There's nothing like the freedom of the open water ... until your prized vessel becomes a financial ball and chain.
The joy of boat ownership comes with a cost. The price tags of fuel, repairs, maintenance, and cleaning really add up.
Even if you rarely use it, your boat still eats a hole in your wallet—slip rental, insurance, winter storage, monthly installments if you financed the purchase.
Renting out your boat may be an attractive option, especially if you don't use it much. However, many boat owners face anxiety when handing over the keys to a stranger.
If done correctly, however, monetizing boats through rental can be a great way to defray the costs of boat ownership. To rent out your boat and still sleep soundly at night, follow the Three Rules of Boat Rental Security ...
1. Leverage the Apps.
Airbnb disrupted the hospitality industry with a "peer-to-peer" (P2P) rental model. Suddenly, people not named "Hilton" could earn money by renting out their extra living space. Several startup tech companies are doing the same for the boat-rental industry.
- Boatsetter. Founded in 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, Boatsetter was the first US company to facilitate fully-insured P2P boat rental, and also the first company to offer captained vessels on a P2P basis. The company maintains one of the largest databases of USCG-licensed captains to pair with your boat.
- Click&Boat. Headquartered in Paris, as of 2018 Click&Boat had roughly 22,000 listings and 200,000 members worldwide. Launched in 2013, it turned a profit in 2015 and has doubled its turnover each subsequent year. It was named a Frenchweb FW500 company in 2016.
- GetMyBoat. Based in tech hotbed San Francisco, GetMyBoat has the largest footprint, with 130,000 listings in 183 countries as of 2019. Some more big numbers include 175,000 app downloads, 485,000 booking requests in 2018, and 130,000 users set sail via the app.
Before choosing an app, browse through the listings to see which apps are strong in your region (more listings with more reviews, etc.). Choose just one app to avoid double-booking. You can list anything from a kayak to a jet ski to a yacht.
Reputation and trust are what makes peer-to-peer models work. Sellers and buyers, lessors and lessees all have been vetted by the platform and reviewed by other users.
By leveraging these apps, you don't have to do a background check on every renter. The app company does it.
Additionally, these apps offer:
- The ability to set your price.
- The option to decline a rental request.
- Included liability insurance.
- Payment processing.
- A paper trail for the transaction.
- Calendar management.
- Tax reporting.
2. Check Your Insurance.
Insurance is there to give you peace of mind. No one wants to lose their baby, but it is just a thing. The money you spent on it can be replaced.
Most standard boat insurance policies do not cover you if your boat is in the hands of a renter. Call your insurance provider and ask if you are covered for rental liability. If not, consider upgrading. It's usually not a big increase, and it covers you for:
- Repair costs if the boat is damaged.
- Repair costs if the boat damages someone else's property.
- Medical costs if injuries occur in a boat accident.
The P2P boat rental apps offer liability insurance but you should consider extra insurance. Boatsetter insures its rentals up to $1 million. That number may sound comforting, but even a dinghy can cause serious damage or injury. You could quickly become liable for more than $1 million. You may also not like the deductibles the App-based insurance offers.
3. Leverage Connected Boat® Technology.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just press a button and find out what was going on with your boat, even if it's far away and in the care of a renter?
With Connected Boat® technology, you can do just that. A Connected Boat® device like the Siren Marine MTC Device is an affordable investment in your peace of mind. Once installed, it communicates a wealth of status information to the Cloud, available to you at the touch of an app. You can:
- Monitor battery voltage, high water, bilge activity, and temperature.
- Track the boat’s precise GPS location and utilize geofencing technology to ensure your boat stays where it’s meant to be.
- Remotely control your boat’s systems, including lights, AC, and engine cutoff.
- Monitor entry alarms and motion sensors.
With a Siren Marine MTC Device on board, it's easy to see when your baby is in fine shape or deploy help in the event of trouble.