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Old 29-06-2015, 11:29   #1
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Thumbs up Guests share expenses

My wife and I are live aboard our Cruising Cat. A lot of friends and acquaintances want to come down for a week or two. In the past when we had a smaller boat, we simply paid for the expenses and were happy when people asked to chip in. Now we have the space for 6 or more people and Re thinking of how to have them visit, but contribute to the food, moorings, diesel, water etc. Not looking to make a profit, just cove the added expense. How do others go about this? Something up front, contribute to a "Kitty" ?etc?
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Old 29-06-2015, 11:38   #2
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Re: Guests share expenses

I would be careful to avoid a structured policy that would place you in a position of being subject to the licensing and liability conditions of "chartering" your vessel. Once you associate a fee or provisioning requirement per "guest" you have crossed a commercial line.
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Old 29-06-2015, 11:43   #3
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Re: Guests share expenses

HF is right, but...

What would one do if they had a summer cabin and guests came?

If they're truly friends, then they'd bring food and beverage, right? Heck, we never visit our friends for dinner at their house without bringing a bottle of wine and some food.

When you go to provision, bring them along. They can pay too, right?

No reason to make this harder than need be.
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Old 29-06-2015, 11:51   #4
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Re: Guests share expenses

There is much to consider with this question and it has been addressed in several CF threads previously.

Good friends will offer (and mean it) to split the costs (food, drink, dockage, fuel) ahead of time in the planning stages. This is basic and for friends that don't go this far they are not your friends. In the first week I would maybe split charges for food and drink only, especially if I issued a invitation where they have not asked to come. They are spending some bucks just getting to the boat for a week.

The real question is when do you get into all the other charges like dockage, mooring, fuel, laundry, fresh water, cruising fees, etc. IMHO, after one week you start cutting your friends in on these expenses. Again if they are friends they will offered already but for a one week stay I don't let them help on these expenses. What good is your life if it is just you sitting on your boat alone.

All of the above gets set up in the planning phase before they come onboard.

Other expenses like maintenance, depreciation, loan interest then never unless you are chartering for folks that are acquaintances but not friends.
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Old 29-06-2015, 12:05   #5
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Re: Guests share expenses

Many of you are listing expenses that don't change when you have people aboard (ie dockage), so yes, you are expecting your guests to more than pay for themselves. If you wouldn't go out without the guests, it seems like they are doing you a favor, as well.

Each group of friends is also going to act differently. I would never arrange with a guest in advance for splitting specific costs, but I rarely say no when they offer to pay for the groceries or a fuel fill up, either.
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Old 29-06-2015, 12:17   #6
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Re: Guests share expenses

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Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
Many of you are listing expenses that don't change when you have people aboard (ie dockage), so yes, you are expecting your guests to more than pay for themselves. If you wouldn't go out without the guests, it seems like they are doing you a favor, as well.
Normally you take the guests cruising in the local area so there are additional expenses incurred related to cruising fees, dockage, fuel, etc. For example, in some instances the cruising fees are on a per head basis. Another example is taking on more expensive dockage in order to pick up the guests or see the sights or for convenience.
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Old 29-06-2015, 12:20   #7
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Re: Guests share expenses

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
HF is right, but...

What would one do if they had a summer cabin and guests came?

If they're truly friends, then they'd bring food and beverage, right? Heck, we never visit our friends for dinner at their house without bringing a bottle of wine and some food.

When you go to provision, bring them along. They can pay too, right?

No reason to make this harder than need be.
Good question. If you had a summer cabin and guests paid I would think you need renters or leasing insurance.. if you really want to cover all bases....but really don't know.
I suppose on a boat you are in a worse position liability wise as you are "skippering" without a license. No license required for a cabin.
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Old 29-06-2015, 12:40   #8
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Re: Guests share expenses

It really comes down to your understanding of hospitality. Calculating up everything it costs over your everyday charges and planning out cost sharing ahead of time sounds like a shared vacation, not inviting guests to your home. However, as I mentioned in my previous post, different groups and especially different cultures are going to have different understandings of what is acceptable.

For example, my father loves to pick up the tab wherever he can. It makes him feel wealthy and manly and generous. However, if you told him ahead of time that he was going to cover X percentage of this list of expenses, it would suddenly feel like a burden to him. This perception is independent of the total amount that he spends in each situation. And it isn't just with his kids. It is even more complicated with my in laws, where he will take whatever he can for free while she slips a bunch of $20s into a pocket while no one is looking.

The problems arise when you have the person who will take whatever they can for free without a spouse equalizing things behind the scene. Personally, I just wouldn't invite that kind of person as a friend.
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:07   #9
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Re: Guests share expenses

That which does not change with the additional guests (fuel, dock fees, moorings, repairs, operating costs) do not get charged. Consummables (e.g. Food, liquor, ice) everyone contributes.


Whether everyone splits the bill, each person takes a turn, that is up to you. Everyone kicking in on a beer run is not a 'fee structure' putting you at risk of a commercial venture.


Now if we're talking about a weekend or an overnight, I don't bother collecting anything. I do advise what I keep in stock. If you want Gin or a particular beer, you had better bring it. The again, the people that do come on the boat pretty much know what I drink and what I don't, so that has never been an issue.
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:21   #10
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Re: Guests share expenses

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Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
It really comes down to your understanding of hospitality. Calculating up everything it costs over your everyday charges and planning out cost sharing ahead of time sounds like a shared vacation, not inviting guests to your home. However, as I mentioned in my previous post, different groups and especially different cultures are going to have different understandings of what is acceptable.

