Whatever floats your boat

How to go boating without the hassle of owning

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie | ablanks@thedestinlog.com
Longtime member Stephen Schreifer and Legacy operations manager Mary McGraw take out a boat from a slip at Legacy Boating Club. [ANNIE BLANKS/THE LOG]

Imagine having yachts, speed boats, wave runners and fishing boats at your fingertips.

Because many people can’t afford to own such a fleet of expensive boats, and because boat owning just isn’t for everyone, companies have sprung up in recent years to fill a gap in the market and provide affordable boat-owning experiences to skippers.

Legacy Boating Club, which has locations on the Destin harbor, Baytowne Marina, Panama City Beach and Orange Beach, Alabama, is an option for those with a little more disposable income. Legacy has a unique boat club model where members pay an annual and monthly fee in order to access a whole fleet of high-end boats.

“Ours boat club model works just like a golf club or country club would work,” said Fletcher Shackelford, managing partner of Legacy. “So the whole thing is that it’s set up for people who want to go boating on really nice boats but they prefer not to own a boat. They don’t want all the hassles associated with boat ownership.”

Legacy has different membership levels ranging from $1,990 a year to $22,900 a year, plus monthly fees. Each level provides access to different types of boats and includes maintenance, storage, insurance and anything else associated with boat ownership.

For those who can't afford the steep price of boat club membership, a new website and app called Boatsetter presents boats for rent on a daily basis. The platform consists of peer-to-peer boat renting, pairing boat owners with potential boat renters in the area. Renters can select whether or not they want a captain, what type of boat they want and how long they want to go out on the boat. Every exchange is covered by premium insurance, according to CEO Jaclyn Baumgarten.

“What’s unique about our model is that we have the largest database of U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains,” Baumgarten said. “You can have a qualified captain assigned to any boat, so you don’t even have to be an experienced boater to get out on the water with Boatsetter.”

Taking a boat out via Boatsetter can range from $100 to over $2,000, depending on the type of boat, need for a captain and other variables. Boat owners in Destin can list their vessel on the site to make extra money.

“The benefit that we bring is huge because private boat owners can safely offset the cost of ownership by putting the boat on the platform,” Baumgarten said. “It’s free for them to list, and we provide insurance that protects them and the boat.”

For more information about Legacy Boating Club, visit www.legacyboatingclub.com.

For more information about Boatsetter, visit www.boatsetter.com.