What to know when you use your boat for business

OK, here’s an article with an admittedly small audience. While we all agree that small business is the engine that runs our economy, not every small business is successful enough to need a boat. Note something here: I’m not talking about the business owner having a boat. I’m talking about the business having a boat.

Success? Or just taking care of business?

When it comes to commercially owned boats, there are two kinds. There are some boats that are legitimately used for work. Think of tugboats. Cargo vessels. Commercial fishing boats. Water taxis. Riverboat casinos. Even tourist type boats have a legitimate use on the water. This sort of boat keeps the economy flowing around the world. This is what most people think of when they think of the commercial marine fleet.

There’s another type of commercially-owned boat, though. I’m talking about the yacht, what would normally be called a “pleasure craft.” There’s a whole class of people whose companies own boats because that’s how they do business. They invite people onto the boat for important meetings. They host elaborate parties for their customers. I’ll admit, I want to be in that number, as the old song goes. But you don’t have to be a business like General Motors to own this kind of boat. There are a lot of smaller organizations that do it too.

Having your boat owned by your business can have tax benefits, too. I’m no accountant and you should definitely consult with one, but I’ve heard that if you can use your boat for legitimate business purposes, it’s a lot less expensive to operate.

The biggest mistake

The biggest mistake you can make, though, is taking those benefits if you don’t deserve them. There’s another mistake if you really do use your boat for business and you claim you don’t. And that’s what I’m here to talk about.

I know I don’t have to convince you that satellite TV is awesome. If you have a larger craft, you can afford the price of the equipment, too. Unfortunately marine satellite systems are a lot more expensive than land-based ones because, well, they have a lot more going on. If you have a large vessel though, the cost is really not the point. The service you get is the point, and satellite TV really delivers. It gives you better video quality than streaming at a lower monthly cost. That is, if you do it right.

In general, satellite plans for private individuals cost less than those for publicly-accessible areas. Don’t blame the satellite company, though. They’re just following the rules. Copyright laws give the original makers of the content you’re watching certain rights. They get royalties whenever their stuff is broadcast. And, they get much bigger royalties if their stuff is broadcast in a public space. How much bigger? It depends on how many people can fit in that space. Note that it doesn’t depend on how many people are actually in that space, only how many could legally fit. So if you have one person in the public area of a work boat watching TV, you pay as much as if you were packed in shoulder to shoulder.

Avoid misclassification

When you’re using a boat for business, there are a lot of advantages as I said before. But, be careful not to get caught up by the challenges. The government, along with satellite TV providers, will always find out. The key is to do it all right from the start. And that’s where Signal Connect comes in.

Our experts can help you with the satellite TV side. We can also help you if you want satellite-based internet. We provide white-glove service and we will help you stay on the right side of the rules. Our experts are available to you right now! Call us at 888-233-5834 or fill out the form below. You’ll get a knowledgeable technician who will help you with all the details, and you’ll know that you are getting the best value out of your business’s investment.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.