June 02, 2015

Heard of Airbnb and Uber? Now there's a service for boats

Boatbound has cast sail in the region

Sharing Economy Boats
Pirate ship Contributed Art /Albumarium

Pirate ship not available.

If you’re already renting out your apartment on Airbnb and making extra money from your car on Uber, here’s another item you can contribute to the sharing economy: your boat.

Boatbound, a San Francisco-based startup, is an online marketplace where boat owners can rent out their vessels to landlubbers who want to escape to the sea.

There are options for all levels of experience, as boats are available either “captained” – where you get a captain or crew – or “bareboat” – where you’re on your own.

The price depends on the size of the boat and whether you’re taking your vessel out for a half-day, full-day or multi-day jaunt. In the New York area, for example, listings ranged from a $180-per-day bass boat to “take ya kids out fishing” to $7,000 per day for a 97-foot luxury yacht.

There are no listings directly in Philadelphia yet, but a search in the region yielded results for a 30-foot Catalina sailboat in Tuckerton, where the owner bragged that you could sail to Cape May and "have dolphins playing next to you almost the whole trip,” and a Bayliner 185 in Reading, Berks County, that enticed you to enjoy “nature, the sun, the freedom.”

So far, 13 million boat owners have registered, and the most popular cities for the service are San Francisco, Miami, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Seattle.

Signing up for the service and searching for a boat are free, but clients pay a 10 percent service fee to rent a boat, and owners pay a 35 percent fee for renting out non-commercial boats. The fees pay for the company’s services and insurance, which includes $1 million in liability protection and up to $2 million in hull protection.