Been around the charter industry for many years, as have several others here. There are also several existing threads...give those a read too.
Sounds like what you are looking for is more subjective opinion than nuts & bolts. So, here's mine:
The charter biz, whether daysail/sunset cruise
, or extened charters (typically ~1 week), is a lot of work for a little money. So, burn out rate is high. Many captains/crew only last a couple of seasons. Whether you enjoy it or not depends on your personality. Which type of charter also depends on your personal preferences. Ive done both, but mostly extended charters (which I prefer). Captains I know who prefer the day sail trade
, prefer more of a daily routine and being rid of all those danmn tourists at end of the day. My perspective is that its about as much prep work to get off the dock
for the day with a high head
count (key to success in the day sail trade) as it is to get off the dock
for an extended trip with a very low head
count (often just a couple). Personally, I would rather go somewhere for a while if Im gonna put that much work into departure.
The daysail trade
is more about shuttling drunken tourists around to beach/snorkel spots/sightseeing. That gets tiresome pretty fast. Extended charters are more like taking a few folks on a mini cruise
. I enjoy that much more and have a number of repeat charter guests/students who've become friends. Ive had a lot of great times running charters and in fact only one charter from hell in 22 years (your milage may vary).
Market segment also matters. Ive mostly run "instructional charters" (charter + sailing instruction). The guests/students (I call them "crewdents" ) I typically get are the type of folks I would hang out with anyway. By contrast, I have friends who work in the megayacht luxury charter segment of the market who mostly despise their PITA guests and owners (high a'hole percentage in that market).
Ive had a number of students who've successfully made the transition from novice
student to full time cruisers. Ive even run into to some out cruising. Thats cool.
In peak season after your 5th back to back one week charter...you will definately be burnt out...and many grow to hate it or at least need an extended break. I continued to enjoy the charter biz long term because I avoided back to back charters and only worked part-time seasonally. By the end of the season, even on my part-time schedule, I was tired and needed a break. By start of season, I was ready to go sailing again.
One of the things Ive enjoyed most is the camaraderie with the other captains and crew. Lots of good times, like having almost every charter captain
I know in Belize
pulling up at Tobacco Caye with guests for NYE one year...great fun.
When running your own boat you can produce a lot more revenue, but you also have a lot more expense and work. Running other boats in the charter fleet, and just getting paid/tipped as captain
, I think nets about the same and is a lot less work between charters. One of my favorite things about that is turning over my maintenance
punch list at the end of a charter to the base manager and strolling off to have a beer
. BTW, Charter Fleet Base Manager is one of the worst jobs in the world...it just suxs...almost all the time.
Regardless of which type of charter you run, its a challenge to turn much of a net profit over the season with one boat. Ive never made much of a profit in all these years, but its usually covered all my boat expenses and sometimes made a small annual profit (if I neglected to spend it all on boat toys...err...I mean business expenses).
I could have obviously made more of a net profit if I had worked it like a full time job, but then would not have enjoyed it as much.