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kiwicruiser 03-25-2008 05:33 AM


I replied to an ad (not here) for crew for a crossing of approx 1250 nautical miles on a 60ft monohull. They advertised that it was a shared expenses trip and crew expected to help in all duties. The cost of this per crew member, per day, was US$120 and this covered food , fuel ,rdf life raft check etc (not sure what the etc is). I replied saying that this was a commercial trip and they replied no it wasn't, this was the daily cost for most off shore passages. There would have been 4 of us on the boat and 2 would have been the paying crew. In light of other forums, I'd be interested on everyone's thoughts on this.

PS Lighthouse I hope I posted this in the right place?

Lighthouse 03-25-2008 07:16 AM

Hi Kiwicruiser

Thanks for sharing this here.

That is an ABSOLUTE commercial venture and if the vessel AND skipper is not inspected, documented and registered to carry paying passengers ("crew") it is highly illegal. Should (God forbid) there be an accident the rights of the "crew" to an insurance claim is grossly compromised and they could find themselves ATTEMPTING to sue the owner in civil court.

Some countries are now aware of this "paying crew" practice - from the French official regulations:

Taking on paying "crew" is not permitted in France - this is considered to be chartering. If a vessel is carrying paying passengers, this must be declared to Customs on arrival in France, the yacht imported and TVA (Value Added Tax) must be paid. (see the Cruising Wiki)

The innocent "crew" don't want to be stuck in some distant port should the vessel be impounded.

People have the right to take up these offers but PLEASE be aware of the possible consequences. Ask questions - ask to see registration documents - ask to see insurance documents - ask to see that the skipper is registered to be in charge of a vessel carrying paying passengers ("crew"). BE WARNED!


Nausikaa 03-25-2008 07:30 AM

Kiwicruiser et al,

As a senior coast guard officer (even though I am currently seconded to other duties), I would like to endorse the above statement by Lighthouse.


A. To the crew - avoid such offers like the plague. You could end up, as a worse case scenario and, as Lighthouse mentioned, God forbid, as an invalid due to an accident on board and unable to get the economical support you would need as the vessel was not properly certified, inspected and insured. Once the owner is bankrupt your chances of obtaining compensation are, in reality, zero.

B. To the owner / Skipper - don't think of doing this kind of thing! Again, at worst, you could end up pennilless and have the issue of compensation hanging arrouind your neck as well as the guilt of knowing what suffering your actions have caused others. Otherwise, even if there is no injury, you could well end up with some pretty high fines to pay.

Please folks, for your own sakes, don't get involved in this illegal activity.

Aye // Stephen

JeanneP 03-25-2008 12:52 PM

I have just had to go through an exercise of calculating my foreign expenses for the past many years. In 2000 we spent $70.00 per day. That included two years' annual health insurance premium; round trip flight for two people from Singapore to the US East coast; a marina slip for about 6 months, food, etc., etc. In other words, 2000 was a very expensive year for the two of us and it STILL cost only $70/day, or $35/day per person.

I decided to find out how much a sybaritic trip on a cruise ship would cost. All the food you can eat, people to wait upon you, entertainment, hot and cold running water all the time, etc., etc. I went to the Celebrity Cruises website, and came up with the following.

Caribbean. 5 days, price per day per person: inside cabin, $80; outside (sea view) cabin, $100; "veranda" cabin, $120.

Caribbean. 11 days, price per day per person (much more interesting intinerary than the one above): inside cabin, $104; outside cabin, $118; "veranda" cabin, $173.

Now WHY would you want to work hard and occasionally be uncomfortable, and be following somebody else's itinerary, for more than it would cost to take a relaxing trip on a cruise ship? (No, I can't imagine taking a cruise ship cruise, but I wanted to compare a professional cruise.)

Moorings will charter a 51' monohull for $1005 per day, which would cost six people (there are 5 cabins in this boat) $167.50 per day, and Moorings makes a significant profit on the boat.

So. What do you think? I have no idea what the start/end points of that trip were, but if it's just a passage with no stops, you are getting ripped off big time to start, and don't even have the safety and security of it being a legal booking with the associated required insurance and skipper/crew qualifications/licensing.

