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International Chartering for Hire Regulations

Discussion in 'Yacht Captains' started by ALE, Mar 22, 2009.

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  1. ALE

    ALE New Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    I am new to this forum, but not new to boating. I don't have experience on the ocean, however, my experience ranges from the ski boat to a 65' houseboat on Lake Powell. I do like the idea of receiving a captains license, if for nothing else, for the experience and knowledge.

    As many people have I am sure, I have a dream of cruising in the islands of the Caribbean. And, yes, the idea would be to have the opportunity to charter the boat for hire.

    I spend quite a bit of time researching things before I jump in with both feet. And I think the first question I have is on the geographic limitations. I have read a little about the 6 pack license, but I am looking for additional information on this. For example, if I wanted to charter in the area of Guadeloupe, St. Barths, Dominica and Martinique, where do I find information on chartering regulations outside of the United States?

    My goal would be to eventually have a motor yacht in the 65' range.

    As I said, I am new to this, so any direction to websites and material would be a great help.

    Thanks,
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Having a captain's license will expose you to a completely different level of liability. So, if you don't expect to make a living at it, I'd be hesitant. Also, a 6 pack license isn't worth much in the commercial field. I'd suggest that you try to hire on as a deckhand or stew and get a feel for life on board and the business in general before putting your money down on a boat. There's a lot to learn. You may even want to charter a couple of boats so you can obresve close up while enjoying a nice vacation. Researching into the boat you'd like to charter will also teach you a lot.
  3. ALE

    ALE New Member

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    Thanks.

    Thanks for the insight. I am sure there is a ton of information to learn and going about it slow would be the best way.
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    To tell you the truth as far as I am aware there isn't much in the way of enforced rules and regs that controls or restricts your ability to charter in the popular spots in the Caribbean.
  5. CaptNeil

    CaptNeil Member

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    There are a ton of rules for all the Caribbean Islands regarding chartering. There are as many rules as there are Islands and they are all different for each nation. It is best to do some research on the island you plan on chartering in before you show up and try and open up shop. There are specific ones you really want to pay attention to because penalties can be as severe as jail time and vessel confiscation. I know of a few American skippers who have gotten into some real touchy situations lately by trying to charter on the slide or just plain outright disregard the laws of the Nation they were in.

    I'll start you off with some sound advice. Don't wear camo in Barbados.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Cap, What's your thoughts of the viability (make a living) of a 65' motoryacht chartering in the Caribbean?
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I should have added that the time I spent on charter boats in the Carib was 1984 till 2002 we were never hassled anywhere except USVI.

    The smallest boat I was on was 28m and the largest 55m.
  8. ALE

    ALE New Member

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    More good insight. I have started reading through the many posts in the forum on the various topics. Also, the comment about the many regulations for each country falls into what was in the back of my mind. It sounds like picking an area not only to gain the local knowledge, but also to learn the local regulations is the direction to go.

    The question raised about the viability of making a living with a 65 footer is a good one. To go along with the viability question - what is the average charter bookings per month for a yacht? Are there any statistics on this? I have done a little research on the weekly rates, etc. which seem to run the gamut.

    It seems that on my part, there are many questions that need to be answered and only speculation (dreaming) can be made until I have some on-deck experience to really get a grasp on these questions and answers.

    Thanks.
  9. CaptNeil

    CaptNeil Member

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    I don't think it is a good way to make a living period. There is no profit in running a boat. In fact I think that everything that is done is more of a tax write off than an actual profit driven business. You may be able to squeak out a small profit if you run a day boat charter (fishing or diving) type operation on a small 65 footer. I would wager to say that you would be lucky if you broke even.
  10. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Welcome ALE,

    where do I start... :)

    first, about the additional liabilitly exposure of having a license, whenever someone brings up this urban legend I always ask the same question: show me a case where a licensed captain operating his private vessel (NOT with paying pax) was actually held to this mythical higher standard. a link, a USCG decision, anything beyond "a guy on the dock who knew a guy who heard from a guy that... "

    so, if you want to get your license, go for it.

    about chartering, having lived on St Barth for 13 years (80s/early 90s), I can tell you the rules vary greatly from island to island. Forget Guadeloupe and Martnique, too many social problems, tax issues,e tc... plus the cheap euro tourists they get there only want to bareboat 36' sailboats! St Marten and antigua are the main chartering hubs, along with the VIs. St Barths is a great stop but your base/main start - pick up point has to be where there is a large airport with non stop flights from europe/US. not a smaller place where guests need to connect.

