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Old 24-11-2016, 16:33   #1
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Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Hello guys,

1st things 1st - The community around this forum is top-notch! I'm new here, but I hope to hear your thoughts and critics about the idea I've been toying around for a few months now.

I'm a web developer and would like to create a service for cruisers and boat owners that I call "Yacht Pooling".

This service will connect people who enjoy traveling on boats with captains who have empty space to accommodate them. It's like Blablacar for boats.

Let's say you'll sail from island A to island B in 3 days.

1. You post your trip details on the platform, how many people you can take and the price for the trip.

2. People will start sending you requests about that trip.

3. You choose the best candidate based on reviews from previous trips.

4. Win-win! You earned a little bit of cash to cut your sailing cost and folks had a great experience while sailing with you.

It seems like a fun and cool idea, but before committing to development I would like to hear your opinion.

I know that there is a lot of smart folks on this forum, so any thoughts about whether you like this idea or hate it would be really valuable to me.
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Old 24-11-2016, 17:34   #2
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

so, "uber" for cruisers....
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Old 24-11-2016, 17:46   #3
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Well, not exactly Uber. There's a ride sharing system where I live called Ami-go that does something of this nature: say I'm going from Ottawa to Montréal and have room in the car, I post it and people who are looking for a ride sign up and pay a share of the cost. It works very well, partly because all users (drivers and riders) have to pay a small registration fee, which helps keep out the flakes, and because there is a review system that lets both drivers and riders see the history of the people they're dealing with.

It might be more complicated for cruising - we're no longer talking a two-hour drive here - but instead of going all black-hat right off the bat, I'll say that it's an interesting idea and I'd like to better understand how it might work.
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Old 24-11-2016, 17:55   #4
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

In my country, OZ, if someone trips over a sheet and twists an ankle (even) the insurance will drop you like bag of spuds. Or the client, and they ARE paying passengers, ("no person is competent to waive any rights conferred upon them buy the Act.), will sue the pants of you.
I think the idea is "no brainer" risky.
There are people who actually aquire an injury, lawyers......helloooo, America, with a view to making a slightly painful but quick dollar.
Or am I being skeptical?
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Old 24-11-2016, 18:14   #5
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Beatnik, most places require a license to carry any passengers for any fee at all, and more stringent licensing for the captain and the vessel if there are more than 6 passengers for hire. There are also different insurance requirements. You proposed an interesting idea and I wish you well with it. Just be aware there are complications for a boat owner/captain that may be beyond those for private automobiles.
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Old 24-11-2016, 18:26   #6
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Love the idea, would do it, but our over regulated times which protect people from themselves will most likely kill it.
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Old 24-11-2016, 18:29   #7
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

You may be making it sound simpler than it is.

You cannot stop a boat in the middle of (WHAT?) and get a nasty passenger to get out. Nor can a passenger ask you to stop because they do not like you.

Furthermore, some regulations in some countries make a clear distinction between crews and passengers and require special licenses and gear onboard any boat carrying passengers. You stop being a pleasure craft in more than one meaning.

One more thing - who and how pays the tax on the passenger fare? You are about to start a service. What is your liability towards the skippers and the passengers?

OK.

So, I think in the times of ubertaxi there is place for everything, also on the boats. But I also think you have a bigger project on your hands than you think.

Good luck!

b.
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Old 24-11-2016, 18:42   #8
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Funny enough it works nicely for cars. www.blablacar.com
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Old 24-11-2016, 18:51   #9
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

When I has in St Maarten I met a couple of German girls who want to see some of the other Islands and they *hitched* a ride for a week or so. Of course I was very concerned about their safety as they had no experience on sailboat. Their company was fun... they had a good time. All's well that ends well. It's not something I would do for random strangers. My boat is my home... not a taxi.

Your idea will never get off the dock if the authorities get wind of it.
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Old 24-11-2016, 19:02   #10
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Well, there's a delicate balance, and you can hire an army of lawyers to help you figure it out.

If it can be structured as simple cost sharing, then it should be possible to avoid the regulations around carrying passengers, tax implications and so on. If not, ...

Uber, AirBnB and similar are not - in my opinion - sharing applications. They are systems through which a large number of independent contracters offer their services in a central market which helps manage the contracts and prices. A very different thing.

For the benefit of the OP, understand that Uber et al have followed on what the creators of other markets figured out a long time ago (I think the Dutch in Amsterdam were the first in the modern era) - that managing the market and taking a small cut of all transactions is the most profitable place to play. Managing a true "sharing" app could be helpful and possibly profitable, but not in the same league.
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Old 24-11-2016, 19:33   #11
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

IMO unlike uber and airbnb which do tens of millions of transactions/active users per year worldwide a similar boat based service, even farfetchingly assuming an OK from the numerous gov't authorities, would probably only have no more than tens of thousands active users, hundreds of thousands tops. And given the need for an army of lawyers, lobbyists, ad campaigns, etc. the initial investment vs. the potential profit really don't seem to be on the same page. I.e. the upside is small while the downside is great from the get go.

It may have a better appeal among potential fishing charterers, etc. I'd look into that segment of the boating market. Putting licensed skippers and fishing enthusiasts together seems much more straightforward and easy to achieve goal - one stop large clearing house for fishing charters.
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Old 24-11-2016, 20:04   #12
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

CF gets a lot of these "bright" ideas. Usually not much happens, because the guys who are legally running charters don't like the competition, because this happens over water and not land, so there is little ease of extraction; because the insurance situation is murky; and because if you take money for travel without the appropriate licensing, you yourself are then apt to be arrested.

Also, Passengers are not crew. Crew have some protection under maritime law. And, thence, back to the insurance. Plus, in some countries, a boat to be chartered, must meet certain legal criteria as well. It just isn't on.

In fact, imho, taking on unknnown crew, or being crew for an unknown skipper are both quite potentially dangerous, life and limb dangerous. It just isn't that simple.

Ann
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Old 24-11-2016, 20:18   #13
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
CF gets a lot of these "bright" ideas. Usually not much happens, because the guys who are legally running charters don't like the competition, because this happens over water and not land, so there is little ease of extraction; because the insurance situation is murky; and because if you take money for travel without the appropriate licensing, you yourself are then apt to be arrested.

Also, Passengers are not crew. Crew have some protection under maritime law. And, thence, back to the insurance. Plus, in some countries, a boat to be chartered, must meet certain legal criteria as well. It just isn't on.

In fact, imho, taking on unknnown crew, or being crew for an unknown skipper are both quite potentially dangerous, life and limb dangerous. It just isn't that simple.

Ann
Simple as that.
Risky Mate, you could loose your boat or much, much worse.
I seem to trust everyone but there are plenty of nutters, addicts and p..s heads around, potentially threatening you, your other guests and your vessel.
IMHO, find another, but legitimate of making a buck.
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Old 24-11-2016, 20:22   #14
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

An addendum. Beatnik, even as a booking agent, you are usually jointly and severally responsible in litigation.
Loss of all assets is apossibility.
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Old 24-11-2016, 20:34   #15
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Re: Would you do this to cut sailing cost?

Coastalyfe On-demand Boat Ride Sharing
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