Boat Rentals Are Now as Easy as Booking an Airbnb
Going out on a boat used to be a privilege reserved for trust fund babies who were in a problematic frat in college. Thankfully, the sharing economy has changed that.
Peer-to-peer boat-sharing platforms allow regular people to book time in the water without having to give up their firstborn child. Click&Boat is one of these platforms. Founded in 2013, Click&Boat quickly took over the European market. Now, it's ready to do the same in the United States.
Here's what you need to know about the "Airbnb of boat rentals."
Enjoy Boating Without the Gigantic Costs
No one wants to waste time comparing multiple boat rental companies to see the best prices, especially when traveling to a different city or country, where communication might be difficult. Yacht clubs exist, but they're more expensive, include recurring fees and don't always have availability.
With rental platforms, you're only paying for the time you actually spend in the water. Last-minute bookings are also easier, especially in waterfront cities or popular lake towns.
Steven Landau, account management lead at Click&Boat, explains that "it's an expensive proposition to own your own boat." Convenience, he adds, is the company's main draw. The idea is — of course — that you can simply click and be on a boat.
Much like Airbnb, what you get on Click&Boat depends entirely on the host. Each owner offers different amenities and you can decide if they meet your needs.
While this usually means a bit more research, it also opens up a world of possibilities. You can, for instance, rent with or without a captain if you have enough proof of boating experience.
The length of rentals is also flexible. You can spend a week, a full day or just a couple of hours in the water. Whatever best fits your schedule and budget.
The price varies depending on the size of the boat, location and amenities. On a fine Miami morning, we boarded a spacious 44-motor yacht helmed by Captain Daniel Olsak, a super owner. He charges $1,200 for four hours on a 12-person boat. If you fill the boat up, that's only $100 per person.
That's certainly cheaper than what we've paid for boat rentals in Miami through chartering companies.
A Profitable Side Hustle for Boat Owners
The appeal of peer-to-peer platforms is that it offers customers convenience and owners a way to make extra cash.
Captain Daniel, for instance, uses Click&Boat (along with other boat rental platforms) to offset the astronomical cost of owning a boat. "I couldn't afford the boat if I didn't charter it," he tells Far & Wide.
But with the combined earnings from all platforms, he does more than break even. On a good month, he claims to make around $12,000 to $15,000. In fact, he earns so well that he actually makes a profit from his chartering side business.
Besides padding his pockets, he's able to enjoy the boat, using it to ride around the beautiful marinas of Miami or to sail to the Bahamas with his family.
Life, unfortunately, is not always a rosy sea trip to a tropical island. Safety is the main cause of worry for consumers using peer-to-peer rental platforms.
Click&Boat offers some protection for consumers. Landau says that when a chartering company is interested in joining, the platform will verify that it's a legitimate enterprise and that they have proper insurance and documentation. Customers also have the option to buy insurance on the website to protect their booking.
The main way to verify someone, however, is with reviews. As with sites like Airbnb, both owners and renters receive peer scores based on their interactions. Owners who have a stellar record of good reviews are promoted to super owner status. This badge is meant to convey trustworthiness to customers.
What Sets Click&Boat Apart?
Click&Boat isn't the only website to provide boat booking services. Others include Boat Setter, Get My Boat and Sailo. The platform people use will depend mostly on personal preference.
We like that Click&Boat already has a strong market in Europe and that messages can be translated on the platform. These make reserving a boat abroad seamless and painless. But we encourage you to check out different websites to compare prices and prospects.
Whether the company will be able to replicate the success it had in its home continent is yet to be seen. For now, one thing is certain: we won't be dealing directly with boat chartering companies again.