A thriving new marketplace for instant pay-to-play boating will shake-up how we go afloat. Toby Hodges explains the four different types of yachting renting platforms
This recent sector of peer-to-peer rental – as opposed to the traditional types of bareboat charter – is already booming, so much so, it’s tricky to know which site to choose to start searching for your ideal rental break.
Each platform tends to allow renters to customise their sailing holiday/trip to their liking. “Peer-to-peer ultimately has the power to bring choice and availability to the market,” says Borrow a Boat’s founder Matt Ovenden.
Ovenden has four young children and was looking for a boat he could afford a couple of years ago, but could not justify the expense of buying one. He recognised the problem of boats being under-utilised assets.
A serial entrepreneur, he was looking for a new innovation at the time. “The sharing economy is one of the biggest areas of growth but no one in the UK had brought it to the marine business,” he explains.
So instead of buying a boat he set up Borrow a Boat, as a direct marketplace for yacht renting. “We now have 17,000 boats [in over 60 countries] from RIBs to yachts and superyachts… and have also launched a section for dinghies and paddleboards.”
Two types of listings are now offered: instant booking or request to book. “You can wake up in the morning and find the nearest boat to you,” he continues. “The owner sets the rules and price [including being able to choose the minimum sailing qualifications needed]. They’re the seller and we’re the marketplace.”
Click&Boat, Europe’s largest peer-to-peer yacht renting site, was set-up five years ago by Paris-based entrepreneurs and has already managed over 60,000 rentals and €40m in earnings by boat owners. It says 40% of its global users are millennials.
“Among the million boats in France, very few are used for more than ten days a year… with the annual expenses representing, on average, 10% of the price of the boat every year,” says François Gabart, who invested in the company in January and has listed his own RM yacht on the site.
Competitor brand Getmyboat in the US describes itself as the‘ world’s largest rental and water experience marketplace.’ It lists 130,000 boats in 184 countries and caters for all craft and boating ventures. Established in San Francisco in 2013, it has already seen 100,000 downloads of its messaging app.
Borrow a Boat’s Matt Ovenden says typical clients are experienced charterers, millennial groups in their twenties (short notice, with skipper), families wanting to do something adventurous, and groups of people coming back to boating.