En español | Boat-sharing, a newly exploding segment of the sharing economy, enables the rental of someone else’s boat in the same way one rents a place to stay through sites such as HomeAway and Airbnb.
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The options are many: Spend a day in a 22-foot sailboat in Miami for $203, or rent a stylish motorboat in Barcelona with room for six for $334. Take a group of 25 people on a fishing charter in San Francisco Bay for $2,568, or relax on a 12-foot pontoon in Paw Creek, N.C., for $225.
The sharing system makes sense for owners, too, considering that the average boat owner uses his or her craft only 17 days a year, according to a U.S. Coast Guard survey.
Among some sharing services:
Boatsetter. The Florida-based enterprise is the biggest boat-sharing company, with 200,000 registered renters and 20,000 boats available. Rentals include 24-hour on-water support, and there is a network of captains you can hire if you aren’t experienced at the helm.
Click&Boat. This European-based company handles 60,000 annual rentals and has 150,000 boat renters registered on its platform, with one-third of the 22,000 listed vessels piloted by a Coast Guard–licensed skipper or the boat's owner.
GetMyBoat. A worldwide service launched in San Francisco, it has more than 108,000 listings in 184 countries, from Australia to the Caribbean to the Oregon coast.
To rent a boat, you need to register at one of the sites; pick a location and boat; specify the date, time and duration of your desired sailing; await approval by the owner; and then pay for the rental, fees and security deposit online with a credit card. If you are planning to captain a boat yourself, the owner is likely to ask about your boating experience.
All three boat-sharing companies require that owners’ boats be insured and that both owners and renters pay a commission. (GetMyBoat, for instance, charges a 7 percent commission to both renters and boat owners.) Emergency towing services are typically included, but it’s important to read a company’s terms of service closely so there are no surprises.