Go Back   Cruiser Log World Cruising & Sailing Forums > Cruising Forums > General Cruising Forum
Cruiser Wiki

Join Cruiser Log Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-13-2007, 06:13 AM   #1
Admiral
 
Auzzee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,726
Default For profit or not.

There seems to be a growing trend in cruising circles for owners seeking crew, to want payment. I understand the call for skippers to be compensated for food, but I wonder about the ethic in asking for expenses to cover boat costs which would be there irrespective of the presence of crew.

I am also concerned about the legal requirements of a skipper who charges crew to be aboard. How does it alter his/her legal responsibility? I understand the differences between 'charter' and 'share expenses', but in any case brought before a court, where would the owner/skipper stand?

In making crew agreements, there is no legal (or moral) way of having crew sign away their rights under the laws of the country of registry, or the international maritime laws. Yet I have seen drafts of agreements on the internet which clearly seek to do this and which would equally clearly, be viewed as an invalid document under law.

I expect crew to be effective, to heed my instructions and to make a financial contribution to cover no more than their fair share of food. Does asking for money to cover repairs, marina fees, fuel etc. make for a defacto charter operation, or it now seen as a valid method of conducting life afloat, with a quantifiable base in law?

David.
__________________

__________________
"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!


Auzzee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2007, 11:22 AM   #2
Moderator
 
JeanneP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098
Default

The first time I heard this discussed was more than 15 years ago, when a young fellow was cruising around (no real destination, more a "well, THAT looks good!") and would pick up crew in various ports. He only asked that they share food expenses. He was ridiculed by a European cruiser who bragged that he charged crew on his boat significantly more to cover insurance, wear and tear on the boat, food, fees, etc.

I never agreed with that attitude, for the same reason you give, that the boat costs would be there regardless, crew or not. And, quite frankly, a knowledgeable crew could consider any payment beyond food would make them a passenger and they would not have to do anything.

You're right, though, that it seems far more prevalent nowadays. Once a boat leaves its home country, I think that the owner(s) figure that there won't be anybody looking ovr their shoulders, and maybe they're right, since I haven't heard of any legal problems encountered by these people.

As for how this would stand up in a court of law, I don't know about other countries, but I would expect in the US that such a payment agreement would be seen as payment for transportation, i.e., charter. The US Coast Guard used to view ANY payment to the skipper/owner as small as providing a six-pack of beer, as chartering. They've relaxed those strictures, but I think that anything over a nominal, helping out with food, for example, would be challenged as services for hire. Any country whose legal system is based upon English Common Law would, I assume, look at it that way, too. Of course, once the boat is outside a developed

I have noticed a few US boats that called themselves "training vessels" with paying crew. I don't know what qualified them to do that.

Whatever, I think this new trend is a bit disturbing. I'm waiting for the first lawsuit to appear soon.
__________________

__________________
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

SY WATERMELON |
MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
JeanneP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2007, 03:16 PM   #3
imported_admin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In my opinion, to be on the safe side, a skipper should visit the supermarket with the crew members and the food bill should be split at the till - NO money should change hands between skipper/owner and crew at all - and certainly not for boat expenses, marina fees, fuel, etc.

Accepting payment from crew (above their share of food) has tremendous insurance AND legal implications. The vessel is then a "charter" and must be licenced as such AND the skipper must be licenced to be in control of such a vessel transporting "paying" crew/guests.

My concern is that the crew do not understand these implications - until an accident occurs and they only then discover that the insurance cover and public liability is null and void because of the commercial nature of the voyage.

There are too many yachts out there illegally covering the expense of their cruising lifestyle by taking on "paying" crew. Trouble is brewing.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2007, 06:59 PM   #4
Commander
 
Spike_dawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 145
Default

I disagree...to an extent. I expect to have crew share costs of harbor fee's, country exit fee's and food. If in a marina I will pick up the cost as I consider this a "luxury". In harbor, the yacht is like a hotel for the crew. The small harbor fee is a cost incurred due to being there. If the crew doesn't want to pay the $2 a day for their share of this cost then they are welcome to rent a hotel room on shore for $100 a night. I don't mind. These are the only things I share costs with crew. Most other yachts expect fuel costs to be shared, some yachts charge for maintainence. More typical is a fixed daily rate to the boat kitty. I don't do this as I'm not trying to profit. Country exit fee's are often based on number of people on board.

