Charter Ownership – Questions and Answers
Are charter boats exempt from state sales and use taxes?
Boats or yachts purchased exclusively for use in bareboat (or skippered) charters are exempt from state sales and use taxes while in charter, a savings of 7.8 – 10% depending on where the boat is purchased or is moored after your purchase. This applies to local as well as out of state owners. Subsequent purchases of equipment or services related to your boat are exempt as well.
How often can I use my boat?
Because the boat is exempt from state sales and use tax, there are some rules governing personal use of the boat. Personal use is subject to sales (use) tax, based upon standard charter rates and a $50 administration fee. You charter your boat through Bellhaven just like a charterer would, paying sales tax on the fair rental price of your boat for the period of personal use. Bellhaven refunds you the entire amount of the charter fee less a fee. Time aboard for the purpose of conducting maintenance etc. is not subject to use tax.
Can Bellhaven provide me a slip?
Yes. Bellhaven charter boat owners enjoy the benefits of having their boats moored in one of the newest marinas in the Northwest. We have excellent restaurants, nearby groceries, and a wide range of boat related support services within the harbor. Moorage rates represent some of the best values currently available on the West Coast. Our location offers unrivaled convenience in accessing the San Juan Islands, Gulf and Desolation Sound cruising areas desired by both owners and charterers alike. Some owners may have other moorage available to them and they are free to take their boats “home” during the off season, and Bellhaven will endevour to sublease their slips while away.
Will my boat insurance be much more with the boat in charter with Bellhaven?
Rates for charter boat insurance are somewhat higher than for private ownership. However this is due to the increased exposure insurance companies feel with regards to potential liability claims arising from charter, rather than physical damage to the boats. As a way of keeping the insurance rates for all our owners the lowest possible, Bellhaven has a non-elective fleet insurance policy which is evaluated regularly to assure it offers the broadest coverage for our owners at the most competitive price. This fleet approach helps buy rates down for each owner. Bellhaven endevours to maintain the lowest charter related insurance claim record in the Pacific Northwest. This is attributed to our screening of potential charterers as well as our in depth check out procedures, which have been described by world experienced charterers as the best anywhere. Some other charter companies have been dropped by their insurance company due to the number or value of claims.
Who will perform and pay for maintenance on my boat?
Maintenance is the fundamental key in protecting your investment and assuring trouble free chartering. The latter assures you increasing revenue streams and decreasing risks as your boat generates repeat customers who are familiar with your boat and the cruising areas. Investment in preventive maintenance is critical.
We think having our own maintenance department is a conflict of interest because we feel we are in the same boat as you, figuratively speaking. You are part of our family and therefore we do not feel comfortable making money off of repairs performed while your boat is under charter. We ask each owner to contract with a local mechanic approved by Bellhaven to take care of routine maintenance requirements of each boat. In this way, we feel we can better serve you, acting as your eyes and ears, when necessary. Every attempt is made to assure that everything required to make your boat “turn key” for both charter guests and yourself is performed in an economically responsible way. As a result, insurance and lending institutions believe our charter boats are actually in better condition than most of the privately owned boats languishing in marinas everywhere.
What about equipment upgrades and additions or replacements? Can Bellhaven help me save money on these?
We encourage owners to be constantly upgrading their boats to make them as desirable and attractive to past and potential charter guests as is possible. As a result, we pass on any discounts we may enjoy as a marine related company to you, plus a nominal markup to defray the associated costs of selling the product to you. This can save our charter owners thousands of dollars over the years their boat is in our charter fleet.
How does Bellhaven generate your charter week projections?
Owning a charter boat is a business which helps many people realize part or all of their boating dreams. Searching for a management company for your investment is serious business. We encourage you to look at Bellhaven seriously. We constantly encourage ideas and feedback from graduates of our sailing school, charter guests and charter boat owners. If you see areas where we can improve, we encourage you to give us suggestions. Listening to customers is what drives the success of our business, and potentially your boat charter business. We believe that owning a boat and the trust you place in us doing so, is an example of the long term relationship which begins with the purchase of a boat with our assistance. That is why we only project charter weeks on our cashflows which, from available information and experience, will assure you the most accurate reflection of what your boats bottom line may be. Not something we know will sound good and assure your placement of the boat with us.
