Boatbound makes summer boating more affordable

Boating season is here and Georgia residents from Lake Lanier to Lake Oconee can use Boatbound to find the exact boat -- be it a powerboat or sailboat -- for a day out on the water. Summer sailing isn't just for the well-off upper crust after all.

Founded by Aaron Hall in 2012, Boatbound is now headquartered in Seattle, Washington, but made its debut in another boat-friendly city, San Francisco. The company's purpose is to make boating more affordable while also being hassle-free -- two things very rarely associated with the use of a boat for recreational purposes. Hall is a longtime boating enthusiast and understands how hard it can be to feed that passion, especially at the height of boating season in landlocked states like Georgia. The idea that became Boatbound came out of a need for more.

"For as long as I can remember, my family has enjoyed summers boating together," said Hall during a recent phone interview. On a family outing at Lake Ray Roberts, near Sanger, Texas, in July 2102, Hall and his family weren't able to procure a boat due to the "very limited inventory of boats for rent," he said.

After looking around the marina and seeing "hundreds" of boats just unavailable for rent, Hall had the brainstorm that would become Boatbound.

"It surprised me that no one had created a platform to leverage the peer-to-peer model to tap into the excess supply of boats sitting in marinas all over the United States," Hall said.

Boatbound has a safe and insured place for over 13 million registered boat owners in the United States to rent their vessels to pre-screened and qualified renters. Daily rental rates range from $220 (for a 12-passenger Ebbtide boat ) to $990 (for a 10-passenger Sundancer 360, including an onboard captain) with 11,453 more boats available for rent in 2,100 cities. In Georgia boating communities like the before-mentioned Lake Oconee and Lake Lanier and boating-friendly cities like Gainesville and Allatoona, there are currently 84 boats available to rent this summer.

"There are millions of Americans who don't own boats that are eager to find a better way to enjoy boating without the cost of ownership while Boatbound also offers benefits to boat owners as our model helps make boat ownership more affordable," Hall said.

Along with the daily rates, there are also service fees, refueling fees, late fees, dirty boat fees and a one-time administration fee of $30. There is also a minimum security deposit of $500.

Boatbound is attempting to bridge the gap between boat owners and local enjoyers of the boating lifestyle.

"The average boat owner uses their boat only 14 days a year, and collectively, boat owners spend $10 billion in storage and maintenance fees a year," Hall said.

Programs like Boatbound help make summer boating a reality for more than just the rich and famous.