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What to Know About Boat Sharing

What to Know About Boat Sharing

There’s 15.8 million recreational boats operating in the United States as of 2016. However, not all of those boats are owned by one person. There are some hassles to boat ownership that one might not want to deal with, which is where boat sharing comes in. Boat sharing comes in many different forms, each a unique way to possibly save a little money. However, not owning a boat can also have some cons. This is the pros and cons of boat sharing.

Peer-to-Peer Boat Sharing

It’s essentially like the AirBnB for boats. One party shares and owns the craft, for a price. Renters are offered a wide array of options, from small rowboats to fancy yachts. The company’s fees cover insurance, towing, listing, promotion and support services. But those short term fees will start to add up in the long run, especially if you continue to rent out boats from owners.

If you’re a frequent renter, it might be time to just purchase your own boat. Be prepared to pay for extra things like late returns, dirty boats, no-show, damage, refueling and rental reservation. These are other reasons you might want to not consider boat sharing.


This route requires boaters to buy a block of time from a company-owned fleet of boats. Timeshare agreements last anywhere from one to five years. Don’t impulsively join or sign any contract for a timeshare without knowing for sure what you’re getting yourself into. If you feel pressure from a salesperson, then start to walk away.

Boat Clubs

Another option for keeping costs low, club prices and setup fees may vary. With a boat club, the consumer has neither equity in a specific boat nor a fixed schedule for boat usage. Nonprofit small-craft clubs often offer training for members, but there will be fees. Signing up, training, monthly maintenance and refundable security deposits are just some of the things that you’ll have to pay for with a boat club.


For consumers, the price of chartering ranges greatly, depending on the boat size, type and amenities. But since prices vary, there’s no telling how much chartering can cost a consumer.

Fractional Boat Ownership

Shared ownership with friends or family is always an option. With fractional ownership you legally own the asset, and can transfer or sell it. However, having fractional costs also cuts down on your time investment.


With non-owned boats, the topic of insuring your boat can be a tricky one. If you are using the boat (even if you don’t own it), you should always have Boat Insurance in place to keep you and the boat protected. Many boat insurance policies only cover the owner, so if you are renting a boat or borrowing one you should not rely on the owner’s insurance to keep you covered.

At Mariners, we specialize in insurance for California boats. If you have any questions about your coverage or whether you need insurance, contact our agents today. We’d be happy to help.


About Mariners Insurance

Mariners General Insurance Group was founded in 1959 to protect boat owners and marine business clients. We are marine insurance experts and insure boats worldwide – in every ocean on the planet. Marine insurance is critical if you own a boat or nautical business. Trust the professionals with all of your Boat Insurance needs – trust Mariners Insurance. Call us at (800) 992-4443 any time you have questions or concerns about insurance for your vessel or marine business.