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Old 01-08-2008, 11:19   #1
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Chartering out?

My partner and I are planning retiring in 5 years. We are starting our sailing lessons this fall, and hope to be buying a boat by next summer so we can get lots of practice as we learn.

We are most intrigued by the idea of hiring out for charters a few months every year to refill it kitty and to meet people. She's a certified scuba instructor and would love to take small groups (2-4) on dives around the Bahamas or along the Gulf coast. I don't scuba, but would enjoy being the captain and chef for a small group - not a bad cook if I do say so myself!

If we did this a few months every year, we'd make enough to supplement our retirement income. Is this a feasible idea in your experiences? Ultimately, we'd like to cruise around the world once we have enough experience to do so safely. We're thinking of a sailboat in the 41' range that would handle well at sea and with coastal sailing.


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Old 01-08-2008, 11:53   #2
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It's possible but it's a comptetitive market. With two of you it's a bit hard on a 41 ft boat since the number of people you can take is small. Dive gear needs a lot of extra space. If you are living aboard too then you'll really require a shore based port or all the stuff will be the problem.

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Old 01-08-2008, 13:47   #3
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I think you might try a placing your boat, after you purchase it, under the management of a charter company. Charter companies are particular about what types of boats they accept into their program but you might find just the right type of boat that fits both you and a charter company. With some boats and some companies, you can make a profit.

Its not a simple thing to loan your boat out to strangers. There are many things to consider and having a company that does this as a business full time might be to your advantage.

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Old 01-08-2008, 13:57   #4
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At best you can do day trips out of the Bahamas, U.S.V.I. or Puerto Rico. The boat would be too small for other charters with you aboard as crew. The competition is strong - you would need to attach yourself to hotels or cruise lines to survive.
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Old 01-08-2008, 17:30   #5
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Chartering out

I have looked at the idea of buying a new or recent boat and going with a charter company - in fact briefly talked to the marina guy where I'm taking lessons, and that may be great until retirement since I can't be there often.

How about niche markets - college kids for long cruises at lower rates - make some income and still cruise? Anyone do that?
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Old 01-08-2008, 20:08   #6
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You are really looking for a niche market, and it will be very hard to find. You will need to get a captains licence, commercial insurance with a lot of liability, and then the fun starts. You will be the owner (usually less tips), the captain, the crew, the cook, the maintenance man, the concierge, and the guy that fixes the head on a regular basis.

In the size of boat that you are thinking of you would be open to a very limited number of paying customers. Can it work? Depends on what you want out of it. Do your research, and then go into it with your eyes wide open. I don't think you will find it a romantic story at the end of the day.

Good Luck
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:17   #7
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Since you live in NE Texas, I would start by checking out the Clear Lake/Kemah Texas area while you are still working. There are umpteen sailboats, good sailing schools, charter companies, etc. I have a friend who runs an oilfield machine shop during the week and teaches the ASA classes on days off and weekends. Something like this would let you check out the lifestyle and learn too. Other than the cruise ships, the only chef positions that I know of operating from Texas are the chefs on the oil rig crew boats. They pay well but head out in all kinds of weather and at odd hours. Good luck.

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