I EXPECT money to change hands...usually the crew buys the food (I don't cook) and I pay for the harbor fees and whatever exit costs there are. Then we settle up. It's unrealistic to expect every matter, where costs are involved, to have every member be there to pay. Most often I'm owing them, as my cost for the food is much higher then exit fees. Times I am tasked to purchase certain food items or pick up the crew's laundry and the costs may work out equally, or close enough not to bother with. Crew always pays for their own liquor and personal needs (medicine, soap, laundry, etc.). It's worked out for me and the crew. Money has never been an issue or concern.

Though I don't charge for fuel I don't see a problem with other yachts having that as a shared cost. It's part of the travel expenses. It's a different story if it's boat delivery. I would expect even the food to be provided to crew free of charge - - unless it's set up as a sailing school.

Just my opinion.
__________________
A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
Spike_dawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2007, 07:40 PM   #5
Moderator
 
JeanneP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098
Default

Spike, I've been away from the Western Hemisphere cruising for too long. With maybe two exceptions (Ecuador, Solomon Islands), I don't remember paying harbor fees anywhere that we cruised, and very few fees at all anywhere. I'd like to be prepared; where have you had to pay harbor fees?
__________________
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

SY WATERMELON |
MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
JeanneP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2007, 09:13 PM   #6
imported_admin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by Spike_dawg

I disagree...to an extent. I expect to have crew share costs of harbor fee's, country exit fee's and food. If in a marina I will pick up the cost as I consider this a "luxury". In harbor, the yacht is like a hotel for the crew. The small harbor fee is a cost incurred due to being there. If the crew doesn't want to pay the $2 a day for their share of this cost then they are welcome to rent a hotel room on shore for $100 a night.
Do you not factor in the fact that they are supplying their labour (as crew) in various forms - "free" crew duties for "free" accommodation? If you can single-hand why would you require crew to assist YOU on the passage? I believe that if crew is required then you should "hire" professional crew which I am sure the authorites and insurance companies will view in a totally different light.

As Jeanne has suggested above, the first lawsuit (which is imminent) will clarify the matter. I personally, as an owner of a vessel, would not push my luck on this matter as the consequences could be devastating. Consider the implications if one of the "paying" crew is seriously injured or (God forbid) loses his life - what would an enquiry find and how would it be assessed if it is found that the crewmember is "paying for more than his food and personal items"?. Interesting!
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2007, 05:01 AM   #7
Admiral
 
Nausikaa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619
Default

This indeed is a grey zone.

In examining legalities in maritime law it is generally accepted that the maritime legislation of traditional maritime states such as the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries, amongst others can at leat offer some guidance. However, in this particular case, there is not a lot of advice to be found.

According to the Swedish law of the Sea (Sjölagen 1984:1009) a passanger is defined as being a person ‘who is carried or is to be carried on a ship in accordance with an agreemen of carriage as well as any person who with the agreement of the carrier is accomopanying a vehicle of live animals which are carried in accordance with an agreement on the carriage of goods’. (my tranlsation)

According to the British Merchant Shipping Act 1995, a passanger is defined as,

" any person carried in a ship,

(a) under a contract of carriage, or

( who, with the consent of the carrier, is accompanying a vehicle or live animals which are covered by a contract for the carriage of goods not governed by this Convention;”

In other words, the British definition is identical with the Swedish. This is not to be wondered at as the legislation is based upon an IMO convention entitled The Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and Their Luggage by Sea.

In the case in question, where we have a paying crew member, then clearly he or she is not a passenger in the terms of the Convention unless a contract of carriage has been made.

On the other hand, the Merchant Shipping Act defines a seaman as including “every person (except masters and pilots) employed or engaged in any capacity on board any ship. As the paying crew member is ‘engaged’ in a capacity aboard the ship, he or she is de facto a seaman and not a passanger.

From what I have stated above, it is clear that a paying crew member is a seaman and not a passanger. However, maritime authorities admit that this is not completely clear and there is a grey zone in which yachts and training ships exist.

In my hunble opinion there is no real question about the issue. A paying crew member is just that and not a passsanger (unless a contract of carriage yhas been signed). But then we enter a new sphere for maybe some trade union will soon start picking this up and demand wages for crew on small, private yachts.

I believe that the best way to avoid problems of this kind is to have a standard contract between crew and skipper. I wonder, is there any legal eagle in our midst who could work on this. I have my “own” contract but I am far from sure that it is watertight.

Charter is another issue entirely and for a charter to be legal a charter party has to be drawn up which may or may not include maintenance. As long as the owner of the vessel (who in our case is usually the master too) and not the paying crew decides where the vessel goes and when then there is no charter as charters are either time-charter, voyage charter or bare-boat charter, none of which is applicable here.