Of what importance are repeat customers to me as a charter boat owner?
Bellhaven has been in the business of chartering boats since 1982. That’s a lot of advertising floating around. However, repeat customers, of which you may be one, are the keys to our continued success. Not only do we strive to continually offer customers the best in satisfactory and personalized service so that we retain customers throughout their chartering years, but we also grow charter customers for you. Many Bellhaven charter owners and charterers, are former sailing course graduates of ours. What better customer to have charter your boat than someone trained by Bellhaven, perhaps even on your boat, with an eye towards care, competence and responsibility that such a privilege like chartering implies.
What is the downside of owning a boat in charter with Bellhaven?
As the saying goes, nothing is for free, and we would certainly like to answer this question with a ‘nothing’. The truth however is that there are some costs to you as a charter boat owner. Owners of charter boats may not be able to use their boat spontaneously at a whim for a few months during the year. Each time you step aboard things may not be in the same place. And yes, the upholstery will wear in places you don’t normally sit.
While charter boats get used, if owned by caring owners and managed by a caring charter company, they should not get abused. If you are afraid of your boat hitting a rock, be forewarned that in our experience, most grounding has occured with the owners aboard. For some owners, replacing things which are still functional but not cosmetically ‘new’ is a frustration. It is a cost of doing business. It is important that a boat in charter always look like new. Believe it or not, the average privately owned boat gets used a little over two weeks a year. Most of them are poorly maintanined and neglected the rest of the year. With regards to the exercise your boat will get, remember that you get a nice check, and that exercising a boat is like exercising your body. Your boat, like your body, should be in better shape than if it did not exercise regularly, and it should be in “turnkey” condition when you arrive, allowing for more trouble free enjoyment when using your boat yourself.
What is the most expensive part of owning a charter boat with Bellhaven?
The most expensive aspect of owning any boat is the down payment. Bellhaven understands that. We have helped lenders whom understand that too. As a result of our experience, knowledge and efforts, we have helped pioneer some of the most flexible, convenient and competitive financing programs in North America with local lenders. Lenders who are experienced and knowledgeable in boating, financing and charter boat ownership some have even used us as their personal brokers and put boats into our proven program.
Is charter ownership with Bellhaven for me?
For most of our clients, owning a boat in charter has let them do many things. For some, it allowed ownership of a larger or newer boat than could otherwise have been financially justified. For others it has paid the owners equity in a boat before they retired. For many, it allows them to increase their boating experience and skills while gaining valuable knowledge as to exactly what kind of dream boat will take them on that extended bluewater cruise. It also allows them to affordably own and maintain a boat in a geographically different area from where they live, where it is always in ‘turnkey’ condition for their use. For all of them, it affords the enjoyment of sailing their own boat as much as they desire, for a fraction of the cost.
Contrary to what you may hear about owning a charter boat, your boat should be mechanically and cosmetically in better shape after several years of management by Bellhaven than most other privately sailed boats. Come see for yourself. But for some, the thought of others using their boat is difficult to accept. We try to be realistic about the pros and cons of charter boat ownership, although we believe that for most people today, the pros outweigh the cons. We are looking for owners who see it the same way.
What does Bellhaven charge its customers for chartering a boat?
Bellhaven has very reasonable rates that vary by season and boat size. For a full listing of Bellhaven’s boat and yacht charter rates, be sure to check out our charter listings. You’ll find that Bellhaven is a very affordable way to charter a boat in the San Juan Islands area.
What happens if the customer doesn’t have any sailing experience?
Bellhaven offers a full sailing school for new sailors to learn all the basics of sailing. It’s suggested that if the customer has no sailing or power boating experience, that they should get some sailing time under their belt before they take out a boat on their own.