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Old 01-01-2016, 03:13 PM   #1
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Trawler Charter Market

I'm planning to buy a used small trawler (Camano, Mainship style) and create a charter business with it in addition to using it myself.

I'm wondering what you think the market for small trawlers (30-40ft.) being available to charter for 1 week up to as long as maybe six months at a reasonable price at a time might be?

Reasonable prices being somewhere around 1 week = $1,500.00, 1 month = $4,000.00, 3 months = $7,500.00.

I can see where people may not want to own a boat but rent for extended cruising or for the winter season to go to Florida or Bahamas.

To rent a nice condo in Florida during the season it is $2,000 to $4,000.00 per month.

Thanks for any insight you may have on this....
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:28 PM   #2
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I think there would be a great market for a small trawler if it could be taken to the Bahamas, but see below. I am retired and have my own trawler that I use in Connecticut but would love to rent a trawler for a month in the Bahamas in the Jan-March period.


But realize that you will need insurance to make this work. Your recreational policy will not cover commercial chartering. It is difficult, but someone recently posted that it was possible to get such insurance for a single boat chartering operation. Most are multiple boat charterers who have enough business volume to justify the risk to the insured.


But the Bahamas is the kicker. Most recreational policies cover the Bahamas, but I don't know about commercial policies. You will have the problem with the inexperienced boater (He is chartering, right. That makes him almost surely inexperienced.) heading off crossing the Gulf Stream in bad conditions, getting in trouble and and then calling the USCG to pick him up and abandon the boat. That is why I doubt that insurance will be available for the Bahamas.


But, sign me up for a month next year if you get it up and running.


FWIW, a Mainship Pilot 34 (same boat as mine) goes for $4,000 per week at SW Florida Yacht Charters. Your proposed pricing is way, way below that.


And also FWIW, I would look at a 2005+ Mainship 34T. It has much more room than a Camano. I chartered a Camano 31 years ago in Anacortes and owned a Mainship 34T a few years ago. I would never spend a month on a Camano, but I would on a Mainship 34T. Also consider a Mainship 350/390. Not as nice as the 34T for just a couple but does have a second stateroom for kids or another couple.


David
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:17 PM   #3
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Great points...looks like the Bahamas are out! I'm wondering if I could require the renter to get their own insurance?
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:43 PM   #4
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Interesting as we have been thinking of the same.
Yes pricing looks very low.
David what would be your basic requirements for a boat, if you were looking at chartering?
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:04 PM   #5
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Great points...looks like the Bahamas are out! I'm wondering if I could require the renter to get their own insurance?
Much safer you incept and maintain insurance in the form you require with the insurer of your choice, than leave obtaining it to a short term charterer.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:03 PM   #6
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Great points...looks like the Bahamas are out! I'm wondering if I could require the renter to get their own insurance?
If the charterer already owns a boat, his insurance will usually cover him. But then you have to make a claim on him and his insurance company to cover the cost of any damage to your boat. Messy, and it might take you a long time to get your money. In the mean time, no charter income but the monthly payments keep coming.

And if he doesn't own a boat, he can't buy insurance for a boat that he doesn't own. Marine insurance doesn't work like auto renter's insurance. So without insurance that takes away most of your market.

You need to sit down with a marine insurance broker and figure this out before going any further.

For me as a couple, I like a classic trawler with a bimini covered fly bridge, a queen size berth, a large salon to hang out in messy weather, galley down and a covered cockpit aft to watch the sunset from. The Mainship 34T fits this to a T.

For a couple with two small kids you need another berth. The Mainship 350/390 does this, but does not have as expansive a salon as the 34T, as the galley is up to make room down for the second berth.

Mainship 34Ts can be found near $150K. 350/390s in the low or below $100s.

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Old 01-04-2016, 02:37 PM   #7
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Great points...looks like the Bahamas are out! I'm wondering if I could require the renter to get their own insurance?

You certainly could, but what happens when the loss isn't covered? Or the renter puts the wrong effective date, or the check they sent to the insurer doesn't clear, or they take the boat to the Bahamas anyway... too many variables to bet $50-100k on IMHO.