For example, my father loves to pick up the tab wherever he can. It makes him feel wealthy and manly and generous. However, if you told him ahead of time that he was going to cover X percentage of this list of expenses, it would suddenly feel like a burden to him. This perception is independent of the total amount that he spends in each situation. And it isn't just with his kids. It is even more complicated with my in laws, where he will take whatever he can for free while she slips a bunch of $20s into a pocket while no one is looking.

The problems arise when you have the person who will take whatever they can for free without a spouse equalizing things behind the scene. Personally, I just wouldn't invite that kind of person as a friend.
I agree really. Bottom line is when guests come you will likely get out and do more rather than just sitting at anchor. That's a good thing. The additional expenses are minimal mostly. If they want to slip you some cash at the end and you feel it's appropriate no problem, if not OK too. Just me maybe. As a visitor I would find a way to pay for some dinners, fueling, or slip some cash in the kitty somehow.
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:41   #11
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Re: Guests share expenses

Yes there are two very different scenarios. Guests which are family and friends, as well as guests/crew which are unknown beforehand. We would never charge or take money from family and friends, but most would chip in with provisions, shout us dinner and a few drinks etc. Extreme tightasses probably wouldn't be invited back There are no additional costs to having those guests aboard except some sundry expenses like laundering their linen afterwards.
The other type of guests/crew we share costs more realistically and come up with a fair day rate beforehand. That rate would vary depending on how many guests are aboard and if we are going out of our normal routine to accommodate them.
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Old 29-06-2015, 16:16   #12
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Re: Guests share expenses

I've always come out ahead when I've had guests for more than a few days- even friends helping with deliveries. They always want to buy groceries and booze and take us out for dinner.

A few weeks ago my brother brought his boss for a week end sail. He dropped $200 on groceries, brought a 60 oz bottle of nice scotch (half of which he left behind) and paid for my brothers train ticket to get there.

Even my guests of modest means always show up with more booze then they alone could possibly drink.

I don't think you need to worry about guests expenses.

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Old 29-06-2015, 18:08   #13
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Re: Guests share expenses

I don't think having people contribute to consumables would be necessary to need a charter license. They are not signing any contract or insurance waiver.. They aren't paying for services or goods you are providing. They are paying their part for the vacation. It would be the same if they came to your rv. Of course they can give you money to help pay for groceries or the KOA hookup.

And if these are friends and family were talking about here I don't think they are going to report you to any revenue agencies. If you are that worried about it, have them pay cash. (:

I do agree with the others, I wouldn't ask for anything unless it was over a week or an extended cruise. And like others said, they will most probably be generous in their giving back to you.

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Old 29-06-2015, 18:24   #14
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Re: Guests share expenses

I don't think this question falls too far outside the purview of normal, landlocked etiquette.

For me, there are three categories:

1. An invited guest: This is where the boat extends and unsolicited invitation. The expectation is that the boat will cover expenses aboard and any other arrangement should be made clear when the invitation is made. Etiquette recommends that the guest make some gesture of appreciation, such as a favored bottle, food item or memento.

Just for me, it would be beyond tacky to invite the newlywed couple on board for a romantic cruise then hit them up for fuel and fees.

2. A planned adventure: This is where the parties conspire together for some getaway. Again just for me, this would assume that expenses -- above cost of ownership -- were split but before I committed to the adventure, I would want an agreement for whatever expenses I was unwilling to cover. The best way to handle this is setting a basic itinerary using their input and keeping in mind the guest's means. My steering gear replacement isn't my guest's problem -- at least outside something like a long or challenging passage where these issues should have been discussed. I guess if they weren't discussed, it's still not their problem.

The discussion I would want to have on land is Yeah, I generally can't justify the expense of a slip at Atlantis with all the free anchorages available. Is that something you want to cover?

...or my girlfriend insists on a night at Pier Sixty Six, I know that's probably outside of our budget here but I'll just have to pony up to keep the admiral happy.

If I'm not having these conversations in the planning phase, I loose my claim to sympathy regarding the misunderstanding.

3. Your guests ask for a ride: This one might be a bit trickier. Certainly, your guest would be expected to cover their expenses plus probably expenses that wouldn't be incurred -- outside cost of ownership in most instances -- had the trip not taken place. For instance, I'd probably expect them to pay for the boat's cruising permit if we had to check in to a foreign port. I might expect them to pay (not split) fuel costs.

I think the main thing people miss is discussing these expectations on the hard maybe because it seems uncomfortable, untoward or just plain tacky. It really isn't -- outside presenting someone a bill for what you earlier called a gift. It only truly becomes uncomfortable when you're having the conversation on the fuel dock or in the marina office. Reasonable people will appreciate knowing how much to budget . Unreasonable people will do you the favor of reminding you why they should be aboard.
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Old 29-06-2015, 18:27   #15
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Re: Guests share expenses

If you're worried about the legalities, check your country's rules. Then obey them to avoid hassle.

Honestly, you guys,

If you invite someone to do something, the treat's on you, or if money's a problem, then it's up front that you'll be "going Dutch Treat", where each couple pays equally.

As for trying to get help with mooring fees, how cheap can you be? Good grief!

We've had many guests over the years. Some have had to pay thousands of dollars to come visit, and stay many weeks. I would no more ask them for money than fly to the moon by waving my arms.

End rant.

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