Good Day Captain,
The last few years to the last few months have had some unexpected surprises. Between the pandemic, the US Coast Guard, and USVI/BVI relations, the market for water taxi transport has been moving. We consider how the pandemic almost killed our business, but then has driven more people to use private service over the public ferry.
This email may be longer than all the books in the Library of Congress, but bear with us.
At this time, we are re-evaluating our business and position in the market. We are constantly working to separate ourselves from the competition, focusing on a higher level of hospitality. In essence, we like to make it easy for the guest, but also for the team. Because of this, we are continuously improving.
Central to our values in running SeaHorse is that everyone needs to make money. We need to make money, drivers need to, and captains do too. Running a not for profit business doesn’t feed anybody’s family. We get a lot of BVI leads, and we are looking to grow our business in the BVI. As we find Captains to partner with we will build our BVI business.
An important part of our reevaluation is learning from the past. We’ve had former partners who have intentionally tried to mislead us. When we found out, we gave them opportunities to come clean. They chose not to tell the truth, and as a result we stopped working with them. We don’t ask for perfection, we understand things happen, but honesty and communication is fundamental to our working relationship. If something doesn’t sound right, we will keep digging and we always find out the truth.
Each of us runs our own independent business. Fundamentally they are the same, moving people. However, the cost structure is different for each of us. We do the work to contact the lead and close them. We value our customers and encourage you to check out our website https://seahorsevi.com and our reviews. Hospitality, relationship with our passengers, and partners are foundational to how we run SeaHorse. Sometimes we are on the phone with potential guests for an hour or more over the booking process making sure we have all the right information to make your job easy. We are also looking for more ways to make it easier for everyone.
As a note, we also own and run our own boat and understand the costs associated with fuel and maintenance. We’ve personally experienced that BOAT really means Break Out Another Thousand. It is expensive to run a clean boat. We also know repair expenses come up without warning. Add on permits, training, and fuel, regular polishing and paint, dry dock…the list goes on. We do it too.
Why work with SeaHorse Water Taxi?
We don’t know what it is like to work for our competitors. Compensation is only one piece of the pie. Level of stress and communication are other factors. BVI runs are the most complicated and stressful part of running SeaHorse. They also pay about the same as what we make on St. John runs with our own boat. We are making a double effort to simplify, streamline, and make it easier on everyone.
Here is some feedback we’ve gotten from one of the Charter companies:
“Good Job 👏I really have to say this, you guys all around do an awesome job! We work with a lot of other ppl and they are not Organized like you guys or even near 💯👐”
Other feedback about our guests, from Hook’d. “We love your guests because they are respectful and don’t take up our tables and order just water.”
SWT Current BVI Boat Rates
(Save this link)
As a general rule, happy guests TIP BETTER. Happy guests arriving to you are the result of all the pre-work being done professionally. If there is a glitch or an unmet expectation, this can impact your tip. Showing up late for the run will impact your tip. We know our drivers and they consistently deliver great service. When asked what a captain should be tipped, we say it is customary to tip 20-25% of the water taxi cost. The guest receives a line item invoice with the cost of the water taxi so they know how much to tip you. The water taxi tip is the culmination of all our efforts for a flawless execution.
We don’t use dock hands and here is why…We’ve found that if you are the first person they see when getting out of the taxi, they won’t forget you. Use this face time to show you working for them helping to move luggage. You start building that hospitality relationship showing you are taking care of them. Having dock hands interrupts your opportunity to build trust. Captains who build trust with the guests and then add service on top get more tips and better tips over time.
(Updated) Reimbursable Expenses
In addition to those rates, we are going to reimburse (please provide the receipt) for:
- AYH dock fees
- One run with us, we will reimburse for the fuel dock
- Two or Three runs, we will reimburse for a slip
- If you have a run with us and one for another company, we will cover half the slip for the day. If your time at AYH is only one for us, use the fuel dock.
- You will need to book the slip out in advance for busy weekends
- You MUST have a good relationship with AYH. Always pay dock fees. Don’t spend the night without paying. If you are not in good standing with AYH, we won’t use you.
- St. John dock fees
- These are paid once for the full day
- They do not have a person charge….if you are being charged anything beyond docking, please send us a receipt.
- BVI Dock fees with our guests aboard
- Anything you have a receipt for
Beer, Soda, Water, and Ice
- These should be on every water taxi run
- We recommend having 2 bottles of water, 2 beer, and 1 soda per guest
- On our boat we offer hard seltzers to guests, many of the ladies love these
- Quality of drinks is a small expense that will impact your tip
Collecting Customs Fees
- Captains are to collect customs fees from guests
- When in doubt ask in WhatsApp, but usually it is posted
- If you forget, it comes out of your pocket. In the past we’ve had captains forget, and we end up losing money on the run. We can’t be sustainable like this moving forward
- If they are on island, reach out to them. One captain forgot, then contacted the guests. He apologized, but was able to collect the customs fees
- Our fees are $60 in and out of the BVI
Moving forward, these are filled out in advance by our USVI team. They will be in Dock box B D17. If the box is locked, let us know we will send you the lock code. There will also be Koozies, please take some for the trip and rain ponchos if needed.
We like to make things easy. At some point in the near future, you will be emailed a link the morning of the run. That link will take you to your Trip Sheet Submit form and it will be pre-filled with the details of the transport. Submitting trips this way helps us get you paid faster. It connects to our system and completes all the details we need to get you paid. This is where you can submit your receipts.
Submitting a handwritten or printed invoice does not connect to our system, so then we need to create your trip sheet submission making us then verify all the details before submitting. If you are new, the first time you are paid, it may take a little extra time.
Please fill out the following form by March 31, 2022. This will update our records and help us with future improvements. If you have two boats, click the back button and update the following
Keys to Working With SeaHorse Water Taxi
- Always act with integrity, (be honest, up front, professionalism)
- Communicate in the WhatsApp Group for a Specific Transfer (check-in, status, progress)
- Review the WhatsApp message (named by guest last name or pickup time and last name)
- Post in the WhatsApp message (so we know you’re aware of the run)
- If falling behind on your schedule, let us know so we can do damage control
- When asked to do a run, please respond promptly.
- We want to schedule days in advance, but can’t always be the case
- Give ample time between runs so you can be on time
- We can adjust in advance, it is harder to adjust on the fly
- If falling behind on your schedule, let us know so we can do damage control
- Would you like a SeaHorse rashguard to wear on our runs?
- Make sure it is cleaned regularly, guests will appreciate that!
- We are in the process of having them made up, so let us know sizing
- We will need to collect your size and long/short sleeve preference
We want to ensure we have a good working relationship with all of our captains. BVI Captains are the face of our business and we are trusting our clients with you.
Please contact us if you have any questions,
We look forward to working with you in the future.
Kenny & Amy Anderson
SeaHorse Water Taxi