Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Own a Piece of a Boat

Today, in our continuing series of alternative boat ownership options, we are looking at fractional boat ownership, in which a bunch of people get together to buy a boat and each owns an equal share of it. This differs from the fractional membership programs we looked at last week in which only one person owns the boat and other people are members - with no ownership rights.

Since he lives and breathes this stuff, we asked Rick Matthews, CEO of Fractional Assets, Inc., to explain fractional ownership to us. Rick gave us the following inside scoop:
Our business model is not to be confused with any of the various clubs, as fractional ownership is not renting or leasing, but as the name implies, it is a specific share of a specific boat. Instead of owning a boat alone and dealing with all the associated hassles, fractional ownership is basically a managed partnership, usually handled by a professional management company on behalf of the partners.
Rick told us that he believes fractional ownership is an emerging common-sense approach to owning and enjoying a boat. He stated, "Previously a factor only in the yachting industry, there is a mass-market fractional ownership model now sweeping through the Southeast.”

Indeed, fractional ownership programs are easier to find for yachts and megayachts than they are for boats under 40 feet long. Companies such as Fort Lauderdale-based Monocle and London-based YachtPlus, as well as manufacturers such as Beneteau and Sunseeker offer fractional ownership programs.

fractional boat ownership
Perhaps possessing the same foresight as Rick Matthews, blogger Alan Sorum wrote about fractional boat ownership a few years ago and predicted the model could spread to smaller boats. Alan stated, “As the fractional boat ownership market matures, potential timeshare owners should see more options become available. Purchasing a share of boat may be a great way for the neophyte boater to get started in the vocation and relieve the burdens of boat ownership faced by more experienced hands.”

Maybe Alan and Rick are onto something and we’ll soon see fractional ownership opportunities on boats that don’t require a crew bigger than your family to operate them. We're looking forward to any model of boat ownership that helps more people get into boating. Please share your ideas and thoughts on this business model below.

On the web: Fractional Assets, Inc. | Renting a Boat | Fractional Membership

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