    Most charter yachts operating in the Carib fly either a "red" ensign or a US flag, unless they are small local boats so local regs shouldn't have a huge impact. When you start focusing on details, you will need to talk toa good maritime lawyer to see what will work best for you.

    as to the charter market, in normal times you woudl be able to cover some of the operating costs. From what i've read and heard, things have drastically slowed down in the past few months with much fewer bookings. Hopefully by the time you get "serious", things will have turned around.
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Sorry to disagree, but, although having a license would not be cause for an action, it would certainly be a factor in determining liability and the extent of that liability. It takes no imagination to envision the scenario: Defendant 'I didn't know that was dangerous'; Lawyer 'As a licensed captain aren't you supposed to know these things?' Granted that's not case law; just logic and what I've been told by many lawyer-clients who wouldn't think of getting a captain's license.
  12. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Did that little bit you read say anything about a "6-pack" not being valid for international operations? It is an operator's permit to allow near coastal or inland operations in U.S. waters only.

    If you want to charter internationally there is a whole new book you need to read and by the sound of it, you will spend the next few years gathering sea time and experience before you will be permitted to charter that 65 footer outside the US.

    But then again, if you go with a red flag you could buy a couple of weeks of classes and get an MCA or International Yacht Club license to run a 200 ton boat. :rolleyes:
  13. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    Gross negligence is gross negligence no matter what license is or is not held. That's what your common sense should be telling you. Ignorance of the law being no excuse for breaking it, your lawyer friends should also be cognizant that pleading ignorance in boat handling will, if anything, make them more culpable because now they're knowingly creating hazardous circumstances by operating machinery with which they are unfamiliar.

    Darned if you do, darned if you don't. So do whatever makes you happy. If you want a title, Captain, then get the 6-Pack.

    It doesn't sound like he's going to be competing with you for work, so why try to scare him away?
  14. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    well, if one tries to claim ignorance as an excuse to do something dangerous or stupid, they deserve it, dont' they?

    that i agree with you... but otherwise, i have never heard evidence of stiffer penalties because someone was licensed when operating their own boat, privately. If you have paiying passengers on board, then yes, the standard are higher and you will be held to them.
  15. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    And what evidence exists to prove that contention?

    I challenge any reader to submit a verifiable report of a captain having his license revoked, suspended, or otherwise being held accountable for an incident or accident while in command of a yacht.

    This carries one exception however, USCG reports related to the drunken operation of small boats or those couple of actions involving murderously stupid fishing boat skippers running the bars along the Oregon coast don't count.
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When you cause an accident your defenses are ignorance or negligence. Neither good, but what else. So for damages you're at the mercy. Better it was my first time at a helm (ignorance) than I'm a professional who should have known better (negligence). It may not change a verdict, but it may adjust the award. Most damages aren't statutory but discretionary. As for scaring him away, he's not asking for advice to get a salesman's pitch. He deserves to be told that a 6-pack won't find him much work, that he'll be laying out a thousand or so by the time he has it, that it will be hard to make a living off a 65' motor yacht, etc. The competition I don't mind, and someone with a little more education out there is certainly welcome. I'd love it if a 6-pack were required to run a boat.:cool:
  17. ALE

    ALE New Member

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    Thanks. Finding out more.

    Thanks for all of the input that has been given. From what I had read on the 6-pack was that it was for coastal waters of the US, but it was a little vague. So, thank you for the clarification.

    And with the comments on the other countries, that is a help. You are giving me information that will be helpful in my search.

    As for the "scare" concept. I like good, solid information. Information comes in all shapes and sizes, good and bad. I believe it helps make a more educated decision when the time comes. Thank you for all kinds of information. I have learned that sometimes the decision is different than what I originally wanted (or, thought I wanted.)

    What I like about boating in general is that people have passion. They love what they do and it seems that the experiences create an incredible comradery amongst each other.
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When I entered this business over 20 years ago I had a dream much like what you described. Man I wish there was something like YF back then. Can't say it would have persuaded me away from the business (I'm stubborn that way :rolleyes: ), but it probably would have saved me a lot of mis-steps along the way. Good luck.
  19. DocRon

    DocRon Member

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    To quote Donald Trump on yachting: The second happiest day in his life was when he bought a yacht. The happiest day was when he sold it!