How Much Do Fishing Charters Make?

Many people love to fish, but only a few anglers have access to a fishing boat, the necessary equipment, and the knowledge to go sea fishing far from the shore. Sea fishing charters take anglers on deep-sea fishing trips that they wouldn’t be able to experience in any other way. 

If you’re thinking of starting a charter business, you’re probably wondering how much fishing charters make.

An efficient fishing charter business can make around 25% profit. Assuming that a charter boat goes out to the water 200 days a year, the business can make an annual profit of $34,000 after paying the captain’s salary. A charter boat can be used for other trips, increasing the annual revenue. 

Keep reading to discover what a fishing charter is, how much a fishing charter business makes, and the initial and outgoing expenses associated with owning a charter business. 

What Is a Fishing Charter?

What Is a Fishing Charter

Fishing charters are recreational fishing ships for hire. These fishing boats are equipped with a captain, fishing guide, and sometimes crew.

The fishing charter’s captain and crew provide the boat, fishing gear, tackle, and the knowledge needed to ensure the best fishing trip possible in exchange for payment. Most fishing charters take six people on a trip, but this number can vary depending on the boat’s size and the type of fishing trip.

Booking a trip with a fishing charter is an excellent way to gain fishing knowledge from experts who are more than happy to share everything they know about fishing. 

The four main types of fishing charters are offshore, inshore, nearshore, and inland (freshwater). 

What Does a Fishing Charter Do?

Depending on the type, fishing charters provide different services. But the one thing they all have in common is to strive to provide a fun and memorable fishing experience. 

Fishing charters help anglers make the most of their time on the water. The captain and staff, employed by the fishing charter company, are responsible for the boat and fishing equipment. 

The boat’s crew helps you land the fish and also clean and package the catch. Some fishing charters also provide photography services and capture the memorable aspects of your fishing trip. 

How Does a Fishing Charter Make Money?

Fishing charters make money by offering different types of fishing trips. Depending on the location, a charter business can offer inshore, offshore, reef, or night fishing trips.

The location and length of a fishing trip will determine the trip’s price and the amount of money the charter business makes. A full-day trip lasting eight hours or overnight charters costs more than a half-day fishing trip that usually lasts four hours. 

Fishing charters make money by booking more fishing trips. The more time the charter boat spends on the water, the higher the profits it will make. 

How Much Does a Fishing Charter Make?

A well-run fishing charter business can expect a 25% profit. If a charter fishing boat makes 200 fishing trips per year, the company can expect an annual profit of around $34,000 after paying the boat’s captain and all other ongoing expenses. 

To increase their annual revenue, some fishing charter businesses offer different types of trips. Fishing charters can be used for scuba diving, snorkeling, sightseeing, or wildlife tours. 

What Are the Costs Involved in Opening a Fishing Charter Business?

The costs of opening a fishing charter business are notable, usually running into tens of thousands of dollars. Purchasing a charter fishing boat is by far the most significant expense. 

Depending on the type and brand, a new charter boat can cost around $50,000 and much more for high-end brands. 

One way to reduce the start-up costs of a fishing charter business is to purchase a used boat. Used fishing boats can cost less than $30,000 but come with many potential drawbacks. 

New fishing boats are covered by warranties and come with maintenance plans, which reduce ongoing expenses. When purchasing a used fishing charter boat, the owner must be financially prepared for emergency repairs and higher maintenance costs. 

Other costs of starting a fishing charter business are:

  • Around $2,400 for dockage
  • Approximately 2,500 for insurance
  • The cost of a business license varies by state 
  • For fishing licenses, the cost varies by state
  • Around $600 for utilities
  • Advertising, bookkeeping, management, and legal fees 

What Are the Ongoing Expenses for a Fishing Charter Business?

The ongoing expenses of a fishing charter business are consequential but not as high as initial expenses. 

Here are the ongoing costs of running a fishing charter business:

  • Captain’s salary is $150 per day
  • Around $30.00 for bait and ice per day
  • $10.00 per day for tackle
  • Dockage up to $7,200 per year
  • Insurance is around $2,500 per year
  • Boat maintenance for a new boat under warranty, is $1,000 per year
  • Boat depreciation is around 10-15% of the boat’s value in the first year of use
  • Business and fishing licenses
  • Utilities, management, accounting, advertising, and legal fees 
  • The cost of fuel


Sport fishing is a popular activity in the United States, and most anglers dream of booking a charter boat and heading for a deep-sea fishing trip. Operating a charter company can be lucrative, especially if you already have a boat.

Knowing how much fishing charters make will help you decide whether or not the charter business is the best choice for you. 

The costs of starting a fishing charter business are considerable, especially if you’re looking to buy a new fishing boat. Besides the initial expenses, the owners of charter businesses have ongoing costs like docking a boat, insurance, boat maintenance, and fishing license to name a few.