The Rise in Shared Boat Ownership: What Does This Mean for Boat Brokers?

by | Feb 13, 2019

The marine industry is witnessing a growing trend when it comes to purchasing boats involving shared ownership schemes. These are exactly what they sound like. You essentially purchase a fraction of the boat, instead of owning the entire thing.

You might be wondering how this works and may have many questions. For example, what if the two owners want to use the boat at the same time? Well, that’s why we’ve written this brief guide on this increasing marine trend.


How does shared ownership work?

Shared boat ownership allows several families, or parties to all own the same boat. Usually this involves a syndicate, by which each contributes to the upkeep and general maintenance of the boat, in return for a proportion of usage throughout the year. In general each family will be allocated a few weeks throughout the year, where the boat is exclusively theirs to use.

What are the advantages of shared ownership?

  • Cost The most obvious benefit is the financial saving owners receive by purchasing a boat this way. Sharing a boat between 4-6 owners significantly reduces the price.
  • Flexible cruising – Shared ownership yachts can often be cruised from different ports to new locations. This allows owners to cruise in new locations.
  • You aren’t tied down – You can sell your fraction at any time, and also the value of your fraction won’t go down as rapidly as the average yacht’s value.
  • Save on maintenance costs – Sharing a boat with several others means your maintenance costs are dramatically reduced, as you split the amount between your syndicate, as opposed to paying the whole sum yourself if you were to own the boat independently.
  • Try before you buy – Most fractional ownership companies allow you to test the water before you commit to buying straight away, so you can be 100% sure on your decision!  

And the disadvantages?

  • Limited privacy – A lot of shared ownership agreements involve purchasing larger yachts, which often involve a crew. Some people enjoy that, but other families may prefer the privacy and exclusivity of being their own crew.
  • Not having the final say – Being in a syndicate means you usually have to compromise with something you don’t always agree with. For example, your yacht might move somewhere you don’t particularly want to sail.
  • Tricky selling process – There is always the chance you might lose your boat if the others decide they want to sell the yacht.
  • Your time allocation is decided for you –  Spontaneity isn’t an option with shared ownership. Unfortunately, you’re unable to plan last minute trips or desired dates because the schedule is decided for you. However, this might not be the case for all syndicates.
  • Not personal to you – For a lot of marine enthusiasts a lot of the fun of owning a boat, is giving it an identity, or making it ‘their own’ through personal decor or customising it to their preferences. Just like if you were to share a flat, if you wanted to make a change to the boat, it’s something you’d have to discuss the other members first.

What does this mean for brokers?

Boat brokers could benefit from acknowledging this boat buying trend. The industry has seen a massive increase in shared ownership, so if boat brokers were to accommodate this type of customer, it would aid their marine sales.

The downside for brokers is that, if more people are purchasing shared ownership boats, then generally yacht sales are decreasing. So it’s worth bearing in mind the types of boats you want to stock. Stocking higher value boats would balance out the money lost from lower value boats sold individually. It’s also worth ensuring your website has the functionalities to reach out to this type of customer and advertises your services clearly.

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