New Vacation rental approach (yacht)

8 Replies

The quick version. I own, no lien, an older 40’ yacht. I have spent a good amount of money fixing everything as all boat owners know. Now, I am not using it and either have to S or get off the pot. Boat and job are in MD but I am primarily investing (spending free time) in coastal SC. I have been looking at the possibility of shipping boat south ($~3000) renting/buying a slip ($~4000 per year) and Airbnb ing ($80-150 nt.???) as condo rental at 1 of a number of locations close to entertainment etc. I have not worked out all the details yet but wondered if anyone has looked into this option ever? I know Charleston has a number of yacht options from $225 and up but I am not really looking at that market. Further up the coast you have Georgetown, Pawleys island, and Murrells inlet with 0 yacht listings as best I can tell. It would also provide me a place to stay while visiting my other properties/projects. Which is maybe the most appealing part of the plan. So, shoot holes in my half baked plan please so I can move to something else. I do plan to budget another $5000 per year for boat maintenance (haul outs etc.) so total yearly expenses would be roughly $9000 plus utilities. I do not need to make a big profit but do not really want to go through the hassle to lose money. Thoughts? Thanks.

Just did a quick cash flow check on this plan and it looks like $1500mo is approximately my break even. So at $100 a night and 50% occupancy I get there. My guess is I will not reach those numbers in the beginning (maybe ever) and need to be comfortable losing some money but gaining a place to stay.

FYI - City marine, and I assume others, charge a primium to owners who do short term rentals.  

I think you have a good idea just make sure you know the marina monthly fees.  

My family and I have stayed on sailboat AirBnBs before and loved it. We are sailors ourselves but availability always seems pretty limited (ie, lots of demand) when we look. Just leave really clear instructions on head use! Our favorites have included things like kayaks or paddleboards that tie up into the slip. Good luck!

@Robert Shelton Well, it sounds like a risky strategy :-)  Only because you're saying that there are zero yacht listings at the places you'd consider docking the boat.  I'd have to imagine that *one* person in those three areas would be trying this strategy with a boat that's already there so 1.) the shipping cost is gone and 2.) they're renting the slip no matter what.

Have you called the places where you would dock it and see what if they allow it?  Who is going to go restock the toilet paper?  Is it easy for cleaners (at each turnover) to get into the yacht?  Does your yacht have laundry on board?  

By the way, none of these are (outside of the docks allowing it) insurmountable giant problems.  They the would be logistical hassles.  

Or maybe, to put this a different way, isn't there any service that enables people to charter your boat for day trips?  Assuming this service would be able to provide a captain so you don't get random drunks steering your yacht... 

@Robert Shelton I'd also encourage you to maybe try to figure out some zoning/permitting restrictions to that before you do it. We're having a hell of a time here trying to figure out how to handle STRs. The City of Charleston has had the hardest time with their regulations, but I think they're nearly done with their proposals and will be enforcing some rules soon. I've actually not heard mention of recreational vehicle or boats for STRs yet, so I don't know how much they've thought about it. You should try to attend the next hearing or contact someone at the City and ask if they can give you any insight. It would be a shame to do it and then they just restrict it.

@Robert Shelton I have a good friend and sometime business partner who owns a marine service and storage business in North Charleston.  He is also developing a marina and drystack and is pretty well connecting in the yachting community in Charleston.  He is not on BP, but I can pass along his contact info if that is helpful to you.

 Most marinas add a significant surcharge to the power bills and it will surprise you how large they can be.   

What have you budgeted for pump-out?  That will need to be done on a regular basis.  My marina charges me $40 each time. 

Who will clean the boat after each rental?

You will need a specialist to handle the rentals.

How much have you budgeted for advertising?

Have you confirmed slip fees?  They seem low.  I pay $6,000 a year slip fee on a local lake.  

Keep in mind that the areas you're looking at are not tropical and have seasonal weather.

I've seen houseboats in The Keys as successful rentals.

I hope you can make a profit but I think it'll be tough.

Good luck

All good points and thank you.  As I stated from the beginning this does not need to be a profit making effort. I wanted to just break even and have a place to stay when I was in town.  After my last trip I have to admit the concerns outweigh the benefits and I am going to sell the boat up here and use the money as down payment on another rental.  Once you get started it is hard to stop.  So if anyone wants a 40' Silverton Convertible fishing yacht hit me up. We have put wayyyy more into it than it is worth and it will make the next owner the smart one as I took the hit for deferred maintentance!

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