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Book My Boat: Connecting Aussie Boat Lovers

Book My Boat: Connecting Aussie Boat Lovers

Tech start-up Book My Boat recently launched a new and innovative online boat hire marketplace that promises to change boating in Australia forever. We caught up with them at the Brisbane Boat Show to learn more about the business and the new and exciting opportunities it creates for boaters throughout Australia.

Q: So what is Book My Boat and how does it work?
Book My Boat is an online marketplace, similar to the likes of airbnb and camplify. Private boat owners can list their boats for hire when they are not using them, creating a new opportunity to generate an income from their idle boat. We provide a booking system, secure payment gateway, comprehensive insurance and all the procedures required to rent your boat out with peace of mind. For existing Boat Hire companies, Book My Boat is a brand-new marketing platform where they can boost their exposure and generate new business

Q: Generating an income from our idle boats. What a great idea. Where did the business concept come from? Collectively, we’ve been involved in the Maritime-Trans- port/Tourism, Boat Hire and the Technology industries for over 20 years. With the share economy booming in other industries around Australia and the world (think Uber, Airbnb, camplify to name a few) we thought it was about time the Australian Boating industry enjoyed the benefits it can provide.

Q: Can anyone list their boat for hire?
Yes, almost anyone can list their boat for hire. The first step is to register the boat as a Domestic Commercial Vessel with AMSA. The great news is that boats under 7.5m length and powered by an outboard engine may be exempt from needing a Certificate of Survey (AMSA EX02) when they’re registered as a Hire and Drive vessel. This removes the costs and inspection requirements that were previously mandatory. AMSA have done a great job optimising the domestic commercial vessel requirements in recent years which has really simplified the require- ments for low risk operations such as sheltered waters Hire and Drive operations.

Q: What about boats over 7.5m? Are these able to be hired out via the Book My Boat platform too?
Yes, absolutely. Boats of all size are welcome as long as they maintain commercial registration.

Q: Do you assist boat owners transfer their registrations to Hire and Drive?
Yes, a large part of what we do is assist boat owners upgrade to a commercial Hire and Drive registration. We manage the entire application process on behalf of the boat owner which includes creating a tailored Safety Management System, lodging and monitoring the applications with AMSA. The other benefit to the Hire and Drive registration is that it’s very affordable. A 5-year registration with AMSA costs only $377. This gives a massive saving of over $1,400 when compared to recreational boat registration of a 6m long boat. Plus, if you rent your boat out, some of your boat and associated expenses can generally be deducted from your annual tax return.

Q: Wow, so this means your rego, storage, repairs and maintenance, fuel etc can all be considered as a possible tax deduction?

Yes, absolutely. Proportionate to the hire use.

Q: So what are the Book My Boat benefits for existing boat hire companies?
As a peer to peer marketplace we have independent boat owners and customers frequently promoting listings via their own social media accounts. This creates huge exposure and traffic through the marketplace, far more than a typical company can generate or expect to receive organically. The marketplace becomes a hype of rental activity throughout Australia and the perfect place for a Boat Hire operator to promote their business and secure new sales from locals and tourists alike. We offer a discounted commission for existing Boat Hire companies who maintain their own insurance. Boab Boat Hire has recently come onboard with their 9 franchises and 30 boats which is a great show of support and validation for what we’re doing.

Q: That’s a good point. What happens with my insurance if I were to rent out my boat on the Book My Boat marketplace?
Book My Boat has arranged for comprehensive insurance coverage for the entire rental period. This means that both the boat owner and customer are covered should there be an unfortunate incident. Boat owners should still maintain their private insurance for their own recreational use.

Q: OK, so how do we rent a boat online?
Just log on to www.bookmyboat.com.au and follow the prompts. Once you create your account you can rent your first boat within minutes. We’ve currently got boats for hire in multiple locations along the east coast and with new listings being added regularly, we’ll soon have boats everywhere to suit everyone’s needs.

Q: How can boat owners contact you if they’re interested in listing their boat for hire?
They can visit our website www.bookmyboat.com.au which contains all of our contact details or jump onto social media where we can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. Alternatively, Boab Boat Hire has come onboard as our regional dealers and can assist boat owners in their local areas.