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Old 11-11-2014, 22:51   #1
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Is it worth getting the Charters license?

I have an antique vessel that has cost me more than I expected, so I'm thinking she needs to pay her own way. I would like to make enough to cover her dockage (covered slip at $5k a year), plus all her maintenance costs (about 5-10k annually on average). That's a lot of money, so I'm thinking About getting the 6-pack captains (charter) license.

Does anyone have real experience with what's involved in getting the license & then making money?

Also, what's the best way to go about it? Do you really need US coast guard captains to vouch for every cruise? Or if I own the boat, does that time on the water count? Also, are there any courses I should take? Or books to read to prep for the test?

Finally, is anyone doing it in real life & is it reasonable to assume I could make $10-20k annually in charters?

One advantage I have is my boat is old & naturally draws a crowd. Many encourage me to charter but I want to hear from those who know the biz & can advise me on the reality of it - not just the dream.

Any thoughts? And thank you!


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Old 12-11-2014, 05:57   #2
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

You can go here Home--USCG National Maritime Center and especially here Professional Qualifications Evaluations Branch page United States Coast Guard National Maritime Center to learn more about the process.

This link will be applicable: eCFR ‚€” Code of Federal Regulations

Here's a link to checklists for various grades of credentials (see National Officer for Deck...):
http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/checklists/d...#TabbedPanels1

And then here's the checklist for Uninspected Vessels:
http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/checklists/p...b.pdf&B1=GO%21


The short version is that you can test once you've minimum sea service requirements, and you can self-attest as to sea service and ownership (given your class of boat, under 200 GT). Minimum in this class is 360 "full days" (minimum 4 hours each) underway). There are 4 topic-area tests, plus medical and drug testing, plus First Aid/CPR certification. You might need to get a TWIC (which includes a light background check), although I think that's not mandatory.

Then there's insurance things you'll want to investigate.

And then maybe depends on the kind of charters you might want to do. If you were to take folks fishing, you'd need a state Fishing Guide license and you'd register as a commercial fishing charter. If you do wine & cheese charters, you might need to meet some minimum health (or catering) regulations, etc. And so forth...

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Old 12-11-2014, 06:34   #3
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Been quite a few threads on trying to make chartering a go. Consensus seems to be that's it's a very difficult venture. And if you're going to use a 27 foot boat in the Chesapeake (assumptions based on your avatar and info ) it's going to be very difficult.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:41   #4
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Thanks for the info. I've been hesitating cuz wasn't sure if it was worth it. I'll search the other threads, too.


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Old 12-11-2014, 08:46   #5
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

I believe most fail as they are trying to pay for the boat and earn a living and there just isn't that kind of money in it, but if what your trying to do is offset some ownership expenses and realize that your free, I think it might just work, but you have to realize many people are an ass and will want to treat you like your their servant.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:47   #6
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

An Elco? Same people that built the PT boats?
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:51   #7
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

At the boat shows, people ask me all the time for rides. I thought if I charged a little & cruised them for an hour it could offset maintenance cost. At the classic boat shows, everyone's happy to be on my boat - I got a 1930 Elco Matinette 27'. She's rare & the boat show visitors are very nice & respectful. They'd prob be thrilled with just a cruise around the dock! Lots of kids, too, at these shows. Thought it would be fun & easy. My boat attracts without me even trying. :-)


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Old 12-11-2014, 08:52   #8
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Yes the same Elco. I also converted my Elco to a true electric launch. She's the perfect picnic boat.


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Old 12-11-2014, 14:45   #9
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starside View Post
At the boat shows, people ask me all the time for rides. I thought if I charged a little & cruised them for an hour it could offset maintenance cost. At the classic boat shows, everyone's happy to be on my boat - I got a 1930 Elco Matinette 27'. She's rare & the boat show visitors are very nice & respectful. They'd prob be thrilled with just a cruise around the dock! Lots of kids, too, at these shows. Thought it would be fun & easy. My boat attracts without me even trying. :-)

Could work, at least to maybe recoup (part of?) the cost of attending a given show. And if you've got a built-in audience there, marketing costs might not be a major impediment.

