How to Start a Fishing Charter Business
You will need a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license to start a fishing charter business.
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In coastal areas, fishing charter companies provide access to a variety of offshore fishing locations to locals and tourists. If you have a love of water and fishing, and enjoy spending time with different types of people, starting a fishing charter business may be a good business opportunity. To start this business, you will need a boat, proper licenses and permits, business insurance, and knowledge of popular and remote fishing areas as customers expect to catch fish during their trip.
Apply for a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license to legally operate a boat and charge people for fishing trips. Visit the USCG website for more information about the application process and fees. Apply for a business license with the county clerk’s office or small business administration office in your area. Apply for a sales tax license through your state’s department of revenue to accept all sales tax from customers. Apply for an Employer Identification Number provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Use this number on all business tax forms and documents.
Purchase a boat large enough to safely carry small groups on fishing trips. Boats should be at least 25 feet in length to accommodate small groups, usually up to six people, and the crew. Select a boat in good condition and appropriate for the types of waters you will be navigating. Purchase life preservers, first aid kit and other safety items required by the laws that govern fishing charter companies in your state.
Obtain the necessary fishing licenses by contacting local fish and wildlife departments. Fishing licenses allow customers to fish legally during the trip. Maintain fishing licenses by paying quarterly or yearly fees. Each person on the boat will need a fishing license, so make sure to purchase enough licenses to cover the maximum number of people in charter fishing groups.
Purchase business insurance from a licensed insurance provider to protect your fishing charter business in the event of an accident or injury during fishing trips. Business insurance typically includes general liability, property and worker’s compensation.
Market your fishing charter business in local and national magazines, newspapers and online. Create a website to describe the types of fishing trips offered, prices, photos, testimonials from satisfied customers, hours of operation and safety information.
- U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license
- Charter boat
- Fishing licenses
- Business insurance
- Create a business plan to outline each stage of business development for your fishing charter business.
- Research all local and state regulations concerning the operation of fishing charter businesses before starting your business.
- Barry Wong/Stockbyte/Getty Images