Amy has more questions:
How do we earn money while sailing? Is going into the charter business a good option?
Do you have to have a special license to do daysails or charters?
I am not a writer or a journalist, which it seems, most of the people who contribute to Women and Cruising are. I do have a very nice camera and feel I am an adequate photographer.
Gwen Hamlin answers:
• Is going into the charter business a good option (for earning money while sailing)?
Charter is a good way to enjoy the lifestyle and pay for it at the same time. It will, however, influence the boat you choose, for charter.
At minimum, you need a boat with two good cabins. Three cabins is probably better. Or four! While cruisers often choose smaller boats, 37-44, charter boats are more likely to be 42-50′ or bigger.
My 44 was a good size for what I wanted to do — charter, then cruise — but it was hard to carry more than 2 passengers. Many feel that four passengers is ideal for making money while still keeping things intimate, with 6 guests being the limit without getting into much bigger boats and licenses.
Sticking with 2-4 to me allows it feel like you are cruising with friends, depending, of course, on how you present yourself.
Obviously, you can go cruising on a smaller, simpler, less glossy boat than you would need for chartering. So be sure that charter is for you before going that route. I loved it, but maybe I was just lucky!
• Do you have to have a special license to do daysails or charters?
|It is as important to be a good host/hostess to succeed in charter as it is to be a knowledgeable captain.
Photo: Shelly Tucker, s/v THREE MOONS
You have to have several licenses (captain’s license, business license, insurance….etc) to do any kind of chartering for money, but more importantly, you also have to have the “knack,” if you truly want to succeed at it.
It is every bit as important to be a good host/hostess to succeed in charter as it is to be a knowledgeable captain. Probably more so. You have to be okay with people in your space, and you have to have that “showtime” knack of making sure THEY are having a good time whatever else is going on (plugged toilets, engine issues, etc.).
Plus someone aboard needs to have the knack of fixing all those issues as much behind the scenes as possible!
The captain’s license you go after will depend on the size of the boat you choose and the number of passengers you want to carry and the amount of sea time you can document. The typical first level of license is the OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Vessel, also known a “6 pack,” meaning you can carry a maximum of six passengers). With more sea time you can go for a 50Ton or 100Ton Masters License. Each license level has different requirements for sea-time experience and different testing. To get all the details on current requirements for a captain’s license, see http://www.seaschool.com/requirements2.htm
If you wanted to jump right in, you could hire a licensed captain to work with you. For specific information, if, for example you wanted to charter in the Virgin Islands, you could contact the Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League for up-to-date details (www.vicl.org) or The Charter Yacht Society of the British Virgin Islands (www.bvicrewedyachts.com).
• There are many other ways to support yourself while living the lifestyle: the more fixed in place you are willing to be; the more conventional the job options.
You don’t say what you and your husband do now, but, if income is an issue, you might want to think about starting now to training in a boating relevant skill, for example refrigeration, electrical, rigging, mechanics, canvas work…all of which skills are useful for you as boat owners, too. The cruising community is a funny one though, some skills cruisers expect and will pay for, eg those listed above, whereas help with computers (equally essential!) is usually exchanged gratis!
Let me differentiate, here, between help and work. Cruisers help other cruisers without compensation ALL THE TIME. It is just the way of the life. However, cruiser skills can get you work at boat yards or marinas nearly everywhere.
Other people are able to find work in their previous career fields. Teachers can often find job teaching English as a second language, or probably most any other subject. Doctors and nurses, too, can often work a term in a local hospital. We’ve also had friends stop and work in computer programming for several years in New Zealand for example.
So it’s not all a matter of some talent in journalism. Few of us make much real money at that! Pick up some of Fatty Goodlander’s books, and he will paint that picture clearly!