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Old 18-10-2013, 23:06   #16
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

Take this comment for what it's worth! But as one who hauled pukers for a liveing in the PNW, for sport fishing back in the day when you could! It's not a real fine way to make a liveing! makes the work on the boat 5 times more then when ya only live on it yourself! and you can get darn glad to see the season end and ya have a break from folks you really would rather not even have aboard! just the 2 cents of an old guy who used to do it !
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Old 19-10-2013, 00:54   #17
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

I worked on the yachts doing day sailing trips out of Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia, back in the seventies. The first week I thought, wow, this is the perfect job for me. The second I thought, what a pack of ****heads most customers were. The third week I decided that I had to quit otherwise I may never like sailing again.

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Old 19-10-2013, 04:26   #18
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

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Originally Posted by donkey_jaw View Post
These are all great comments. If I did this venture it would be 2-4 years from now. I know I'm not getting younger but if I did it I want it to be right.

Atoll, I'm sure there is a big market. You try it first and I'll follow your lead.
nah!
i'm going with the idea of loading the boat up with ukaranian girls,following the the american navy fleet around and getting sponsership from durex idea

gay cruises can be a real pain in the arse..........
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Old 19-10-2013, 05:14   #19
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I would only operate in US waters. I'm Merican! A LLC isn't hard to open up. Just keep up to date all your expense and hand it over to an accountant. Just be smart about what you do and keep records. I've owned a business before albeit it I never operated out of my residence before. The only tricky aspect I can see is how to write certain things off on taxes. I'm all for doing the right thing and not cheating the government out of their money even though they need to learn how to manage theirs better. Like for example do I count my fuel, electric, dock fees, as a business expense even though i'm still using it for a personal expense? I'll talk to an accountant if this time comes.
From what I heard from my tax guy, if you live on it than it is not strictly a business so it will get extra scrutiny at the IRS. He said you can only write-off *up to* your expenses (no depreciation), and only for the percent of time used for charter (say 40% for example). The IRS will expect to see you profitable by the third year or it could come into question if it really is a business. The quotes we got for insurance were not as bad as I thought they might be. About 1/3 more for commercial. Start your commercial documentation and licensing as soon as possible. The government processes are slow, especially when shut down :/
And if your boat is not made in the USA you will have to apply for a Jones act waiver. 90 days of sitting for basically nothing.
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Old 19-10-2013, 09:29   #20
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

Some people do this and enjoy it... You have to be a special person to live with people coming and going all the time and having to keep the boat (Your House) absolutely pristine at all times.

We have several friends running a Sail Charters on the Pacific Coast and two in the Caribbean. All of them seem to enjoy it. They are not going to get rich, as a matter of fact it is dam hard way to not get rich.

Costs associated with the charter can be tremendous, many marinas charge passenger fees or higher slip fees for charters. If you want to have other local businesses recommend or book your Charter, they usually want a finders fee or a percentage cut for each passenger referred.

Worst are the Cruise Lines, which take 50% or more of your fee for booking costs.

You have a couple of years... Time to start doing some real research and business planning.

Also you will need to hold a Captain's license and as mentioned above, you will have to document the boat as commercial (Maybe).

If in the US, you will probably have to have a business license as well.

If you are planning to operate in a foreign country, you better pick a country and find out their rules...

Many countries do not allow foreigners to Captain Charter Boats or allow foreign flagged vessel to operate charters in their waters. Others don't care what you do.
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Old 19-10-2013, 11:08   #21
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From what I heard from my tax guy, if you live on it than it is not strictly a business so it will get extra scrutiny at the IRS. He said you can only write-off *up to* your expenses (no depreciation), and only for the percent of time used for charter (say 40% for example). The IRS will expect to see you profitable by the third year or it could come into question if it really is a business. The quotes we got for insurance were not as bad as I thought they might be. About 1/3 more for commercial. Start your commercial documentation and licensing as soon as possible. The government processes are slow, especially when shut down :/
And if your boat is not made in the USA you will have to apply for a Jones act waiver. 90 days of sitting for basically nothing.
Yes, mixing business and personal use does complicate matters. Technically if you use the boat more than 14 days per year personally then you cannot apply the expenses, or depreciation, to your taxable income (long way saying "write off"...which I dislike because you wont find that phrase anywhere in IRS regs and people often misunderstand the actual math...expenses and depreciation just reduce associated taxable income...its not some sort of freebie as some folks imply from "write off"). Not sure how the IRS would interpret living aboard, but as posted, I too think it would likely draw additional scrutiny from the IRS.

