Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Leaderboard

BoatUS checklist: How to rent your boat

by Scott Croft 21 May 2019 18:52 PDT
Renting your boat may help offset ownership costs, but you need to do a little homework first, according to BoatUS. © Scott Croft

Airbnb has shown that the sharing economy can work. A new report says, in 2018, the peer-to-peer rental company's annual sales surpassed Hilton, based on data from U.S. travelers (excluding business spending). For boat owners looking to make extra money renting their boats on peer-to-peer boat rental networks like Boatsetter, what can they learn from Airbnb's success?

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers five tips for the most important things boat owners should consider before renting out their boats.

1. Know your liabilities: If you wish to rent your boat, your first concern should be insurance. Most everyday recreational marine insurance policies don't cover boat rentals, so you need to see if the peer-to-peer rental company offers coverage for both the boat (hull) and liability, as well as other coverages like medical payments for potential claims such as a trip to the emergency room. Most peer-to-peer boat rental companies, however, simply advise owners that they need to determine if coverage is provided under the owner's boat policy. The largest peer-to-peer network, Boatsetter, offers both boat (hull) coverage and liability coverage through the BoatUS Marine Insurance program's peer-to-peer policy, regardless of the boat's own insurance policy.

2. Know your coverage: Once you have insurance coverage, you need to understand it. It may be different, both in type, coverages and policy limits, from your boat's own policy. The BoatUS peer-to-peer policy for Boatsetter is underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance and provides hull coverage on an actual-cash-value basis and includes $300,000 per person liability coverage and $300,000 total liability per accident, $25,000 in medical payments, and $100,000 in uninsured boater coverage. Renters using peer-to-peer networks are typically responsible for any deductibles related to insurance. In the case of Boatsetter, the company takes a $1,000 deposit at every rental for this purpose.

3. Unexpected breakdowns: Recognize that unexpected breakdowns can happen and there may be a need to tow your boat to the dock or launch ramp. If a boat owner has an on-water assistance towing plan provided by a national towing-assistance company, chances are that the service is not extended to a renter, so the owner will likely need to make arrangements and pay separately for this service, which averages about $750 per incident nationwide. BoatUS provides all Boatsetter rentals with 24-hour on-water assistance by TowBoatUS, dispatched through the BoatUS App or by calling 24-hour nationwide dispatch. This service is included with the rental fee.

4. Will you be the captain? While most peer-to-peer boat rentals are "bareboat," you may want to helm your boat for the rental period or provide a hired captain. Just remember that any captain on a hired vessel must be U.S. Coast Guard-licensed. Having a captain also means the number of guests aboard is limited to six, which complies with regulations for an Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels ("6-Pack") license. To carry more than six passengers, additional regulations and inspections will apply.

5. Do a little checking up: Most peer-to-peer companies require renters to fill out a boating experience questionnaire and will confirm a valid driver's license. Like Airbnb, peer-to-peer boat rental companies also provide a rating system that's useful when past renters want to rent your boat. That's harder to do with new renters. That's when it's up to the owner to work on building their comfort level. Set up a phone call way ahead of time or meet the renters, or take them out for a short ride to get a feel for their experience, abilities and any boating safety training. This would also be a good time to familiarize the renter with systems and equipment on the boat. Most peer-to-peer boat rentals give the owner (and renter) the option to cancel for any reason, but it usually must be done by a certain date prior to the beginning of the rental period.

Related Articles

BoatUS/NWSA Leadership in Women's Sailing Award
Margaret Pommert has been called 'a force of nature' for her enthusiasm and effectiveness Margaret Pommert of Seattle, Washington, has been named recipient of the 2020 BoatUS/National Women's Sailing Association (NWSA) Leadership in Women's Sailing Award. Posted on 21 May
TowBoatUS Old Hickory Lake opens to assist boaters
Fonte family expands local on-water assistance service Towing recreational boats is a family affair for the Fonte household of La Verge, Tennessee. Capt. Kirk Fonte began operating TowBoatUS Percy Priest Lake in 2014, offering towing, battery jump-starts and soft ungrounding services to recreational boaters Posted on 20 May
Capt. John takes helm of Lake Erie TowBoatUS ports
24-hour on-water assistance for recreational boaters A local small business with two locations is changing hands, TowBoatUS Lorain and TowBoatUS Vermillion. The 24-hour, on water towing ports on Lake Erie new owner is longtime manager and lead towing captain John Piskura. Posted on 19 May
A National Safe Boating Week like no other
Annual educational event carries additional message in 2020 National Safe Boating Week, which begins this Saturday, May 16, and runs through Friday, May 22, is the traditional early boating season reminder to help recreational boaters embrace safety all season long. Posted on 14 May
No one ever thinks about boat trailer insurance
BoatUS demystifies the coverage you need and explains which policy covers what damage Most insurance is straightforward, until it's not. When you have an accident or property damage, you file an insurance claim. But filing an insurance claim on a boat trailer isn't so straightforward. Posted on 12 May
TowBoatUS Islamorada take Tower of the Year honors
TowBoatUS Islamorada took honors, besting more than 100 TowBoatUS companies A local business that helps boaters with routine on water assistance was recognized for its professionalism at the 2020 BoatUS Towing Services Annual Conference held in Orlando, Florida. Posted on 8 May
BoatUS questions work stoppage on the Erie Canal
The New York State Canal System has long been recognized as essential transportation infrastructure The New York State Canal System has long been recognized as essential transportation infrastructure, important to irrigation and flood control, the upstate economy, and communities that line its 524-mile length. Posted on 22 Apr
Goodbye 'Small Craft Advisory'
And hello to 'Small Craft Warning'? BoatUS supports proposal to simplify critical warning messages; NWS invites boaters to weigh in. Posted on 16 Apr
Go to Capitol Hill to ask for dredging funds
Part of any new funding would be targeted for additional dredging needs Prior to last week's closure of the U.S. Capitol, and led by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, Boat Owners Association of The United States joined a broad coalition of groups including coastal shipping operators, dredging contractors Posted on 20 Mar
Boating Infrastructure Grant Funds
Five tips on how to get your share Recreational boaters like to go places, but to welcome them and take advantage of the spending they bring, you need safe dockage for the day or night. Posted on 18 Mar
Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom FOOTERUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERRS Sailing 2020 - Summer Offer - FOOTER