Grab your nautical themed pashmina afghan; Boatbound, the “pier to pier” boat rental marketplace, is charting a course for SoCal.
“The L.A. market started growing organically last summer, so we put a little bit of resources into it,” said Aaron Hall, founder and CEO of the two year old San Francisco-based company. “This year is the year when we’re actually sending teams down there, and we’ll be all over L.A. and all the way to San Diego until winter comes.”
Got a kayak? A coracle? A sailboat? A yacht? A schooner? A barge? A Kaiser-class armored frigate? List it for free on the Boatbound Web site, get it approved and activated, set a rental price, mark the days when you won’t be using it, and wait for a renter to connect with you. Boats can be listed as either captained (you captain the boat for your renters) or bareboat (renters captain the boat themselves). Boatbound takes 35% percent of the rental price and in exchange provides up to $3 million in insurance protection, which, trust us, is a solid deal. Renters need a driver’s license and can’t be criminals.
While peer-to-peer lodging marketplace Airbnb has encountered opposition from neighbors and hotel industry lobbyists, Boatbound faces none of the negative flack (yet). And it’s not just owners and renters who seem happy about Boatbound. According to Hall, Boatbound brings traffic through the tackle shops and soda fountains that line marinas near where boats are docked. The boating industry is also on board because Boatbound gives boat owners more incentive to invest in expensive crafts. Boatbound’s investors and partners include some of the biggest names in boating: Brunswick, Bayliner, Boston Whaler, and BoatUS (the theme here is the letter B).
The biggest challenge for Hall and his team has been keeping up with the enthusiasm. Currently, around 100 Boatbound boats are available for rent in the greater L.A. area, with 300-500 applications waiting for activation.
The big question, though, is, How often does Hall have to laugh off lame references to Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat”? Quite often, he says—especially when he was first starting the company. As it turns out, the actual boat from SNL‘s nautical digital short is available for rent through Boatbound. Sadly, it’s in Miami.