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Old 15-02-2020, 12:52   #1
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pirate Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to live abroad

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are anxious to embark on a cruising lifestyle but need some advice on how, where and when to begin.

We are late forties/early fifties and have 2 small dogs who will join us on this journey. Our goal is to purchase a 47-52 foot cat. If we wait a few years we will have $330 cash to put down on a boat but we are considering financing it now so we can expedite living this lifestyle. We have started doin some renos on our home and plan to sell in the next 6-12 months. Money from that will be our downpayment for our boat.

We have so many questions mainly with regard to how to start chartering because that will be one of our income streams.

We want to connect with anyone who is on the same journey or anyone who has been there and done that who has suggestions, warnings, advice to offer!

Thanks for connecting - we look forward to becoming party of the community!

Paula & Geza
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Old 15-02-2020, 13:12   #2
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Paula & Geza.
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Old 15-02-2020, 13:20   #3
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

Welcome aboard from the west coast. What's your sailing experience, and whereabouts are you located? We're coastal cruisers contemplating our next season between the winter storms.
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Old 15-02-2020, 13:49   #4
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

We have no sailing experience - yet! We are starting from scratch! We are in Calgary right now. Any suggestions on how to get started with gaining experience? Of course, we are looking into sailing lessons but would also love to join someone as crew too!
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Old 15-02-2020, 13:57   #5
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

Curious as to why you would think you’d like the lifestyle of a live aboard couple if you have never actually lived aboard or even sailed? Not being a dream killer..just curious?
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Old 15-02-2020, 14:03   #6
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

We've been researching it for years and have gone on private charters ourselves and extremely enjoyed the experience! We follow a lot of cruisers on youtube and have attended many boat shows and it's a lifestyle that we find very appealling. We love to travel and meet new people. Everyone needs to start somewhere
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Old 15-02-2020, 14:09   #7
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

Cdn on the west coast as well preparing to shove off this fall and if you have specific question private message me
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Old 15-02-2020, 14:10   #8
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

Yep! Sure do. I started by taking some sailing courses and getting some experience that way. I used a school out of Kingston , Ontario... much cheaper that way then chartering in the Caribbean, that worked for us. Then we were able to bareboat charter in the Caribbean ( we chose BVIs originally then the Keys)
I also joined a local yacht club so I can crew on race nights. The best experience I got though was on my smaller original boat... a CS 27 on Lake Erie.
Do you have access to anything like that? Can you purchase a cheap trailerable boat to get the rudimentary aspects of sailing experience?
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Old 15-02-2020, 14:30   #9
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

Wife & I are from Canmore...I understand the feeling to just sail away from the -25 Winters.


We took a weeks lessons in Ft Lauderdale about 9 years ago before committing to the cruising lifestyle and buying a boat. It was well worth it as we found we needed a much larger boat than we were in love with, and one with much better amenities than the 40' Jeanneau that we used for lessons.


Crewing is OK, I never did as I enjoy doing what I want rather than being a swabbie.
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Old 15-02-2020, 14:53   #10
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to life abroad

The biggest challenge arises from effective marketing so as to gain adequate clients to make the proposition of a chartering business financially viable; there being a lot of well establish competition. And your ability to continue to enjoy being the crew that has to be at the guests beck and call.

https://www.allatsea.net/chartering-...un-and-profit/
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Old 16-02-2020, 12:52   #11
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to live abroad

I agree with Montanan on the points he brings up....however, another thing you need to consider is that you will need certifications and licenses to run a charter business.

I can only speak about the U.S. process, but I am sure it will be similar for a Canadian-flagged vessel-- you will need a commercial Captain license to have fare-paying people aboard (which takes a fair amount of experience to attain). And obviously you'll need a business license and insurance for such a venture... and they will likely want your Bona Fides before they give you insurance to carry people on a vessel. We had to provide extensive sailing resumes and documented experience, etc for our personal sailboat policy in order to take our boat outside of U.S waters and the Bahamas. I can only assume it would be to this level, or even higher when running a charter business.

And for what it's worth.... there are so many small charter companies out there... I'd not rely on it as your income stream. If you had extensive sailing experience to offer potential "fares" (such as https://www.59-north.com) then, you could likely ensure a steady income stream. In addition, anyone hiring you is going to want know they're in good hands... they will want your Bona Fides as well.

But, if you're just starting out, and do not know how to sail, then go get a boat and enjoy sailing. Even if you get a smaller boat, so you get to keep more of your money in the kitty.

P.S. Because I've been there... you might consider getting an older, cheaper boat for you and your husband to *just go sailing* on for 1-2 years to try it out, before you sell your house and sink 300-400K in a boat (because it will not be worth that if you decide it's not for you and you try to sell it... even 3 months later). Not to mention, if you are new to sailing, handling a 47-52 Cat will be too much boat for you. MAKE SURE this is something you can do. Boat Shows and YouTube videos will not tell you how you (and more importantly, your marriage) will hold up in foul weather, the day-in-day-out of living on a boat, and the constant maintenance issues (i.e. having one head on a boat, and after drinking all day at the Miami Boat Show with friends and broker-friends, then dinghying back to your boat after midnight... and having to tear apart the toilet...for the record, we had replaced everything new: toilet, sewage and salt water flushing hoses, Raritan hold and treat system; all 6 months prior...sailboat living is a CONSTANT maintenance cycle).

