Skip to Content

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Charter Fishing Business?

You will need substantial capital to start and manage a charter fishing business in the United States. To start this business, you need to get a boat, adequate licenses and permits, business insurance, and good insight.

Nevertheless, note that the exact amount you will need to start this business will vary depending on your geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. If you love everything that has to do with fishing and enjoy spending time with people, then this is a viable business opportunity for you.

Industry reports have it that the cost of starting this business will be between $21,000 and $500,000. Nevertheless, keep in mind that this is merely an estimate and the real cost will depend on certain critical factors.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Opening a Charter Fishing Business

  1. Boat Purchase

This is among your biggest expenses when you are looking to start a charter fishing business. Keep in mind that the amount you invest depends on the size and type of the boat. According to industry experts, you should anticipate investing around $20,000 and $50,000 just to purchase a small fishing boat.

A bigger off-shore boat will take around $500,000 off your startup capital. It is important that you aim for a dependable, commercial-grade boat that can safely navigate the waters.

  1. Licensing and Insurance

Prior to starting this business, note that you will need to obtain permits and licenses. The permits and licenses you need to start a charter fishing business in the United States will most often depend on your state and location, and as such it is recommended that you invest in well-detailed research to find out all that is required in your area. You also need adequate insurance to ensure the safety of your business.

  1. Marketing and Advertising

This is another very important place to invest some of your startup funding. The exact amount you spend on publicity and marketing will have to depend on the strategies you intend to utilize. Owing to the prevalence of social media and technology, you have access to cost-effective ways to advertise your charter business.

Nevertheless, you might have to input a penny or two on advertising if you go for other marketing strategies like radio and TV ads or billboards.

  1. Equipment and Supplies

A charter fishing business needs the right equipment and supplies to cater to the needs of clients and offer the right level of service. Your customers expect you to make available all the fishing gear they need, such as rods, reels, tackle, and baits.

The cost of acquiring fishing gear and supplies will fall within $10,000 to $20,000, although this will depend on the size of your business.

  1. Workers and Staff

It is still possible to start and manage a small charter fishing business single-handedly; however, to achieve good success, your business will have to grow past that level, and you need a reliable crew to help you navigate the sea and aid your clients. You need to recruit staff to help with your bookings, marketing, accounting, and record-keeping.

  1. Operating costs

Operating costs for this sort of business include fuel, maintenance, and dock fees. Also, note that the exact amount you have to invest or set aside as your operating expense will depend on the size and type of boat and the location of the business.


You will need to invest from $21,000 to over $500,000 to start a viable charter fishing business in the United States. Keep in mind that the above-listed factors and more will determine the exact amount you will put in. Nevertheless, it is imperative to develop a solid business plan and budget to guarantee that you remain profitable in the long run.

Even with the expenses, a properly managed charter fishing business can make good revenue while also giving you the platform to pursue your passion for fishing.