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Old 03-05-2012, 05:23   #1
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pirate Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

Hi All,

Having been a sailor for many years and Yachtmaster I really want to head off and live the dream outlined in Occupation Circumnavigator (by Lars Hassler).

I own a 46 Cat (UK Flag) and would plan to have paying guests (mainly friends, family and recommendations along with some website driven business). The plan would be to constantly be cruising with pickup and drop off points along the way but no set ďbaseĒ so not your usual charter business (obviously allowing time for repairs/ bad weather). Iíve done loads of research and the logistics and sailing elements arenít the issue here, Iím purely struggling to find information on the practicalities such as legalities, tax, insurance, permits, etc...

The ďplanĒ is:
Starting around the Med and doing a loop in the Spring/Summer and then Heading Across the Atlantic in the ARC. This would then follow the trade winds and continue the circumnavigation, cruising and chartering in all the usual destinations.

My real challenge is finding out the legalities around this plan. Insurance, permissions, licences, and even where to base the business and pay TAX etc.

Iím realistic that this isnít a money making venture but more a way to top up the cruising funds along the way. I understand the issues with dealing with clients, hosting etc (been in the hotel business).

Iíd love to hear from anyone thatís done this sort of thing and hear from their experiences.

Thanks in advance,
Captain Ginger Beard
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:33   #2
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

get your boat inspected by the mca,and in survey

a commercially endorsed yacht master ticket

public liability insurance,and you are good to go........

having the charm,personality and experiance to live with 4-6 strangers continuously on long passages is another story entirely......

lars is an old friend,and a great,laid back guy.....
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:49   #3
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With a UK flag. You will need to bring the boat up to the MCA commercial code for charter vessels, depending on your boat it can be minor or major modifications. Any approved surveyor will set you right. I would suggest you Part 1register it ( full register)

Get your YM commercially endorsed.

You'll need to establish your LTD company in the UK, and you must ensure that you take all bookings through that company. You cannot take "local" bookings. ( ie people pay you directly locally , well certainly dont advertise it) as this constitutes local chartering and will infringe individual countries tax rules. ( Spain and France in particular are hot on this ) . If you find you are based fairly entirely in one spot you'll have to register the company locally and you don't want to go there . In the main keep moving. You cannot in practice advertise locally for business ( or course word of mouth is always allowed!!)

You will have to register for VAT , but the good news is anything going into the boat associated with the business is VAT reclaimable. You will have to charge VAT on your charters. However you will have to buy that stuff only through the UK. It's extremely difficult to reclaim third party VAT. You will have to do 2 month VAT returns , intrastat and vies returns and annual accounts and returns. You really need a admin person even part time back in the UK.

You will need insurance for the company and to cover your commercial activities ( combined employers liability policy ) if the boat is yours personally you may need to insure that separately for commercial charter as the company will not have an insurable interest.

You need to be particulary careful in Croatia and Greece who have very strict rules as to what constituents local charter. Its very easy to fall foul of these. You need to understand these.

If the boat is already personally yours, you can charge the company for its use. ( and your time) This is the main avenue for you to get the money put That's actually better then putting it inside the company. ( if you were buying new you could reclaim the VAT ). You could do all this by way of some trader legislation, but the corporate route is simpler and cleaner.

Ensure you maintain proper books of record, purchase sales, etc.

You will have to ensure that the commercial activity is the main focus of the use of the company.

Dave
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:29   #4
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

It is entirely possible that every country in which you pick up (or maybe even drop off) passengers will want you to have THEIR license, pay THEIR taxes, and meet THEIR requirements. I suspect that keeping a business like this completely legal and on the up-and-up is going to take a lot of research and effort (which is probably why so many don't bother with all that).

Good luck.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:46   #5
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

All sounds like a nightmare to me. In my experience every port has footloose guys and girls looking for a boat to get to their next destination.I would keep it on a very casual footing,: get them to pay a "share" of the passage costs and that way you get to sail for "free". As for trying to make a profitable business out of it, - I couldn't see it happening without a homebased office taking bookings, and doing all the admin work etc which you cannot do while at sea.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:48   #6
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

Thanks for all the comments so far, it's proving very useful, and I've gained more in one morning than in days of trawling the net!

I was hoping to keep it simple so as to pickup and drop-off in the same country where possible and to cruise areas for little more than a few weeks, ensuring I was on the move as much as possible to minimise the impact on the local chartering scene. As I mentioned it will be mainly through friends and family and online presence that the business will come but I would ideally like to keep it as legit as possible. running a website to track bookings and show the literary. To the local operators I would be just another yacht passing through and of little concern to their going interest.

I know Lars did this in the early days before much of the red tape, but it must still be do able?
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:54   #7
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

the way to be semi legal is to pick up in one country and drop off in the next,that way your guests are bonafide crew.
picking up and dropping off in the same country unless direct family will soon arise accusations of chartering illegally.



Quote:
Originally Posted by frazerhalliday View Post
Thanks for all the comments so far, it's proving very useful, and I've gained more in one morning than in days of trawling the net!

