Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Although I’m familiar with Airbnb for renting houses and rooms, and Uber and Lyft for vehicle rides, it wasn’t until I read an article in a trade magazine that I actually realized there are apps for renting boats! This article covers the ones that are available on mobile phone as well as computer because I like to conduct trip planning something larger than the cell phone screen.

The Apps

What a fantastic idea! If someone wants to rent a boat, with or without a captain, what a great online service. Since so many of us carry an entire computer – I mean cell phone – around with us, often all day, we have instant access to trip planning. What a cool way to find a boat!

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

boatsetter

Boatsetter partnered with Airbnb’s new experiences offerings. With so many people using Airbnb for different types of vacation lodging, and the explosion of social media sharing from scenic locations, the affordability of renting a boat and captain makes day trips more accessible and memorable.

The website for boatsetter is super user-friendly, with an up front location, captain, party size, and trip date selection bar. A search in my area yielded 11 boats, and a couple were actually a bit out of my search area.

After the initial search, once a vessel is chosen, there are icons to indicate captain, passengers, activities, and a full description of the boat. There’s a list of features, boat rules, description of services, and cancellation policy.

A photo of the captain is presented, along with a map of where, in general, the boat is located. You can message the owner from this screen. Prices, rates, day or half day, number of passengers are available to select here as well.

Boatsetter lists over 19,785 boats in over 600 locations to rent and charter and 37,598+ reviews. Boatsetter also links captains to boats, and offers insurance.

In addition, Boatsetter allows you to “favorite” or “heart” boats, just like Airbnb. And, they have a section completely devoted to Top Boat Rental Experiences. Also they offer a Boating Rules and Regulations area divided by state that also links viewers to that state’s boater safety course!

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

GetMyBoat

The website for GetMyBoat allowed me to conduct a search online on my laptop. Upon searching for a boat in an area I’m familiar with, St. Augustine, Florida, I found 18 listings. On the front page, destination is your only choice, then you go from there with further specifications.

After the listings there was an article on what to know about renting a boat in St. Augustine. It included a map with all the boats’ locations listed, just like Airbnb, as well as a brief description of the area.

Also included are sections about local water experiences, boating events in the area, and other things to do. After that, a section on local marinas and a brief bit about the city and area is presented including a brief description of weather and seasons.

Sort by trip types, price, and group size are available.

Once you select a specific listing, there is a description provided by the charter provider, easy-to-understand icons showing captain, guests, type of trip, and owner. Features & Details lists length of vessel, year built, and amenities as well as cancellation policy and additional terms and information.

There is an ability to send a booking inquiry, which will ask how many hours and minutes you desire, overnight requests, dates, duration, group size, comments, and your contact information.

Under Trip Types, there are choices from Jetskis to Sleepaboards. Also listed are fishing charters and dive trips all over the world. GetMyBoat lists 130,000 boats to rent and charter and 19,150+ reviews.

GetMyBoat did not allow me to “favorite” or “heart” boats for future reference.

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Sailo

Sailo offers boats all over the world, with everything from notices about best deals in locations such as Croatia, to any of several top yachting destinations.

While I found only one boat in St. Augustine, several others all over Florida were available. Selector buttons for dates, guests, boat, price, crew, cabins, and even more filters allow specific searches, and a map is alongside to confirm locations. If you are headed to the Abacos, there are even powerboat rentals at Green Turtle Cay!

Once you have selected a vessel, dates, guests, fuel information, captain, and the ability to contact the owner are available, as well as icons covering length, total guests, number of cabins, heads, and whether the vessel would be captained. A photo of the captain is included – I think that’s a great feature.

A description of the boating is included, as well as thorough details about the boat, and any amenities. This website does an above average job of presenting more than just a couple photos of the vessel. The boat owner has an area to tell about them self, complete with full profile.

Yet another section follows, with the ability to quickly message the boat owner directly, and a couple question suggestions are offered. Full details on what you should bring, what type of yacht you should charter, and how long a rental lasts are something I did not see on the other sites.

Then there is a welcome aboard section with information about the area, then a list of other areas you may wish to search next. Sailo offers over 30,000 motorboats, sailboats, catamarans and yachts in over 40 countries and 500 cities, from charters and private owners. 

For both of us, if you use my discount code “KIMWA1,” we both get $100 off our next boat rental at Sailo! Yippee!

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Rent Eco-boats // weareonaboat

Wouldn’t you know – as long as there are all sorts of apps for renting boats, of course, someone came up with an app specifically for renting eco-friendly boats and yachts – electric, wind, and solar-powered. weareonaboat seems to concentrate in the Amsterdam area, but their ideas should be emulated here in the United States.

They say using electric motors instead of engine, air quality improves and cities can become more self-sustainable. Their goals is to eliminate fuel costs, noise, smell, and exhaust by renting purely green boats.

While not in use, solar-powered boats can continue to produce clean energy for use on land. Of the rental fees, weareonaboat donates 16% to organizations who help with keeping waterways clean such as Ocean Cleanup, the Boat Refugee Program, and others.

Their types of boats available on the app are electric, hydrogen, solar, and sailing. Interestingly, there also are listings for electric motors, boat batteries, electric services, eco experiences, events, free boat rides, and solar panels.

