River trading, or, starting in massive debt

Although we’ve dabbled with The Sword, I’m about to begin running my first burning wheel campaign.
Inspired by the fun we had when playing WFRP’s great Death on the Riek, we decided a river boat trading campaign would be fun, and have a setting on a large river with different settlements along it.
Character Burning went pretty well, but I have a couple points I’d appreciate feedback on.
Since the campaign was decided to be a river trading game we knew we needed a boat/ship and we had a little trouble deciding which size ship was appropriate for a river trader. The other point was that there was no way our poor trader could afford a boat and crew with his resource points.
We eventually decided that as long as he got the crew via the gang/crew rules he could have the ship, but would incur 7 dice of debt (as per pg. 375 of BWG) to someone (a crime boss as it turns out - this ship better lead to profits somehow).

Does this seem OK? am I missing something?
What about the usual lifestyle Ob for running a single river ship/crew Ob 3? 4? (increased by 1 due to debt repayment, obviously).

Any suggestions or points to consider would be appreciated.

7 dice of debt… that ought to be fun.

That’s hot. The other thing you could do is have the boat be straight up owned by someone else. No debt but a dude who is taking half the profits.

I prefer both option, some ownership (that taxes your income again and again and generate adventure) and debt (that generate adventures and trouble). Pull one string than another, never too obvious…

Make the character earn it, fight for the boat if they beleive in it… the more at stake, the more character developement will be linked to it!

7 dice of debt. Does that mean an Ob 7 Res test to pay it off? Or that they have to generate 7D of cash to pay him off?

The other option is to own the boat, but have terrible trouble keeping a crew, what, with all the river piracy and stuff frightening people off. Not as appealing, really.

I like the idea that someone else owns the boat, or even better, the debt is to a trade cartel that offers up sealed crates to transport from time to time, to help pay off the debt.
No questions, shut up and load the crates already, they must be in Rottenberg before the full moon or we call in the full debt the day after.

I was under the impression that each Maintenance Cycle your Ob is 1 higher and if you succeed it reduces the debt by 1.
Keeps them having to find business or other sources of money to pay off the crime boss who loaned the money, while indebted to him and therefore less able to say ‘no’ to his dubious demands.

I guess theoretically the crime boss owns the boat while the PC is paying it back so they could be useful for generating story.

Any suggestion as to the usual maintenance Ob for running a river ship and crew? 3 or 4 is my gut instinct, but I’m not sure.

I’d go Ob 4-5, depending on the crew size. Modest to Medium Merchant or tradesman.

Oh! Like by the rules debt! That’s awesome. They’ll be under his thumb for a long them.