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Old 30-12-2008, 20:24   #1
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Dominican Republic as a Charter Base

My wife and I have been investigating joining the thousands of others who seem to have the dream (delusion) of making a living while we are on the sea. It appears to be the type of dream that has a lot of hard work tied to it and prone to being a dream breaker.

We have been vacationing in the Dominican Republic for the last 3 years and had fallen in love with it and often talked of simply buying a house and trying to do our state side jobs remotely. But have since been captured by the idea of living on the sea.

So here are the questions:
  • Why do there not seem to be many charters from Dominican Republic?
  • Are there legal restrictions?
  • Dangerous waters?
  • Tough guidelines for boat readiness?
  • Too little tourism?
  • High prices of fuel, food, water, etc?
  • Are there any sailers out there that have recently been to Dominican and know the current pricing for diesel? Is it on par with the rest of the surrounding islands?

We are looking at a 63' Sea Ray for doing this. Are there any comments about the choice of boat?

Thanks in advance,

-A
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Old 30-12-2008, 21:09   #2
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I think the price of diesel is the least of your issues. And that price may change on any given day or week as you know. You first need to find out the requirements for you as a non citizen to start and continue a business in a country other that your own. you need to go to the authorities in the DR for those requirements unless someone here is a DR Official. Then you will need to look into the issues of importing a vessel into the DR unless you can find one already there. These need to be answered first before you need to be concerned with the operating costs. Once this is established you will need to determine where your base will be. You can't just park a boat anywhere and expect they will beat a path to your dock. How will you advertise your business and where will people find out about you? Once you have established whether it is even feasible to start a charter business you will need a business plan and then you can start trying to establish an operating budget.
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Old 31-12-2008, 20:56   #3
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Hey Chuck,

Thanks for the reply. I've been stalking this forum heavily for a little while, and I've come to respect your input.

From what I read, you seem to enjoy DR, Luperon anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
I think the price of diesel is the least of your issues. And that price may change on any given day or week as you know.
Haha... Too true... there are a hundred hurdles for us to get over before we even have to start worrying about fuel prices... but somehow keeping that in my mind makes me feel like I'm not still on mile 1 of my marathon.

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Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
You first need to find out the requirements for you as a non citizen to start and continue a business in a country other that your own. you need to go to the authorities in the DR for those requirements unless someone here is a DR Official.
We've been sorting this out, and have mailed all our paper work to become residents, as the DR officials have told us we need. Once that clears, we will be registering the business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Then you will need to look into the issues of importing a vessel into the DR unless you can find one already there.
Arg!!! Thanks. This is one place I've not done too much deep digging. I just looked at the surface PDF for OceanWorld Marina's long term prices that the government charges for being there (12months). I should probably dig a little deeper on this... do you (or anyone else) have any hints in this area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Once this is established you will need to determine where your base will be. You can't just park a boat anywhere and expect they will beat a path to your dock. How will you advertise your business and where will people find out about you?
We've done some research in this area and are leaning towards La Romana, or Santo Domingo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Once you have established whether it is even feasible to start a charter business you will need a business plan and then you can start trying to establish an operating budget.
This is essentially where we are at now... and thus the first questions in the post... we are trying to vet the idea and figure out if DR is a feasible location, or will we just end up disillusioned and stuck in a 3rd world country.

Thanks again for the reply, and for anyone else who wants to chip in.

Happy New Year All...

-Antharian
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:10   #4
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You might be interested in the Free
CRUISING GUIDE To The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
by Julian Roe & Frank Virgintino
Goto:
http://www.noonsite.com/PDF_Files/Do...cCruisingGuide
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:58   #5
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A good many of the charter boats in the DR do day charters out of one of the marinas or resorts and take groups out for snorkel and dive trips and there are a few fishing day charters. Many of these are tied into the resorts and as such give the resort a piece of the action. You did not say what type of charter you considered since you will need to determine your niche. The biggest issue is will the traffic support the business. The cats that did day charters out of Luperon went out EVERY day regardless of weather and most days only had a handful of passengers. They were pretty much party barges that also did some snorkeling or diving. If you live on the boat that will keep you expenses down but now you have folks chartering your home.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:43   #6
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The (2009 version of the) guide is now at:

Noonsite: Updated DR Cruising Guide 2009 (available here in English, French & Spanish)
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Old 20-08-2009, 03:43   #7
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Anyone find out what the regulations are to charter here yet??, Im thinking on a visit to explore the idea
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Old 20-08-2009, 19:18   #8
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I believe that I'd get several lines of income going: somebody suggested an interesting website with travel blogs kept alive — and they should be well linked, as time goes by, to well known, relevant sites: to get 'Up there' in Google page rankings / back links. As you find you're getting famous 'Gopher' affiliate links for selling stuff with a commission. Sell your own photos, videos and local artists stuff off season in some way that helps local businesses, as well.