Of the events, the most interesting looked like one for “plastic fishing,” and another, a “silent disco boat.”

Plastic fishing is offered on the wereoneaboat app through Plastic Whale, whose mission is to create value from plastic waste and clean the canals of Amsterdam. Their boats are constructed from the waste they recover. They provide soda and water, nets and gloves, blankets and ponchos, and chocolate. Sign me up! Working for Plastic Whale would be awesome!

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Other Boat Rental Apps

Yachtlife covers renting yachts in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Leeward Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, and the Windward Islands as well as Palm Beach, Naples, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Florida and Washington DC.

Antlos offers boats in the Mediterranean.

Sailsquare provides boat rentals in Greece, Croatia, Italy, Frane, Caribbean, Balearic Islands, Turkey, Malta, Seychelles, and Canary Islands.

Enaviga destinations include Croatia, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, France, and Belgium.

SamBoat also seems to cover European destinations.

HOBA is specifically for the Charleston area, and available on mobile only.

There are plenty more boating rental applications, and some are very specific to particular areas of the World. The first three covered seem to be the ones with

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

BoatBound – Was Bought out by Boatsetter

Boatbound launched in 2013, before Boatsetter. They raised over $5 million from Startups, equity crowdfunding, and a boat manufacturer.

The startup didn’t require people to rent a boat with a captain. Boatbound contributed the rental request routing, and Boatsetter focused on insurance. The whole aquisition is chronicled in “‘Airbnb for boats’ startup Boatsetter buys competitor Boatbound.”

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Caution Using the Services

Strangely enough, I learned about the apps when I was reading an article about a law-breaker in Work Boat News. I love industry publications because they cover specifics that might not make state or national news, but are of interest to someone in the field.

The article I read was about a man in Michigan who was charging $2,400 for five hour charters on his personal boat. That part was ok. Crazy expensive, but… whatever the market will bear, right?

The problem was he did not have a captain’s license, and he was taking more passengers than an “6-pack” OUPV – Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel – ticket allows. The name of the boat kept changing over time, but the Coast Guard caught up to him anyway.

He was caught when he rented his vessel for a five-hour charter to eight bachelorettes. The limit, if he was legal, would have been six. He instructed the charterer to lie and say they were friends in order to carry two extra passengers.

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

The Laws – Passengers

It’s nearly impossible to learn all the rules for all scenarios, but here are the basics. Anyone taking passengers for hire must have a captain’s license. This applies to fishing, sailing, sightseeing tour, dive boats; any boat for which you pay to ride.

If an operator of an uninspected vessel offers to let you take seven or more paying passengers, they are breaking the law. If they tell you the seventh person will count as crew, they are breaking the law. Even if they don’t charge you for people over six, that’s not following the letter or intent of the law.

The basic OUPV license is called a “six pack” because it allow the operator to take up to six passengers on an uninspected vessel. This license can cover up to a 100 gross ton vessel, but still, only six passengers for hire.

This means six passengers, one Captain, and possibly one Mate. So, power or sailing vessels of up to 100 tons may carry up to eight people.

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

The Laws – Vessels

Uninspected vessels can carry up to six passengers. Inspected vessels will have a certificate indicating how many passengers they are authorized to carry.

A larger vessel which carries more than six passengers must be inspected, and the master must hold the appropriate license. The inspection will be posted where you can read it.

While the master may hold a larger license, allowing him or her to operate a larger vessel that is capable of carrying more passengers, it does not allow them to stuff a boat with more passengers than the vessel is intended.

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

Tricky Situations

In the past, captains were not allowed to include a crew member. The “6-pack” allowance was for one captain, and up to six passengers.

A passenger is everyone excepts the owner, the representative of the owner, on on a vessel under charter, the charterer or individual representative of the charterer. In addition, a passenger can be the master, or a member of the crew engaged in the business of the vessel who has not contributed consideration for carriage and who is paid for on board services.

The “contributed consideration for carriage” is where things get tricky. While it is now legal and acceptable for a 6-pack operator to carry a crew member, in the past, it was not. Formerly, anyone bringing something – anything – was considered to be paying. In other words, bring the sandwiches, and you have now paid to be there. You are not crew, and your body would throw the numbers over the six allowable passengers limit.

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

How I Found the Apps

With all the boating I do, you might wonder how I only recently stumbled across these apps. I have no idea how I didn’t know about them until now.

A friend emailed me about renting a boat, and I simply searched online for her. A couple days later, I read about the law breaker. Later I was brainstorming ideas for the sailing school where I teach, and I remembered reading about one app in that article. I decided to conduct more research on the apps so I could use and recommend the ones that looked best.

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

More Links:

Sailo – for boat rentals all over the world – they have over 30,000 boats!

Boat owner arrested for illegal charter operations in Chicago

Alternative products to Boatbound: 15 alternative and related products to Boatbound

Boatsetter vs GetMyBoat: Boat Yacht Rental Store Comparison August 9, 2019

, Finding a Boat to Rent // There’s an App for That Too // Boat Rental Apps

What To Read Next:

Etiquette for Boarding a Vessel // How to be the Perfect Boating Guest

What It’s Like to be a Charter Boat Captain

Sailing Captain’s Quickie Checklist

Updated August 20, 2019

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