For the past decade or so, we’ve been moving increasingly into a sharing economy, not an owning economy. Think of the massive growth of Airbnb, for example, in the housing market, or Uber and Lyft for transportation.
Younger generations also often put more importance on experiences, than on things. They want the freedom to travel, and to dip into new experiences, such as boating, without having to tie up a lot of capital.
Over the years, I had several conversations with the late Irwin Jacobs, who used to own such major boat companies as Wellcraft and Hatteras and certainly knew his way around financial markets, about the idea of leasing new boats, as an alternative to selling them outright. He kept looking into it, he said, but finally decided it wouldn’t work. It was too problematic to establish a residual value for a three-year-old boat, when the lease was up, he said, and there was no large wholesale market for used boats, as there is for cars.
But boat sharing is an idea whose time has come. GetMyBoat, for example, offers 130,000 boats in 9,300 locations that you can book, and then use, without having any of the burdens of actually owning one. Here’s a great story from Forbes about the growing boat-sharing business:
Airbnb For Boats: How Water-Based Sharing Apps Are On The Rise
It’s been a decade since the launch of Airbnb and Uber, now considered a part of life for many people booking trips and journeys. In that time, several boat sharing apps have been working hard to disrupt how people rent boats or book activities on the water, many of them hoping to make steady inroads into the same space.
Sharing platforms for boats
Many of them have a similar business model to Airbnb, where customers rent boats directly from owners or operators. GetMyBoat is the market leader with over 130,000 boats. It operates out of San Francisco, the cofounders having had the idea when they were sailing in the Atlantic and noticed that large numbers of boats were unused and idly floating in the marinas. The company has grown from having a presence primarily in the top boating cities in the U.S. like San Francisco, Miami, and San Diego, to having boats available in 9,300 destinations across 184 countries. U.S. competitors include Boatsetter, having acquired another big U.S. competitor BoatBound in 2017, and which has 25,000 boats available across the world. Parisian-based Click&Boat has 30,000 yachts globally and in the Mediterranean, Samboat is player with 25,000 boats. Read more: