The internet is all wet.
And that’s a good thing. In the last 2 years, or so, a number of companies have brought digital order to the fractured world of boat rentals, allowing would-be sailors to rent all sorts of vessels easily, and more important, more cheaply than before.
One of the forums where seafarers are finding savings is GetMyBoat.com, a platform that connects vacationers with those renting….well, pretty much anything that floats (the company covers stand up paddle board rentals, yacht charters, sailboats, even captained day trips for fishing and scuba diving). “A year ago, our most common rental was a 26 foot sail or motorboat for two days. That would go for between $1000 and $2000, depending on the season and location,” says Bryan Petro, the Chief Information Officer for the firm. “Today, that same boat rental, same type of vessel, same length of time, is going for just $350 to $700, on average.”
Why the steep drop in pricing? Recreational boat owners, folks who, according to Petro only use their vessels 8% of the year, have realized that by renting out their boats, they can defray their often hefty maintenance and storage costs. These folks are now competing with the professional boat charter companies, and causing prices to come down across the boards.
Other companies that are in the boat rental business include:
- Boatsetter.com: Offers peer-to-peer, and pier to pier, fully-insured boat rentals
- Le Boat (www.leboat.com): It specializes in self-driven barge rentals in Europe
- Houseboating.org: Rents houseboats in 39 areas across the United States
- BoatBureau.com: A sailboats-only rental company for the Caribbean only
- VRBO.com: The giant rental home company now also helps owners hoping to broker the rental of their boats
Before strapping on your life-vest know that there are both logistical issues, and due diligence requirements, before renting a boat. In many areas of the world, local authorities (wisely, I think) require proof of competency, or a license, before a boat rental can take place. To find out what those may be in the area you’re heading, surf to the “resources” section of GetMyBoat.com, where there are links to the agencies that oversee boat rentals around the world; those should have pages explaining the local regulations.
Insurance, obviously, is a good idea, for both the renter and the owner of the boat, so you’ll want to suss out how much that will cost before plunking down a rental fee.
And on the peer to peer marketplaces, renters should be sure to ask a lot of questions about the seaworthiness of the vessel being rented, from its age, to any accidents it’s had, to any operational quirks the boat may have.
(Photo by GetMyBoat.com)