Sharing Economy: Is Boat Sharing Lucrative in the Miami Area?

It seems like you can rent out anything these days in the sharing economy. But, with all the extra work involved with renting your cruiser on a peer-to-peer platform, many boat owners want to know if it’s worth it. 

The idea of renting out your yacht sounds like a great idea to many. Most boat owners only take their boats out and enjoy them for an average of 14 to 17 days during the entire year. That’s a lot of time left sitting in the marina slip and costing you money. Making extra cash on those days that the yacht is otherwise underutilized could help offset the expense of ownership. Most owners don’t aim to turn a profit, but just to cover some of the ongoing maintenance, insurance, docking and storage costs.

best Boat Sharing App

But can owners really make money with boat sharing? We wanted to find out if this trendy rental option actually makes sense for owners in the Miami area. So, we investigated the feasibility of both day and weekly rentals, as well as listing boats online as overnight sleeping accommodations in local South Florida.

Day Cruises and Weekly Rentals 

One website which connects boat owners and charter firms to potential renters was founded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Boatsetter has grown into the biggest boat-sharing platform for daily and weekly rentals. Their fleet of 10,000 boats varies in length from 19 ft to 150 ft and they claim to have 200,000 registered users. Today, renters can book boats beyond Miami, in more than 600 locations around the world.

According to Jaclyn Baumgarten, the CEO of the company, Boatsetter’s revenue increased five-fold from 2017 to 2018. This is indicative of rising income for boat owners using the platform. The website takes a portion from the renter’s total, the owner’s charge and the skipper’s fee. Yet the actual earning power for boat owners depends largely on the location, condition and type of boat made available. 

Those on the inside say that boat sharing can be a profitable venture in the South Florida area. This is especially true for those renting out motorboats and day cruisers. One of Boatsetter’s highest earning boat owners has netted more than $150,000 in one year by renting out a small powerboat in Miami.  

Sleep Aboard

There is another option that we need to mention when it comes to the profitability of boat rentals around Miami. Some local residents have started using apps and websites, like Airbnb, to rent out their yachts as overnight accommodations. Even HomeAway has a selection of houseboats in Miami

Unlike hotels, these rentals always have the best ocean views, can sleep 2 to 10 people, depending on the boat size, and can be used to cruise during the day. Guests can sleep while the yacht is docked or moored. 

This is a huge advantage for owners in places like Miami Beach, where there are strict regulations for short-term rentals on land. There is year-round demand for vacation rentals, yet supply is short because not all home owners can make their place available. The going price for overnight accommodations onboard a boat in South Florida can range from $100 to $7,000. Not many vacationers are currently taking advantage of this type of alternative stay solution in Miami. Because it’s a popular choice in other markets, however, demand is expected to increase. 

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