How To Start a Yacht Charter Business

Sailing boat

Think you can't afford your dream of sailing exotic waters aboard your own yacht?  You can if you don't mind mixing business with pleasure by starting a yacht charter business. It's best to be located in a port city with easy access to the water, and you can decide if you want to be based in the United States or a more exotic port like the Caribbean.  And by operating your yacht as a legitimate business, certain expenses can be tax deductible, making boat ownership even more affordable.

Decide if you are just going to offer use of the yacht to individuals and business clients, or if you plan on going along as the captain/guide/tour director. You will need the services of a good business attorney to tell you what sort of licenses are needed to operate a charter business, because licenses differ according to whether or not the yacht stays close to shore or travels international waters. Also, it is essential to get professional expertise on the kinds of insurance needed to operate a yacht charter business to protect yourself and your personal assets from any liability in the event of accident or injury.

There are franchise companies that can help train you on how to operate a yacht charter business, and if you have little sailing and no business experience, this is a very smart way to get started.

Make your yacht charter business as profitable as possible by diversifying what services you will offer.  You can rent your yacht for just a few hours on nights or weekends for parties to individuals as well as companies searching for a unique venue for a special event like a VIP cocktail party or Sunday afternoon brunch.  You can also offer the yacht for day or night-long cruises to special destinations, like Los Angeles to Catalina Island, or for more extensive week-long trips up and down the coast or from one coastal city to another, like San Diego to Cozumel, Mexico.

It's best to start small with one yacht as you learn the ropes of the business; taking some online classes in business law or management can help speed up your learning curve. Eventually, your business can grow to include several yachts of various sizes, along with numerous resources to make the cruise more pleasurable such as catering and entertainment.


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