Home Business Center Logo

How to Start a Boat Charter Business 1-2-3

Take Your Love of Boating...
and Make Money

If you enjoy sailing, fishing or simply being out on a boat, and you want the freedom and independence of working for yourself - a boat charter business could be your ideal career.

The main cost of starting a boat charter business is the expense of the boat and boating equipment (upwards of $50,000). If you already have boat that you want to make money with, you are ready to get started.

Depending on where you live, the boat charter industry can be seasonal, the weather can affect your business and the market can be competitive, so you want to take these factors into account when you are starting your business. Could you offer charter or transportation services to residents during the non-tourist season? Or maybe you would prefer to operate a part-time or seasonal business?

How to Make Money Chartering a Boat

Captain David G. Brown has put together an informative guide for those who want to earn an income sailing or chartering a boat. As these vessels can be used for many forms of recreation, boating enthusiasts can take their hobby and turn it into an enjoyable career.

Boats can be chartered for dinner cruises, fishing excursions, water taxis, special private events and more. Business owners can specialize in one type of activity or offer several options to clients.

Sailing a BoatCaptain Brown covers all aspects of operating a professional boat-based business, including:

  • Licensing requirements
  • Liability issues
  • Administrative tasks
  • Marketing and finding customers
  • and lots more...

Make Money Chartering a Boat


Checklist for Starting a Boat Charter Business:

1. Obtain your captain's license. You will need to pass an exam at a Marine Safety Office Regional Examination Center, and you can use this inexpensive captain's license study guide to prepare you for the exam. (Interactive CD and 14,000 questions and answers included). Contact the US Coast Guard for boat chartering licenses needed (see basic checklist).

2. Get a business license. Check with your local government office to find out which licenses and permits you need for your business.

3. Open a business bank account so you can keep your personal finances separate from company income and expenses. Also, your banker may be a good source of small business financing if you need any.

4. Arrange a meeting with an accountant to discuss tax strategies and ways to maximize your business tax deductions. You can get referrals from other local business owners.

5. File your fictitious business name with your city or county clerk.

6. Meet with an insurance agent to discuss insurance you may need for your charter business. The IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) is a good place to start. You can also get free quotes online for business insurance.

7. Set up your business phone system. Whether you use a toll-free 800 phone number, a multi-line phone system, VoIP or simply add an additional phone number to your existing service, you'll want a designated line to establish a professional business image.

8. Order business cards. One of the cheapest ways I know of to advertise a business. See how you can design your own professional business cards online, plus simple tips for increasing your sales.

9.Use inexpensive signs topromote your sailing ventures. Unusual signs like flags, banners and A-frames can quickly and effectively communicate to people what you do and why they would want to charter a boat with you. You can easily save money and still get great signs - find out how.

10. Create an online presence for your boat chartering business and show off a professional visual display of your charter services. This is a great way to attract local clientele - and your website can do much of the "selling" for you. It's easier and cheaper than you think with a Free Website Builder

11. Local Search - More and more people are looking for local businesses online (instead of the traditional yellow pages) - and and local search engines and directories are easy to advertise with. Local Search sources that are affordable and receive substantial traffic include: Google Local, Yelp, Super Pages and more specialized site Trip Advisor.


Charter Business Associations

National Association of Charter Boat Operators
Included in NACO's membership are marine charters who offer diving, eco-tours, sailing, fishing and other vessels who carry paying passengers. They work proactively in the industry's interests and offer several member benefits, including discounted insurance, wholesale supply pricing, merchant account and marketing material discounts and more.

See Also Houseboat Rental Business Plan

2014 Home Business Start-up Checklist!

Home Business Start-up ChecklistGet the complete checklist free! Follow step-by-step ...from choosing your niche to bringing in customers.

Email address:

First name:

Topics you want to learn about:

We don't spam, we won't sell your email
and we don't bite!