Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sharing a Boat with Friends

New Programs Available to Help Manage Shared Boat Ownership

© iStockphoto.com / mbbirdy
Are you intrigued by the idea of sharing the costs of owning a boat with a few friends or family members without paying fees to a big time-share-like company, and without joining a club?

Before you do, you should be aware that sharing a boat with friends is not always smooth sailing. Disputes over scheduling, maintenance, and most of all – money – can ruin a friendship. Disasters can happen. Companies such as Sailtime and Windpath (both of which we have reviewed here previously) exist because there are these risks involved with shared boat ownership, even though the cost savings could be tremendous.

That being said, sharing a boat with friends is possible. Ian Treibick (President and CEO of WindPath) told us, “When set up correctly, a “buddy share” can strengthen the bond of friendship and offer all involved affordable worry free access to the boating lifestyle.” The operative words here are “when set up correctly”, and Ian has some tips to help with that. In fact, for all the people that want to try a so-called buddy share, start their own fractional ownership business, or get involved with any type of shared ownership in between those two models, Ian founded a separate company called Splice Boating. Ian told us that “Splice is going to be for the larger market that does not necessarily fit the WindPath model” and will involve several programs that will serve the entire shared boating community. The first of these programs, a Boat Share Boot Camp training program, was announced earlier this month and has already filled up (you can get on the waiting list for a future boot camp here by signing up here.)

If you don’t want to start an entire business, but want to benefit from sharing the costs and hassles of boat ownership with a few friends, two new products came out just in the past 30 days that may be right for you.

One is ShareZen, an online application that (according to the company's press release) makes it easy for people to manage shared assets by offering them a simple system for scheduling use, tracking shared expenses, keeping up on maintenance and fostering owner communication. ShareZen is a Pacific Northwest startup that, in addition to boats, helps manage fractional ownership of homes and planes. Online at sharezen.com.

The other is myBoat by NauticEd, which, like Splice Boating, is the brainchild of a shared boating industry veteran – Grant Headifen (founder of both SailTime and Beneteau Fractional Yachting). More information about myBoat, which unlike ShareZen is designed exclusively for shared boat ownership, is available as an online at nauticed.org

ShareZen and myBoat are available for monthly fees that start at less than $25 per boat – a small price to pay to make boating easier and more affordable without sacrificing your relationships.