One thing we can all agree on is that boats are expensive. A basic 30-footer can cost more than some homes. But they are still bought and sold as if they’ll soon be going out of style. Well, what if we told you that there’s a way you can offset the cost of a new or used boat by renting it out when you’re not even using it yourself? It’s a smart financial decision and it’s done with a company called Boatsetter.

Boatsetter: Offset the Cost of Your Boat

How It Works.

The basics are simple enough. 

  1. List your boat.
  2. Set your preferences.
  3. Connect with renters.
  4. Set sail.
  5. Get paid.

Let’s Get Started

It all starts with listing your boat on the Boatsetter website or app.  Begin with the boat’s physical address, the year, make and model.  As soon as that info is entered the site populates with an estimated monthly income based on eight rental hours per month.  The excitement begins. 

Boatsetter listing page from website

Just a few clicks can tell you how much your boat is estimated to make each month.

Next, there are five steps to complete your listing.  Add your boat details with pictures, input your insurance information, the availability, operators and durations then review and submit.  The whole process takes less than 15 minutes. 

here are the five steps to a Boatsetter listing

Just like putting yourself on a dating site, the more information you provide about your boat, the more attractive your chances of a rental become. 

That’s all it takes and you’re on your way toward an income stream with your boat.  But you do have some responsibilities from here. 

Your Responsibilities

When someone first requests your boat, you’ll get a pop-up message on your cellphone.  That’s when the communication starts between the renter and the owner to determine exactly what will be taking place.  Now your boat is a precious investment so it would not behoove you to just toss the keys to any Tom, Dick or Harry.  Here’s where the questions start so you can qualify your renter. 

  • Ever been on a boat before?
  • What experience level do you have?
  • Do you need instruction?

If you’re not happy with any answers to your questions, the deal is off and both parties go on their merry way.  If it continues, then the rental is booked and the next step is meeting at the dock. 

Meet and Greet

You’re still not able to just toss the keys and toss the lines.  An introduction to the boat is in order.  Where are the battery switches, the life jackets, flares and first aid kit? How does the GPS work?  What local knowledge of shoals should be passed on?  The larger the boat, the more complicated the tour of the boat should be.  There’s an official check-in/check-out form that must be completed to show that all parties have met their obligations.  It even includes taking pictures before departure.  After that, it’s “off you go!”  Once the boat comes back, the “check out” form is completed, the boat is checked for damages and all parties come to an agreement. 

Most owners will choose to conduct these meetings themselves.  Others who perhaps still have full-time jobs will have someone like a family member conduct them instead.  Either way, there’s an obligation that needs to be satisfied here. 

The Captain Conundrum

How ‘bout I drive the boat and get paid for that too?  Excellent idea!  But you’ll need a captain’s license for that.  Otherwise, you’re breaking the law.  You’ll also need your own commercial insurance policy.  And no fair simply raising the price of the rental and saying you’re operating for free.  That’s also against USCG regs. 

However, you can still have a captain on board. This is done quite regularly with the larger yachts.  In fact, to meet insurance requirements, boats longer than 40’ (12.19 m) are required to have a captain at the helm. 

Simply edit your boat’s listing to include that a captain will run the boat when he/she gets paid and how much.  Everybody still gets paid through the app.  Boatsetter even has a network of captains you can take advantage of if you don’t have your own. 

It's easy to add a captain to a Boatsetter listing

Adding a captain to your boat’s listing is as easy as checking off the boxes. 

What about insurance?

This is an important topic.  You’re required to have your own personal/recreational insurance. That’s true whether you rent your boat with Boatsetter or not.  Boatsetter provides the commercial insurance as long as your boat isn’t modified in a manner not endorsed or approved by the manufacturer and includes proper vessel documentation (registration… etc).    

How about if I want to rent a boat?

That’s even easier.  All it takes is four steps… search for a boat, connect with the owner, book the rental and cruise away. 

From the home page, simply put the area you want to rent a boat in, and then hit “search.”  Then browse through the results until you find the boat you want, click on it to view more details and then click “request to book.”  Mission accomplished.  You’re now on the water without ever having to buy a boat or join a club.  When requesting you’ll choose when you want to rent the boat, and for how long. 

Here is a sample of boats available on Cape Cod

A simple search of a location will generate listings that can be browsed through until a choice is made. 


Boatsetter is a clever way to reduce the expense of owning a boat by letting it be used when you’re not using it.  Owners describe experiences from offsetting the price to actually using the boat as an income stream.  Additionally, both owners and renters are rated so it’s easier to select a quality experience.  Renters typically become repeat clients and ultimately become friends. 

Don't waste your time paying for all your boating costs yourself, when you can have other people do it for you.