Boatbound is a ‘pier to pier’ renting service that connects boat owners with renters (published August 2015)
In the summer of 2012 Aaron Hall (founder and CEO of Boatbound) and his family were on vacation and trying to rent a boat, however the marina had no more boats available. “We looked around and saw a ton of boats sitting there and thought there has got to be something like an AirBNB for boats,” said Hall, “and that kind of spurred the idea of Boatbound”. He added looking back that was the ‘ah ha’ moment that every boater would be thinking later, ‘man I wish I thought of that’. Boatbound formally launched in June of 2013.
Boat owners working with Boatbound can choose the price and days their boat is available for rent. The Boatbound website is free to join and allows users to search by location, then narrow search results by power or sailboat and whether it will a bareboat or captained charter. The price per day, size and a photo of the boat all appear after an initial search. After selecting a boat, users see a calendar of available dates, additional photos and information on the boat and owner. From there, a message to the owner can be sent to ask questions or users can send a request to book.
Every rental includes $1 million in liability protection and $2 million in boat protection from Lloyd’s Insurance as well as Boat U.S. support on the water. After each rental, the owner and renter can review each other and document their experience. For owners, Boatbound receives 35 percent of each rental for non-commercial boats and 5 percent of each rental with commercial insurance or a charter policy, since they do not need Boatbound insurance to operate. For renters, a 10 percent service fee will be charged for each rental booked.
After renters select their desired day and provide payment information, they are asked to answer a few question provided by the owner about their boating experience.
“From a vetting standpoint, we first pre-screen anyone who wants to rent a boat by themselves (bareboat) for responsibility by checking criminal history and their driving record,” said Hall, “At that point, if they are approved to rent, it is the owner’s responsibility to vet the individual renter.” Hall added that the process works better than a basic form that the renter fills out because every boat is slightly different and every location may have different navigational requirements.
Georg Gottschalk uses Boatbound to rent out his Catalina 36 and says renters who have taken out his boat enjoy the service because it allows them to sail when they want even though they do not own their own boat. Renting the boat through Boatbound, has helped Gottschalk pay the slip fee, maintenance and buy an upgraded mainsail.
Currently Boatbound has boats available in all 50 state with higher concentrations in larger cities like San Francisco. A Boatbound app is in the works as well as expansion to international locations to serve as a resource for tourists overseas looking to rent a boat for a day or two in a area that does not have a chartering company.
Visit www.boatbound.com for more information.