Is Boat Sharing Worth It?

sail boat

If you want to own and use a boat regularly, but you don’t have enough money or won’t use it often on your own, you might consider boat sharing. Boat sharing is a kind of partnership, allowing multiple people to own and/or use the same vessel. But is this arrangement worth it?

Types of Boat Sharing

There are a few different ways you could use “boat sharing,” including:

  • Co-ownership. In a co-ownership agreement, you’ll essentially be buying a boat with another person. If you’re buying a boat with a spouse, this isn’t anything abnormal. However, you may choose to buy a boat with a friend, a neighbour, or even several of your close friends. Depending on the nature of the agreement, you may be collectively responsible for everything related to the boat, including its initial purchase, its maintenance, and its insurance needs. You’ll also be able to share in its use.
  • Peer-to-peer boat sharing. If you own the boat, you may be able to share it with other people in a peer-to-peer boat sharing network – much in the same way that people rent rooms of their homes on Airbnb.
  • Boat timeshares. You can also purchase a share of a boat through a timeshare or similar arrangement. For example, you might buy a fractional share of ownership in a boat or purchase a boat for a finite amount of hours in a certain period of time. These can be advantageous, but there are also a lot of boat share schemes, so be careful.

Advantages of Boat Sharing

There are several advantages to using a boat sharing agreement, including:

  • Lower financial responsibility. For starters, you’ll bear less financial responsibility on your own. Depending on the specific nature of the arrangement, you may only pay a fraction of the costs of the boat, or you may collect rent and fees from other renters to offset your costs.
  • Lower personal liability. You may also have lower personal liability in some areas. For example, if you’re part of a timeshare-like arrangement, you may not be responsible for keeping the boat maintained or repaired.
  • Shared burden of additional expenses and work. If the boat is damaged or if it needs a massive repair, you’ll be able to share the burden of taking care of it. Rather than being forced to pay thousands to handle the issue, you can work with your co-owners to split the costs (and or split the time to make the repair).
  • Personal accessibility. On top of these benefits, you’ll have flexible personal accessibility. Depending on the nature of the arrangement, you may be able to use the boat any time you want. And if you’re only going to use the boat on a periodic basis, you can let the other people in your agreement enjoy the boat most of the time.

Disadvantages of Boat Sharing

However, there are also some downsides to consider:

  • Exposure to additional risks. First, you may be exposed to additional risks by entering a partnership like this. If you loan your boat to other people, they may take poor care of it, or cause damage to it. If they’re injured while using the boat, they may try to sue you for damages.
  • Scheduling issues. If you’re trying to use a boat with three or four other people, eventually, you’ll run into scheduling issues. Two or more people will want to use the boat on the same day, and someone will have to back down.
  • Personal conflicts. In line with this, boat sharing arrangements can also lead to personal conflicts. Even close friends can grow resentful over a difference in opinion regarding this type of agreement.
  • Deal flexibility. Depending on the initial conditions, your boat sharing arrangement may or may not be flexible. You could end up locked into a deal you eventually grow to hate.

Keys to Success

If you want to be successful in a boat sharing agreement, there are a few important tips you’ll need to follow, including:

  • Choose the right form of boat sharing. Co-ownership is ideal if you have someone you trust who wants to buy a boat with you. If you can afford to buy a boat of your own, you may prefer to purchase one outright and share it on a peer network. Take your time and choose the right boat sharing arrangement for your needs.
  • Do your research. Double check to make sure you’re not being scammed or misled. Timeshares aren’t necessarily bad or unreliable, but there are organizations hoping to take advantage of others through arrangements like these. Do your research before you make any kind of significant financial move.
  • Factor in all costs. While you’re planning your boat sharing arrangement, make sure you factor in all the costs of boat ownership. For example, how are you going to pay for things like insurance, maintenance, fuel, and unexpected repairs? If you’re going to co-own the boat with someone else, make sure you have your plans to split these costs in writing.
  • Create ironclad agreements and review them carefully. Speaking of getting things in writing, make sure all your documentation is ironclad – and review it with a lawyer if necessary. Your agreements should be specific and thorough; this way, you won’t be caught in an ambiguous situation. If you’re the one reviewing documentation, read it thoroughly to make sure you’re not missing anything.
  • Be proactive with dispute resolution. Personal disputes will almost always arise in a boat sharing agreement. When they start to bud, try to take care of them proactively and quickly. Make your expectations clear and be willing to compromise where possible to find a solution. If your disputes become frequent or unresolvable, look to break the boat sharing agreement as soon as possible.

Boat sharing can be useful in some situations, but you may be able to afford a boat all on your own. At TheYachtMarket, we offer a wide range of different vessels, new and used, so you can find something that fits perfectly into your budget. Browse our selection of boats today!

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