Boat Sharing – a New Trend Among Boat Owners

By Adrian Walker 

Boat sharing is a new trend within the yachting industry. Boat owners who participate in this hope to travel to new destinations and have authentic experiences that otherwise would have been cost prohibitive. Therefore, it becomes affordable to travel and live like a local.

Boat sharing or swapping means that private boat owners can make their typically underutilised asset available for sharing with other boat owners. There are no rental costs involved because other reasons tend to be more important. The opportunity to make new friends who share a common passion, the incentive to travel more and the networking potential are big key reasons to enter into a boat sharing community.

The knowledge and the skills anyone learns on a sailing or motor yacht are transferrable. Especially sailing is an art that teaches respect. An experienced sailor knows how to read the wind, the sea state and the weather. Regularly those conditions call for the sailor make a choice and then adapt it frequently. Sailing teaches determination, respect for the elements and it conveys a feel for how we as humans must respect nature—because she will always be stronger than us. Sailing and motor boating teach skills that are transferable. With new situations and challenges around the corner all the time, it is essential to adapt fast. This kind of decision making based on changing surroundings can certainly be applied in manifold job roles as well as at home with the family.

Humans have always liked to share stories. They also love to share and teach skills they have acquired in a given field. This applies to the skills discussed in above paragraph out on the sea. Because those skills are transferable it gives a huge incentive to share and receive them in a field a person is passionate about, such as sailing.

Sailing and motor boats are typically an underutilised asset around the globe. They sit idle in ports and are not used to their capacity in their lifetime. Furthermore, many boat owners do not have the need or feel the incentive to rent out their vessel. Rather, they long for a different, for them a more meaningful way to put their boats to good use. Boat swapping helps to connect them with other boat owners to share not only their underutilised yacht but to share their stories, their local knowledge and their transferable skills. Boat sharing is very much a cooperative activity and owners of boats can welcome guests with them on board.

One of the challenging issues with sharing anything with other people is the trust aspect. Traditionally, it has been assumed that a lack of trust or not knowing a person may lead to a transaction not taking place.

The sharing economy in recent years has shown that humans might trust strangers more than anybody expected. The most prominent examples are Airbnb and Uber. Why do people get into a car with a complete stranger? Why do we let a person we do not know into our home? All these transactions have one thing in common. Both parties have the incentive for the transaction to go smoothly because they will want to repeat the transaction with others. Technology platforms enable their participants to accumulate their own trust currency through ratings and reviews.

The same incentives come into play with boat sharing. Even more so. Within a boat swapping community, it can be assumed that because everybody is a boat owner, everybody will treat the boats of others with the greatest care and respect. Not only will they be hosting guests on their own boat but they also have the knowledge and skills to look after a boat. This is implicit trust born out of respect for your own and the assets of others.

The benefits of swapping boats in a trusted community are massive, and the trust barrier is overcome because of the gains to be made. Deep meaningful relationships are forged, skills are exchanged, hosting guests is good networking and the boats are being used more to their capacity. With boats being shared, an existing asset class is being used in a sustainable manner.

Boataffair is a boat and experience sharing company based in Switzerland. Their unique Boat Swapping Community enables boat owners to exchange and to rent out their boats. The boat owner is in full control of the process and may decide if they want to swap their boats for a day or a full holiday. Thanks to this community, a boat unlocks real value for the owner. They can use it to experience new locations and new boats too. Without the rental costs.

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