All most all people enjoy fishing. You might be also a person who enjoys fishing. So, there is a great chance to feed both your entrepreneurial and outdoor desires by starting a charter boat business.

Before you start a charter boat business in Florida, you have to know about the rules and regulations regarding it, in Florida

Rules and regulations regarding charter boat business, Florida

Starting a Charter Boat Business in Florida | Ultimate Guide Rules and regulations regarding charter boat business, Florida

When it comes to Florida, Florida is the most popular sport fishing destination in the US, as well as the world. In fact, there are a lot of customers as well as a lot of licensed guides. However, being a licensed saltwater guide is different from being a freshwater guide in Florida state. Anyway, To operate legally charters, you need licenses.

To operate saltwater charters

In order to legally operate a saltwater charter, you have to obtain the following documents.

  • Captain’s license
  • Charter/ Fishing license
  • Boat registration

Captain’s License

For saltwater guiding, you need to obtain Merchant Mariner Credential. You have to get your license from United States Coast Guard (USCG).

  1. Decide the type of Captain’s license you need
  2. Spend enough time on the water, crewing a boat
  3. Find a school and get ready for the Coast guard exam or exam provided by a Captain’s school
  4. Apply for the 6 pack license.

With these simple steps, you can obtain the Captain’s license, which is needed for operating a charter boat service.

Charter license

Fishing or charter license is issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

When considering a charter license, there are two types as Charter Captain License and Charter boat license.

Charter Captain License:
This license costs $201.50 for 4 or fewer passengers, $401.50 for 10 or fewer passengers, and $801.50 for 11 or more passengers. A USCG licensed captain can go from boat to boat, with this license.

Charter Boat License:
This license costs also the same as the costs for the Charter Captain License. One Charter boat license can only be used for one boat designated on the license. But remember, before applying for this license, your boat already has to be ‘commercially registered’.

Boat registration

The boat is also a vehicle, the same as your car. So, before you operating it, you have to register it on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and motor vehicles. Only the vessel owner can apply for its registration. Remember, you must keep your registration certificate on board of yours when you are operating it, the same as your car. The cost you have to pay for the boat when registering depends on the size of your boat. Most probably, it will around $10 to $200.

It is not essential to carry the insurance of the boat. But, it is better to insure your boat as the charter captain.

Starting a Charter Boat Business in Florida | Ultimate Guide Boat registration

To operate freshwater Charters

Freshwater charters no need many licenses like in saltwater. If you are going to operate a legal freshwater charter, you don’t need any specific state guide licenses. Only you need is a USCG captain’s license, if you fish in navigable waters.

Accordingly, if you are going to starting a charter boat service in Florida, you have to consider the above rules and regulations. After that, you can consider how to start a fishing charter business.

How to start a charter boat business

There are more things to do than just registering it with the state. So, here is the simple steps t start your charter boat business.

Plan your business

In order to discover the unknowns and map out the specifics of your business, you need to have a clear plan. It will be easy to make your plan, with the following factors.

  • Startup costs
  • Ongoing costs
  • Target market
  • How much can you charge from your customers

Consider the Startup costs

Before you start your charter business, the very first thing you have is a boat. So, the largest expense you have to do is the cost of purchasing a boat. A new boat can be had for a little over $41000 or much more. Other start-up expenses are dockage, insurance, business licenses, fishing license, utilities, advertising, bookkeeping, and legal and management fees.

FinAngler Charters have budgeted the startup costs and Boat trader has listed a number of used boats, that you would buy for less than $30,000. So, if you plan to purchase a used boat, you have to financially ready for emergency repairs. In the same way, If you plan to purchase a new boat, you have to ready to spend a higher cost at the beginning.

Considering the ongoing expenses

Ongoing expenses for a fishing charter business are varied from business to business. But there are main expenses on any boat. They are,

  • Captain’s fees
  • Fuel and oil
  • Bait and ice
  • Tackle
  • Dockage
  • Business and fishing licenses
  • Insurance
  • Accounting
  • advertising
  • Utilities
  • Management and legal fees
  • Boat maintenances
  • Boat depreciation

Target market

Starting a Charter Boat Business in Florida | Ultimate Guide Target market  traveling girls

Someone who likes fishing and has a discretionary income, may be the ideal client in a fishing charter business.

How much can you charge from customers?

The price of a fishing charter depends on the region that the business located and the type of fishing it is provided. When it comes to Florida, a fishing charter charges between $165- $200 per hour to six people.

Have you ever thought about how does a fishing charter business makes money? Well. A fishing charter business makes money by charging customers, who want to go fishing trips. Trips may be for half-day or full-day, or few hours or several days.

Form a legal entity

Like the other business types, the charter boat business also needs to form a legal entity. Most probably, establishing a legal business entity such as LLC or corporation, protects you from being held personally liable. Or not, you can choose a business structure among, sole proprietorship, or partnership.

Register for taxes

Before you start your charter boat business, you will need to register a variety of state and federal taxes.

Open a business bank account

Using a dedicated business banking account will help you protect your personal assets.

An open bank business account can separate your personal assets. Not only that, it will help you to make accountings and tax filing easier.

By the way, a business credit card helps you to put all the expenses in one place. Further, it will help you to create your business’s credit history and it will help to raise money and investment later on.

Obtain necessary permits and licenses

To go a long way with your charter boat business, you need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses.

Federal business licensing:

Charter boats can inspect by the coast guard at any time. There are more and more safety rules and regulations regarding Coast guard safety. If your charter fishing caries more than 7 passengers, you must have licensed with the coast guard.

State and Local business licensing:

You need to take the state-issued fishing charter license, in some states. It will vary according to the state you live in.

Define your brand

This is a very important step in any business. Your brand is what your business stands for. A strong band will help your business stand out from competitors.

Establish your web presence

Almost all people use the internet and social media nowadays. So, you can leverage your business with a business website. I will allow your customers to learn more about your business and the products and services you offer. As well as, you can use social media to attract new customers.

So, now you can start your Charter boat business in Florida. After you start it, let’s see how to promote your business.

Promoting your Charter Boat business

As it takes time to build up a customer base, most of the charter boat businesses’ are slow in their first year. You can speed up the process by participating with rave agents and local sports clubs. You can offer commissions for travel agents, and then they will help o attract tourists, as your new customers. Further, you can give presentations to local groups and they will help in attracting nearby residents.

Not only that, but customers coming back is also important. So, you must keep them coming back.

So, you can set your business by considering all these facts and you can promote it too. As an entrepreneur, the greatest resource you can have is quality mentorship. So, finding a business mentor will help you in tough times.

Anyone who is passionate about fishing and enjoys sharing that with other people may well be suited for running a charter boat service. You can have a great time with your customers sharing your love and knowledge with them.

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Uditha Sanjaya
Uditha Sanjaya is a Tech communicator, video creator, and entrepreneur, having founded Fuozo Solutions, Hackinglk, FounderActivity.com, and DEVOLUXE.com.. He’s a host of FounderActivity Podcast and Hackinglk. you can find him on YouTube, Twitter, and, if you really want to, Facebook.

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