The Best Way to Rent a Boat This Summer

By connecting owners with renters, Sascha Mornell is getting thousands of landlubbers on the water.

“A decade ago, I was sailing out of the British Virgin Islands, and I noticed how many boats were just sitting there,” says Sascha Mornell. “You go to any marina and there are hundreds, even thousands of boats not in use. Turns out boat owners only use their boats eight percent of the time.”

Mornell turned that statistic into, a site dedicated to helping would-be sailors, fishermen, and yacht partiers cast off. The site is user-friendly and the operation is simple. Pick your ship and the site connects you with the owner, who can vet you for experience and discuss insurance and liability requirements, which vary significantly state to state and country to country. The transaction becomes human rather than bureaucratic, which makes it not only more pleasant, but safer for both parties. “We haven’t had any trouble with inexperienced boaters trying to take out a 35-foot sailboat,” says Mornell. “It’s easy enough for owners to vet renters on social media.” The lack of a rigid deal structure also facilitates last-minute bookings for impulsive excursions and weekend getaways.

Unlike traditional bareboat charter and boat rental services, GetMyBoat offers a wide range of crafts, from dozens of $20-an-hour sailboats in San Francisco harbor to a $15,000-a-day motor yacht in Miami. (Even landlubbers will remember that second from “I’m on a Boat,” Andy Samberg’s ode to the maritime lifestyles of the rich and famous.) “We contacted individual boat owners, mom and pops, and charter operators alike because we wanted them all on our site,” says Mornell, whose strategy apparently worked. GetMyBoat is now the largest boating marketplace in the world, with listings in 1,400 locations, covering 80 countries.A new boat is added to the site’s database, which already features more than 14,000 vessels, approximately every hour.

Charting a course forward, Mornell plans to grow the fleet to more than 30,000 and to enhance the functionality of the site’s app to allow real-time reservations and instant mobile insurance for owners and renters. For now, he just wants to get people out on the water this summer. Here are some of the standouts from the GetMyBoat stable. 

Charter Custom 131-Foot Cruiser Yacht LaPerla$10,143/day

Available from multiple points in Croatia opposite Northern Italy, the LePerla offers snorkeling, diving, and guided tours, and is within day-trip range of Venice and Trieste.

Charter Luxury Motor Yacht Salu$88,062/week

This 90-foot Benetti classic launches onto the Mediterranean out of the South of France. It carries a seven-day minimum rental, meaning you’ll have time to get profoundly comfortable in the plush areas below deck.

Norship Custom 120-foot Super Yacht Charter$15,000/day

This modern aerodynamic mega-yacht features some of the most outrageous amenities you’ll find in Miami Beach. There is a sun deck with a wet bar, two lounges, big-screen plasma TVs scattered throughout, and a club-worthy Bose stereo setup.