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Old 01-03-2018, 01:58   #1
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Current state of the boat rental market

Hey everyone,

Hope you are all doing well. I don't know if it's the right place to put this but I'm quite excited to share this with you.

More or less everyone knows airbnb. Over the past years, many companies have tried to apply the airbnb concept to the boating industry and just a few managed to have done it correctly. Money-speaking, this market is currently evaluated to $50 billion. That's something, right ?

Anyway, back to the good new I wanted to share. We discovered that Samboat is now 1rst in the world for peer-to-peer boat rentals. When Boatsetter took over BoatBound, their figures were released and showed that they had collected a catalogue of 5,000 available boats since their inception, and registered $25 million in rental requests. We (Samboat) offer more than 20,000 boats and handled 34 million euros in booking requests for the same period. Wow !

So here it is, we are leading the peer-to-peer boat rental market !

By lurking (a lot) and participating (when my boss isn't near me) to this forum, I noticed some big difference of opinion between those for and against renting their boats. However, the "airbnb for boats" concept is developing fast and that's a fact and might affect many of us - boat owners & boat-lovers.

Would love to have your point of view !

Cheers
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:40   #2
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

Thanks for being transparent rather than trying stealth marketing.

Do you help hosts figure out the security, insurance and liability aspects?

How do you verify level of sailing experience?

First thing I'd have to do is make my expensive gadgetry, LFP bank etc modular and easily removed.
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:01   #3
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

If I owned an off the shelf, unmodified, mass production boat that was replaceable with a check and did not contain a bunch of extra equipment for extended cruising this could have some merit. Otherwise this doesn’t stand a chance with me, nor most of the posters on this board.
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:02   #4
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Thanks for being transparent rather than trying stealth marketing.

Do you help hosts figure out the security, insurance and liability aspects?

How do you verify level of sailing experience?

First thing I'd have to do is make my expensive gadgetry, LFP bank etc modular and easily removed.
Hey John61,

Thanks for your kind reply and your feedback

Regarding your questions, for each country, we are developing a specific partnership with insurance companies to cover everything from security to liability aspects. For example, in France, we work with "MAIF insurance" which is one of the main insurance companies in this country. Despite general guidelines, each country has it own regulations that is why we have to treat them independently.

Concerning the sailing experience, we ask both boat owners and renters for previous sailing experience licences and certifications. Moreover, they have to submit a nautical CV in order to asses their skills and qualifications. We have a dedicated team in charge of manually checking everything for security. Finally, we developed our own certification called "Samboat Trusted Sailor" for trusted members and a network of local ambassadors handling rental management in their respective cities.

Our goal is to position ourselves as a trusted partner. Hope it answers your questions
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:15   #5
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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If I owned an off the shelf, unmodified, mass production boat that was replaceable with a check and did not contain a bunch of extra equipment for extended cruising this could have some merit. Otherwise this doesn’t stand a chance with me, nor most of the posters on this board.

Hello Sailmonkey,

I completely understand your concerns and we developed this platform with sailors like you in mind. Indeed, we are first and foremost boat enthusiasts and owners (for some of us). Creating a generic website isn't our goal and we try to promote unique boats and skippers. For the story, this is how Samboat started. Laurent (my boss) wanted to rent his catamaran but didn't find any reliable platform to do it.

In your case, if you wouldn't feel completely safe, you could offer to rent your boat and stay as a Skipper. This would give you complete control. Actually, most of boat owners registered on Samboat choose to stay onboard and share their knowledge about the area of navigation.
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:59   #6
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

Then you're subject to all the issues of running a chartering business, the main value would be getting a steadier supply of customers.
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:24   #7
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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Then you're subject to all the issues of running a chartering business, the main value would be getting a steadier supply of customers.


As well as the boat owner now also needing to carry a license (captains ticket) if they chose to skipper their own boat for gain.
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:23   #8
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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Then you're subject to all the issues of running a chartering business, the main value would be getting a steadier supply of customers.
Well, it depend on what you think of as issues related to chartering business.

I mean, whether it's with Samboat or other of our competitors, generally speaking, peer-to-peer boat rental is cheaper than traditional boat renting.

Regarding the boat owners side, indeed, it provides a steadier supply of customers but also keep the freedom of owning a boat and choosing dates/customers. We do not own any of the boats listed, boat owners do Want to stop renting your boat for a week ? Cool, unlisting take a second. Want to raise or lower prices ? Do as you wish. All we want to provide is visibility and trust !
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:30   #9
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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As well as the boat owner now also needing to carry a license (captains ticket) if they chose to skipper their own boat for gain.
Yep indeed, boat owners need to carry a licence if they want to skipper their own boat for gain.

