do I need : ie from the harbour, townhall etc.

Local regulation - you'd need to check.

3) a 36 feet american built s/y does it need to be ispected if host less than 6 pax?

No.

4) what kind of boat would you recommend for such a business.

Lots of opinions there, I'm sure. Think of how easily you'll get your passengers on and off. Also how fragile the fittings in the passenger area are. They'll manage to break anything that's not 100% unbreakable, and some things that are. Finally, they'll no doubt need to go to the head, and won't know how to operate one, or what not to put in one.

A lot depends on the type of tours you'll be running. Brief harbor tours can be done in a small, open boat. Half-day offshore whale watches require something more substantial.

Oh, yeah. Fuel costs may be an issue. Think slow for efficiency if possible.
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Old 25-10-2013, 15:08   #5
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Re: Advice for Day Tour business in California

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatwin70 View Post
Hi there,

I'm a new member from sunny Italy.
Next year I'll be moving to California and I was wondering if any of you could give me some advises on starting a day tour on a sailboat for less than 6 passengers.


I was thinking to establish it in San Diego because I use to live and sail there,do you think I could make a living with it?


Max
NO

If you are already rich, you could do it as a hobby and offset some expenses, but to make a living whist charging people to sail with you, there are other things to consider.

Are you buying a house or renting? Or can you get a live-aboard slip? You have to make those payments every month and I'm assuming that you own the sailboat. The prices that you charge will also have to cover your own living expenses, insurance, and boat maintenance.

How many tours will you do each month? You must have paying passengers to make a living. You are going to be down on the docks, drumming up business every day.

I lived in the San Diego area for about six years and spent a lot of time on the water front. 36 foot sailboats are not driven aground from hail storms of dollars.

You need a dinner cruise with live entertainment and connections that will route business to your boat.
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Old 26-10-2013, 02:04   #6
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Re: Advice for Day Tour business in California

Hi MaryEllen,
Thanks for your honest feedback.
I'm not rich I would just invest in the boat and actually I was thinking to libeaboard.
Do you think that with a larger saílboat I woul have more chances to make a living?
By the way do you know how much would be the monthly costs for berthing, insurance etc?
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Old 27-10-2013, 10:48   #7
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Re: Advice for Day Tour business in California

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatwin70 View Post
Hi MaryEllen,
Thanks for your honest feedback.
I'm not rich I would just invest in the boat and actually I was thinking to libeaboard.
Do you think that with a larger saílboat I woul have more chances to make a living?
By the way do you know how much would be the monthly costs for berthing, insurance etc?
Of course a larger boat would be more attractive to your customers, but would also increase all your expenses. No matter what size boat, it must be really nice. There are too many fancy boats in the harbor that people can charter. It's a very competitive business.

I haven't been in San Diego for about 10 years, so I can't comment on the prices there, but it was rather expensive then and I doubt it's got any cheaper.

A little googling should give you an idea of your break-even point.
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