Boat Sharing Expands Options for Groups

boat-share, incentive travel
Boatsetter lists more than 3,000 boats and 200 marina partners.

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.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.