We've been really careful with this - that's why we are doing manual checking with owners ! Last month, a skipper was flagged and fined by not having its licence (not with Samboat, fortunately for us but with less-cautious competitor).
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:28   #10
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

Pretty surprised you only have 7 sailing boats in the USA - 5 in Annapolis and 4 in Ft. Lauderdale unless i didn't fully utilize the search features on the site.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:39   #11
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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Pretty surprised you only have 7 sailing boats in the USA - 5 in Annapolis and 4 in Ft. Lauderdale unless i didn't fully utilize the search features on the site.
Actually you are right, we don't have many boats listed right now in the US.

We are a french company and for the first years we were focusing exclusively on the main tourists destinations in Europe. Which we did with quite a success ! However, expanding in the US is part of our vision for the year 2018

Suprisingly, we do have a large portion of our customers that are americans visiting Europe or islands where we have boats listed (such as the Seychelles).

Speaking of which, which destinations in the US do you recommend us to focus on first ?
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:57   #12
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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As well as the boat owner now also needing to carry a license (captains ticket) if they chose to skipper their own boat for gain.
Now? That has always been the case.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:58   #13
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

Re: Licensing

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that requirements for licensing to captain a boat with paying guests are different (and sometimes non-existent) depending upon jurisdiction. USA or France may be a lot different than smaller island-nations in the Caribbean....where there may be no requirement at all.

I throw this out as a sailor with > 50 years experience, including a fair amount of teaching in my younger years - but never licensed or certified other than when working part-time at a sailing school during as a graduate student (ASA instructor) back in the 80's.

But after thousands of miles and many boats, I'm quite sure I'd be more than competent, and probably legal, to take Airbnb guests for a week or two cruising the BVI, Grenadines or wherever.....though I recognize not so (legal) in the US. Adding licences / certifications may be easy and even enjoyable enough, but I'm curious as to how this might be viewed by SamBoat, if in a jurisdiction without such requirements.

I'm also curious about how much the 800 lb. gorillas, Airbnb & HomeAway/VRBO may be paying attention to the yachting market. I have met boat owners doing quite well offering accommodations at the dock, with an option to go cruising with them as captain.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:42   #14
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

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Re: Licensing

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that requirements for licensing to captain a boat with paying guests are different (and sometimes non-existent) depending upon jurisdiction. USA or France may be a lot different than smaller island-nations in the Caribbean....where there may be no requirement at all.

I throw this out as a sailor with > 50 years experience, including a fair amount of teaching in my younger years - but never licensed or certified other than when working part-time at a sailing school during as a graduate student (ASA instructor) back in the 80's.

But after thousands of miles and many boats, I'm quite sure I'd be more than competent, and probably legal, to take Airbnb guests for a week or two cruising the BVI, Grenadines or wherever.....though I recognize not so (legal) in the US. Adding licences / certifications may be easy and even enjoyable enough, but I'm curious as to how this might be viewed by SamBoat, if in a jurisdiction without such requirements.

I'm also curious about how much the 800 lb. gorillas, Airbnb & HomeAway/VRBO may be paying attention to the yachting market. I have met boat owners doing quite well offering accommodations at the dock, with an option to go cruising with them as captain.
Actually you are right. It totally depends on the juridiction ! What is applicable in the US won't be applicable in Spain or Croatia. For example in Croatia, peer-to-peer boat rental is strictly forbidden. Only charter companies can operate in this country. Same with Spain where you should have a special matriculation for your boats.

Regarding Samboat, we adapt our process depending on the country where the boats are anchored. Based in the US ? Yep, you should provide all required documents. Based in Croatia ? if you are no professional, we won't be able to list you on Samboat. And it goes the same for each country/regulations. However it doesn't mean we are not checking manually for sailing experience or "nautical CV" for everyone even if a specific country doesn't ask for licence.

I mean, when renting an airbnb goes wrong, the place is trashed and that's it. When renting a boat, if something goes wrong, we all know we might loose our lives. So for safety, we are checking boat owners and renters no matter which regulation is applicable.

But as far as I know, regulations tends to tighten more and more this subject of licensing or not. Only in France, 3 news official licences will soon to be released by the government in the coming month. A part of our job is to educate people with such kind of things.


And well...regarding godzilla AKA Airbnb, HomeAway, .. let just home they won't be paying attention to the yachting market, finger crossed ! Jokes aside, if it happening, we hope our customers will stick with us because of our expertise and brand recognition. Where you are, Samboat is still not developed (yet ), but in the western europe, Samboat's brand is well-known, recognized easily and most of the people say good things about it (I said most of them, there is always some unhappy persons)

For the record, we used to register boat owners offering accommodations at the dock but not anymore. We rather stay focused on "proper" sailing and cruising only !
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Old 01-03-2018, 14:11   #15
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Re: Current state of the boat rental market

I do have some major thoughts as to how this program will actualy work procedure and seamanship wise. Both for the charter person, and the boat owners.