Having said that, my wife and I have been casually looking at trawlers and have investigated chartering one or two to get a feel for different boats. There does appear to be at least some demand for trawlers to charter. Good luck and let us know how you solve the insurance!
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:54 PM   #8
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I don't know how you intend to register the boat. It is probably different from state to state, but in Washington if you register your boat as a commercial vessel with the Department of Revenue as opposed to the Department of Licensing as a pleasure craft, personal use would violate the registration regs which permit movement to or from points of embarkation/debarkation or fuel, repair, but prohibit any personal use. Often times this rule is not observed mind you, but it did cost a boat owner several hundred thousand in fines a few years back when he got nailed for registering as a commercial vessel at a lower registration fee.
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:41 PM   #9
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Hello Bella,

I live in the Bahamas, (Abaco) and I own 46' trawler that I am considering chartering to qualified persons to cruise the Abacos.
Would be interested to discuss it with you.
Email me at: scottweatherford@hotmail.com
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:45 PM   #10
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Hi Trawler Forum,
I am not familiar on how to contact other Forum members? Will the message that I sent to Bella be seen only by him?
I await you fast reply
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:46 PM   #11
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I'd jump on that opportunity like that in a heartbeat. We've gotten into the habit of chartering with another couple for at least a week once a year. Except for the Pacific Northwest/San Juans, it's hard to find a comfortable power boat charter that's not a million bucks a week. We find sailboats are just too uncomfortable, even bigger ones, climbing down companionway stairs in rough weather, etc. I posted a thread here a couple months ago asking if anybody knew of a trawler or power charter company around the Trent Severn Waterway. Houseboats and sail (which requires the mast be removed on the Trent Severn anyway), but no luck finding a powerboat or trawler, so it looks like we'll have to plan for a trip elsewhere.

(In fact, as financially silly as this sounds, we're shopping for a smaller second boat to keep somewhere around Connecticut -- even though we live in South Dakota right now -- because we can't find a power charter or rental in that area for less than a million dollars for more than half-day periods.)

For the boats we charter (or the second boat for our summer flings around Long Island) we look for at least two cabins with doors, comfortable space for four around the salon table, and stairs, no ladders. Other than that we're pretty flexible. (For example, for the summer fun sailboat, we'll probably have to sacrifice the two-cabin preference and go with a quarter berth for one couple. We chartered a sailboat in the San Juans once, a Beneteau 42 with four cabins, two forward, two aft. I'll bet there's a very high demand for that configuration boat in the charter business. Split the cost with another couple (or two) and the cost gets downright inexpensive.)
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:12 PM   #12
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Hi Trawler Forum,
I am not familiar on how to contact other Forum members? Will the message that I sent to Bella be seen only by him?
I await you fast reply
Conchy Joe
Joe: If you are responding to a post, click on the poster's name on the left hand side and you'll see 6 options. Click on the 2nd one, "send a private message", and type in your message. If you know the member you want to contact, at the top of any page you'll see, Community. Click and locate the member you want, then send him/her a private message. All private messages go to the email address that was supplied when you registered. And yes the messages are private.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:19 PM   #13
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Reasonable prices being somewhere around 1 week = $1,500.00, 1 month = $4,000.00, 3 months = $7,500.00.

....
At those prices, I'd definitely be interested. I've chartered a few sailboats before, mainly because there seems to be so many more available and they are MUCH more reasonably priced than powerboats. Why is that? Supply and demand? Insurance costs? I'd prefer to charter power cruisers but can't justify the extra (double?) cost.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:24 PM   #14
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We chartered our 34' Mainship MkIII for a while; this back in the mid-90s, bareboat. I found I was emotionally unprepared for the stress given it was OUR BOAT and not just an off-the-shelf commodity. Didn't ever have any significant damage, but the worry about it happening "on the next charter" wasn't enjoyable.


More recently I've thought about offering captained charters on our current boat, but... our lay-out is likely only useful for a single couple, or maybe we could squeeze in a single couple with kid (or two same-gender kids). I suspect the market is more attuned to shared expenses by multiple couples, or at least several good friends. At that point, the number of staterooms becomes an issue, and I probably don't have enough to capitalize on that segment of the market.