You have really piqued my interest on this one. For that price you could fly to the US and join a cruise ship!

tell, me, who had the cheek to offer this with a straight face?

ughmo2000 03-25-2008 01:24 PM

I crew a lot of boats, IMHO asking crew to pay $120 per day is totally outrageous.

Still, a bit more information would be appreciated.

Are you a novice sailor looking for training? Is this a guy just wanting to move his boat?

A skipper being paid to deliver a boat then advertising for crew who he also expects to pay him?

Regardless, this is absolutely a commercial venture. Even for total novice crew one should only expect to pay for their share of food aboard, 10-15 dollars per crew/day max. Even that amount is questionable.

I'd advise you to run away from this guy as quickly as possible. (although I'd love to see the link to his post!)

Lighthouse 03-25-2008 08:51 PM


(although I'd love to see the link to his post!)

"I replied to an ad (not here) for crew for a crossing of approx 1250 nautical miles on a 60ft monohull"
It was on another crewfinder apparently.

kiwicruiser 03-26-2008 06:07 AM

thanks for your comments so far, I was interested to see what you thought of US$120 a day even if it was a commercial venture...although this is their reply {abridged}. "hi no we are not doing a commerical venture.this is what the daily costs are for most offshore passsages for crew unless you are in the carribean and hold tickets .Toget those you need seatime which is what we can do as being a commerical captain can sign you off.Most boats going offshore can not afford to take people for free". I don't know if the captain teaching navigation skills and signing a sealog accounts for any of the $120? However they only did say the expenses was for 'share passage expenses and experience' in the ad. No this doesn't include any stops along the way. They are delivering a charter boat from our season which is ending to the Pacific season.Jeanne, we too thought about the Cruise Ship comparison. Friends of ours did a weeks cruise, inside cabin, you know one of those late in the season deals. They got all the food they could eat, entertainment, a few south pacific island stops for NZ $1,000 each = $US793. For boat experienced but not yacht experienced newbies that would love to get into a sailing experience (and my partner is a mean fisherman) the cruise option does sound tempting but we just ain't those type of people, just like others here I'd say. Try fishing off a cruise boat!>/biggrin.gif Cheers

Lighthouse 03-26-2008 07:32 AM


To get those you need seatime
In other words, they are SELLING "seatime" - commercial!

This is very often the bait that is used. However, you can get that "seatime" (and have your logbook signed off) on ANY passage - a genuine cruiser MAY ask you to contribute an equal share of the food costs (US$5 - US$10 per day). Normally, a genuine cruiser will cover the crew's overheads in exchange for their duties and assistance aboard.

JeanneP 03-26-2008 01:04 PM

So this "captain" is a delivery skipper being paid to deliver the boat, or a charter captain bringing his charter boat up island. He really is cheeky, eh? Even gets people to pay to work for him!

If he's chartering his boat in the islands, I wonder if he's doing it legally with a proper work visa? What do you think?

The annual exodus from NZ to the islands is such that I would think that you could find a berth on one of many boats leaving soon, paying little if anything. Many of the Kiwi boats need an extra crewmember or two anyway to qualify for offshore.

Many of the cruisers will stop at Minerva Reef before continuing on. That would be nicer than someone who is in a hurry to get up to his paying grounds, eh?

I hope you find something. Keep looking.

imagine2frolic 03-27-2008 06:50 PM

Turn him, and his ad into the authorities. Let's see if he can make them understand the cost??????

bashfordg 03-28-2008 12:48 PM

Have just read this post.

This is certainly a commercial venture.

I should know as am a commercial operator and some vessels do take on "paying crew" however never advertise like this!

BTW these vessels are in full commercial survey or class, registered to carry passengers with qualified crew.

There are too many cowboys that seek to make a quick buck illegally, preying on others with uninsured unregistered vessels.


Nausikaa 03-28-2008 02:28 PM

Thank you for this bashfordg.

It is good to hear the opinion of a serious operator in the industry. I am sure, as such, you concur with the stance taken by this forum.

Aye // Stephen

desierto 04-17-2008 11:23 PM


I can see that this is a heated topic. In my opinion all arrangements are valid as long as people freely engage in them. I can also understand that this site is for non-commercial exchanges. I hope I don't ignite more futile debate with my opinion.

