Long term lease/charter

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Jul 10, 2011
I am consider buying a trawler when I retire in 5-7 years.* I will be able to take an extended break from work ( 8-12 months) and would like to charter or lease a trawler before then. I will have attended severl training schools before then and I currently have experience with several small boats.

Is it possible to rent or lease a 36-45 ft trawler for 6 months in the US for coastal crusiing ...I would have full insurance coverage for the boat.





You didn't mention your local. In the PNW, there are lots of charter companies with boats in the 36 - 45 ft range but they go for something close to $5,000 a week. Seems to me you could buy a boat if you plan to cruise for 6 months at that price and sell it when you are done.

I am located in texas but could pickup boat anywhere depending on season. Florida would be ideal. I was thinking someone may want to lease their boat out for while becuase they were not using or could use some cash flow.

If I buy one and have to sell in 6 months becuase works starts up again I am afraid I would lose a lot in taxes, commisionn fees etc
As Ron noted the charter rate on a 35-42 foot cruiser is not cheap. His estimate of $5,000 a week may actually be on the low side but this will depend on the type, age, and condition of the boat. In the later '90s we chartered a Grand Banks 36 until we got our own boat and the weekly rate was some $3,500. It hasn't gotten any less expensive since then. I'm sure there are charter companies that would be delighted to supply you with a boat for six months or so since a guaranteed income of $120,000 or more will finally let them buy that Porsche they've always wanted :)

As for finding someone willing to let you rent their boat for that period of time--- or any period of time--- the chances of that are slim indeed. You have no experience at this point with boats of this type, and while classes can be very helpful I've found their primary benefit is in showing you how little you know and how much you have yet to learn. And you'll learn this by operating your own boat over time and making the same mistakes all the rest of us have made. Most boat owners will not be willing to let you learn and make those mistakes in their boats. Your small boat experience is valuable, of course, but it's small boat experience. Operating, maintaining (because in six months, trust me, there will be stuff to maintain or repair), maneuvering, navigating, etc. a larger boat is a somewhat different ballgame, and again, most boat owners are not going to be willing to let you learn this stuff with their boats. There was a recent thread on this forum about boat swapping and as I recall the general consensus was that most people do not want someone else running their boat, even if the other person has plenty of experience with a similar boat.

And even if you were willing to spend $120,000 to charter a boat for six months it's questionable if a reputable charter company would let you take a boat given your inexperience with this type of boat. The couple of charter companies I'm familiar with in our marina have minimum experience requirements that must be met before they'll charter a boat to someone.

This isn't to say what you want to do is impossible. But given the nature of charter companies and individual boat owners, I suspect you may have a pretty tough time making your plan a reality.

Ron's implied suggestion to buy a boat, perhaps a smaller one in the 25 to 30 foot range, do your six months or more of exploring and learning with that, and then sell it when you're done seems to me to be the smart solution here. The smaller boat will probably have a wider market and thus be easier to sell when the time comes. Then if you are in a position to buy a larger cruiser later you will have a much better knowledge and experience base from which to start.

-- Edited by Marin on Saturday 16th of July 2011 02:19:45 PM
Thanks for the detailed response. I think my best bet will be to do trawler schools in florida and shorter 5-7 day charters with and without captains. I may only be able to do this 4 or 5 times instead of 6 months. I think I will get invaluable experience spending time crusing, docking, navagating, anchor, repairing with the captains on board the size boat I eventually want to buy.

Thx again
I'll chime in here about trawler training. In 2009, I decided to get back into boating after a 35 year layoff (driving my parent's boats). I knew I wanted to get something bigger (30+ ft) than I handled in the past, so I rented a trawler for a 4-day weekend and took lessons from Blue Goose Charters in Baltimore, Maryland.

Mother Goose (Bill) provided 2 days of instruction, giving me good practice in handling a 35' MT single engine/NO thrusters, especially in close quarters around the*marina and the finger canals in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In addition, we worked on navigating, maintenance, and and safety. Shortly thereafter, I completed the Maryland Boating Safety Course, taught by the excellent CG Auxilliary folks, and I*bought our 30' Carver Santego. We have been boating happily ever since.