Work with a key group in the country and area you choose. It's not bribery, exactly. It's the way they live. They lobby for your papers and get a commission on charters. It does help you if they find many of those charters for you, too.

Take travel journalists for free, as often as you can stand it. There are good ones after all. Hire a guitarist sometimes; promote tips for the local crew... If we charge $2,500 for a charter while the locals get $2.50 a week: somethings out of balance and needs a useful gesture; though the businesses will get the greater part of it. Send a promising local kid to trade school, or something, through your sponsors.

Difficult and satisfying. Might take 10 years to learn how to manage it successfully. We put more than one line in the water, with a variety of lures, half-an-hour before morning twilight for a successful breakfast. Same principle...

So keep another charter base in mind in case the first one goes bad for some reason. Then post your successes here, please.
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Old 20-08-2009, 19:34   #9
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I'd think twice, well more than that about chartering a Sea Ray. the ones I've seen are not in my opinion up the the rigors and abuse of chartering.
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Old 23-08-2009, 22:59   #10
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- - Having lived there for a while a three or four years ago, I investigated bringing down a branch of my boat supply business in Florida. So I dug deeply into the D.R. laws and regulations and DR-Cafta on operating a business in the D.R. Basically it varies between impossible to just too costly to operate.
- - As to running a charter operation - first you must be a citizen of the D.R. or a legal resident with work privileges. The boat must be registered in the D.R. -actually just about the same regulations other countries have concerning working and operating a business. The serious discouragement comes in the shear number of people/officials you have to "take care of" to operate there. Generally only the major big resort operations and other really large operations have the depth and knowledge of who, what, when and where needs to be "taken care of." Most of the chartering is done on the south coast where bill fishing and sport fishing is popular. There are already too many operators out of the marinas to think about starting another one.
- - On the north coast there are no viable place to go to except for close in beaches and limited snorkeling that the day excursions (party boats) already have saturated.
- - Coast wise cruising in the D.R. is not legal unless very strict and expensive protocols are followed. You can sail from Port of Entry to Port of Entry, but any gunkholing is not advisable and illegal unless you have strict permission from the Naval jurisdictions. Main reason for this is the D.R. is a major conduit for drugs from South America to the USA. Any unauthorized stopping is assumed to be "drug related." Secondly, there is a major problem of human trafficking with D.R. and Haitian "refugees" trying to illegally leave the D.R. and get to the USA. So there are two valid reasons that they severely restrict any coastwise stops. It can be done, but you need exacting permission and dispachios which are not free.
- - Botom line, the D.R. is not business friendly to ex-pats and they are un-officially discouraged. Here is an section ot the report found at: Dominican Republic information on economic freedom | Facts, data, analysis, charts and more "Corruption is perceived as widespread. The Dominican Republic ranks 99th out of 179 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2007. Official corruption is pervasive. Despite recent reforms, Dominican and foreign business leaders complain that judicial and administrative corruption affects the settlement of business disputes."
- - The D.R. is a fabulous place to visit and even retire to - but be prepared for a nightmare of strange and unusual ways they do business.
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:11   #11
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live-aboard vs sailing/cruiser

Have I confused this place-site by it's title? I've never known a "Chartering" cruiser, nor long time live aboard "Charter Owner". Cruising is about mobility and freedom, maybe think about marketable skills (mechanics, sewing(my favorite), electronics, etc.....
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:32   #12
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Nirvava, Nice to meet you Im Ram now you have met a charter Cruiser and live aboard Owner or visaversa !

I dont think you can put Cruisers in a box that way, Ive been cruising all of the Med, (Most of the countrys) the last 3.5 years and regulary cruise 5-7 countrys a year-And guess what I charter! And Its great, i only "work"1 or 2 weeks a month- sometimes less and get paid VERY VERY well - so why not earn wile you cruise! Im more Free than most
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:42   #13
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Actually there are quite a few full time "live-a-board" cruisers who take out people on "charter" to augment their cruising funds. Some do it legally and some do it illegally. Once outside the territorial boundaries of a country, you are on your own. No rules, regs or enforcement agencies except maybe the "World Court." Most of the illegal chartering activity is of a small scale anyway and unless it directly threatens a particular local operation that is operating legally, the authorities are not interested.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:29   #14
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Osirisail has it right. I have a friend in Samana, American, who is attempting to set up a charter business. Problem number one is dealing with the bureaucracy - it gets expensive if you know what I mean. Next is the regulations that forbid you from stopping at other than a designated port. Charterers don't want to go through a boarding every evening. I did that in Cuba, wasn't fun after the first few times.
Bottom line - if it were do-able, Moorings and Sunsail would certainly be there.
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Old 02-10-2009, 18:53   #15
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cruising charters

I'm sure there are many exceptions, however a Cruiser with a Home Base for chartering would be like a "full time working retiree".
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