Looking for a yacht, with a skilled captain, for an evening dinner cruise in Bermuda? An afternoon charter leaving from the marina next to your hotel in Monterey? The latest trend in the sharing economy—spurred on by Uber and Airbnb—which use technology to connect people to cars, homes and services, has now taken root in the boating community. For planners this means the opportunity to choose directly from thousands of options that were never otherwise available. Captain included.
Boatsetter has an expansive listing of captained boats available for full- or half-day charters. It also provides insurance and 24-hour emergency assistance. Its network of more than 1,200 U.S. Coast Guard–certified captains are pre-screened by the service. The Miami–based company recently merged with competitor Cruzin, and now offers a network of more than 3,000 boats and 200 marina partners.
Boatsetter has differentiated itself from other “peer-to-peer” boat-sharing companies, which are primarily targeted at matching up boat owners and renters. Boatbound, for example, features over 11,000 boats in 2,100 cities and offers the option to add a captain if needed.
New companies are cropping up monthly. Starting April 20, Catered Cruises on Lake Michigan will allow users to book 90-minute cruises at various harbors during the summer months. The captain-guided cruises are listed on the company’s web site. Pricing for a “Platinum Package” for 10 people on a 50-ft boat is $780. The web site list a range of catering options and optional packages are available, including fireworks. The new company works only with licensed captains and all boats must be insured and pass an inspection before joining.