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How to Make Money with Your Boat, 10 Creative Ways

There is no getting around the fact that to take care of a boat properly costs money. So what if there was a way you could offset some of those costs and make a boat pay for itself? Chartering your boat for others to use is the first way that springs to mind for most, and we have already looked at the various ways you can set off down that route. From bareboat charters to crewed yacht charters, from yacht charter agencies to charter ownership schemes, you have lots of options. The size and age of your boat might dictate which charter options are open to you, and you will need to decide how involved you want to be. You might decide you want to manage the charters, or even captain them, or prefer to hire a skipper and crew, or let a charter agency do all the hard work. 

Chartering isn’t the only way however to bring in some money and enjoy your boat at the same time. Here we take a look at some creative ways that your boat can earn its keep, or even be a nice little money spinner. It’s worth remembering that you will most likely need a captain’s licence to undertake most of these ventures, and you will need to enquire with your insurance company whether they have any restrictions.


Ways to get money for your boat


  1. Offer Sightseeing or Photography Cruises

Viewing a destination from the water has always been a popular activity, and you can offer private boat tours along the coast for a couple of hours up to a whole day. If it’s a warm destination, full day tours could include beach picnics and swimming in pretty coves, or you could go in search of secret spots, lonely lighthouses or magnificent cliffs as part of a two-hour photography tour. This can be a great option if your boat is in an area popular with visitors, as locals are less likely to sign up for these kinds of tours in big enough numbers to make it worth your while. Sunset cruises are also highly sought after, and you could throw in a glass of bubbly and some nibbles to create a really special experience. If your boat is big enough you could even offer small weddings aboard! Be flexible and creative with the tours you offer and it’s a great way to make money with your boat.


  1. Partner with a Dive Centre

If you’re in an area which attracts scuba divers, talk to local dive centres and see if they need an extra dive boat during the peak season. By adding tank holders and the necessary fittings to your boat you could captain divers and their guides to local dive sites. If you wanted to go a step further you could even run day or overnight dive charters yourself, although keep in mind that you will need certifications from PADI, SSI or other organisations if you want to have a compressor on board. 


  1. Run Private Fishing Trips

Fishing is big business the world over and, if your boat has the ability to be used as a fishing vessel, it could be a successful and lucrative business. Whether it’s deep sea fishing, or coastal forays, beginner’s trips or a charter for a group of keen anglers, you can tailor your trips accordingly. You can offer half day, full day or even overnight trips if your boat has accommodation space. Keep in mind that if you’re not already set up for fishing there might be some extra outlay as you get all the equipment installed, but you can make it as simple or as complicated as you choose. Be sure to check local regulations and ensure you and your guests have the right licenses and follow the rules. 


  1. Conduct Sailing Lessons

If you’re an experienced sailor you can offer a personalised, hands-on teaching experience on your yacht. Whether your students are completely new to sailing and want to get a feel for it, or preparing for their exams and need to put in some additional sea hours, you can guide them along the way. If teaching isn’t for you, you can offer your boat as a training yacht to qualified instructors. 


  1. Run Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Excursions

Wildlife watching is always a popular activity, and if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with regular sightings of dolphins, whales, seals or other marine life than you could run eco-tours for visitors. Wildlife watching tours tend to only be a few hours, especially as they’re popular with families with children, so you could offer a couple a day in peak season. Many areas are, quite rightly, strict when it comes to the numbers of boats offering wildlife tours and how close you can get to them so animals don’t feel crowded and stressed. Do your homework, find out how much competition you have, what the rules are and what your chances of spotting wildlife are. Ultimately, you want happy guests and positive reviews. 


  1. Start a Blog

Blogging and vlogging are going nowhere fast and if you can express yourself with words or images then why not start your own one? Once you get a following, the money will start coming in, whether it’s through affiliate links, advertising or even charging a membership. It’s important to find a unique angle, and tell your story in an engaging, honest and interesting way. Whether you’re good at writing or feel you can better express yourself through video, then go with what suits you and stick to it. There are many bloggers out there who make a good living whilst sailing the world. 


  1. Bring Paying Crew on Board

There are more wannabe sailors without boats than the other way around which means people are willing to pay for the experience and adventure of becoming crew on your boat. If you have (or want) to do an extended crossing, connect with crew willing to pay to gain experience. It might just be a share in the fuel and food costs, but it all helps. There are various websites connecting boat owners and sailors with reviews and resumes. 


  1. Advertise Your Boat to Film Crews

Make contact with media, advertising or film companies who are often looking for the right location for a photo shoot or as a prop in a movie. While your boat is unlikely going to star in a Hollywood blockbuster, there are smaller, local companies who will pay to use your boat for a day or two. You’ll need to be flexible and available on short notice, but get the word out there are you may very well get some commissions. It’s worth noting that classic style yachts tend to be more sought after for this type of work. 


  1. Deliver Cargo

From the glittering lights of the movie world to delivering cargo might seem a bit of a step down, but it can also bring in some extra cash. Transporting goods across borders entails a whole host of complicated tax and customs regulations, however within a country you could offer to move fresh produce, local crafts or spares and parts. Get your name out there and through word of mouth you may find the calls start to pour in. You get to set your own schedule, enjoy cruising. Find all Commercial Boats for Sale.


  1. Become a Water Taxi

You could ferry passengers between islands, down rivers or across lakes. You could have a set schedule or offer private pick-ups and drop-offs or even a chauffeur for the day service. Guests will love being picked up from their hotel and dropped off outside a waterfront marina, or spending a day on a remote beach before being picked up later in the afternoon. This flexible and fun business idea works in most destinations, whether it’s the middle of a city or in more far-flung locations. 


If you’re considering buying a boat and want to make some additional money to offset the storage, maintenance and running costs, then decide beforehand which business option will work best for you and where you live. Rightboat.com lists hundreds of boats all over the world and can offer advice to help you find that perfect boat. 



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Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

Get in touch:Linkedin

More from: Samantha Wilson

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