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Old 02-07-2015, 04:22 PM   #1
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PNW Charters without a cook included?????

I'm thinking of offering week-long charters in the San Juan Islands on a 50 trawler and my wife thinks I'm crazy because I'm not planning on cooking meals for the guests. I figure I could discount the charters $1500 a week and let the charters supply their meals and cook them. My wife says nobody wants to charter and have to cook their own meals...I say she's wrong ( but normally she is right)...any thoughts? Am I really off base???????????
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:52 PM   #2
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I know she's wrong. Basically what you are talking about doing is what I did for years. People would charter the boat from the bareboat company and hire me to run it. I would run and maintain the boat and they would do everything else. I might cook once or twice on a trip because I enjoy it. But it was not expected.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:44 PM   #3
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If you are talking an otherwise full-service charter outside of the meal thing, I think your wife is correct. We were thinking of a chartering a very cool boat up the north end of Vancouver Island for a week of whale and wildlife watching and exploring. It was a full-service, crewed charter and what my wife, who is a gourmet cook and loves doing it, was looking forward to the most was not having to cook or do anything having to do with the operation of the boat. As opposed to what happens when we take our own boat out.

Friends who for years offered charters in the San Juans on their 60-something foot ketch from the end tie on our dock told us that having the guests' meals prepared for them was just about the most important selling point of their charters.

Now there may well be people who want to bareboat charter but have someone else drive. But based on our own experience and what we observe at the big Grand Banks charter outfit in our harbor, most people who bareboat seem to do so because they, or at least the husband, wants to run the boat.

The people we know who have taken charter trips here and in SE Alaska did so because they wanted everything other than the actual experience of being out on the water in a fabulous location done by someone else and they've been more than willing to pay for it.

Not saying your idea won't work, but you might want to do a fair amount of market research in this region before committing to spending the money to try it.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:49 PM   #4
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bcarli, your wife is smarter than you. Follow her advice.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:51 PM   #5
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bcarli, your wife is smarter than you. Follow her advice.

I'm glad this doesn't just happen with me. Lol.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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From the perspective of a prospective bareboat charterer, you offer a bonus -- you run the boat. For many, that is a major plus that gives you an advantage (for that market segment) over the competition. However, I suspect for most prospective bareboat charterers, it would be minus. They loose authority, privacy, autonomy, etc., and have to work.

The other major market segment is full-service charter. From that perspective, you offer the benefit of some savings (but not the full $1,500 discount, since they must incur the cost of food -- and condiments, etc?) but at a pretty steep price -- the charterer must do provisioning (perhaps you could offer that), cooking and clean up. I suspect that for this group the savings are not worth the cost. Your service really doesn't compare favorably to the option of bareboat plus hired captain.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:34 PM   #7
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Charterers pay for the food whether the charter is bareboat or not. In fact on a fully crewed charter they end up paying for the crew food in most cases as well.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:10 AM   #8
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I probably should have mentioned that I am thinking of only doing a week charter a month for the summer. I don't want it to be a "real" business just a way to help pay for my boating. I also would gear it as an "educational" trip where I am happy to share my boating knowledge and knowledge of the San Juan's. I really could supply meals if I wanted. I mean it's not to hard to bake a salmon dinner, or throw some steaks on the BBQ. I guess I could have two different prices one with meals included and one without.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:52 AM   #9
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Based on the number of people who come on here looking to get into trawlers and that have little or no experience...and no money...combined with the limited "trawler" chartering market....

My guess of a bareboat with capatin could get going....may take a while to get a rep and recognition....but right here is the source of a few.

Here on the east coast....there are lots of people that just want to lay in the sun and be watered like cattle...thus high demand for full crews in the Carribean. Yet the bareboats there seem to stay full too. I have had many requests to run a trawler school out of the NJ area...but usually just for a 3 day, full immersion weekend. More school than vacation. Part of it would be a balance of the cooking onboard to see the possibilities/limitations with eating ashore.

