expenses by renting your boat once or twice
a month, and some boat owners in hot
markets can make money on top of that.
Like any renting situation, P2P rentals aren’t
without risks and rewards. Here’s what you
need to know before you dive in as an owner
How It workS
Boat owners list their boats on a P2P website, such as Boatbound.com, Boatsetter.
com, or Cruzin.com. Potential renters browse
boats of all types and sizes, and once they
find something they want to rent, the website handles the transaction from start to
finish. Owners set their own price based
on the market, as well as required deposits.
Insurance should be included in the price
with a deductible, which is often $500, or
2 percent of the boat’s value, whichever is
greater. Many boat owners set the deposit
so it will cover the deductible. Some P2P
companies also contract with BoatU.S. for
Boat owners often find it hard to imagine
renting their boat to a perfect stranger. Their
biggest concern? How do I know a renter will
take care of my stuff? The flip side to this is
that a renter doesn’t want a boat that’s not
safe, or that can barely make it out of the
marina. While there is a certain element of
trust, the answer combines something eBay
has been doing for years – buyer and seller
reviews – with vetting for both renter and
boat. If your product is good, you get a good
review; if your buyer is good, he/she gets a
good review. If either gets poor reviews, it’s
not likely they’ll be able to continue to par-
ticipate. The same concept is used for P2P
boat rentals, with the addition that a renter
is further vetted and the boat has to meet
You wouldn’t rent your pride and joy to
someone you know nothing about, so P2P
companies typically require renters to com-
plete a questionnaire and affidavit, meet age
requirements, have a valid driver’s license,
and possess a minimum of two years of boat-
ing experience. P2P companies also require
that the owners receive a deposit from renters
to cover contingencies like minor damage,
missing life jackets, or failure to refuel the
boat. In the end, though, it’s the owner who
has to feel comfortable renting to an indi-
vidual, and there’s really no standard format.
Hall says owners can talk to potential renters
on the phone, meet them in person, or even
take them out on a cruise around the marina
until they’re comfortable.
Renters can browse the P2P websites,
which show pictures and descriptions of
boats, along with reviews from previous rent-
ers, so they can be sure they’re getting the
right boat. Note that larger or faster boats,
and those over 10 years old, may have addi-
tional requirements before being accepted for
listing, such as an inspection or survey from a
qualified marine surveyor, which should help
ensure a good experience.
Still not sure you’d rent out your boat?
Boatsetter has taken a slightly different
approach to address the high-end luxury-boat market, setting up their website to
offer the option of having a licensed captain
aboard for the rental.
oUt YoUr Boat
The first thing boat owners need to know is
what happens if your boat gets damaged or
someone gets hurt. Most recreational marine-insurance policies will not provide coverage
during any rental period – no matter whether
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO RENT YOUR PRIDE & JOY?
Bob Kellett, a BoatU.S. member from Seattle, Washington, has rented his 30-foot Nonsuch, Bobcat, several times and says that so far he’s been impressed. “You’re in control of the entire process,” he says, “from setting your price to checking
out potential renters.” Kellett talks to potential renters on the phone and if he’s comfortable with their experience, he’ll meet them at the boat for a thorough run-through.
He gives his renters a detailed instruction form about the boat’s equipment, and a step-by-step guide for things like starting the engine, raising the boat’s big main, and how to
use the head. He’ll even take them out on the boat for a few minutes if they want.
The first time he rented his boat he was apprehensive. “I felt like a nervous father
whose daughter was going to the prom,” he jokes. But after a couple of rentals, he realized that the renters cared about his boat, too, and were there for the same reason he
was – a love of the water and boating. He also tells his renters that he’s only a phone
call away, should they have questions. So far, the only downside is an occasional scheduling conflict when he’d like to use the boat himself, so he tries to find renters who can
give him a few weeks’ notice. On the upside, he says it’s a good excuse to keep his boat
looking good. And the extra money in his pocket from a couple of rentals a month
easily pays his moorage. “I hope to do more of this next year,” he says. “I’m sold on
the concept.” — C.f.
Peer-to-peer rental websites make listing or finding a boat easy.