Sunday, July 1, 2012

If it Floats, Flies, or.....

Renting a Boat can be a lot cheaper than owning one!

We made a reservation to travel thought the Burgundy region of France next year.  We are renting the boat shown above, through "Le Boat" - a boat rental agency in Europe.  For a week's journey, it will cost about $3800, which is a lot of money, but divided by four people, not that much.  And of course, they have smaller, cheaper boats (some under $2000) if were were traveling in a smaller group.

Bear in mind that the cost of storing and insuring my last boat ran about $3500 a year, and suddenly $3800 doesn't seem like such a bad deal.   And I don't have to wax this boat.  And if you have ever waxed, by hand, a 30-foot boat, you will know what I mean.

A pilot friend of mine told me, "If it flies, floats, or fucks, rent it!"  And yes, that is misogynist, and yes, ladies, these are the sort of things that your husbands say when they are "out with the boys".

While I am not sure about the last one, owning a boat is a very expensive proposition.  And part of this expense is the fact that, unless you are using it constantly, it just sits around gathering dust (literally) and dry-rotting.   Much of the expense in running our boat was induced by the fact it sat for long periods of time, getting a musty smell and just sitting.   Machinery does not like to sit and even the fuel in the gas tank will turn to varnish if not used (adding Sta-Bil helps, but a better approach is to not let a boat sit).

In Europe, oddly enough, you can easily rent boats - they have fleets of them.   Perhaps our European cousins are smarter than us - or perhaps they don't have the cash to let a $200,000 boat just sit idle for months on end.

You can rent boats all over Europe, through Le Boat, or go on a narrowboating holiday in the UK through Alvechurch.

In the US, it is somewhat harder to do, although some boat rental agencies do exist.  For example, at the Holly Bluff Marina, you can rent houseboats and tour the St. John's river.  Or you can rent a canal boat on the Erie Canal in New York State.

It is more fun to own a boat?  Well, it can be, if you live on a lake, or if you like to fish, and you go every weekend.   However, when boating is more infrequent - say less than once a month - the cost of owning a boat, versus renting one, starts to look bad.

And by cost - I mean overall cost, in terms of storage, insurance, fuel, maintenance, and that big Daddy of them all - depreciation.

Renting a boat can be a good way to figure out if you really want to buy one.  You may find that after renting a boat that you really get the bug out of your system.

If it floats or flies..... rent it!