My husband and I always say it would be great to own a yacht, but then we realize that the constant upkeep and hefty price tag will continue to keep that dream out of reach (unless one of us finally makes millions!). Enter GetMyBoat, the world’s largest boat rental marketplace that makes renting a boat–for the day or for a long vacation–in 154 countries simple and fun. Launching three years ago, the rental company has more than 57,000 boats in 5,300 locations, and its app for iOS and Android is like a personal travel agent. Boat-seekers can search for their dream vessel by filtering boat types (from kayaks to 150’ yachts!), experiences, amenities, price and capacity.
Encounters with Nubia (EWN) had the opportunity to catch up with the CIO Bryan Petro (BP) to discuss the concept of GetMyBoat, how it works and why it is great for all types of travelers.
EWN: Do you have to drive the boat that you rent on GetMyBoat?
BP: A lot of people think that they have to charter (drive) the boat. A lot of the boats are captained. People can go out and the captain will be operating the boat the whole time. If you qualify, you can captain your own boat.
EWN: Which destinations are hot right now in the U.S. for boat rentals through GetMyBoat and why? What is the average price range to rent a boat in these areas?
BP: Popular boat rental destinations include Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Tampa, Boston, San Francisco (where we are based), Seattle, Chicago and Dallas. A lot of variables come into play with respect to pricing—it is based on city, country and body of water. We wanted GetMyBoat to be an open platform and we didn’t want to limit it to boat rentals or yachts. You’re going to see a price range that scales from really cheap $50/day to more expansive yachts and fishing charters. Paddleboards and kayaking prices are on the lower end.
EWN: River cruising is still very popular in Europe, how does that affect the boat rental scene and what your clients are booking online in Europe?
BP: Four years ago when I was investigating boating in the UK, I noticed all of the canal boats and realized that Europe has more of a canal boating culture (wheras our culture in the U.S. is house boating). GetMyBoat is hyperlocal. We work out what is the norm in that area and then we have a diverse offering. In San Francisco, sailing is popular, but in Europe (like the Netherlands and France) it’s more about canal boats. When you go to South Africa, there is great white shark diving and cage diving down there.
EWN: Which destinations/boat categories are best for traveling families with little pre-k children? What about older children in grade school?
BP: Family travel excites us and GetMyBoat is the ideal scenario for parents who want to introduce their kids to boating. You can rent a boat just for the hour and it isn’t too expensive. On the water, multigenerational travel, weddings and family reunions are all happening through GetMyBoat. We help to make memories. We are seeing that shorter day trips are good for families with small kids. If the family likes to go fishing, wake boarding or water skiing, they can do it all. Our customer service team can handle these requests.
EWN: What are typical requests your clients have with respect to onboard amenities or on-land excursions?
BP: Typical amenity requests include: catering, drinks, supplying coolers and tools like bait and tackle, and paddle boards. Some boats will already have those amenities available, some won’t. The owners can decide what they want to charge. They will use it as a competitive advantage—you will get a paddle board with the rental. A powerboat in Miami might come with a jet ski inside.
Also, safety is important from the get-go and we have tools in place to facilitate it. The customer can chat with owner before hand, there’s a check out process procedure and you have to follow local regulations and laws. There is a two-way review platform, which allows both sides to review one another. There are self-regulating systems to self-manage the boat rental experience. Boaters have the right to decline the rental.
EWN: I have gone on cruises, but never experienced an overnight stay on a boat for a vacation. What should “newbies” like me know before booking a boat and what should we think about to help us choose the right experience?
BP: I advise starting with the destination first versus the experience. Novices should ask themselves: Do I have sea legs and am I comfortable on the water? These boat renters should opt for a typical sailboat or powerboat, which are more stable versus a catamaran. Next consider safety. Make sure you have enough water, food, sunscreen and safety equipment. The boat’s captain will also go through these things with you before you arrive.
EWN: How will GetMyBoat continue to innovate and stay on top of what consumers want, especially as discerning travelers (like millennials) continue to want unique experiences?
BP: Our iOS and Android apps allow you to pull up a map and see boats in the marina in real time. One trend we think will become big is renting a boat as close in real time as possible, but it will never be the Uber model. For longer strips, people plan in advance. In the past three years, we have gone from booking one month to seven days out and now we are down to a few hours lead time. We are also looking at landlocked lakes that don’t have boats. AirBNB has boats now, but many will not actually take you out on the water; you just sleep on them. That’s a different type of traveler. We are trying to grow boating as a community.
If you’re ready to sail away, here are examples of some of the unique experiences that can be had through a GetMyBoat rental. Enjoy!
- Northern Lights sailing and skiing in Iceland
- America’s Cup racing in the Bahamas
- Free diving in the Philippines
- Whitewater Sledging in New Zealand
- Fly board in San Diego, California
- Underwater scooters, ScubaDoo, in Los Melones, Dominican Republic
- Kayak tour in Patagonia and the Galapagos Islands
- Submarine in Cozumel
- Open sea cave diving in Quintiana Roo, Mexico