13 Ways to Make Money With Your Boat

Updated on May 22, 2020
Blond Logic profile image

I meet with business owners both locally and internationally and share what I learn to help readers generate more income.

make money with your boat
make money with your boat | Source

Begin Earning From Your Boat

Is your boat burning a hole in your pocket with the general upkeep, mooring fees and very little time to enjoy it?

Maybe you thought you'd use it more than you do. If this is the case perhaps it's time to look at other options which will allow you to keep the boat, but earn from it as well.

Whether you're a liveaboard or a weekly/monthly/yearly user of your boat you'll find ideas here you may not have thought of before. Some of these will be better suited to some types and sizes of boats than others. Browse through and see which could turn your boat from a pain in your wallet into a pleasure craft again.

It may be necessary to check that with your boat insurance company if you wish to take paying passengers or implement some of these ideas. Your policy may need to be changed in order to run your boat as a business. It also goes without saying that it is necessary to have up to date and tested safety equipment on board sufficient for the number of people on board.

Beyond ensuring your insurance and boat are up to muster. It's likely you will need local permits and licenses if you plan to stay and work in a certain area. Some areas and countries will be more flexible than others. Using due diligence before proceeding could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

1. Personalized Cruises

Many people would love to go cruising but don't want to go with the cattle brigade who go on the large cruise ships. There are free spirits who are looking for something different but worry about chartering one themselves. The trip could be for a few days to a couple of weeks depending on what your client wants to see and where they want to go.

You can tailor the cruise around them. Many owners charge their customers additionally for food, drinks, fuel, and mooring charges. If the cruise is a set agenda, as some of them are, then all these costs can be factored in beforehand.

The number of guests you take will be determined by the number of cabins you have if this is to be an overnight cruise.

Although some guests may just want to relax, be waited on and pampered, many will want to join in on activities on the boat. Let them steer (under guidance), hoist the sails and even scrub the deck if they are so inclined.

Diving holidays
Diving holidays | Source

2. Diving Vacations

There are various diving sites around the world where divers flock every year. Position yourself in various ports and follow the seasons to make yourself a tidy sum. These can be as before, via your own website, advertising in the area, or through a company who organizes trips for divers. They, of course, would want a hefty cut as they have found the client for you.

There are restrictions with PADI unless you have your own compressor. If not, you will need a PADI card to fill your bottles.

3. Fishing Cruises

Does your boat have the capability to be used as a fishing boat? This could be for larger groups or simply a couple. You have the option to make these trips as specialized as you want. It could be for a day, half day, or longer if there is ample accommodation on board.

Whether you do this as a catch, tag and release or you keep your prize fish, the market has always remained strong as fishing of any sort is the world's favorite pastime.

4. Dolphin and Whale Watching

These are popular cruises for people on vacation. These will normally be just a few hours. In some places and at certain times of the year, you are almost guaranteed to see them. Do your homework to see where there is a demand for it and where the market isn't already saturated with other operators doing this. There are two ways of getting customers for this. First is a website highlighting your business, where you go, and what your guests could expect to see. The second way is to tout for business near the marina. Some areas will frown on this so make inquires and tread lightly. If there is a company already doing this, in a particular area, inquire if they need extra boats. Although this would mean a smaller share, they already have advertising in place.

A simple advertising display on the sidewalk or someone handing out leaflets to tourists is also a good way to get passing traffic interested in what you are offering.

Check in your area for restriction regarding the distance required for viewing dolphins or whales, some areas are quite strict, which in my opinion is a good thing.

Photographic Tours

Photograpic Tours
Photograpic Tours | Source

5. Photographic Tours by Boat

Many people only think of photographic vacations on land. Open up this option with another angle. Views in and on a boat, views of cliffs from the sea, everything from scenic fjords of Norway to harbors at night. All of these provide a different aspect than most photographers would normally see. Advertiser this type of tour on photographic forums. If you are a skilled photographer, consider running courses on board.

6. Earn from Other Cruisers

Although boating is seen as a rich man's sport, cruisers are a tightfisted bunch. You might think that you can't make money from them but you'd be wrong. If you have skills such as:

  • Mechanical
  • Sewing
  • Electrical
  • Computer/technology

These are all marketable and you can charge for your time. Obviously, your pricing would have to be determined by the area you are in and the availability of parts and access to other people with the same skill set.

Besides the above skills, there are other entrepreneurial ways of earning from your fellow cruisers. Bottom cleaning, water delivery, pizza delivery for example. People want an easy life and are willing to pay people to do jobs for them.

If you have a watermaker, you can make and charge others for water. It will save them having to go ashore for it.

7. Yacht Charter Companies

Allow charter companies to hire your boat out. They will pay you a percentage of the rental each time your boat is used. This can be as a bareboat charter or one with a crew. Be aware though, this will affect the resale value of your boat as many which are chartered are seen to be used hard and not maintained and upgraded as well as those which are used privately. Much the same as a rental car versus a private car.

8.Sailing Lessons

Can you teach someone to sail? The personal hands-on approach will help them feel more confident when they come to take their exam. If you are not capable of teaching, your boat could be used and an instructor hired. Some of those wanting to learn will know the basics but may want a refresher course. Still, others may be complete beginners.

Video these lessons to compile either an online course or video teaching sailing.

9. Wedding Cruises

Have weddings or hold receptions on your boat: Depending on the size of your boat, organizing weddings, or receptions on your boat is fast becoming very popular and profitable as some couples are looking for something a little different when tying the knot. This can, of course, be catered by yourself or the wedding party can organize that requirement.

You would have to insist that the entire wedding party adheres to a strict dress code regarding acceptable footwear on your boat and encourage them to put this requirement on their invitations.

