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

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

Author:
Updated:
Original:
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

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more

LunaRossaBoat2

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Christens “Boat 2”

Hot on the heels of the UK’s Britannia and the United States’ Patriot, Italy’s new AC75 Luna Rossa, formerly known as Boat 2, was christened in Auckland, New Zealand, this morning. As the moniker suggests, it was Team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s second design. In his christening ...read more

m7803_DSCF6698-1

Challengers Christen Britannia and Patriot

October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot. Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as ...read more

HookPromo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lowrance Hook Reveal

Defender product expert Alex Lyons explains the benefits of HOOK Reveal’s new FishReveal technology: “DownScan sonar uses high frequencies to provide a picture-like image of the sea floor. The traditional sonar’s lower frequencies are best suited for locating fish in the water ...read more

701820_promo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lumitec Poco Lighting Control

Several key features of the Lumitec Poco Lighting Control system stand out right away. First, it is a 2-wire system, so the average wiring-savvy boater can install or retrofit the controls without an engineering degree. Second, it works with any Power Line Instruction (PLI) ...read more

Isotherm

Defender Product Spotlight: Isotherm Refrigeration Component System

Retrofitting a refrigeration cooling system has never been easier thanks to Isotherm’s quick mount bracket. And installation is more than half the fun of boat projects, right? These refrigeration component systems also have one of the smallest footprints on the market, and the ...read more