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Charter Captain questions

Old 02-28-2021, 05:42 AM
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Default Charter Captain questions

I would like to know the true cost of getting a 6 pack captains license and all the required extras that it takes to legally take people fishing? I love to fish but as you know it cost so much for gas, the boat, insurance etc. I just want to trim my cost to go out for a day. I would be happy just taking a couple of serious fishing buddies and have them chip in and pay for most of the gas. Don’t even know if that is considered a legal option. Sorry captains! Not trying to take business away and I’m not trying to turn this into a business for myself either.
Any remarks or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Old 02-28-2021, 05:48 AM
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The "paperwork" cost of a Master's Credential isn't all that high. If you do all the studying yourself and then just go take the tests. Enrolling in a maritime school would increase costs, and perhaps compress the time you need to learn the material. Or not.

But you first need a boatload of sea time... and that can take years, depending on how often you're on the water and underway.

Go to the USCG site for more info: Merchant Mariner Credential NMC (uscg.mil)

-Chris

Old 02-28-2021, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
The "paperwork" cost of a Master's Credential isn't all that high. If you do all the studying yourself and then just go take the tests. Enrolling in a maritime school would increase costs, and perhaps compress the time you need to learn the material. Or not.

But you first need a boatload of sea time... and that can take years, depending on how often you're on the water and underway.

Go to the USCG site for more info: Merchant Mariner Credential NMC (uscg.mil)

-Chris
This just covers the first half of your question regarding getting the 6 pack captain's license. The second part " all the required extras that it takes to legally take people fishing? is your other cost. Required safety equipment, and recertification of same, commercial insurance (with enough liability), dockage (not all allows commercial), gear, advertising, DBA license, accounting/tax returns, etc
Old 02-28-2021, 07:02 AM
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Thanks for the reply! I did go to the sea school years ago and received the Masters Captain’s license but ended up selling the boat and let my license expire plus I never did any charters. I’m considering taking the course again but still uncertain of the extras cost and rules involving charters. For example do I need to have a license for the six people that will be fishing? Extra insurance cost? Any hidden requirements? Etc.etc. Also is it illegal if my friends just pay for the gas? Thanks!
Old 02-28-2021, 07:04 AM
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Yet another "I want to be a part-time charter captain to offset my costs" thread.

Do you have your 90 days at sea yet?

#1 - Don't quit your day job
#2 - Marry a successful woman
#3 - The costs of becoming a "legal" charter operation will negate any savings you think you might obtain.


Costs:
Sea school - Upwards of $1000 - One time
License - $90 - every 5 years
License review service (Optional) $120 - every 5 years
TWIC - $125 - One time
Medical Exam $200 - Every 5 years
Drug Program $100 - Annually
Insurance - $2,000,000 liability - $$$$$ Sky is the limit
License / Permits - Several hundred annually
Reef / Pelagic Permit - $27,000 - One time
Additional safety gear - 8 adult / 4 child life vests, life raft, flares, throwables, EPIRB, etc - $$$$$$
Local business license, additional fees, advertising, accounting, taxes, etc. - $$$$$$$
Accounting and Legal services to defend yourself from the IRS auditing you for running a sham business to supplement your hobby expenses - $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $

Last edited by popeyeiii; 02-28-2021 at 03:34 PM.
Old 02-28-2021, 07:17 AM
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Voluntary sharing expenses with your buddies is perfectly legal.

Part timing it as a way to offset the cost of your hobby is not worth it.
Old 02-28-2021, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 20biminitwist View Post
Voluntary sharing expenses with your buddies is perfectly legal.

Part timing it as a way to offset the cost of your hobby is not worth it.
Bingo.

Unless you are planning to run a lot of charter trips, it is not worth it to get your license, charter insurance, drug testing, raft, charter license, etc...

My fixed expenses are at least $40K a year and it takes around 60 charter trips to break even, unless something big breaks.


Old 02-28-2021, 10:26 AM
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Also some areas require limited entry licenses. You often have to buy others out to obtain those licenses and the have special trip and catch reporting requirements.
Old 02-28-2021, 12:32 PM
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and this is totally legal.

I would be happy just taking a couple of serious fishing buddies and have them chip in
Old 03-01-2021, 10:47 AM
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Part timing to try to offset costs always fails. Plus you have to show profit within a couple of years or the irs will not be happy
Old 03-01-2021, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by LivetoFish View Post
Part timing to try to offset costs always fails. Plus you have to show profit within a couple of years or the irs will not be happy

We got audited last year by the IRS.

They were very fair and ended up owing us a few bucks, but it ate up a ton of our time, cost us $12K in accountants (who were excellent and cheap) and was super stressful.

I have been told that fishing guides are on the IRS's radar, which may be completely false, but they sure spent a lot of time on my audit.
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Shake N Bake Sportfishing (formerly Colbachlaw) View Post
We got audited last year by the IRS.

They were very fair and ended up owing us a few bucks, but it ate up a ton of our time, cost us $12K in accountants (who were excellent and cheap) and was super stressful.

I have been told that fishing guides are on the IRS's radar, which may be completely false, but they sure spent a lot of time on my audit.
And you thought you had a good radar.

The IRS has one tuned for charter. It's better than any bird mode!
Old 03-01-2021, 06:09 PM
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I love to travel, but it's SO expensive. How much to just get a pilot's license and borrow a plane?

I really like coke and blow, but it's so expensive- how much is a pimping license?

Old 03-01-2021, 11:09 PM
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If your just doing inshore and near shore you can pay your licensing costs in 3-4 trips. Plus My insurance went up $1000 a year. You get some tax write offs. If you wanna do off shore in the GOM on a documented boat, it gets much more expensive.
Old 03-02-2021, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Shake N Bake Sportfishing (formerly Colbachlaw) View Post
I have been told that fishing guides are on the IRS's radar, which may be completely false, but they sure spent a lot of time on my audit.
You have been told correctly. The 3 biggies are anything to do with boating, horses, and classic cars.

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