Yours aye

Stephen

Yacht NAUSIKAA
__________________
Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2




WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME?

www.nausikaa.org.uk

= Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania
Nausikaa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2007, 06:06 AM   #8
Moderator
 
JeanneP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098
Default

Stephen, I am not a lawyer, but I have read a lot of law.

In general, I think that you will find that a "contract of carriage" is not necessarily a written contract. Contracts can and often are verbal, and proof that a contract of carriage exists is deemed to be payment tendered and accepted. A plane ticket is a contract of carriage. Riding a bus after inserting money into the hopper is a contract of carriage.

There is no such thing as a watertight contract. No person can sign away his rights, and thus no contract that asks someone to sign away his rights (such as a "hold harmless" clause under any and all circumstances) can be enforceable. Moreover, having a person sign a contract that says that he is not a paying passenger works until he starts paying, and then it doesn't matter what he signed, it is what he and the skipper did that matters. Governments and the courts have seen it all, and they are fully aware that people will misrepresent things if it means that they can get out of... paying taxes.... for example.

See what I'm driving at?

If you want a contract that is reasonably enforceable in a court of law, you need to have it drafted in accordance with those laws. If it is not, it can be declared null and void should it be challenged.
__________________
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

SY WATERMELON |
MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
JeanneP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2007, 06:36 AM   #9
Admiral
 
Nausikaa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619
Default

Indeed Jeanne, this is what I was getting at but probably did not put very well. A contract certainly does not have to be written. It can be verbal too, and as you say, a plane ticket is a contract - although it is amazing how well airlines get out of it when flights are cancelled or passengers are bumped due to overbooking!

But just by paying to be on board does not in itself imply that a contract of carriage has been made. My parents had to pay for me to go te sea as an indentured apprendice. Of course no one could confuse an apprentice with a passanger but I use the example just ti illustrate how unclear the legislation is on this point.

I agree that contracts must be drwn up with regard to legislation and that most, but not all, rights (and obligations) cannnot be signed away.

I believe though that the original question was if contributing to repairs, marina fees fuel etc. makes for a de facto charter operation - to which my answer would be an absolute no, unless there was a charter agreement. (My own standpoint here is that, as a boat owner, I pay all the boat's costs and, up to now, have always paid my crew's food costs too but I expect the crew to pay their own costs for the trip to and from NAUSIKAA. I let them buy me the odd dinner and pint ashore)

Incidentally, marine legislation makes no difference between a paying and a non-paying passenger. The real crux is if the person in question performs duties (under normal circumstances) aboard the vessel or is just being transported.

I agree that there is no such thing as a watertight contract and appologise for my choice of wording. I should have known better but none the less, I would welcome any format for a standard crewing contract.

I am no lawyer either, although I too have read much law (maritime law in particular) during the course of my studies to master mariner and later in the coast guard. I find it a fascinating subject and welcome discussions in this area.

Stephen

Yacht NAUSIKAA
__________________
Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2




WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME?

www.nausikaa.org.uk

= Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania
Nausikaa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2007, 05:34 PM   #10
Commander
 
Spike_dawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 145
Default

Harbor fees...I've paid them in Papaette, Rarotonga (very expensive considering the harbor), Nieafu and Tongatapu. The mooring in Niue (very cheap), a few dollars in Fanning Island (Kiritibati). Nothing in Aitutaki, Tonga Hapai Group, Raiatea, Moorea, etc. In New Zealand I'm in a marina but there are no fee's for the places I've travelled to.

admin...Your outlook on this is "moving the boat", crew work. That would be true if I was doing deliveries. My travels are experiencing country's and cultures, islands in the Pacific, whales, snorkeling, walking villages and exploring. Crewing for a cruiser is about sharing the travel experience; sure you're helping move the boat, but the boat is your home for weeks or months.

Crew are guests experiencing the same travels, often recommending the next destination or activity; I have no itenary, just a vague schedule to miss the hurricane season. In Tonga I probably stopped at 30 different islands, maybe more. Except for 2 sails, everything was just a few hours to move to the next location...I certainly don't need crew for that. The crew is sharing the travel experience, EXACTLY like having family or a friend on board and they are paying for their costs, many times cheaper then if they had stayed at home, food being obtained much cheaper or fishing providing the fare. It's the cheapest and best travel anyone can imagine and I'm sharing this and letting others join in. Thousands of people crew for this experience...it's not about moving the boat at all. I can do that by myself but it's safer with help.

