PxPixel
Charter News: Peer-to-Peer goes Pier-to-Pier - Sail Magazine

Charter News: Peer-to-Peer goes Pier-to-Pier

Author:
Publish date:
Fancy any of the boats in your local marina? With peer-to-peer boating you might be able to take one for a spin

Fancy any of the boats in your local marina? With peer-to-peer boating, you might be able to take one for a spin

I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to refer to peer-to-peer (P2P) boating as pier-to-pier—it’s irresistible. The proliferation of the sharing economy has birthed P2P boating and with it, more players in the field of direct boater-to-renter vessel chartering. So I wanted to know, does the concept float?

Most of us have successfully Ubered (a new verb in our lexicon) and some have used Airbnb. So it’s only natural to see numerous services popping up offering P2P boat rentals. However, the complexities of boater education and things like insurance and taxation provide a different dynamic in this marketplace, one that doesn’t compare to getting into, say, someone else’s car or renting a bedroom in their apartment.

At last count, there were four fledgling boating P2P businesses in the United States: Boatbound, Sailo, GetMyBoat and Boatsetter. There are also a few in Europe, including Antlos. These vary in age from one to three years old, and most work with a mix of private rentals (P2P) and commercial charters where they aggregate or re-market existing charter company services. (Think Expedia.)

For example, according to Bryan Petro, chief marketing officer at GetMyBoat (getmyboat.com), his company is more of an aggregator service with 80 percent of its 60,000 listings (which can be anything from paddleboards to yachts) in 169 countries. Meanwhile, Boatbound (boatbound.co—nearly 15,000 boats in 2,100 U.S. cities), Boatsetter (boatsetter.com—4,000-plus boats) and Sailo (sailo.com—1,500 boats in the United States with more abroad) focus the bulk of their business on true P2P transactions between private owners and individual renters. SamBoat (samboat.com) has a variety of boats worldwide as well.

Providing affordable and comprehensive insurance has been a challenge for all the companies. Boatbound works with Geico (BoatUS) and Sailo with Lloyds of London to provide per-outing insurance that is calculated based on the price of the vessel, while GetMyBoat offers the ability for renters or owners to buy trip insurance separately. Jaclyn Baumgarten, co-founder of Boatsetter, says hers is a unique model wherein insurance is factored into every rental and also includes SeaTow on-the-water assistance for the time of the outing.

How much can owners expect to make by renting their vessel? The answers vary by company but are generally very optimistic. Justin Parker, chief marketing officer at Boatbound, says his company’s sweet spot is powerboats 16ft-24ft and that the money in that segment can be especially good. “South Florida is a year-round market for us, while Chicago picks up in the summer. Owners in these locations can expect to rent their boats 14 to 17 times per season,” he says. “Owners in New York can make enough over two summer months to cover their costs for nearly two years.”

That said, prices are usually set by the owners and can vary wildly. And while it’s not cheap to rent a boat, it is still much more affordable than buying one. Baumgarten says powerboats 28ft-45ft are the most popular with Boatsetter and normally rent for approximately $1,300-$1,400 per day plus the cost of a captain. Boatbound and Sailo keep roughly 33 to 35 percent of the specified price for insurance and fees. Boatsetter keeps 28 percent and has a revenue-sharing program with marinas that participate. Aggregators keep a lower percentage.

The legalities of boat rentals remain a bit murky, and there are numerous issues still being resolved. First and foremost is the question of licensure, since unlicensed owners taking paying passengers out on their own boat is illegal. With this in mind, most of the companies say they offer a database of USCG-licensed captains, who are also insured under the umbrella policies so that inexperienced boaters can rent from owners who are not licensed.

Additionally, it’s not just the captain’s license that determines how many passengers a vessel can carry. In order to accommodate more than six paying passengers, a vessel must be USCG inspected, unless it’s chartered as a “bareboat” that can carry 12 passengers,a distinction that should be noted by both owner and renter.

Next is boater education. As more states like California and Washington require boater certification, renting boats may require a Vessel Operator Card even for bareboats. How will this affect P2P boating? It’s hard to tell. For now Baumgarten and others stipulate their renters be at least 25 years old unless they’re also hiring a licensed captain.

Ultimately, whether you’re an owner or a renter, the viability of P2P boating will depend on several factors: the kind of boat you have or are interested in renting; where and when you boat, your expenses and budget; and your tolerance for having strangers aboard.

Check out all the P2P providers to see which one speaks to you in terms of vessel selection, costs/revenues, insurance coverage and safety factors. It’s the early days, but it may turn out to be a new way of going “pier-to-pier.”

Zuzana Prochazka holds a 100-ton Coast Guard liscense and cruises Southern California aboard Indigo, a Celestial 48

Photo by Ali Wisch

November 2016

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

IMG_9828

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more