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.



  1. Thanks for covering the topic of shared boat ownership and for mentioning ShareZen. ShareZen is free for 30 days. After that the price ranges from free (for a single owner who let's friends use the boat from time to time) to $39.95 a month for large groups with 12 owners and 24 additional boat users. Most boat owners fit into the $14 or $24 a month plans.

    Thanks again.


  2. Drew - thanks for the comment... it's our pleasure to cover anything that helps make boating more affordable for more people

  3. Agreed. This has been one of my passions for a over decade now. Giving people access to boating where they might not have had the opportunity or at least through a significantly reduced cost. Our sharing software specifically for boats does all kinds of cool things like showing the education level of all your partners.

    And through the two companies I've owned, SailTime and Beneteau Fractional, we've really got the boat sharing software down pat.

    The cost of the online boat sharing software is $4.44 per month.

    When you don't use software you get 25% of the boat for 25% of the ime. When you use scheduling software you get almost 90% access to the boat with 25% of the cost.

    Bravo to the ShareZen guys to for sharing the passion also.

    Cheers for the posting

    Grant Headifen

  4. Boat sharing seems like a good was to get into boating or to maintain your boating passion on a limited budget given the current economy.