If the vessel is verifiably in full time commercial use then the depreciation can also be claimed, but just like expenses it is limited by income. If your situation allows you to apply depreciation, it can be of significant tax benefit if you have income to offset with it.

As others have mentioned, starting up a business in a foreign country can be a huge hassle. Ive been involved in starting up a couple of charter ventures in foreign countries and in my home country (USA). Lots of work either way and lots of details. Hire good professional legal and accounting services for your start up, they can make your life much easier and avoid mistakes that can cost you big time down the road. If in a foreign country hire a highly recommended agent/attorney to represent you...this can literally make the difference between success and failure to launch.
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Old 19-10-2013, 11:43   #22
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

I'm not going to be operating outside of US waters. Only in the US. I wouldn't have to deal with drunks because if I did a snorkel or a tour cruise I wouldn't offer alcohol. As for tax issues, I would consult an accountant first before I decided to do anything. I understand people will disrespect your property as they always have and always will. A few years back me and some friends took a party boat tour that made you remove your shoes before entering the boat. I"m not sure if this would work but its an idea.

This is just an idea I've had for a few years.
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Old 19-10-2013, 11:54   #23
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

In case someone is unable to bend to tie/untie his/her shoes, have a bunch of shoes-cover-all; used in hospitals, so physiological fluids will not splash on your shoes. If you intend on offering/booking shunset shails, rum punch ish "mandatory"; hic!

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Old 19-10-2013, 12:33   #24
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there is a big gap in the market for gay nudist cruises............
I'm all for gay naked cruises as long as the gay naked chicks are hot ;^)

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Old 19-10-2013, 12:40   #25
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

My $0.02 cents worth, as a twenty year business owner: generally the "business deduction" principals are common sense (OK, sort of), that is with a car or a building (and I'd be fairly sure a boat the same), is proportional. If I drive my "business" car 40,000 miles, and I can document (by my own log book, nothing fancy) that 30,000 were for business, you generally are looking at 75% (notwithstanding the complication with depreciation calculations, which I won't try to talk about). Likewise, I have a house where I do not live, just for my inventory and to conduct business, but about four weeks a year I'm there late enough I sleep in a bedroom that is otherwise vacant. So the calculation is to divide the house up as 900 sq ft business use vs 100 sq ft as the bedroom (so 90% business), then I account for the the 48 weeks it's unoccupied vs. the four weeks when it is (that's 92% unoccupied, hence business only), so I end up with a combined 99.2% business use as a multiplier of expenses for the house (but don't worry about the math yet, just the concepts. The accountant can get you more comfortable with the math).
I would think the boat would be similar, what square footage is solely for your living space, figure out a % that you can be comfortable with. If you took passengers for only, say, three months a year, they'd expect you to factor in time as well, but of course, not if it was just docking for the few days to change passengers etc. They are actually looking for "reasonable", not perfect, you are (or at least I am), only trying to be comfortable to pass the "red face test" if there ever is a question. BUT this is just me talking over coffee (be thankful it's not later in the day when the rum ration is meted out, I'd really ramble on LOL).
BUT, yes, please DO seek the advise of an accountant, but interview a few of them to get a feel that they'll partner with you and give you educational advise (like I hope mine was), and not a "drill sergeant" who can be just as difficult as dealing with an IRS agent themselves.

