How do we resolve problems areas for hosts and boaters when it comes to private docks versus marinas?
Problem #1: Restroom/bathroom remedy for dock hosts that are dock only, with no home access. Our messaging to hosts and boaters is that if the guest has street access, they may be able to access a nearby park, a marina, and/or waterfront businesses like restaurants or stores. Also, if the homeowner offers home access or partial home access to their guests, they can charge/earn more money by offering those services/access. Dock hosts can also choose to only accept bookings from owners of boats that are equipped with Coast Guard approved marine toilets, with self-contained holding tanks.
Problem #2: Access to fuel. We try to locate boating guests at hosts that are near a marina so boating guests can conveniently fuel up at nearby marinas on their way in or out of the host dock location.
Problem #3: Access to holding tank pump out. Similarly to the fuel situation, we try to locate boating guests at hosts that are near marinas so they can have access to pump out services. In some areas there are mobile pump out services that will come to you for pump out
Problem #4: Insurance issues. We encourage homeowners to add their name to the boat owner’s insurance policy. This does several things for the homeowner: 1) Able to submit claims as needed. 2) Covers your dock from damages caused by the boat and covers potential injury getting in and out of the boat. Dock hosts can also obtain commercial insurance for their dock. Commercial insurance would be needed if the dock host wants to cover their dock and rent it out to a third party (boating guests). Commercial insurance for docks range from $300 – $700 per year, and the cost can be carried by the boating guest or shared between the homeowner and the guest via dockage agreement contract.
Prior to any dockage agreements/contracts, we provide the host and the boating guest with waiver protection, all automated and completed online prior to reservation or contract agreement. The waiver protection allows the hosts and the guests to declare that they will not hold any other party liable for accidental bodily injury.
Problem #5: Liveaboards and allowing overnight stays. There are specific regulations that prohibit the liveaboard lifestyle in certain cities. There are also areas of the country that are more open to the idea, without restrictions. Offering this option to your boating gests (if allowed in your area) allows you as a host to charge more money and increase your earnings. Liveaboard fees at marinas range anywhere from an extra $50 to an extra $400 per month, depending on location and amenities. A similar fee/earnings could be applied to your listing if your location is suitable for a liveaboard renter.
Staying aboard and living aboard are two different things. Living aboard is typically when someone lives on their boat full time, and it is their primary place of “residence”. As a side note, they often have a virtual mail service that forwards their mail electronically from one of several states that allow “virtual domicile”. No mailbox or physical address is needed for this type of situation. In other cases, full time liveaboards often use a PO Box for their mail.
Someone who is periodically staying aboard is usually someone spending a weekend on their boat, a few nights, or some form of short-term duration. Boating guests can submit a request form to the dock host to request days or times that might be for staying aboard, and/or the terms can be written up in the contract between the two parties.
Problem #6: Abandoned boats. As a general rule of thumb, if someone has a mid-to high-dollar boat, they will not likely be leaving it abandoned anywhere. In addition to our check and evaluation, we encourage all dock hosts to evaluate prospective dock guest/renters and determine the value and condition of the guest’s boat. As a company we will strive to match good renters with each dock host. We will perform credit and background checks of each guest and provide a list of qualified renters for dock hosts, so they can determine if they want to rent their dock to prospective renters. We can also set up pre-payment terms, so the guest pre pays for all or part of their duration of dockage/stay. This can help prevent people from not paying and just leaving their boats behind, abandoned. In the event that a guest/renter leaves their boat abandoned at a host dock location, without any notice and with no valid reasons, we can make sure the contract gives the boat owner a timeframe deadline to remove the boat. If the deadline is not met the contract can permit the property owner to impound or tow the boat to a boat yard. There are also many groups, services, and non-profit organizations that can assist in the process of removing abandoned boats. As a company that is here to serve boaters and homeowners, we can help with the coordination and arrangement to have a boat removed, if the situation arises.
Problem #7: Non-payment, or late payment of rental/service. As a company dealing with property owners and boaters, we will strive to match good renters with each dock host. We will perform credit and background checks of each guest and provide a list of qualified renters for dock hosts, so hosts can determine if they want to rent their dock to prospective renters. We can also set up pre-payment terms, so the guest pre-pays for all or part of their duration of dockage/stay. This can help prevent people from not paying or paying late. The contracts that we work with you on, can be tailored to your situation no matter if you are a boater or a host.
Problem #8: What if a dock host (property owner) restricts or attempts to restrict my access to my boat? We will work hard to find and work with property owners/hosts who have already been in the business of renting their property, have a good track record and good reviews from previous guests. As a boating guest you will be able to submit a request to our customer service department so we can help address the issues and/or look into possibly moving your boat to a more suitable location with a different dock host, if the matter is not easily resolved.