IOW, I suspect a single stateroom probably isn't gonna attract a large portion of the charter market.


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Old 01-04-2016, 05:20 PM   #15
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There are two types of charter fleets:


1. Outfits like Southwest Florida Yacht Charters and Annacortes Yacht Charters take various boat from owners, put them in their fleet and manage the chartering of the boat. These cost $4,000+ per week in season for a 34-36' trawler. Most I have seen available are older, maybe 20 years old for some, but a Camano I chartered from AYC some years ago was very well maintained.


2. The Moorings. They have specific boats that owners buy and put into the charter fleet. The boats are new, bigger and cost much, much more to buy for the owner and charter for the charterer- $8,000/wk or more. But these boats are big- 40' or more and have several cabins and three couples can be accommodated. Not the kind of chartering the TF members are considering.


The point of the above, is that while SWF, AYC and The Moorings are probably making money, I'll bet they aren't rolling over in cash even at the prices they charge. It costs money to maintain these boats. One maintenance blowout can ruin your reputation, so these big guys work hard at that and have chase boats to come fix anything that would otherwise shut down a charter.


I doubt seriously that the OP can buy something like a Camano 31 for maybe $100,000, maintain it, pay for the insurance if he can find it, and make money at $1,500/wk or even cover part of the costs of ownership so he can use it while it isn't being chartered.


The final evidence is that no one else is doing a one boat charter operation.


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Old 01-04-2016, 06:36 PM   #16
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Trawler Charter Market

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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
There are two types of charter fleets:


1. Outfits like Southwest Florida Yacht Charters and Annacortes Yacht Charters take various boat from owners, put them in their fleet and manage the chartering of the boat. These cost $4,000+ per week in season for a 34-36' trawler. Most I have seen available are older, maybe 20 years old for some, but a Camano I chartered from AYC some years ago was very well maintained.


2. The Moorings. They have specific boats that owners buy and put into the charter fleet. The boats are new, bigger and cost much, much more to buy for the owner and charter for the charterer- $8,000/wk or more. But these boats are big- 40' or more and have several cabins and three couples can be accommodated. Not the kind of chartering the TF members are considering.


The point of the above, is that while SWF, AYC and The Moorings are probably making money, I'll bet they aren't rolling over in cash even at the prices they charge. It costs money to maintain these boats. One maintenance blowout can ruin your reputation, so these big guys work hard at that and have chase boats to come fix anything that would otherwise shut down a charter.


I doubt seriously that the OP can buy something like a Camano 31 for maybe $100,000, maintain it, pay for the insurance if he can find it, and make money at $1,500/wk or even cover part of the costs of ownership so he can use it while it isn't being chartered.


The final evidence is that no one else is doing a one boat charter operation.


David

I think this is dead-on. I was a customer of Southwest Florida Yachts for several years, bought my own ex-Moorings Powercat this year thinking to do a one-boat charter operation. After 6 months of seeing how much work was involved with phone calls and emails from potential customers, when I still have a day job, I decided I couldn't compete and just put my own boat in the Fleet at SWFyachts. Couldn't beat her, so I joined her!


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Old 01-04-2016, 06:50 PM   #17
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Two major issues. To make money your prices need to be several times that. Just to break even they need to be. Second, chartering a single bareboat would be a nightmare to pull all you need together on. The only single boat charter operations I'm aware of are captain included and typically fishing or diving.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:18 PM   #18
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Two major issues. To make money your prices need to be several times that. Just to break even they need to be...
Yep. At $1500 a week I'd be the first in line to be a charter customer for that one, but that price is too low. Doubling that price gets you into the ballpark.
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:49 AM   #19
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The quickest way to turn a great hobby into a nightmare is to make it a business. (Just my opinion).
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:23 AM   #20
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The quickest way to turn a great hobby into a nightmare is to make it a business. (Just my opinion).
Agree 100%. That's why we resist any business at all related to boating.
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