Lonely Planet Writer

A new boating start-up lets you holiday on a yacht like a millionaire

Yachts tend to have an association with the very well-off and luxury travel, but a new venture could see tourists hopping on board for a more affordable experience. British entrepreneur Matt Ovenden is the founder of Borrow A Boat, a boat-sharing business that was inspired by AirBnB. Ovenden dreamed of owning his own private yacht but was always put off by the logistics of boat ownership and indeed, the high costs involved.

Matt Ovenden is a keen sailor. Image by Borrow A Boat

Borrow A Boat offers rentals to customers to suit their own budget and location; you can borrow small boats or even million-dollar luxury yachts. “I realised marinas are full of millions of pounds worth of boats that are rarely used, and also chartering is expensive and it’s hard to find what you want – it seemed perfect for the sharing economy,” Ovenden told Lonely Planet.

“So we set up Borrow A Boat allowing boat owners to list their own private boats, and we list small charter company boats as well. Today we have over 13,000 boats on the site in 62 countries from the Med, to the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Asia and Far East and Pacific, plus Australia and the USA.”

Anchored sailboat, view from drone
Anchored sailboat. Image by Getty Images/mbbirdy

Seafarers wishing to list their own boat can set their own rules and can choose things like “no pets” or “no parties”. Similar to AirBnb, you can also control the charter price and block out dates you don’t want to make the boat available.

“Boats can be booked with a skipper as an optional extra for those who don’t have a Day Skipper qualification, which is generally the minimum requirement for chartering most of them, and with that boats can be taken “bareboat” anywhere in the world for the ultimate exploring by water” adds Ovenden.

Borrow a Boat hopes to have 20,000 boats available by the end of 2017.