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Thread: Recreational Boating in Bonaire

  1. #1
    agd is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Default Recreational Boating in Bonaire

    There does not seem to be a lot of recreational boating going on in Bonaire. The waters seem benign enough most days to operate a modest craft and there are a couple of rental places and small boat charters. But I don't see many individually owned boats operated by full or part time residents. Certainly, the mooring roads are full of cruising boats, but I am talking about people who live ashore and use a boat for day use.

    Is it it lack of interest by people who mostly prefer to just dive, snorkel, beach or do wind sports? Or are there impediments to individual recreational boating here? At the government level such as boat or operator licensing? Or is it availability or cost of suitable moorings and berthage for recreational users?

    As as we possibly transition to spending a significant amount of our lives here, as much as I enjoy the diving, there will come a time when it will probably not be the focus of every single day and I cannot think of a better way to spend ones days than mucking around with boats.....and cleaning them, and fixing them, and trying to source the parts and then getting them through customs, etc. A great way to happily, or sometimes unhappily, fill ones days. I know this from a lifetime of having runabouts, ski boats and a cruising sailboat and I think it could fit well here.

    Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.

    Andy

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by agd View Post
    There does not seem to be a lot of recreational boating going on in Bonaire. The waters seem benign enough most days to operate a modest craft and there are a couple of rental places and small boat charters. But I don't see many individually owned boats operated by full or part time residents. Certainly, the mooring roads are full of cruising boats, but I am talking about people who live ashore and use a boat for day use.

    Is it it lack of interest by people who mostly prefer to just dive, snorkel, beach or do wind sports? Or are there impediments to individual recreational boating here? At the government level such as boat or operator licensing? Or is it availability or cost of suitable moorings and berthage for recreational users?

    As as we possibly transition to spending a significant amount of our lives here, as much as I enjoy the diving, there will come a time when it will probably not be the focus of every single day and I cannot think of a better way to spend ones days than mucking around with boats.....and cleaning them, and fixing them, and trying to source the parts and then getting them through customs, etc. A great way to happily, or sometimes unhappily, fill ones days. I know this from a lifetime of having runabouts, ski boats and a cruising sailboat and I think it could fit well here.

    Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.

    Andy
    Hi Andy,

    Speaking just for ourselves and our group of friends who have discussed this very subject, it appears the hold-up for us is the cost vs. the time we'd use it. We'd love to go out once or twice a week, and dive off the boat. Of course, for limited use like that, it's cheaper to rent a boat than to buy, ship, berth and maintain one. But - the rental boat companies here do not permit diving off the boats and tying up at the dive buoys. That is for the dive charters and privately owned boats only, not tourist rental boats. So, a dilemma.

    We have talked with a few friends about whether we should all go in on a boat, and each use it certain days, but it's never gotten past the talking stage. Would be interested to hear more about your experience as you move along.

    All the best,
    Kate
    Kate Butler
    Real Estate Agent, RE/MAX Paradise Homes, Bonaire

  3. #3
    larrygross is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    In addition to all the local fishermen in Playa and at the dock by the windsurfers, there's an informal boat ramp east of Plaza but before the Marriot that seems to get quite a bit of use. Avoiding the marinas certainly keeps the cost down.

  4. #4
    agd is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Kate:

    Your suggestion about shared ownership is a very good one.

    Until last year, we shared a Catalina 30 cruising sailboat for ten very happy and successful years with a friend. Other interests and commitments led to declining use over the last couple of years, so we mutually agreed to sell the boat. Sometimes these partnerships do not work out well, as we had witnessed, where friends became bitter antagonists over a variety of misunderstandings and differing expectations. So we drew up a specific, detailed and binding contract laying out, amongst other things, usage schedules, maintenance and cleanliness standards, agreement for upgrades, cost sharing for berthage, winter storage, routine maintenance and normal wear and tear, specific individual responsibility for damage and so forth. It also included clauses for dissolution of the partnership: valuation, first right of refusal for buying out and fixed time lines to execute these, etc. In the end, there was never a problem, we were both flexible on allowing the other to use the boat on weeks where it was officially the others designated time, but respectful of the agreed right to it when necessary. We were always on the same page with upgrades, costs were never in dispute and neither of us caused any damage beyond normal wear and tear. And in the end, we were both on the same page when it became time to sell. Overall, we had a great boat that we each got to use essentially as much as we wanted at half the cost and half the work of individual ownership. Plus we became better friends as we frequently sailed together.

    I know not all of these stories end so well, but if the people concerned are like-minded, have compatible goals for the usage and have a contract that spells out expectations, with mutual good-will and co-operation, it could be a great way to keep the costs in line with planned use. Solidifying friendships can also be a bonus.

    Larry:

    Good advice about the boat ramp. That would require a property where one could store the boat between uses, so may not be suitable for all but could be for many.

    One question left unanswered is, are there any governmental obstacles regarding individual boat operation here?

    Andy

  5. #5
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    What a timely thread - I'm looking to buy at a well maintained late 2000's 32' recently re-powered twin 300hp center consul dive/cruise/fish/cruise/dive boat that will set me back an initial $135K plus another $4k annually in storage and insurance. I will likely only get the boat in the water 6-10 times a year for 1-4 days usage moored at my house in Belnam. If I actually use it 50-80hrs a year it will be alot. I'd love to share it. Any interest?

  6. #6
    agd is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Chris:

    We would be looking at a much more modest boat than that. But I hope you find someone who shares your interest.

    Andy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
    What a timely thread - I'm looking to buy at a well maintained late 2000's 32' recently re-powered twin 300hp center consul dive/cruise/fish/cruise/dive boat that will set me back an initial $135K plus another $4k annually in storage and insurance. I will likely only get the boat in the water 6-10 times a year for 1-4 days usage moored at my house in Belnam. If I actually use it 50-80hrs a year it will be alot. I'd love to share it. Any interest?
    All that sounds like what I'm looking for too, but in a twin vee with sturdy dive ladder and maybe smaller (175 to 250) outboards. Would you consider allowing its use as a day charter should a dive operator need a boat on short notice? Might help keep it in the water more and defray some of the costs?

  8. #8
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    I bought the boat and brought it over from Curacao on March 20th - quite a windy day. It handled the 2-3 meter swells amazingly. I think it is too nice a boat for commercial dive charters. It's really a island hopper. I'll be back out on it next week. I cant wait to come back.

  9. #9
    agd is offline Bonaire Lover Bonaire Talker
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    Congratulations on your new craft, Chris!

    Andy

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