Starting a Boat Charter Business in London


    Anywhere in the world, there is always someone who wishes to travel to London. If this statement speaks to you, setting up a business related to travelling is probably one of the best decisions you can make. Being able to do what you love while earning money is extremely rare nowadays.

    In London, boat tours are extremely popular. Boating is a romantic and easy way of seeing some of the city’s tourist spots. Both tourists and locals can charter a boat to travel to coastal or island destinations. Thus, it would be smart to start your own boat charter business in London

    What Is a Boat Chartering?

    Boat chartering is advertising your boats out in the market for people to rent. There are different kinds of boat chartering: bareboat charter, crewed charter, cabin charter, and fishing charter.

    The most common type of boat chartering is the bareboat charter. Here, the renter has the freedom to navigate the boat on their own. The renter has to make the itinerary, sailing, and anchoring of the boat. The renter should have a level of experience in boating.

    A crewed charter is a kind of boat chartering where the renter leaves the navigating, driving, and making the itinerary to other people, usually the crew of the boat. Smaller yachts can offer a captain, one crew, and a chef.

    Lastly, a fishing charter involves renting the boat for fishing purposes. If you offer a fishing charter, then you should provide the fishing equipment needed. You should tell your clients, however, that catching a fish is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, the captain will commandeer the boat so customers can focus on fishing.

    To become successful in the boat chartering business, here’s what you need to do:

    Do Your Research

    Like with any kind of business, you should always weigh in whether you fit into the boat charter business or not. The biggest mistake a business owner can make is to invest time, money, and effort into a business that they have little to no knowledge about.

    Evaluate the Competitors

    Not all your business competitors are bad for your business. Researching your competitors will allow you to learn about the business you are about to enter. Having a competitor means having a person who knows the ins and outs of the boat chartering business.

    You can start by gathering relevant information about your competitors, such as their business style, promos, and the type of people they are catering to. You should also look into their marketing strategy in promoting their boat chartering business.

    Aside from doing your research from afar, you can also talk to the business owners of the competitor businesses. Some business owners are willing to help startup businesses, while others even recommend your business to some of their clients.

    Make a Business Plan

    Dreaming about a successful boat chartering business is a good thing. However, actually doing the business can be different from what you imagined. Thus, you need to have a business plan to guide you on your business. It will give you direction and focus to ensure that you achieve your business goals.

    The business plan should include the possible expenses needed to start and maintain the business and how much you will charge the client to earn a profit. This is where you will find your research about your competitors helpful. Survey on how much the other boat charter businesses in the area are charging clients for comparison.

    Many business owners forget this step. Do not skip on making a business plan before you start your boat charter business. Making a bit of effort in making a business plan will save you money.

    Know What Kind of Boat You Need

    As mentioned before, there are different kinds of boat charters. Knowing the type of boat chartering you want to establish is a vital element in choosing the kind of boat that fits for your business.

    If your business is more inclined towards fishing charter, then make sure that the boat should be equipped with fishing rails, tanks for fishes caught, and other fishing equipment. Your boat should also be equipped with a commercial kitchen if you intend to have your boats rented out for corporate outings and travel use involving a lot of people.

    Buying a Boat vs Leasing a Boat

    There are two ways you can acquire a boat to start your boat charter business: buying a boat and leasing a boat. By purchasing a boat, you will have the freedom to do whatever you want with the boat. However, you will shoulder all upfront and repair expenses. Meanwhile, when leasing, you will have limited freedom. However, the lessor will shoulder the expenses for the maintenance of the boat.

    Acquiring a boat is one of the biggest expenses in starting your boat charter business. You have to weigh whether buying or leasing is the right option for you. You should also think of how you will finance the purchase or lease of the boat.

    There are lenders out there that offer loans for your boat financing to start your business. Boat loans offer a flexible payment term, which is more convenient than leasing a boat every month. However, there is less commitment to leasing since you don’t worry about the boats when you no longer want to operate your business.

    Get Proper Licensing

    After establishing your business name, the next thing you should do is to obtain the proper licensing. You will need a license if your boat is for passenger trips, day hire, holiday hire, or floating restaurants.

    After obtaining the proper license, you should also display it on both sides of your boat. If you do not have the proper license, then your boat will be confiscated, sold, or destroyed by the UK government.

    Market Your Business

    After establishing your boat charter business, the next thing you should do is to market and advertise it. There are many ways you can market your business. You can use fliers, TV advertisements, websites, and social media presence. An effective marketing strategy will surely attract customers.


    A boat chartering business isn’t easy. However, after reading this article, you’ll have the knowledge of making it work. If you think that establishing this type of business is for you, you should set sail with your business idea. Just make sure that you have done all your research to jumpstart your business plan.

    Author’s Bio:

    Lauren Cordell is a freelance writer who writes for various travel and business websites. Her field of expertise is on financing businesses and how to run them. If she is not writing, you will find her in a corner of a coffee shop, reading a fictional book.