The water offers so many boating opportunities, but whichever floats your boat(!); motor cruising, sailing, yacht racing or more adventurous trips, there hasn’t been one single approach to boating that enables us to exploit them all!
It used to be simple. If you wanted to go boating, you either owned or chartered. But online developments and a bit of innovative thinking has seen the emergence of a third, more flexible option. The Boat Share Club. A hybrid model that sits between ownership and charter. The boat share club combines the best of both by offering members a really flexible option that only requires a moderate commitment but satisfies most requirements of the modern seafarer.
But don’t take our word for it, let’s take a look at the reality.
Boat ownership is what many aspire to, however the cost, time and maintenance commitments can become onerous. Your leisure time at a premium, so surely boating should mean actual time on the water, not time spent scrubbing, fixing or waiting for the boat to come out of the yard?
Recognising the demands of ownership, various schemes exist to offset the pain, such as placing your boat on charter to offset costs or joining a syndicate to reduce them. Although it might ease the financial and maintenance burden you inevitably end up sacrificing some control over your boat, not to mention access to it, thereby defeating the objective of ownership!
Chartering comes in many different forms and on the face of it charter offers the most flexibility. Operators run their own boats or act as agents/brokers who manage the commercial use of a fleet of privately-owned boats. Online development has improved pricing and competition in this market, with multiple agents joining online charter listings for instant access to a global market. The downside? You have to source your boat and book early to secure it, plus you spend limited time on unfamiliar boats. Fairly restricted book early slots means you can’t always book the days you want, restricted to either weekends or full weeks and the need to book well in advance to secure preferred dates.
The boating experience is everything, and with leisure time at a premium, surely boating should mean actual time on the water, not time spent booking your trip, finding the right boat?
Cutting out the “middle man” are the emerging P2P platforms, where owners liaise directly with renters. In theory this should mean more options when it comes to booking boats and dates but the reality today is that it’s existing commercial operators who use these platforms. Private boat owners do not lend their boats to strangers. The risks for both boat owner (competence and damage) and user (safety compliance, reliability and support) are too big. However, an area ripe for development.
Boat Share Club
The core values of the traditional boat or yacht club, enabling boaters to come together with the common aim of storing, cruising, racing and socialising have existed since leisure boating began. The emerging alternative to ownership and charter, the “boat share club”, retains the same core values, but introduces technology driven efficient access to boats for the 21st century boater.
Simply put, in exchange for a modest monthly fee, members have access to a wide selection of nearly new and beautifully maintained boats at flexible times. Much more of an owner experience, with short notice booking slots to suit, the boat club allows members to really get familiar with whichever craft they choose.
The key differentiator however, depending on your chosen boat club, is the provision of training, ongoing support, advice and the option to join a number of exciting boating events. The option to hone skills, experience more adventurous trips, race or simply socialise with other boaters and swap stories fits new and seasoned boater alike.
Whilst no model is universally right for everyone, the boat share club model is fast becoming the smarter choice.
Where members really benefit is; no need to keep abreast of boat servicing and maintenance and no berthing fees. Just easy access to high-quality, well-maintained boats. With sailing training packages to suit every type of boater; from novice to the more experienced, boat clubs offer the chance to learn new skills, fine-tune existing skills, race, set the next big challenge or simply socialise with other boaters and swap stories.