Like many small businesses....till you hang the shingle, you don't know for sure. Some take off like crazy and others dribble along till the shingle comes down.

My insurance allowed up to 5 or 6 charters a year (can't remember if that was occurrences or days)....so beyond a small rider and some additional niceties to have onboard...at least the cost shouldn't be too much to get started...but I'm sure that list will grow with others inputs and before you know it...like me....it just becomes more than I perceived giveback.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:56 AM   #10
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I say give it a shot. All the bareboat companies I'm aware of offer that kind of service. So for people to tell you it can't work goes against all the evidence to the contrary.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bcarli View Post
I'm thinking of offering week-long charters in the San Juan Islands on a 50 trawler and my wife thinks I'm crazy because I'm not planning on cooking meals for the guests. I figure I could discount the charters $1500 a week and let the charters supply their meals and cook them. My wife says nobody wants to charter and have to cook their own meals...I say she's wrong ( but normally she is right)...any thoughts? Am I really off base???????????
Random thoughts about your idea; early on a Sunday morning:

Having owned a bareboat (and crewed) charter business for several years in Friday Harbor (Charters Northwest), I can offer you several things you need to consider:

If you bareboat charter your boat and you are hired back as the skipper, it will legally be interpreted to be a crewed charter. (Some have thought that you could bareboat charter the boat and just be hired crew (not the skipper) but that doesn't work either. If you are aboard, you are deemed to be the skipper.) As such, the boat needs to either be a US built boat or have the CG coastwise trade endorsement to be legal. Not difficult to get but you still need to go through the process. I know.........I did it for a Taiwan built boat.

You will need to have a 6 pack license at the very least.

From a sales tax perspective in WA State, if you purchase a boat to be placed in a bareboat charter fleet, you defer the tax at the time of purchase. The tax is collected and remitted on the bareboat charter fees. If you purchase a boat for crewed charter, you pay the full sales tax at time of purchase. Similar rules apply if you bring a boat in to the state that has been purchased out of state.

I am not an insurance agent but this is what I recall about the cost of insurance. (this in 2003) Crewed charter insurance will likely be more expensive than bareboat insurance. Bareboat insurance, depending upon the age of the boat, condition, etc., can be quite a bit higher than standard insurance. Fleet insurance policies are usually priced better than individual policies. If I remember correctly, the cost of bareboat insurance for a power boat was about 1.2% of the insured value while private insurance ran about .75%. YMMV

You may want to read this USCG Boating Safety Circular for more information.

I am sure there are other things to consider but I need to get my second cup of coffee this morning. If I think of anything else, I will post.



Hope this is helpful........
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:23 AM   #12
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Don't know from the perspective of actually running a business operation, but:

My wife and I have run chartered boats in the Abacos, BVI, and St. Martin areas for folks who can afford it, and would like to try boating, but know little or nothing about operating a boat. They do know how to cook, however. And they would like to learn something about sailing and running a boat, so that maybe someday they could do it themselves.

In SE Alaska, I've often had guests aboard who are in the same situation. They love the experience, but would not know how to run the boat themselves.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:40 AM   #13
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Sorry I didn't answer the original question about cooking and chartering. Assuming you get past the regulatory hurdles, the answer to the questions is yes, people will be glad to supply their own food and do the cooking. Many (legal) bareboat charterers hire a skipper only to run the boat.

When I was doing charters on my Spindrift 46 sailboat, the skipper hired (not me) would often be picked up from the boat at the end of each day and the charterers would be on their own until the next morning. They loved it.
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Old 02-08-2015, 12:45 PM   #14
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I believe you and your wife are both correct in that a bare boat customer and a customer wanting a fully crewed boat are two different markets. This similar to the customer at the Red Roof Inn is a different market then the customer at the five star full service hotel.

In the early 80s I help a friend charter his 60 footer in SE Alaska that was fully crewed. The food was gourmet and all of wines were at least $100/ bottle. This was a very profitable market with repeat customers.
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