I do single hand quite often, especially the long passages, San Diego to Hawai'i is one example. Most people crewing are not there for the sail but for the travel experience...they don't want to do long passages. I was prepared to do the Tonga-New Zealand run alone...but my crew person wanted to come to help me out...just like family would do. It was a beautiful sail but more importantly it was about one "family" member helping another!

Crew isn't expected to repair the boat or even sail it...keep a watch, help me make critical decisions that keep us safe and off the rocks, call me if something needs to be changed, another boat is sighted, wind shifts, if you think I'm doing something wrong or if you don't feel well. Absolutely no sailing experience is required but a helping hand is sure nice! Everyone cleans. There is no maid service. Cooking is the primary skill I look for as I don't cook. My share of the cooking is to do the washup.

Your perspective of what "crewing" is about is valid only for deliveries...including when the owner is aboard but the travel is only about moving the boat. That's just not what cruising is about. Crew become family or close friends on a cruise, sharing in the wonders and activities, helping when necessary, talking and laughing, sharing a glass of wine or telling you to throw out the second anchor. They become so much a part of the cruising community that party's are given in their honor when they leave to go home, many of the other yachties just as sad to see them leave as you are. Yachties I met in Niue and Tonga, and now in New Zealand, still ask about my crew person, (back home in OZ)...even exchanging emails. A few yacht's, that travelled to OZ, have visited and they've toured together. The "crew" becomes as much a part of the whole cruise and cruiser community as you do...when aboard they are plank owners, when they leave, a list of suggestions maybe given to you...because they care about the boat. It's not about moving the boat...and it's never an issue of money. It's family sharing travel an adventure.

I am a licensed captain so the legal aspects are not an issue.

Sorry about the long post.
__________________
A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
Spike_dawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2007, 08:11 PM   #11
imported_admin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Spike_dawg

Don't apologise for a "long post" - it is a GREAT post.

As you have described above, what would you estimate as a daily cost to crew (in $US)? I am seeing cruising yachts asking for 40/50 $US per day! In my opinion, these figures are for profit - bearing in mind that certain costs are there irrespective of crew.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 04:45 AM   #12
Commander
 
Spike_dawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 145
Default

Tahiti was probably $10 a day (posting the FRP bond is not included), Cook Islands (average of Raro and Aitutaki) $7, Tonga maybe an average of $4 or less, Fanning Island was free (I had stocked the boat and nothing to buy there anyway, insignificant country fees), Niue $6 a day. These are averages...you would go a week or two without any cost, then $50 in food would be purchased, a few days another $50 or I'd check out of a country.
__________________
A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
Spike_dawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 03:26 PM   #13
imported_admin
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Spike_dawg

Would an AVERAGE of $US6 -$US10 per day each be what we are looking at over a period of time? That is, with 3 on board = approx $US20 in total per day? I suppose it depends on how well you wish to eat?
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 06:27 PM   #14
Commander
 
Spike_dawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 145
Default

Really depends on the place you're at, but on MY boat $10 a day would probably be the highest cost in an expensive area. I ate healthy foods, fruit, fish, fresh vegetables, a little meat now and then. Crew baked excellent bread (hard not to eat it all as soon as it comes out of the oven). It was excellent fare. French territories are the most expensive. The more primitive the area the cheaper it gets...all the way down to Fanning Island where there's nothing to buy but the fishing is excellent.

Foods were given to us...I moved my boat across the harbor, in Tongatapu, to make it harder for the locals to deliver more...we were just overwhelmed with banana's, lobster, crabs, pumpkins, etc...I was giving produce away to other yachts there. Aitutaki, Niue, nearly everywhere, we received gifts of food. We were also generous in giving things, fishing lines, hooks, bobbers, rope, lollies to the kids, cold medication to a schoolteacher in U'iha, a mooring ball, found on a deserted island beach, given to a village needing one, inviting locals on board to share meals, the crew having me dinghy out a sandwich and water to a fisherman who's been in his small boat all day, making a donation in Niue. The crew even gave my lunch away; the locals deemed to appreciate it more-- I can't find fault with that. This was not barter...just gifts. Same as the locals.

We talk about sharing costs but we really are talking about sharing life, the boat family and the people we meet in our travels. It's not about money at all...you can't buy this.
__________________

__________________
A`ohe `ulu e loa`a i ka pokole o ka lou.

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short.
Spike_dawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0