AND, let me recommend the following reading - at least print a copy for some quite evening reading:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p535.pdf
and
Deducting Business Expenses
(that last one wouldn't fit on line, but paste as one line in the URL)

These are the IRS's business expenses 'bibles' and they're free (woo-hoo), oops, no actually our taxes paid for them and a few trillion other expenditures (boo-hoo).

Well, best wishes for success and enjoyable venture and "smooth sailing"
John Andrews
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Old 19-10-2013, 12:53   #26
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I'm not going to be operating outside of US waters. Only in the US. I wouldn't have to deal with drunks because if I did a snorkel or a tour cruise I wouldn't offer alcohol. As for tax issues, I would consult an accountant first before I decided to do anything. I understand people will disrespect your property as they always have and always will. A few years back me and some friends took a party boat tour that made you remove your shoes before entering the boat. I"m not sure if this would work but its an idea. This is just an idea I've had for a few years.
We are going through this same process. I think we might allow BYOB but only offer non-alcoholic drinks. The no shoes policy is a good one that we will adopt and since we never wear shoes, most others seem to catch on. Not sure about kids yet. Maybe if I put the on some sort of leash or velcro inside the cockpit...
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Old 19-10-2013, 16:17   #27
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donkey_jaw View Post
I'm not going to be operating outside of US waters. Only in the US. I wouldn't have to deal with drunks because if I did a snorkel or a tour cruise I wouldn't offer alcohol. As for tax issues, I would consult an accountant first before I decided to do anything. I understand people will disrespect your property as they always have and always will. A few years back me and some friends took a party boat tour that made you remove your shoes before entering the boat. I"m not sure if this would work but its an idea.

This is just an idea I've had for a few years.
The "no shoes" is an easy rule to have and enforce, but no alcohol on a tour cruise is probably a killer. Also, it's not just the shoes, it's the use of the heads and other facilities on board that take a beating. You need to do some research, as already suggested, and talk to others that are currently doing what you envision. What do they do? What kind of income stream/business can you expect, especially if you start putting limitations on who you will take. You've already acknowledged that the competition will be stiff. Limiting customers will make it even tougher.

As I said earlier, if you just want to live on the boat and make a living there are better ways (some are CF member who post right here). IMHO
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Old 19-10-2013, 20:16   #28
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

The NO BEER policy would be an income killer but then but then again it should make insurance cheaper on a boat that doesn't sell alcohol. Also my rates would be cheaper and I would be the one who operates the boat with help of course. Some people are disrespectful which is why if my boat had 2 bathrooms I would "attempt" to section one out only for the public. If I operated this venture in Hawaii, wouldnt this save me lots of money by the fact I wouldn't have to spend $$ on an apartment? I'm not rich and don't have a big income now but I can manage money and cut expenses where they need to be.
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Old 21-10-2013, 08:31   #29
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

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The "no shoes" is an easy rule to have and enforce, but no alcohol on a tour cruise is probably a killer.
Yep. You just eliminated about 1/3rd or more of your market, if you tell them no alcohol allowed on-board. And even at that, you can't guarantee that they won't arrive about half lit-up.

If you deal with the public, then eventually you MUST deal with drunks.
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Old 21-10-2013, 11:10   #30
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Re: Live aboard charter/tour boat?

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These are all great comments. If I did this venture it would be 2-4 years from now. I know I'm not getting younger but if I did it I want it to be right.

Atoll, I'm sure there is a big market. You try it first and I'll follow your lead.
I met a couple who did this with out a business plan.

1. Surfer/sailor dude is in St Thomas, sailing and surfing.
2. Meets surfer girl falls in love, and marries her.
3. The couple buy a fishing boat with big motor, take people skiing and fishing
4. Buy one of those blow up banana things, tow people on it
5. Buy bigger boat with bigger motor and a parasail, takes people parasailing
6. Have kid, leave islands for better schools, I don't know what they did with the business.

They had fun, with out plan. Seemed to be doing fine when I met them.

So it might be a good idea, to live on your boat, but have another boat for the charter, particularly a speed boat.

Good luck
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