I was hoping to keep it simple so as to pickup and drop-off in the same country where possible and to cruise areas for little more than a few weeks, ensuring I was on the move as much as possible to minimise the impact on the local chartering scene. As I mentioned it will be mainly through friends and family and online presence that the business will come but I would ideally like to keep it as legit as possible. running a website to track bookings and show the literary. To the local operators I would be just another yacht passing through and of little concern to their going interest.

I know Lars did this in the early days before much of the red tape, but it must still be do able?
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:16   #8
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

In the US some yachts CAN NOT pickup paying guest. They have to go to the Bahamas or Caribbean to pickup or drop off. Depends on the country and how your vessel is set up.
You might get away with doing it quietly but are taking a chance.

Might want to look into having it classified as a sailing school, things are different then, rules are different. Some Tall sailing ships are classified as schools and can pickup and drop off in most ports around the world. If this works for you, might have to create a website for it, document boat, keep logs of what you teach, show them some knots, how to sail and usual stuff you are going to do anyways. See if you can get certified as an instructor and be able to sign there seatime off,,,this way it becomes a legitimate business
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Old 03-05-2012, 14:20   #9
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

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Originally Posted by frazerhalliday View Post
Thanks for all the comments so far, it's proving very useful, and I've gained more in one morning than in days of trawling the net!

I was hoping to keep it simple so as to pickup and drop-off in the same country where possible and to cruise areas for little more than a few weeks, ensuring I was on the move as much as possible to minimise the impact on the local chartering scene. As I mentioned it will be mainly through friends and family and online presence that the business will come but I would ideally like to keep it as legit as possible. running a website to track bookings and show the literary. To the local operators I would be just another yacht passing through and of little concern to their going interest.

I know Lars did this in the early days before much of the red tape, but it must still be do able?

It is but the rules now require more paperwork, essentially you are proposing what many UK sailing schools do , i.e. take the booking in the UK but the boat is in the Med. Thats fine as long as you keep a reasonably low profile and do the paperwork to ensure you don't run into trouble at home. Greece and Croatia are a particular challenge as the "grey charter market" was the source of increasing frustration by the domestic concerns and the gov clamped down.

Unfortunately the days of Lars and that sort of existence are gone.

It can be done but not in a ad-hoc way, you have to be serious about it.,
Quote:
To the local operators I would be just another yacht passing through and of little concern to their going interest.
Thats the way you might think they will think differently. You will find that you tend to frequent the same set of places primarily because of airport access, other wise it will a real pain for paying guests to get to the boat and they won't like that. This tends to raise your awareness on the local scene, Remember anyone looking at your papers will see straight away its a commercial undertaking.

Dave

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Old 08-05-2012, 12:04   #10
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

Thanks again for all the comments. I was planning on a series of legs so never really operating from one location for longer than one pickup and perhaps a return dropoff but that was it. Sounds like it is doable, but the more people that comment the more information I can get.

As for the Greek and Croatian laws, they are as confusing as they are long. Anyone have any experiance with doing what I'm proposing out there and if so what were your experiances (good and bad)?
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:59   #11
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My old man did what you are proposing for 16 years and another circumnavigation. He has no masters ticket, acquired no license or permit, no insurance etc. His website said all this and left it very clear that, when boarded by authorities, the crew had to say that they were crew and that ALL questions would be answered by the skipper (if he wasn't there already). He made it clear that there were no passengers, everybody was crew, everybody was sharing costs and that there was no Insurance (aka, subsidizing idiots or sharing the risk with idiots). He was charging $50 a day until about 4 or 5 years ago when he swallowed the anchor.

As Atoll said, the biggest challenge is keeping the harmony aboard. You, as skipper, need a special personality to do this. Captain Blighs don't work and wimps who don't generate respect don't work either. It is a fine line indeed.

He has a book called "Around the world cruising guide" where he outlines some of his philosophy. Author: Alan Phillips.
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Old 08-05-2012, 13:09   #12
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

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My old man did what you are proposing for 16 years and another circumnavigation. He has no masters ticket, acquired no license or permit, no insurance etc. His website said all this and left it very clear that, when boarded by authorities, the crew had to say that they were crew and that ALL questions would be answered by the skipper (if he wasn't there already). He made it clear that there were no passengers, everybody was crew, everybody was sharing costs and that there was no Insurance (aka, subsidizing idiots or sharing the risk with idiots). He was charging $50 a day until about 4 or 5 years ago when he swallowed the anchor.

As Atoll said, the biggest challenge is keeping the harmony aboard. You, as skipper, need a special personality to do this. Captain Blighs don't work and wimps who don't generate respect don't work either. It is a fine line indeed.

He has a book called "Around the world cruising guide" where he outlines some of his philosophy. Author: Alan Phillips.
of course all that works until someone decides to sue you,


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Old 08-05-2012, 13:29   #13
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Better not take anyone from the US then!
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Old 08-05-2012, 13:37   #14
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

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Better not take anyone from the US then!
So true!

On the other hand just remnid them you have their names and address!
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Old 08-05-2012, 13:41   #15
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Re: Occupation Circumnavigator - What is the reality

HEY,,,, I am from the US,,,now I feel insulted....Did not want to go anyway so dont bother asking me. Probably would not like your boat anyways

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