I am not saying all of this to be a "Debbie Downer" -- but I've been there. This lifestyle is NOT idyllic; it's a LOT OF WORK.

I plan on returning to sailing in a few years, but I learned a lot from our first bluewater boat and full-time liveaboard experience. My husband and I had extensive sailing and maritime experience before living aboard and sailing full-time; and it was still tough.

Also... I am offering this as sincere advice, and would welcome any questions you might have. Feel free to comment, or PM me. I will do my best to answer any questions.

Good luck. Follow your dreams, but do so with a healthy dose of reality.

Cheers,
O
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Old 16-02-2020, 13:45   #12
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to live abroad

I would recommend that both of you become licensed individuals so as to be able to rotate 12 hours each on a 24 hour day.

http://https://homeport.uscg.mil/Lis...JobAid2011.pdf

Watchstanding
Applies to:
All Uninspected Passenger Vessel's [UPVs] of 100 GTs or less, carrying at least one passenger for hire.
Work-hour Limitations:
A licensed individual may not be required to work more than 12 of 24 hours at sea, except in an emergency when life or property is endangered. 46 USC 8104 (b) UPVs operating more than 12 hours should have a two-watch system, specifically a second licensed operator.
Licensed individuals serving as the operator of a UPV may voluntarily work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period. He or she must maintain an adequate watch. If they have no relief and are too fatigued to stand an alert watch, then that individual would be negligent for failure to maintain an adequate watch. Charter fishing and dive vessels routinely operating more than 24 consecutive hours with only one licensed operator present significant issues of negligence on the part of the UPV operator or owner for
failure to provide an adequate watch. Between 12 and 24 hours of operation, there is a gray area in which the owner/operator of the UPV must judge the prudence of a decision to sail without a second licensed individual.
It has been suggested by some operators that a qualified seaman could be left at the helm while the licensed operator sleeps close by. This is an untenable position. 46 USC 8903 mandates the vessel be operated (under the "direction and control") by a licensed individual; the Coast Guard does not have the discretion to allow any unlicensed seaman to control the vessel without supervision.
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Old 16-02-2020, 14:26   #13
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to live abroad

Hey guys

Canadians here. A little younger than you. We bought the boat in July 2019 and have been gone since October. Lots of years planning to do it and finally said it’s time.

Our suggestions and the path we took:

I have extensive experience running offshore fishing boats in B.C. and running my own charter fishing company there. If you want to run charters in Canada, the government will want ever larger pieces of your pie. It’s endless if you try to be legal - and often amazing what groups get involved. WCB is you have crew, good inspectors if you serve meals to paying guests, federal and provincial tax agencies, radio licensing, vessel registration, vessel inspections if you are taking paying passengers. That is before your mandatory training that you will require. There are a lot of courses.

From all of this, we learned that if you are doing charters in Canada legally, you need to basically make it a full time job to recoup the costs. You can try to be a chisel charter, but you will get caught. An angry client. An innocent comment to law enforcement. All of these things can come back to you and the whole house of cards comes crashing down. Have seen it happen to many others.

For us, for the sailing adventure we did all our sailing school training in San Diego. Found it cheaper to fly there in January, take a one week course and fly home. Probably half the price of a similar course in Canada.

From there we started getting serious about purchasing, ultimately buying in July. The biggest hurdle for us was insurance. Despite having thousands of hours on the water, insurers were concerned about sail time. Just because I had grown up sailing that didn’t cut it. Insurance also took a loooong time to work. As in weeks and weeks as they all involved their underwriters with lots of back and forth. This nearly lost me the boat as it took so long and was more expensive than anticipated. FYI - a sailboat in the Caribbean for recreational purposes is more expensive per year than commercial charter insurance in Canada. Probably close to triple.

Had I known this, I would have started years before to document my sailing experience. And probably joined a club.

The boat we purchased will never come back to Canada. We do not want to pay provincial and federal taxes on it as soon as it crosses the border. It is Canadian registered but the cost to bring it home is prohibitive.

If I were in your shoes - sign up at Glenmore Sailing Academy or Ghost Lake sailing. Start lessons and experience there. Start now.

Oh yah - and running charters in another country for an income stream - I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole. To be legal to do it will change by each country. And cost a bunch. And if you try to do it quietly as a regular income stream it can just take one slip up for boat impound etc. We have now been to five countries in our journey. Two of them have asked if we are running charters at check in. We have had three sets of friends come visit. Two of the three were quoted extensively about if they were on a charter, who we were to them etc.

Feel free to direct message if you have more questions
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Old 16-02-2020, 16:08   #14
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to live abroad

I'm surprised people had trouble getting insurance...when I bought my 48' sailboat I told our broker that I had never sailed other than a 1 week course...he said no big deal and gave me a decent rate...under writer is Lloyds of London so was legit.


The only hassle I've ever had was getting hull insurance for our 1st Pacific crossing a few years later, but eventually we did get insured for the crossing with just the 2 of us.
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Old 16-02-2020, 17:23   #15
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Re: Canadians Looking for Suggestions on how to live abroad

Part of it was that I was a Canadian, living in Canada at the time, trying to insure a boat that was located in the Caribbean. Brokers told me that if I was there on the boat it would be a different story. Or it I had started with it and headed south. But because of the situation, many were reluctant to touch it.
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