Is Boatsetter a Legit Website?

Peer-to-peer boat renting is growing in popularity. Potential renters love the idea of experiencing the boating lifestyle, even if it’s just for the day. And boat owners are always looking for ways to offset the many expenses that come with their vessels. That makes sites like Boatsetter attractive.

But is Boatsetter a legit website? Or, are you taking a risk when you choose to use it?

Boatsetter is a leader in the boat-sharing economy, and its platform is safe and secure. They offer built-in insurance and professional captain services as well. So yes, Boatsetter is a legit website.

Below, we’ll explain exactly how Boatsetter works; then, we’ll lay out the pros and cons for both owners and renters. By the time we’re done, any fears you had about using Boatsetter should be long gone.

How Boatsetter Works

Just like Airbnb, Boatsetter is a peer-to-peer rental site. On it, boat owners can list their boats for interested renters at an hourly rate, helping to offset the many expenses that come with boat ownership. Renters get to experience the magic of the seas without the full responsibilities of owning a vessel.

Boatsetter’s easy-to-use platform makes renting a cinch. They list available boats by waterway and allow renters and owners to connect via their messaging platform. Date selection, payment, and confirmations are all handled by the site.

Boatsetter only charges when a booking occurs. There are no listing or membership fees that owners or renters need to worry about. With their booking fees, Boatsetter also provides insurance through Geico Marine to further set owners’ and renters’ minds at ease.

If needed, Boatsetter also offers captains and crews for an additional fee. Renters who don’t have experience navigating the high seas can opt to hire an experienced captain from the Boatsetter platform.

Owners can choose to become captains of their own boats by obtaining a United States Coast Guard (USCG) license. This gives owners an added element of control and provides the potential to earn extra money. Career captains, who may not own a boat themselves, can also work through the Boatsetter platform.

Boatsetter for Owners

Now that you understand the basics of Boatsetter let’s zoom in on how the platform can benefit boat owners.

Advantages for Owners

Here’s a quick summary of some of the benefits of using Boatsetter as an owner: 

  • You can greatly offset the costs of boat ownership with rental fees and captain services. 
  • Boatsetter includes insurance and TowBoatUS services in their booking fees. So, you don’t have to worry about renters falling under your regular insurance policy. 
  • Boatsetter is available worldwide, so you can use this rental platform no matter where your boat docks. 

Whether you own a pontoon boat, a fishing boat, a sailboat, or a yacht, chances are it’s come with more costs than you initially expected. Boat maintenance, dock slips, storage, and towing all adds up, and offsetting the costs can be difficult.

Boatsetter is a great way to make a little extra money on your boat when you’re not using it. You can rent it for day use or for overnight trips—whatever you’re comfortable with.

Some owners even invest in a second or third vessel to rent out exclusively. Becoming a professional boat renter isn’t everybody’s dream, but those who do so can expect to make significant amounts on Boatsetter.

If you happen to own a larger vessel, you might choose to obtain your captain’s license as well. Captains make $40 per hour through Boatsetter, making it possible to earn around $4500 per month, solely with captain services. Add boat rental income on top of that, and you could easily turn boat ownership into a worthwhile career.

Plus, unlike most other peer-to-peer rental platforms, Boatsetter includes insurance in its fees. As the boat owner, you don’t have to worry about your regular policy covering your boat for rentals.

Boatsetter also includes TowBoatUS, which provides towing services as well as jumpstarts and fuel deliveries to renters who find themselves stranded.

Disadvantages for Owners

Now let’s look at some of the problems owners have come across: 

  • Boatsetter charges owners a 35% booking fee. The fee includes insurance and tow services, so it may be worth it, but 35% is still steep compared to other peer-to-peer boat rental sites. 
  • Anyone can rent on Boatsetter, so you’ll need to vet potential renters yourself. 

Unfortunately, including insurance and towboat services leads to relatively high fees. Boatsetter charges boat owners 35% for every booking, that’s significantly more than other peer-to-peer boat rental sites.

And, you’ll still need to vet potential renters before you make any agreements. Since anyone can sign up as a renter on Boatsetter, you’ll need to connect with potential renters through the platform to ask whether they have experience boating or not.

If they don’t have experience, you may be able to upsell captain services, but you probably shouldn’t rent your boat to someone who hasn’t had much time on the water.

Boatsetter for Renters

If you’re thinking of renting through Boatsetter, here’s what you’ll need to know.

Advantages for Renters

Some of the pros of renting via Boatsetter include: 

  • Easy-to-use platform that doesn’t cost anything to browse
  • Liability insurance and tow services are always included
  • Ability to add on professional captain services if you’re new to boating 

As a renter, using Boatsetter is a breeze. You can browse by location and type of boat, connect with the boat owner, and book your preferred rental day and time through the secure platform. 

You can also add on professional captain services, which are especially key if you happen to be a boating newbie!

The booking will automatically come with liability insurance, so you’re safe should anything go wrong. And, you’ll have access to tow services in case you run out of fuel or experience a dead battery.

Disadvantages for Renters

If you’re looking to rent with Boatsetter, consider these cons: 

  • Boatsetter charges a service fee to all renters.
  • Depending on the size and type of boat you rent, the security deposit can be significant. 
  • Before booking, you need to vet boat owners to ensure you get the experience you’re hoping for. 

Boatsetter charges a small service fee to renters for each booking. The service fee helps them keep the platform secure and shouldn’t add much to the price.

They’ll also hold a security deposit on your credit card. The deposit covers incidentals, including lost items and damages. It will depend on which boat you rent, but know that the security deposit can be significant, at $500 or more. 

You should also be aware that renting on Boatsetter is much like renting an Airbnb. Many of the boats are amazing, and many of the captains are highly skilled, but you might also run into some less-than-stellar ships. So, when you connect with the boat owner, it’s crucial to ask questions before putting money down. 

You’ll also want to ensure that any boat photos are recent and that the owner promptly replies to your messages. A quick response and photos from the last few months are good indicators that the boat you’re renting is well-maintained and ready to enjoy.  

Final Thoughts

Boatsetter is a legitimate peer-to-peer boat rental website. Boat owners and potential renters can both benefit from its safe and secure rental platform. And, because Boatsetter provides insurance and tow services for all rentals, it’s a step above other, similar sites.

Of course, Boatsetter also charges higher fees than other boat rental options. There’s a significant booking charge for owners, as well as a service fee for renters.

Overall, though, Boatsetter gets peer-to-peer boat sharing right. It keeps private boat rentals easy and safe, making it a near risk-free website.