by Chris Caswell
Along with leasing, several independent companies are testing the waters of shared ownership. Partnerships have been common in boating for many years, with as many as a dozen friends sharing the purchase and maintenance costs of a boat that they can use for a certain number of days a year. But, until recently, little had been done formally as in the time-share ownership of condominiums in the real estate business.
For Gemini Yacht Management in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, the intent is to create an affordable program with four families sharing one boat, such as a Maxum 3200 SCR, for three years. In the case of a $110,000 Maxum, the shareholders would each pay a $17,500 acquisition fee, monthly maintenance of $625, and $50 for each hour of engine use. At the end of that time, Gemini then sells the boat and replaces it with a new one.
At SeaShare in Aventura, Florida, Alex Guenow has a similar program with 33-foot Sea Ray Sundancers. A 6.25 percent share in each boat allows up to 12 days of use a year for a $13,100 acquisition price and then a monthly fee of $215, and an owner can buy up to a maximum of four shares (48 days). The Sundancers are kept at the exclusive Turnberry Club and the shares are a commodity that can be sold by each owner at the current market value. When the boat is sold, usually at the end of five years, the proceeds are divided among the owners according to their shares.
And, at the 15th St. Boat Co. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kelly Drum offers 20- and 26-foot Boston Whaler Outrages in several different short or long-term rental programs.
A sister business to one of the world\’s largest Boston Whaler dealerships, Drum\’s company offers fully customized Whalers that are complete from outriggers to GPS navigation systems. "We\’re able to tailor a rental to whatever a client needs," says Drum. "A rental makes more sense because most boat owners are lucky if they get out on the water once a month. You keep the boat at your home and you get all the advantages of ownership with none of the downside."
Drum also has a sophisticated GPS tracking system to locate his boats, since the 26-footers are insured so that customers can run across to the Bahamas with them.
The vote\’s still out on leasing, shared partnerships and even long-term rentals, but one thing is obvious: there are more ways to get into boating than ever before!