Advice on small Commercial Passenger Craft

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Hookerup, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Hookerup
    Joined: May 2012
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    Hookerup Junior Member

    I currently run a small scenic\cocktail cruise business and currently and use a 26ft Regal Cat for my vessel. The vessel works great for my purposes ie shallow draft , stable , comfortable and more stylish than your run of the mill commercial pontoon boat.
    My question is is it possible or practical to get this vessel certified for more tan six passengers? Ideally l10 -12 would fit my application nicely, this vessel is run in protected waters with a masters licence.
    If it is not possible does anybody know of any U.S. built vessels that will fit the application and remain more on the classy side. I am limited to 35ft and 2 ft of draft,
    Thanks.
     
  2. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    In my opinion, a comercial boat with less than 12 people on board is not considered a passenger vessel.
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In the USA any vessel that takes on passengers for hire is commercial, regardless of opinions to the contrary.

    Once over the "6 pack" destination, you're boat will need to jump through several more hoops to qualify. A sunset cruise over the 6 pack endorsement, will require your licensing be upgraded as well. What is your current endorsement?

    And before you say it Ike (assumed), I know they hate it when it's called the 6 pack, but having run one myself, it pretty much nails it.
     
  4. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    The moment you recieve any money from even just one person you are carrying a fair paying passenger then rules apply !! even if the money is a donation and you take it in you hand !! some countries have funny laws be careful!!:eek:
     
  5. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    I also know that a ship that is used as a business is a commercial vessel. But a commercial vessel can be assigned to many categories. Yeah, whatever work she do, if she takes more than 12 passengers, but only in that case, will be considered as a passenger ship.
    I think we are all talking about the same thing but is necessary to qualify. I hope not to be wrong.
     
  6. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Rules are difficult to understand. Best talk to a rules expert. For instance I just got off a passenger ferry. Its a 40 year old, chug chug wooden 35ft ? launch and it is classed to carry 48 passengers. Obviuosly it is only certified to chug chug 300 meters across the harbour. Area of operation is important.
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The rules aren't that difficult to understand, particularly the UPV concerns. Once you step out of UPV operations, things do get more complicated, which is what this poster is asking.
     
  8. keysdisease
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    If its outboard powered you would probably have to change out the fuel tank for something tested to a higher standard than a rec tank, or put tanks on deck like the larger tempo red tanks.

    You will need type one life jackets for the number of pax + crew you plan to carry, as well as upgraded fire extinguishers.

    You may have to re wire the vessel with a higher standard wire and connections.

    The biggest hurdle will probably be a stability test. I doubt a 12 pax + 2 crew 26 ft boat can pass a CG stability test.

    If you serve food the CG will want to see a Health Department cert, which will mean 3 sinks and a source of hot water.

    They don't make it easy, and what you consider reasonable doesn't matter, they follow their rules. For instance you may operate in no more than 3 ft of water, you will still have to pass a stability test even though if you sink everyone aboard could stay seated and be safe.

    Steve
     
  9. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Of course. The classification of a ship depends on several things, among which the most important is what you want to do / transport by boat, where and how fast.
    Another thing that can cause further complications is, as noted by PAR, the title that the pilot needs.
     
  10. Hookerup
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    Hookerup Junior Member

    Ok i have my 100 ton masters Licence near coastal, with,stwc,twic,and i am a cpr instructor. So i am assuming that is sufficient for my application. The boat is registered commercial and has all commercial safety gear on the vessel. I do not know the requirements for inspected vessels operating in protected waters. I have looked through the CFRs but they mainly cover offshore and have repeatedly contacted Coast Guard, Marine safety center and some boat manufactures . Nobody has definitive info or can even point me in in the right direction.
    You can get a 27 ft Carolina skiff certified for 20 pass. so thats way i was thinking i might be able to get mine certified for 10 -12 since i have more free board and good stability being a cat hull. Some people say you need a marine architect and it will cost 30 k others say you can do it by yourself and it will cost around 5 grand witch is reasonable to me. BUT nobody has a concise answer so i thought maybe i could find it here.
     
  11. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Hookerup, do not be angry with us that, believe it or not, just want to help. Things are not black or white and so there are various opinions. I believe that, as a comercial vessel, if you do not overcome the 12 passengers, you will avoid many problems. But the solution is easy: go to the maritime authorities in your area and ask them.
    Best Regards
     
  12. Hookerup
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    Hookerup Junior Member

    Not angry... Unfourtunatly here in the states we are limited to 6 passengers before having to be certified where as most other countries are 12 :(
     
  13. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I have a friend.. Texan..... retired captain from the Gulf of Mexico oil industry. He bought a nice 60 footer with the idea of running charters out of the US Virgin islands. The USCG made it so difficult to get certification that he flagged the boat British, Tortola.