Barriers to entry are kinda high, although it's usually the "360 days" sea service time (not necessarily so much the money) that slows folks down. Once over that hurdle, you'd be working first to recoup the cost of the credential (esp. if you attend a purpose-run school) and the cost of insurance. If you eventually begin to recoup the cost of attending each show, so much the better.

Not sure you could project much contribution toward other maintenance, but it might be worth a short study. Work up a projection for cost of licensing and insurance. Then imagine being at the St. Michaels show. How many trips can you do in a day? How many days? How much would each individual pay? What's the return from that? And so forth...

Over there, you might also be competing with the museum's new (to them) buy boat, and with the sailboat tour guys. Maybe not so much competition with the Patriot or the water taxi; your boat is sufficiently different so that'd probably not be a big deal.

BTW, some of slip neighbors do sometimes offer some charter trips, typically out to Thomas Point Light and maybe a tour of the Annapolis Harbor. They offer no food or drink, but instead encourage guests to bring their own... or they'll arrange a catered deal (so the caterer is on the hook for health and safety inspections, not the boat neighbors). IOW, there's sometimes ways to get there from here...

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Old 12-11-2014, 22:56   #10
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Thanks Chris, that's really helpful. I think with the required hours, I can't really do anything yet, but it does give me time to look at the market. St. Mikes would have a lot of competition & then I'd have to think about slip costs & insurance is prob high. I'm now thinking it's too ambitious for my needs.

I have to think of some way to make a little money, though. I'm worried about keeping up with her costs...but I'm creative & will think of something!

Oh & I found a few threads on this very topic! Looks like I'm not alone with wanting to offset costs. :-)


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Old 13-11-2014, 07:32   #11
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Old wooden boat?
Check out the cost of commercial insurance, and the cost of survey and improvements to qualify for the insurance.
Not sure the income potential is enough to justify the expenses unless you have paying guests 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.
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Old 13-11-2014, 08:18   #12
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Yeah I'm thinking you are right, CSY. Just trying to figure out how to reduce costs. The answer may be in doing my own work. I already like to varnish but need to get up to speed with woodwork & electrical. My systems are simple so it's doable & with my new electric motor, that won't be a problem. Just house stuff & upgrades, paint, varnish - I think I can keep up. :-) & free beer to anyone who wants to help! LOL


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Old 13-11-2014, 10:17   #13
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Aye, more than varnish.
I owned a wooden boat in the past, and managed another one recently.
Tons of work to keep 'em pristine and the insurance companies don't like
Wooden boats, expect high rates if you get it insured at all.



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Old 14-11-2014, 08:27   #14
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

Yeah, the commitment to a wooden boat is one reason why I'm trying to offset costs. I can't do it all.

There's a guy at my marina who owns a wooden sail boat - can't go under a covered slip like me & he does his best but things started to get away from him. He then did something that surprised everyone. He got tired of varnishing (getting older) & he decided to paint over most of the varnished areas. It strangely didn't diminish the boat's aesthetic. He did the Maine style of painting things white with just small accents of Brightwork. The painted areas look good. You still know it's wood & has the same feel/smell. But he's happier. The only thing I didn't like is that he painted his hull black. It looks cool but I read it can be harder on woodies but then again, this guy is n his 70's & probably doesnt worry about the next 10 years. Besides, he has kept the boat his entire life (family boat) so in my opinion, he can do whatever he likes to make it easier in his last chapter. Restoring wood boats is hard work & expensive. I respect him.


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Old 14-11-2014, 08:44   #15
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Re: Is it worth getting the Charters license?

As CSY says, check out the cost of commercial insurance. The premiums are far more expensive than regular boat insurance. I pay around $15,000 per year.

If someone gets hurt on a charter your regular insurance will not cover you because it is now a commercial venture.

You will also want to put your boat under a LLC to protect yourself and any of your other assets.
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