ORLANDO, Fla. – Recreational boat owners are finding extra cash in a new peer-to-peer rental market.
Following the Airbnb sharing-economy model, San Francisco-based Boatbound is matching boat owners with qualified renters.
The company says it has over 10,000 boats listed for rent across the country.
One of those is a Nautique 200 Sport ski boat owned by Jeff Danser of Orlando.
Danser says he's been renting the boat through Boatbound for a year now, averaging one or two rentals a month. He says renters have the option of having Danser captain the boat for them or renting it "bareboat,"meaning they could captain it themselves.
"That was the hard part," Danser says. "Letting someone go out there with a really expensive boat is kind of nerve-wracking."
Danser says the fact that Boatbound provides $3 million in insurance coverage makes it easier to stomach. He also finds comfort in the fact that he gets to set the terms of the rentals, interviewing potential renters to get a sense of their boating experience.
"Every single one of them [renters] has been ecstatic," he says. "They can't believe that this exists and I'm the same way. I can't believe this exists either. This is a really cool idea."
"We're giving people access to boating that would never otherwise be able to," says Boatbound brand manager Phil Mills.
Mills says the insurance structure is what makes peer-to-peer boat sharing possible. "Before we existed, if you didn't have a commercial charter insurance policy, if you were just a regular guy with a boat, and you rented it out to someone it would void your insurance policy," he says. "If anything happened you wouldn't be covered."
He says the Boatbound insurance supersedes the owners personal policy with coverage up to 3-million dollars. Boatbound insurance also covers towing and refueling if someone runs aground or out of gas.