What I am really interested in is the legal consequences that have been vaguely cited several times. It is very surprising to me (and to many others judging by the posts) that sharing expenses (such as food, fuel, docking) can be considered running an unreported business.

Could you guys document specific cases or point to sources of information?

As a way of example I'd like to discuss a couple of hypothetical cases:

A) If you go on a trip with several people, driving you own car and sharing the gas expenses, can that be considered an enterprise? Do you need to have a professional driver license, etc.? Could your insurance deny coverage because of that?>/cool.gif Some boat owners cover all the expenses of their crew. Could that be considered an unreported paid job? Could the crew claim employee benefits from the skipper?


desierto 04-17-2008 11:29 PM

Gosh!, sorry for the multiple posts. This is the first time I use this forum and I have completely screwed it...

MMNETSEA 04-17-2008 11:59 PM

Check this out for the law in the United Kingdom - Click Law

Nausikaa 04-18-2008 02:52 AM


Originally Posted by desierto (Post 20163)
Could you guys document specific cases or point to sources of information?

As a way of example I'd like to discuss a couple of hypothetical cases:

If you go on a trip with several people, driving you own car and sharing the gas expenses, can that be considered an enterprise? Do you need to have a professional driver license, etc.? Could your insurance deny coverage because of that?

Some boat owners cover all the expenses of their crew. Could that be considered an unreported paid job? Could the crew claim employee benefits from the skipper?


Why compare a sea voyage with a trip in a car? They are two different things. The Road Traffic Act does not apply to ships and the Merchant Shipping Act does not apply to cars.

A specific case? Sure... See below



Defendant: Francois Haussauer, skipper/owner of Scintilla

Date of Offence: 7th June 2004

Offence: Five charges arising from two voyages; two for not having the appropriate Certificate of Competence to take charge of the yacht; two for not having Load Line Certification for the yacht, and one for breaching a Prohibition Notice.

Details: The charges were brought by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, following complaints received in relation to the illegitimate charter operation.

Mr Francois Haussauer, aged 52, had been commercially operating his home built yacht in the South of France for a niche naturist market. He promoted the charter holiday to the British public via the internet, a Channel 5 film and publicity brochures. He offered `Scintilla’ on a skippered charter basis and took paying passengers to sea without the required certification of a charter vessel.

The court heard how Mr Haussauer failed to comply with the regulations even after numerous attempts by the MCA to educate and inform him of the requirements. `Scintilla’ was chartered with intent despite Mr Haussauer’s knowledge that it would violate the safety regulations.

Penalty: Fined Total £4500 costs £11,000
Re the paying of crews' expenses; we are in the area of tax and employment legislation here. Merchant Shipping Acts differentiate between seamen and passangers. However I doubt if employment, tax and social security legislation would be enforceable here. If someone comes and stays with you in your house for a few months and you give them board and lodgings then this does not mean that (s)he is in your employ even if they do the dishes and other household chores on occasion. Here, normal "land" legislation applies whereas the issue of passangers is in the maritime domain.

Aye // Stephen

JeanneP 04-18-2008 03:20 AM


Originally Posted by desierto (Post 20164)
Gosh!, sorry for the multiple posts. This is the first time I use this forum and I have completely screwed it...

No, you haven't. Everything is fixable, no worries mate.

Sometimes knowing where a poster comes from helps in answering their questions. I will assume that you are from the US, partly because of the reference to driving and sharing expenses for gas.

Life just isn't so easy that whatever anybody does is okay as long as they want to do it. Civilized countries make sure that people know what they're getting themselves in for. My 14 year old nephew can't work as a forklift operator no matter how much somebody wants to pay him, no matter how much he wants to do it. He's not old enough to know the dangers. He's not old enough, experienced enough, qualified enough, to operate such equipment with a reasonable expectation of safety.

And that issue is at the heart of all the discussions of paying for a berth on a private yacht. The inexperienced person who would like to try sailing, or is looking for a different way of getting home after their backpacking adventure in South America, or Asia, or .... They don't know that this fellow, unlicensed and uninsured to carry passengers, is taking his/her money without being able to provide the protection that paying passengers are entitled to.

