Getting out on the open sea, wind in your hair, enjoying the ride with your family and friends. Then there’s the boat payments, storage fees, fuel, maintenance and repair — these costs can quickly sink the dream of boat ownership.
Ahoy, mates — a new breed of boat-sharing services is entering the hot South Florida boating market. San Francisco-based Boatbound.co set up its East Coast headquarters on the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne and launched nationally in June.
About the same time, Cruzin.com finished a pilot program in Dania Beach and went live with its site, and there are a handful of other national competitors eyeing the Sunshine State. Locally based startups Fun2boat.com, Boatyard.com and Boatsetter.com are getting ready to launch their own variations on the concept. These companies make it possible for boat owners to rent out their boats when they aren’t using them — for many people that’s a considerable chunk of time.
There are 12.2 million boats registered in the United States, yet the average boat gets used just 26 days a year, according to boating industry statistics. Renting the boat just a day or two a month can negate all the costs of ownership, these companies say.
“It allows people to essentially boat for free,” said Aaron Hall, CEO and co-founder of Boatbound, one of the first companies taking the plunge to shape this new industry.