    Im afraid that contacting a NA for advice is the only way. It expensive. 30k sounds too much. but the fee will be substantial.
     
  14. bpw
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    bpw Senior Member

    Though rather inconvenient for the original poster, this is not the opinion of the United States Coast Guard.
     

  15. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Hookerup: You certainly seem well qualified to handle the boat and all the equipment, so no worries there. The stability test is the big gate that you have to get through. You will have to go through the Simplified Stability Test under the watchful eyes of your local USCG inspectors. Contact them to arrange the test at a convenient time and place. This is their job, it is what they do, and it does not cost anything for their time; your taxes cover their cost.

    I attach a pdf copy of the testing form for the Simplified Stability Test. This is downloadable, by the way, from the USCG. It's fairly simple, actually. You have to arrange a time and place with calm water at a dock to do the test. You will need test weights to put on board, and the amount of weight required is calculated by: No of passengers+crew x 185 lbs per passenger. So, if you want 10 passengers plus 2 crew = 12 people x 185 lbs = 2,220 lbs. This is equivalent to about five 55-gallon drums filled with fresh water. Drums of water can be acceptable weights as they are fairly easy to procure. But you will also have to have some cement blocks and boards to raise them up about 18" or so, so that the center of gravity of the drums is about the same as the passengers. You can also use live people, so long as they all weigh at least 185 lbs (weigh them individually at the time of the test), or you can have more people so long as the average of all the people is equivalent to 185 lbs per person. Using people is actually easier than using dead weights like water drums because you have to move these weights from side to side during the test, and people move all by themselves if you tell them where to go.

    So, first you have to put all the test weight on board the boat, situated on the centerline so that the boat is at level heel and trim. Then, the USCG has to measure the profile area of the boat above the waterline. There is a little graph area in the test form where they do that. They also measure the freeboard where it is closest to the waterline, and then they mark the half freeboard mark. They have to determine which is the worst heeling condition--when all the people move to one side, or when the wind is blowing so strong that it causes the boat to heel. They know the wind profile area, and for the different operating areas--protected, partially protected, or exposed waters--there are defined wind pressures. If your boat has a lot of top hamper (wind area) then the wind criteria will govern. If there is little top hamper, then the passenger weight will govern. In either case, you need enough test weight to cause the boat to heel to whatever loading moment is determined to be the most critical.

    So the test begins, some of the weight is moved from centerline to one side to start the boat to heel. Check the half freeboard mark--is it sumberged yet? No? Move more weight, check the mark again. Keep on going until either all the weight is moved or the freeboard mark is submerged. Whatever that weight movement is will determine the number of passengers that your boat will be licensed for. However, if it is a wind moment that you are using, and the half freeboard mark is submerged before all the weight is transfered to one side, then the boat fails the test and it cannot be approved to carry passengers above a 6-pack license.

    Another situation that I have run across is that if during the test the high side chine comes out of the water before all the weight is moved, then the USCG considers that a test failure. This is because once the off-side chine emerges, the boat can start losing stability very quickly, and the USCG does not like that (neither would your passengers in a dangerous situation).

    You do not have to have a naval architect do this test, you can do it yourself with the USCG. However, if you want a good technical person on your side, then a naval architect, or at least someone who has been through this routine before, might be good to be your advocate. Ths cost of the test will be whatever you spend on getting the test weights, and if you are seeking the services of a boatyard, then add in whatever that cost is going to be. Your boat will also be out of commission for a day, so there will be that lost income. A naval architect for a day is going to cost at least $1200 or more, plus expenses, and maybe something more on an hourly rate to cover prep time or anything in the aftermath.

    Once the test is done successfully, the USCG should be able to give you the go-ahead quite quickly for operation. You should receive your Certificate of Inspection fairly quickly, I'd say within a week or two, provided you meet all the other equipment requirements on board.

    All of these regulations are covered on Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and the stability test is overed under Subchapter S of that Title, parts 170 through 173.

    If you have any other questions regarding all of this, feel free to give me a call and I'd be happy to give you further guidance.

    I hope that helps.

    Eric
     

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