Boat Swapping is a first for the sailing world as a true sharing option for private boat owners. The yachting industry, in general, is still catching up with modern technology and trends. Many myths still exist in the market so let us debunk some of them and explain how boat sharing communities are enabling a new way to travel.
Natalya and Adrian Walker, husband and wife, created Boataffair in 2017. They both have 20 years of sailing and boating experience and a vast network of friends in the yachting world. Being a Swiss company founded by passionate boaters, they understand boat owners, their values and pain points.
In the past years, Natalya and Adrian have spoken with a lot of boat owners and boating enthusiasts. They realised that among all boating platforms available out there, there weren’t really any that catered for the needs of private boat owners. New platforms are fast to shout about how they are the new ‘Airbnb’ for boats - there are numerous of them. Natalya recounts:
“Whilst many boat platforms aim at enabling boat owners to rent out their vessel in order to make more money Airbnb-style, we realised two things: In most countries renting out your private vessel is next to illegal or very paperwork-heavy. Secondly, over 70% of private boat owners we talked to privately and through surveys do not want to rent out their boat. They tell us they would prefer to use their vessel to make new friends and simply share theirs with others. They were looking for a tool that connects them with other owners”.
Therefore the idea for boat swapping was born: a boat swap is not a commercial transaction and the barriers to entry are therefore a lot lower than with a boat rental scheme.
Boataffair is the first boating platform to truly cater to the needs and wishes of private boat owners. Within their boat swapping community, boat owners get the chance to share or swap their boat with other boat owners globally, liberating them from the need to charter a boat if you want to experience boating in a new location. And they’re pretty well connected with owners from over 30 countries such as Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, USA, Greece, Italy, France or Spain. Boat owners have complete control, they can, for example, decide that they want to be on board as the Captain to host their guests. It is a unique opportunity to make like-minded friends and have the very best and joyous experience possible and because you will be hosted by a local, you will have access to all the secret spots, not found in any guide book.
The benefits of boat swapping, are manifold. Boat owners experience new boats in new countries and get to know new people and discover new amazing locations through the eyes of locals. Authentic experiences which you will not find in any guide book. Host guests on your boat in exchange and show them what makes your boating location so exceptional, with no rental cost.
The latest countries to join the community are Australia and Montenegro. Boataffair has many boat owners in their community still looking for a partner to share their vessel with. For example, Kathy with her sailing yacht in Southampton, UK, is looking for someone in the Caribbean to swap with, in 2019. An owner in Croatia is looking to host guests this summer and wants to be hosted in return in Latin America at some point later on this year. And there are many more examples in boat sharing community.