You are currently viewing Yachts: why own when boat sharing so much cheaper?

Yachts: why own when boat sharing so much cheaper?

boat sharing - all this without owning the thing!
Image by Roger Green

The boat sharing economy is here to stay – let’s have a look at some of the options available today.

After the first flushes of pride in buying your boat, the reality often dawns that it isn’t as hot a proposition as it seemed before you paid out that enormous sum of cash. Long-time boat owners often say, “a boat is a hole in the water to throw money in”! Unless you’re planning a long trip – perhaps heading off around the world or selling your home and becoming a boat gypsy, there are a lot of options other than boat ownership you can consider these days!

Crewing someone else’s boat!

One of the first things to consider in the ‘boat sharing economy’, and the cheapest option of all other than not going afloat is to get afloat as crew. Skippers all over the world are unable to leave the dock simply because they lack the crew. 

You may well have got your sailing qualifications on a sailing school boat and indeed your parents’ or friends boats. If you have something like a RYA Yachtmaster you can perfectly legally skipper someone else’s boat for them too. 

Skippers looking for crew, crew looking for skippers and boat owners looking for both can do well by popping over to and registering their details to find whom they are looking for. As an introductory offer the site is offering your first five hookups for free!

If you live in a sailing city or town crewing is a great way to keep your skills alive so you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk! Another advantage of using Onboard Space? You can do big ticket sailing trips like an ocean crossing or longer delivery from the UK to the Med. You’re limited with the other options out there…

Yacht charter

Yacht charter is the traditional alternative to crewing and has been around since before the concept of the ‘boat sharing economy’ was ever considered (not unlike taxis before Uber!). You get your own boat without a skipper or boat owner bossing you about and can cruise (almost) freely on your chosen grounds. The advantage is that you can do different sailing grounds each time – the West Coast of Scotland one summer, the Aegean another and perhaps off to the Caribbean the next. 

One glaring disadvantage is that you cannot do much more than island hop as no matter how skilled you might be (even a top end ocean qualification) the insurance will forbid night sails. That means you’re in a constant race for the best moorings and may even give up sailing time as to try to be the first to get a mooring in a busy destination. Not unlike getting out of bed at 0500 to book a sun lounger while at a crappy beach hotel – hardly why you go sailing is it?!

Shared ownership

Shared ownership is like Onboard Space part of the new boat sharing economy where you will pay a monthly sum over a year and then choose from a fleet / fleets of boats to use over the year. This can be very good as you will pay effectively the running costs + capital of a yacht + a small sum as profit for the company behind it. People who do this may choose a regional operator – perhaps one with flotillas across the South of England – and can choose between sailing grounds every few weeks in the summer months. 

Many of these schemes are like gym memberships and can suck you dry if you hit a busy patch with family or work when you would rather be sailing, and have different payment grades that could leave you unable to sail when you want if you aren’t paying a sufficient sum. 

Boat sharing?

With all the boat sharing economy options above you are largely paying for convenience in owning your own boat. Research is consistently showing that while us old salts like convenience the newer generations such as Generation Y and Millennials are eschewing asset ownership in favour of the sharing economy. Onboard Space is at the cheaper end of the spectrum and charter at the more expensive end with shared ownership schemes largely sitting in the middle. 

In choosing the sharing economy you can chuck smaller amounts of cash into different pots. Shared car ownership, shared yacht ownership, Onboard Space, and shared holiday ownership are all there to close from. You could do today what only the very wealthy could just a decade ago!