Operating a ship or boat in international waters has nothing in common with any other form of transportation wholly within the borders of a single nation, and there are quite different laws and rules governing ocean transportation. However, persons driving a vehicle and transporting persons for hire (limousine drivers, bus drivers, train operators, etc.) do have to have a special license, at least in the US and probably most other developed countries.

25 years ago, if an invited guest on our boat brought a picnic lunch to share with us as we sailed around Boston Harbor, we could have been charged by the US Coast Guard with illegally accepting payment for taking passengers out on our boat without a licensed captain on board. The rules have been relaxed since then, but it is still illegal for an unlicensed operator of a vessel to accept payment from passengers on the boat outside of shared expenses such as food and/or fuel. And that is, in one way or another, similar in many countries, not to mention laws on the high seas. Sharing expenses means just that - expenses of the trip are shared equally among the group on the boat. The owner can't say "each person will pay me $x.xx which I will call sharing expenses."

In the US, and most other countries, commercial operation of a vessel or other form of transportation, requires specific insurance protecting passengers and specific licensing. Without the insurance, neither the owner of the vessel nor the passengers are adequately protected.

Finally, as you will note from my posts, I find the unlicensed owner of a boat seeking to make money from people who wish to sail, but do it on the cheap by calling it "crewing" and "sharing expenses" when it's none of that to be dishonest and dangerous. People who want to sail and are willing to work at it deserve the protection that the laws provide.

It costs a lot to own, operate, and properly maintain a cruising sailboat. The person who bought and launched that sailboat chose his lifestyle and his costs. If that person wants to supplement his income by asking people to pay to sail with him on his boat he should get the proper license, obtain the appropriate insurance, and be honest that he is charging people for the privilege of making his sailing lifestyle cheaper and easier. That person should also pay for a proper advertisement, not argue that he deserves to get his advertising for free because he's really not making a profit on the venture.

Historical Vessel Vega 05-05-2008 08:46 AM

Well for $120 a day you can buy a lot of eats and thats a fact! Feed a whole crew like kings no lie that would. The truth is that one was just a scam to try and get someone to charter the boat without calling it charter. I think that much is pretty clear to us all. What would be nice would be a set of "shudder" guidelines we all could follow to be fair and yet really cover the expenses of having new often green crew who do not know the ropes and therefore do tend to cause more wear and tear on the boat. And lost sleep for the skipper, like anyone cares about that.

On Vega we have a policy where bye new crew pay "expenses" to the tune of around 10-15 $ per day for the first voyage. If they fit in that gets dropped for any voyages after that. In fact hang around long enough and you even start collecting a modest salary. Maybe thats why our "youngest" crew member has been with us for over 2.5 years now.

10-15 per day will buy a lot of provisions, or at least used to a few months ago, but: 1. We try to eat well - a well fed crew don't tend to make the skipper walk the plank. 2. Its a bit of an initiation right - everyones done it and now the gang is munching your contribution in the form of Pringles at 3AM when its dead calm. and last but not least its just plain fair to cover you own till you know how things really do work enough to actually be useful when it comes on to blow a hullie at 3AM and all's standing (usually because some green crew wasn't paying attention to those fluffy things up in the sky). OK so traditional sailing vessels, and there crews, are a bit weird but my point is why can't we set our own standard of what's fair and use that as a guideline for others who come along and haven't a clue? What would be a fair contribution? How could that be calculated in a fair manner?

cwsnowpro 05-07-2008 11:21 PM

Hi all,

WOW, is this ever a scam.>/angry.gif

Remember they need you, not you needing them! All good skippers that I have crewed for have payed almost ALL of my expenses, yes even beer.

To pay is outrageous, to pay that much is a scam I am sure.

Almost sounds like a Lottery scam.

Once again I have been notified that I have won both the Irish Sweepstakes and the Aussie National Lotteries.

sail you later,


mb3ski 05-16-2009 08:17 AM

I would think 120 is a bit much. I'm doing a 6 day live aboard class. The cost is 175 a day. It's $2100 for six days sail training for me and the wife. It will be only the instructor and us aboard so the training should be good. 13 meals are included. We will have to eat out 3 night. It also covers the testing and books for ASA-101,103, and 104.

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