A US-based rental service makes it more accessible for people to have Okanagan Lake boating experiences.
GetMyBoat, marketed as the “Airbnb of Boats,” has created a mobile app for the Kelowna market, helping connect boat owners with people looking to enjoy summer’s best time on the water .
Val Streif, chief marketing officer of GetMyBoat, said the company has established online boat rental beachheads in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, and established a presence in Kelowna over the past two years.
“We’ve seen 480% growth in Kelowna in 2021, and bookings are growing rapidly for the 2022 season,” Streif said.
Essentially following the Airbnb model that has become popular for renting vacation homes, Streif, says GetMyBoat, now has about 25 boats in Kelowna available for rent, with an average hourly rental rate of $100/hour. But rental prices vary depending on the type and size of the boat.
She said GetMyBoat allows boat rental companies to save money, while boat owners have access to a source of income to offset their boating expenses.
For the company, its revenue incentive comes from an 8.5% booking fee.
“Every region is different in Canada and the United States, so we always say that whatever rules apply to boating in a given market, they must be followed,” she said.
For Kelowna, that means federally set boating rules, which means having a certified boat operator behind the wheel, and that proper insurance coverage is in place.
She said studies have shown that boat owners take their boat out on the water about eight per cent of the year, leaving a lot of downtime when a boat could otherwise be rented to offset the annual costs.
“Boat owners have different reasons for getting involved in our program. For some, they can charter their boat five or six times to cover their marina membership and other expenses for a year, others are looking to make a good profit,” Streif said.
“We’ve heard stories of boat owners earning up to $20,000 a year from boat rentals. One of the interesting stories I’m aware of is of a boat owner who lost his job during COVID and decided to retire early, get his captain’s license and now operates boat charters in retired and loving it.
Streif said potential boat renters can browse boats available for charter in a given market, citing a greater degree of flexibility for last-minute bookings.
“We’ve found that during holidays, boat rentals are often booked months in advance, whereas our app offers a better chance of finding a last-minute boat,” she said.
For more information online, see getmyboat.com.
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