Besides weddings, consider advertising as an alternative meeting place for companies, or team building activities. Many younger companies are looking for something unique to offer their employees as perks without the additional expense of owning a yacht. Design a simple website targeting companies and email this to them. It is always a good idea to follow up with a brochure and phone call as well. Then, when the time comes, they will remember your offer.

Monaco Marina

Monaco Marina
Monaco Marina | Source

10. Make Sailing Time Pay

If you need to sail to another area to earn from that season's trade, turn your journey into a paid crossing with crew who will pay you. Some will pay to crew, gaining the experience, some will pay a portion of the bill for fuel and food. This way, what could have been a down time and an expense for you, can be turned into a money maker or at least offset some of the costs whilst underway to your next destination.

11. Film Crews

Contact advertising/media companies to allow your boat to be used as a prop. This could be for photographs or for films and commercials. Even if you can only negotiate some professional photographs to be used on your website promoting your new business, this is still worth doing.

If you are easy to work with and adaptable and your yacht is in an area where a lot of filming goes on, don't be shy about getting the word out. Make it known that your boat is available for use.

If your boat is a classic style yacht, the chances are good that it will get used and you can set a good price for the rental of it.

Does your boat only cost you money?

See results

12. Delivering Cargo

Although not as glamorous as some of the other suggestions there are still several places around the world where cargo needs to be shipped. This could be anything from fishing hooks to boxes of Cheetos. Find a market and become a supplier. Be aware of any regulations concerning import and taxes if you are moving things from one country to another. There may also be restrictions on certain islands concerning plants and animals which will need to be taken into account.

Do your research first to avoid a situation which could leave you in jail in a far off country.

Saving Money on Your Boat

Although this article is about how to make money from your boat, don't forget that saving money on expenditures is equally as important.

Consider the following:

  • Boat insurance:.How much are you paying for your insurance? When was the last time you checked the competitor's rates? Has anything changed on your boat which could lower your premium?
  • Cost of Mooring: If you are only using your boat in the summer, consider pulling it out onto the hard which is much cheaper. Or alternatively, consider a less expensive marina.
  • Upgrades: Consider buying good used equipment instead of new. Any product you purchase new is going to depreciate as soon as it sold. Let someone else lose this initial amount.Check boating and sailing forums as there is usually a classified section with items for sale. Ebay is also a great place for boating parts and accessories.

As the old adage goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned”.

13. Start a Blog or Video Your Boating Adventures

Many people are writing blogs or videoing their adventures about their boating experiences. Making money from boating doesn't have to be only about hiring out your yacht. You can write about your adventures and earn money from it. This is how many people are funding their cruising, whether it is around the world or just around the bay. These blogs are not only targeted to those who own boats, but also people who want to share in your adventure. You can earn by putting ads on your pages.

Making a video though, in my opinion is even better. If you think you can't make anything from that think again. Have you heard of la Vagabonde? This is a series of YouTube videos following an Australian couple Riley and Elayna who have graciously taken us along for a ride on their yacht. It hasn't always been smooth sailing for them yet they documented it.

Their easy going personalities and fun loving spirit have captured the hearts of many viewers, including some influential people at Outremer. This couple who were trying to dry the condensation from auto pilot using a blow dryer, have been given a good deal on a new Outremer catamaran worth a cool million. They also have a crowd funding campaign going to fund their trips. So the next time someone says you can't earn from a boat, just laugh at them.

I hope this has given you some ideas which will help you to enjoy your investment once again.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Mary Wickison


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 months ago

      yep everithhing sounds cool untill all those boring long days start pailing up and you miss the garden , park or just been in a solid ground , them is when the fantastic dream crash rapidly ..

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Peg,

      That sounds exciting, I don't know if your book has a nautical theme but I do think there is a gap in the market for those.

      I sure it will be an exciting read.

      Thanks for your visit.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      I like these innovative ways to keep the cost of boat ownership down. Thanks also, for the great ideas on chartering private parties for profit and other uses of personal watercraft. This gives me some ideas for a story I'm writing as a sequel to my first book.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      4 years ago from Brazil

      That is a good question. Some friends of ours have a beach house which they rent out often and yet with their overheads, they can't seem to clear a profit on it.

      With a boat, the upkeep is high but if you are living on it, some of that cost is absorbed in lieu of the cost of a home. That said, if you are taking passengers out, a change in the insurance would be needed.

      I think both options should be considered before jumping in.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I lived in Brazil in a gorgeous beach town. I question is its best to own a beach home and rent it during high season or own a boat and live in it while you use it for tourism.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I would love this as a living. Being near the ocean, I can see this as profitable. I only need a boat.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      6 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Randomcreative,

      My husband also is a photographer and is always open to new ideas. Most of the images we see, are looking from land towards water, rarely the other way.

      I am pleased you enjoyed reading this.


    • snerfu profile image

      Vivian Sudhir 

      6 years ago from Madurai, India

      Great article, get me dreaming about water and sailing and all that. Guess that is what article writing is all about.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      6 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      Yes, we are doing fine down here in beautiful Brazil. Lovely to hear from you.

      Thanks for stopping by

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Voted up useful and interesting. My husband grew up on the great lakes and always says boats are a hole in the water that you through money into.

      Your article could buy some leverage for the kids and I.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Wow, I wasn't expecting such a comprehensive list of suggestions. As an avid hobbyist photographer, I would love the opportunity to go out on a private boat with someone who is experienced at boating and knows the area well.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful ideas unless you are like me....boatless. Maybe some day, yes?

      I hope you are well my friend.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)