Been a boat owner, and a partner, and worked for sailing clubs, and been members of sailing clubs, and bare boat chartered through out the planet, with several of the large and not so large bare boat charter outfits.

We found many problems with those vessels, depending on age, and lack of preventitive maintenance, and inspections, and who sailed the boats before us.

Bareboat charters, and partnerships have proven excellent to unacceptable.

Samboat apparently is not going to be on site, will not be personally inspecting anything on a constant basis, and will not be giving the proposed renters ( bareboater) any check outs, on board, and written or oral exams.

If I owned a boat, I would not be renting it out without a thorough check out of the renter, including on the water, and a thorough boat system check out.

As to those who would be bare boating, many that I have seen , even though they have been through getting some sort of an accredation, that really does not prove their actual experience and seamanship ability. As to samsboat, all you go by is a resume, and a civilian sailing association, or yacht club certificate. Not enough for me as a boat owner.

I can generally tell the seamanship ability of a person if I see how they actually handle all aspects of bare boating my vessel. 90 % of them cannot even secure a dock line or dink with cleat hitch....we called it a proper cleat . Most now, cannot read a nautical chart and are un familiar with coastal navigation.

There is a lot to renting out boats, the business is extremely demanding. Actually in many ways, including financially, and human effort wise. Boasts are hard to keep up and expensive.

We find, that owners will not fix problems, they just shine it. Or do not know there is a problem. Also, the vessel needs to cleaned and inspected by these owners, since samboat is not going to be doing it, after every charter, and in between charters.

That includes, running rigging, standing rigging, sails, hull, topsides, compass and other nav systems, all boat systems, electrical , stove, head, engine, trans, etc., etc. and vessel cleaned and ready to go.

The experience that I have gleaned over close to 36 years, professionally and for personal fun, has allowed me to see the best and the worst in sailing clubs, and bareboat chartering. And that includes world wide conglomerates that have huge staffs that are supposed to check out the renters, and take care of the boats.

Sometimes everything is outstanding, other times, the boats are not up to any proper standard. I would be happy to post a list of some of these actual experiences. One a recent as last week.

As to samboat saying that you required proper licensing, well the only really recognized maritime license in the U.S.A. is thru the U.S.C.G . Usually those sailors or motor vessel skippers are sailing for hire. That takes verifiable sea time, of 360 days at sea, or 720 days of documented time and taking a day to a day and half written exam at the U.S.C.G testing facility.

Other certifications , are like ASA, and that means that the renters have completed a structured sailing course, but that is not good enough. Why ? Because some people take training very seriously, others , it is one ear and out the other. Also, there are a lot of sailing clubs out there, some are excellent, and some are not. Some boaters here in the U.S have had zero training and have learned by experience.

Then, you get the boat owners, who rent their boats out , and state that their vessels are in great condition, when they are not. That is a problem that Erica and I are facing these days. Also, we when an owner would tout his boat over the phone, to the sailing club management to put it in charter. We had them bring the vessel to our docks for us to inspect. Sometimes there was no way that they would be suitable for bare boat or skippered charters. Other times, the boats were as promulgated, and we would put them into charter.. We had a full time dock staff, maitenance crew, manager, office staff, owner, and instructors. On site.

With 20,000 boats in the samboat program, you cannot possibly be aware of the up to date condition or seaworthiness, of those boats you represent. You do not see them. You have no idea about what may have occurred on the last charter.

And neither does the new charter bare boat person that is going to take the vessel out for two weeks of sailing the particular cruising grounds. They and their guests may have traveled several thousand miles and across a few oceans to sail in paradise and that boat has a problem or many problems. Their dream is dust.

Samboat has a great idea, but there is a whole lot more to renting out sailing, or power vessels and chartering with skipper, than shuffling paper work. I would be very happy, if the idea is successful.

Boats are constant problems, as is finding really qualified people to rent them, regardless of their going thru accredited sailing associations. And, add in the skippers for charters.

With over 25 years with working for sailing clubs, and training people, thru a very demanding and excellent sailing school, some members are absolutely excellent, They listen to all of the different instructors, and become dedicated seaman, and sea ladies, but you have others, that do not take sailing seriously, and do not understand that ocean does not love them. They just do not have the motivation.

The latter, if I was an owner, would not rent out my boat . Not a chance.

The problem is how do you know their actual ability and knowledge . And how does a prospective renter tell the seaworthiness of the vessel that the owner advertises as in bristol condition.

You don't , and that is from either side of that coin.

It really does come down to the individual. The charter person, and also the boat owner.

In the USA, you do not need any kind of a license or even training to buy and sail or motor a vessel. Except for registration, state, or federal.

The above has been learned having been deeply involved in sailing and power boating professional and for our own pleasure.

The OP wanted points of view. The above are our concerns for both the renter and the boat owners. The real world .
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