Virtual boat rentals becoming more popular during the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 12:56 PM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-09 18:24:59-04

These days, you can rent cars, rooms, bikes, scooters, and even pools through an app on your phone. Now, it's boat rentals that are seeing a surge in popularity as people look for more things to do during the coronavirus pandemic.

"There's a huge demand for it. This summer has shown us that everyone wants to get out on the water. It’s something fun to do, especially during these times of social distancing. It’s an activity where you can stay away from the crowds in an environment that’s easy to clean and sanitize," said Val Streif, head of marketing at GetMyBoat.

GetMyBoat is an app that's similar to Airbnb, but instead of renting a home or a room, you rent boats, jet skis, and other watercraft.

You can search for rentals nearby or at your vacation destination.

Users can also rent out their boats too.

As for COVID-19 safety measures, the GetMyBoat team says they're confident boat owners and captains are doing their part to prevent the spread.

"It’s up to the discretion of the boat owners and the individuals, however boat owners and captains will tell you they spend tons of time cleaning the boats, hosing them down, sanitizing them in between every charter and rental so they are environments that are being thoroughly cleaned in between groups of people," said Streif.

The virtual boat renting service says renters need to wear face masks when they're in marinas and crowded areas.

They also say captains will limit the number of people allowed on boats to allow for social distancing.

You can rent a boat with or without a captain, but it's recommended someone with experience is at the helm.

"If a houseboat seemed like it was not in good shape or maybe there were safety concerns, other renters will leave that in their reviews, so there is that extra pressure for captains to make sure that they’re maintaining their boats properly," Streif said.

GetMyBoat says boat owners can choose to use the company's insurance provider or their own as long as it's covered for rentals.

The booking and payment process is contactless too, meaning there's no need for people to bring cash on board.

Streif said that some people have even been using things like Venmo to tip their captains.

Boat owners can also refuse to rent to you if they feel like the risk is too high to rent it out.

GetMyBoat is available to download for free on Android and iOS devices.