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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

Operating a Boat Bed & Breakfast

The rise of AirBnB has made the idea of operating a bed and breakfast more appealing to people around the world, and there’s lots of creativity out there. A boat bed and breakfast, for instance, is just like a normal bed and breakfast, except it’s located on a boat instead of in a small, quaint building! Operating a boat bed and breakfast can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but there can be some unique challenges to getting your business operating full steam ahead. Here are some great tips to get you started on your way to boat bed and breakfast paradise.

Obtain Licenses and File Necessary Paperwork

The legal operation of a bed and breakfast, first and foremost, requires all required licenses and paperwork to be obtained and filed. This can include conditional use and sign permits, business licenses, business name and/or DBA registration, federal and state tax ID, certificate of occupancy, ServSafe food certification, liquor license, fire department inspection, health department inspection, and a number of other requirements. Obtaining all of these licenses and filing all of this paperwork can be a bit tedious. But once it’s done, you will be free to begin running your boat bed and breakfast!

For insurance purposes, there needs to be a formal rental agreement between the occupants and owner, documented and thorough vetting procedures, and an emergency contact near the vessel.

Prepare the Vessel

Preparing the vessel that your boat bed and breakfast will exist on is incredibly important. To do this, you will have to first select the right vessel and make sure it is docked at a safe and easy to reach place. Then you’ll need to make sure it is ready for guests, which can include stocking the boat with adequate living provisions as well as safety equipment.

Once your boat bed and breakfast is in operation, all of the supplies need to be there, and the boat needs to be clean and in perfect working order. Don’t rely on the novelty of the boat to provide a quality customer experience. Treat your guests as you would if you were operating a hotel or normal bed and breakfast. Otherwise, you could experience problems and get negative reviews.

There needs to be thorough check-in process as well to ensure your safety and the safety of your guests.

Hire a Great Staff

The amount of staff members needed for your boat bed and breakfast can vary significantly from boat to boat. However, you may need to hire a captain, a chef, a wait staff, a manager, etc. The size of your operation will heavily dictate the amount of staff that you need. If you’re simply renting out the cabin of your small craft for people to stay in overnight, you likely won’t need much of a staff.

Unless you are running the entire operation yourself, however, you are going to need at least one or two staff members. Just as with any other business, a great team is essential for success. So, when you are hiring people, make sure to hire qualified candidates who are capable of performing the job well.

Protect Your Business & Investment with Quality Boat Insurance

While setting up a boat bed and breakfast can be a wonderful experience that can help you to generate income while providing something that is fun and exciting, it is critical you contact an agent who knows the ins & outs of this business.  General “Charter” boat policies will exclude coverage if crew is not on board which could leave you without coverage in the event of a claim.  It is also important to understand the marina requirements and coverage limits.  For instance most marinas will require you to add them as additional insured, and many B&B policies will not extend coverage onto the docks without getting a Premise Liability Extension. There are only a few carriers writing B&B risks, and the underwriting guidelines are pretty specific. Working with someone who knows the markets and can prepare the best package to submit will allow you to get the right coverage and ensure your business is properly insured.

Call our experienced marine insurance agents today to protect your boat bed and breakfast!





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Company Information

Maritime Insurance International
3 Lockwood Drive
Suite 302A
Charleston, SC 29401

Mystic, CT Office:
P.O. Box 30
West Mystic, CT 06388-0030

Annapolis, MD Office:
P.O. Box 3505
Annapolis, MD 21403

Wrightsville Beach, NC Office:
530 Causeway Drive, Suite F1
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

Contact Details

Phone: 843.606.5270
Fax: 888.482.6844

Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm


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Professional, & courteous every time we've spoken. I would highly recommend ​t​his agency for boat insurance.
Carol P.