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No boat? No problem with Airbnb-like service

Boatbound connects boat owners and renters with an increasingly popular service similar to Airbnb.

With our sunny summer weather continuing through the weekend, a lot of us would love to be out on a boat. But a lot of us (at least me) can’t afford one or don’t have friends or family to take us out on the water. Luckily, there’s now an app for that.

San Francisco-based Boatbound is making a big splash in Seattle with what’s best described as an Airbnb for boat rentals.

It couldn’t be easier. Boat owners put their vessels up for rent on the online marketplace, and interested renters can then rent a boat for either a half or full day.

The offerings range from a canoe for $50 to a 41 ft. Bayliner cabin cruiser for $1200 a day. There’s definitely something for everyone. The Seattle site currently lists 90 boats of all kinds including jet boats, cabin cruisers and sail boats.

In order to rent a boat, you have to be at least 25-years-old and possess a current, valid driver’s license. You also have to have a clean driving and criminal record.

Don’t qualify or don’t feel comfortable at the wheel yourself? No problem. You can also rent a boat with a captain to do all the driving for you, so you can just kick back and enjoy the views.

Boatbound makes it extremely appealing for boat owners as well. The company provides up to $1,000,000 in liability protection and up to $2,000,000 in hull damage protection, and handles all the renter screening and payment processing.

Founder and CEO Aaron Hall says he came up with the idea several years ago when he tried to rent a boat but couldn’t find one.

“The marina was chock full of boats, so the light bulb went off. I thought there’s got to be a way to access people’s boats and when we couldn’t find it we built it,” he says.

The service is a win-win for boat owners and renters alike. The Coast Guard’s most recent National Recreational Boating Survey found the average boat was used just 17 days all year. So with all those boats sitting moored, why not get some more use out of them.

Although the company was founded in San Francisco and expanded to Miami and a number of other cities, Hall says Seattle has become one of it’s busiest markets.

“Demand is off the charts,” he says. Whether it’s powerboating, sailing, doing something as a company or family, there’s a lot of great opportunities up in Seattle.”

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