*I don't think you will really need months of paid lessons*and rentals to get comfortable and confident as a boater. If you are not ready to purchase, then chartering a vessel for a weekend or a week will get you what you want. Unless you really plan to live on the boat, however, I don't think a long term rental is too cost effective compared to just buying.

Good luck and happy boating!

- Paul Artola, Ellicott City, Maryland


Ragshoe wrote:

Thanks for the detailed response. I think my best bet will be to do trawler schools in florida and shorter 5-7 day charters with and without captains. I may only be able to do this 4 or 5 times instead of 6 months. I think I will get invaluable experience spending time crusing, docking, navagating, anchor, repairing with the captains on board the size boat I eventually want to buy.

Thx again
My wife and I went for trawler training at Southwest Florida Yachts. They had a week live aboard course which was very reasonable out of Ft. Myers. They spend a week training you in most aspects of boat handling and basic maintaince. Your doing this along the intercoastal and Charlotte Bay. This is skinny water and you learn to navagate and read the markers and range boards. If you do screw up and you will the bottom is soft mud or sand in almost all cases.* After you complete the course you can charter with them. They rent boats from 32 feet to 43 feet and the cost ranges from $2200 per week to $4000.00 per week depending on the boat and size. We have used them a couple of times. If it's been a year or more between rentals we usually get a captian for a day or two to sharpen our rusty skills. The people who run the company have been in business for 20 years plus. Their names and Barb and Bob Hansen. You can reach them at 800-262-7939 or on the net at : swfyachts.com. You can see the boats and courses they have available on line. Till I finally have the time to truly enjoy and use a boat renting is the best we can do at the moment. Good Luck
Since I have a boat that is in the charter fleet in the Northwest, I may be able to give some information that will help.* Our boat is 5 years old and is 46' (51 LOA) with a single Cummins and bow and stern thrusters.* It leases for approximately $4,000 a week.* I think it's one of the best deals out there for charter in our area.* There was someone that wanted to lease a boat for 3 months to go to Alaska.* A very experienced boater, they were negotiating on our boat and a 49' Meridian.* The negotiation on price was about $40,000.* They didn't lease our boat, so I assume they leased the Meridian.*

Even though our boat is with a charter company and it was an experienced boater, I was very uncomfortable with the idea of a 3 month charter to Alaska for $40,000.* We live 4 hours from the boat and our business is involved with agriculture.* That means we can't use the boat much in June, July and August.* We are just paying some of our expenses by chartering it when we can't use the boat.* We don't want many weeks of charter, because it prevents our use of the boat and leads to more wear and tear.* A 6 month charter in the NW would take the whole boating season.*

That being said, in the present economic environment I think there may be some people that would love a 6 month charter that paid all of the boat expenses and made for an annual profit.* You could start by talking to charter companies in your area.* Even if they weren't able to do what you wanted, they might know of someone that would be willing to do a private 6 month lease.* As a boater that is inexperienced in the size of boat that you want to lease, I think the sticking point might be the insurance coverage.

Lyle* * *
Thanks for all of your advice. It is greatly appreciated. I will surely start with a training weekend and week charter. We will see what happens during my sabbatical.

You might try a local YC and "creative begging".

Many owners will take aboard a hand or two to run to a cruising ground.

Get known as a willing hand and you will be invited more and more often as you build a reputation.

Any "Skool" will show one way , their way, of operating a vessel.

Observing a dozen skippers is far more useful ,,,"different ships , different long splices" has been good advice for the last 2000 years.

"Boat Skools" are expensive , far better to spend a hundred or two at the delli for a boat ride.
Many insurance companies are reluctant to insure a boater with limited experince so try Fred's suggestion and get as much time on as many boats as possible. Along with the trawler schools and the instruction courses from the USPS and Coast Guard Auxillary it will help with getting insurance.
Insurance co's love paper , so if you can pick up a 6 pack "license" at the candy store it will help.
My wife and I would like to rent Tug or Trawler 24' to 28' for one month. We would like to travel from east to west coast of Florida on the Lake Okeechobee Canal System. I have taken my 30 foot cabin cruiser down the intercoastal from New Jersey to West Palm Beach Florida. I have sold my cabin cruiser and have had other small boats when living in the keys. I've taken several navigational courses from US Coast Guard.
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