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Boating Tip: Shared Boat Ownership Makes Sense



A high percentage of boats sit around doing nothing most of the time because people have such busy lives.


Just because they’re not being used doesn’t mean that they cost you any less to maintain though. Why not share the ownership of the boat with other like-minded people?



Being part of an equity ownership syndicate means that big dollars stay in your own pocket and your annual running costs are substantially reduced.

There are a number of ways to manage a boat syndicate from fully self-managed through to having everything done for you as part of a walk-on / walk-off process.

Owning a boat is like owning a house; there’s always something that needs doing! Even a new boat isn’t maintenance-free is it?

There’s berthing fees, insurance, registration, engine and generator servicing along with anti-fouling, polishing and cleaning. That’s not to mention that object below the surface that just dinged a prop, that teenage son who left the dinghy tied up in such a way that the outboard scratched the gelcoat on the side of the boat or that full glass of red wine which wasn’t secured when that idiot came past you whilst you were relaxing at anchor.


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Often called ‘syndicated boating’, ‘fractional ownership’ or ‘shared boating’, this concept has now come of age.

The growth in this segment of the marine industry has been recognised as significant and government agencies such as the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are working with boat share companies to establish ‘best practice’ guidelines for the benefit of both the operators and the safety of their clients.

Broadly speaking it can be said that that there are two types of boat share programs; firstly a type where a boat is owned by a small number of owners, say 2, 3 or 4, who self-manage and share the maintenance costs of the boat that they each purchased with relative amounts of equity, and secondly the category where there are a larger number of owners such as 10 or 12, who require the essential attention of a management company to act as a hands-on service and project manager.


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I refer to the first type as ‘Private Syndicates’ and the second type as ‘Managed Syndicates’ for obvious reasons. Of course there are a number of various permutations to such arrangements but in essence this is how they function.


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Each type of sharing system has it’s pros and cons. For instance a Private Syndicate usually has less members so there are a far greater number of boating days to allocate around. A Managed Syndicate removes all of the angst associated with maintaining and servicing a boat and usually exhibits true “Walk-On”, “Walk-Off” ease of use which ensures that each owner receives the same level of service, attention to detail and housekeeping that each of the others do. No one single member is burdened with greater responsibilities for the boat than any other.

Each type usually operate an equitable online booking system gives each boat owner a fair crack at the ‘in-demand’ days such as weekends with public holidays and New Year’s Eve etc.

Now some of you reading this may be thinking ‘but if I share with others, I won’t be able to go boating as often as I want, when I want and on the spur of the moment!’ This is usually not the case unless you are talking about peak times.


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The regularly referred to “Pareto Principle” applies to boating too … 80% of the boats sitting on a marina get used 20% of the year AND vice-versa. How many of you would actually take the boat out for more than 30 days in a given year? Ok, so some of you would – but would you use it more than 60 days a year? No that’s unlikely because you have other influences on your time. You may have kids sport, work and family commitments and don’t forget it rains occasionally. Some people don’t like getting wet.

Boat share users get to plan their boating in advance – folks this is a GOOD thing because it helps you organise and structure more leisure time. If you have the opportunity to go out on the spur of the moment, most types of boat share operations allow you to use the boat if no one else has got it booked. This is kind of like a ‘stand-by’ air ticket.

The trade-off for this need to plan and have less days available is having less cost. You’re paying a fraction of the ownership costs to purchase and maintain the boat.

Most experienced boat owners would consider this a reasonable exchange!


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Boat share is a contemporary method of boat ownership that complements our busy lifestyles in this modern age. There are major advantages to be had and very few inconveniences. You get to relax and enjoy your boating without having to worry about all the maintenance hassles and best of all you only pay a fraction of the cost of owning the boat on your own.


If you’d like us to assist you to look after your boat syndicate, why not give us a call on +61 (0)2 8880 4088 or email at

Author: Steve Williams  |  Standen Marine
Video: Standen Group Marketing
Photos: All photos remain the property of their respective owners. Please contact us for acknowledgment.